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Svínafellsjökull Glacier is renowned worldwide among hikers and ice cave fanatics for its bright blue hues and fascinating natural structures.

Iceland is not lacking in ice giants of all shapes and sizes, from the mighty Vatnajökull to the modest Tindfjallajökull. Svínafellsjökull is one of the most well-known glaciers in Iceland for its natural beauty. Hikers around the surrounding national park trails are in for a treat with the fascinating and intricate formations and crevices that have formed over time in and around Svínafellsjökull. Find out more about this unique glacial tongue.

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What is Svínafellsjökull?

Svínafellsjökull is not a glacier in itself, but rather a glacial tongue of the largest glacier in Iceland, Vatnajökull. This means that Svínafellsjökull is a narrower area of ice that extends south from the larger glacier. It stretches around 8 km (5 mi) long and 800 m (2625 ft) wide, just a shadow of the size of the main glacier. This glacier is also falling victim to global warming, shrinking every year.

While Vatnajökull has many glacial tongues extending from its icy core, like nearby Falljökull, Svínafellsjökull is one of the best known due to its accessibility from Iceland’s Ring Road and the fact that it’s often featured in Hollywood blockbusters! It is most famous for being a filming location for Game of Thrones and Batman Begins.

Svínafellsjökull glacial tongue

Where is Svínafellsjökull Located?

Svínafellsjökull is located in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, which was absorbed by Vatnajökull National Park upon its creation. This area of the country is an incredibly popular spot for hikers to enjoy the sweeping landscapes, which Svínafellsjökull adds to in a dramatic way.

How To Get There

Thanks to its proximity to the Ring Road, the glacier is fairly easy to access from the main population centers and tourist hotspots around the country. The journey from the capital is around 329 km (204 mi) without any stops and is accessible for vehicles of all kinds.

If you begin your journey in Reykjavík, you’ll need to follow the Ring Road towards the east for around four hours. Then you will reach a left turning onto Route 998. A short time later you will come across the visitor's center and parking lot for the glacier; where many organized tours begin. From the parking lot, you’ll need to embark on a hike shorter than one km (0.62 mi) to reach the actual glacier tongue.


Things To Do at Svínafellsjökull

The most popular activity on the Svínafellsjökull glacier is hiking. Guided glacier hiking tours are an incredible experience and offer the chance to closely examine the curiosities of the glacier’s surface. You might even be able to hear the creak of the ice beneath your feet if you listen hard enough!

The colors of Svínafellsjökull are some of the most eye-catching in the country, no matter the weather, with bright and electric blue hues contrasting with deep bedrock and white snow to create incredible scenes. What’s more, the height of the glacial tongue allows visitors panoramic views across the Vatnajökull National Park to the ocean on a clear day.

Hiking on the glacier is possible (only with a guide) year-round, and the landscapes will appear different depending on how much light and snowfall there has been in the area. So whether you are a fan of hiking, photography, or just fantastic views, Svínafellsjökull is an unmissable stop on your visit to Iceland.

Attractions Near Svínafellsjökull

Whether on the journey to this beautiful glacier or on your way out, there are several natural attractions nearby that you shouldn’t miss while you’re in the area!