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About tour

Get close to the floating icebergs on the Jökulsárlón boat tour and explore the incredible ice formations of the largest glacier in Iceland, Vatnajökull!

Highlights

  • Vatnajökull National Park
  • Glacier Hiking
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Zodiac Boat Ride

Included

  • Guided Glacier Hike
  • Certified Glacier Guide
  • Specialized Glacier Gear
  • Glacier Lagoon Boat Ride

What to bring

  • Warm outdoor clothing
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Headwear
  • Gloves
  • Good hiking boots with ankle support

Tour Snapshot

Availability May - Oct
Duration ~9 hours
Departs From Glacier Lagoon Parking Lot / Skaftafell Base Camp
Level Easy Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Minimum age 8 years
Ratio 1:15 Guide to client ratio
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No

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Itinerary

This combo tour is for the adventurous ones. A glacier hike on Falljökull glacier and a zodiac boat ride on Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is undoubtedly the ultimate Iceland adventure, filled with exploration and unforgettable views.

On this tour, you’ll get to see the glacier from two very different perspectives. You'll put on crampons and, together with a certified glacier guide, hike on one of the most scenic outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull. We’ll take you on an exciting journey to Europe’s largest glacier, where you’ll be to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of this ancient ice mass up close and personal. Also, you’ll get to ride a Zodiac boat across the iceberg-filled Jökulsárlón lagoon created by the glacier!

You can choose between two options for this tour: either start with a glacier hike and finish with a boat tour in Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon or the other way around. You can pick an option upon booking. You’ll have to drive between meeting locations for both activities, as transportation is not provided.

The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is located at the tip of Breiðamerkurjökull, which is an outlet of the vast Vatnajokull glacier. As the glacier retreats, meltwater fills up the depression it leaves behind and creates a glacier lagoon. In a process known as "calving," huge chunks of ice break off the glacier, and the lake becomes filled with floating icebergs.

Jökulsárlón is an extraordinary sight. What makes it most unique is that Jökulsárlón is connected to the ocean, making it a perfect habitat for seals. The water is also salty and bluer than other glacier lagoons.

At the beginning of the tour, you will meet your expert guide in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon parking area. They will take you to the dock, where you will put on a floatation suit or life vest before jumping on board the Zodiac boats. As our adventure begins, be ready for the majestic sight of Breiðamerkurjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers coming to greet us below the horizon.

This lagoon is a dreamy space full of shining icebergs in magnificent shades of blue and white. The Zodiac boats will carry us to the center of the lagoon, where we'll be able to get up close to these floating blocks of ancient ice, lit up in the sunlight to show off all of their colors. These majestic floating masses of ice are so beautiful that it is impossible to find someone not moved by the sight of them.

Skaftafell Nature Reserve (about a 50-minute drive from Jokulsarlon) is part of Vatnajökull National Park. Skaftafell is a truly unique oasis surrounded by black sands, glaciers, and volcanoes.

Outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull enclose the valley, out of which Falljökull is the most impressive glacier tongue. Its name in Icelandic means the "falling glacier," which is pretty accurate. The massive icefall drops impressively down the mountains towards the ocean.

As we arrive at the glacier's edge, we will strap our crampons on and make our way up the icy yet easily accessible slopes. We'll witness incredible ice formations and crevasses while learning about how they are formed and how the glacier continuously reshapes itself.

We'll approach the awe-inspiring icefall up close to see how the ancient ice falls hundreds of meters off the mountaintop as it slowly moves toward the ocean. A journey that it will never complete as global warming continues to fuel the melting of the glacier and its slow retreat.

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Jökulsárlón Boat Ride and Glacier Hike

FAQ

Skaftafell is located about 330 kilometers from Reykjavík. See map for directions.

The main difference between these trips is that they take you to different locations on the glacier.

Our Glacier Explorer (5.5 hours) trip spends approximately 3 hours on the ice, exploring the magnificent ice-fall where it falls down from the Öræfajökull caldera.

The Glacier Wonders (4 hours) trip explores the easier part of the glacier which is lower and you will spend approximately 1 hour on the ice, giving you a fantastic but brief encounter to the highlights of Falljökull glacier.

Both trips start about 15 min driving away from our Skaftafell base camp. After the drive, we continue on foot following the retreat of the glacier for about 25-30 minutes where we set foot on the ice. Once there the 3.5-hour walkers spend their time exploring the features of the lower glacier and seeing spectacular views of the icefall. The 5.5-hour walkers explore the glacier more thoroughly and experience majestic pinnacles and deep crevasses. Both trips sometimes come across spectacular ice-caves but due to the nature of glaciers, this is not always the case.  

The 5.5-hour walk requires a higher level of fitness and agility as you will be on your feet for a longer period of time and the terrain is more challenging.

Meet on location means traveling to the location of the tour yourself and then meeting our tour guides rather than being picked up and taken to the location.

Iceland is known for its colorful weather. It can sometimes show you all 4 seasons in one day.

Dressing for this sort of weather can be a challenge so we always recommend dressing in layers. 3 or 4 upper layers are highly recommended such as a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleece or heavy wool garment, topped off with a waterproof windbreaker.

Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when they get wet.

Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are best and then wind/waterproof pants over. We also recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy due to the high UV and sunlight reflecting off of the glacier.

You will need sturdy hiking boots with ankle support that fit crampons for the glacier hiking tours. If you do not own a pair then we rent out good hiking boots as well as a waterproof raincoat and trousers.

We recommend bringing your own backpack on our full day or 1/2 day tours. It’s great to carry a small lunch and some extra clothing.

You can bring your camera along, and you should definitely bring one since the setting on the tour is full of amazing, scenic views.

This is, of course, a personal choice, we have often had pregnant women on our trips. We recommend you take a close look at our trip description and difficulty rating, they will hopefully give you a better idea. It is also good to contact your physician, pregnant women’s health can be quite different. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or concerns.

We do not provide lunch on any of our trips, so we recommend you bring your own lunch (for the longer trips), snacks and a bottle of water (you can refill it on the trip).

Crampons are metal spikes that we attach to the soles of your hiking shoes, these enable you to walk on the glacier ice without slipping. Get to know how to put crampons.

Yes, there is a specially trained and certified glacier guide on every glacier tour that we offer.

When glacier hiking you will be provided with an ice axe, crampons, harness and helmet. This will help you to complete the tour safely. The minimum shoe size to attach crampons is EU 35.

When snow stays long enough in one place it turns to ice. Over long periods of time, the ice layers up becoming huge blocks called glaciers. As there is a lot of snow in Iceland,  it forms to create ginormous glaciers that sweep across huge masses of land. Iceland is home to Europe’s largest glacier named Vatnajökull. This Glacier Guide will also tell you everything you may want to know about Glaciers.

Rain is not uncommon in Iceland. However, we do not let the rain stop our tours. This is why having appropriate clothing is very important to keep you warm and dry. Nature is not something that we can control and therefore we need to adapt to the weather. If your safety is compromised by going on the tour, we will cancel and you will be fully refunded.

This guide to Glacier Hiking includes all the information you might need when preparing for a glacier hike.

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