Get intimate with the highlights of Vatnajökull National Park on a glacier hike and boat ride through towering icebergs!
This tour is for the adventurous ones. A zodiac boat ride on a glacier lagoon followed by a glacier hike on Falljökull glacier. This is surely the ultimate Iceland adventure, filled with exploration, adventure, and truly unforgettable views.
Apr. - Oct.
Meet on location
Glacier Lagoon Parking Lot
Departs from Overwrite
- Tour highlights
- Small Group Experience
- Vatnajökull National Park
- Glacier Hiking
- Fjallsárlón / Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
- Zodiac Boat Ride
- Guided Glacier Hike
- Certified Glacier Guide
- Specialized Glacier Gear
- Glacier Lagoon Boat Ride
About the Tour
On this tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the most breathtaking natural settings that Vatnajökull National Park has to offer! We’ll take you on an adventurous 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.
You’ll get to see the glacier from two very different perspectives. First, you’ll get to ride a Zodiac boat across the iceberg-filled lagoon that was created by the glacier. Then, you’ll walk across the surface of the ice mass itself!
In the booking widget, you can choose which of two glacier lagoons you’d like to sail through. They are both beautiful, only the surrounding landscape looks slightly different. These two lagoons are located within a 15-minute drive of each other and belong to two different outlet glaciers of the mighty Vatnajökull ice cap.
After the lagoon excursion, with a certified glacier guide, you’ll put on crampons and take a hike on one of the most scenic outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull!
Part I: The Glacier Lagoon Boat Ride
You’ll start your tour with an exhilarating boat ride across an iceberg-filled lagoon. (Note: the transportation to the lagoon is not included. You’ll meet your guide on the location and join the boat ride there.) Choose from two options: you can sail either on Jökulsarlon or on Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon – they are located 10 minutes drive apart. In our booking widget, you can switch between the locations and choose the lagoon you’d like to sail on. Read on to find out more about the lagoons!
Option 1: Zodiac Boat Ride on Jökulsarlón
The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is located at the tip of Breiðamerkurjökull, which is an outlet of the vast Vatnajokull glacier. To create a glacier lagoon, as the glacier retreats, meltwater fills up the depression it leaves behind. Huge chunks of ice break off from the glacier, in a process known as “calving”, and the lake becomes filled with floating icebergs.
Jökulsárlón is an extraordinary sight. What makes it most special is that Jökulsárlón is connected to the ocean, which makes it a perfect habitat for seals. The water is also salty and bluer than other glacier lagoons.
For the tour, you will be met by your expert guide in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon parking area. They will take you to the dock where you will be fitted with 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 from 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 water 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 the colors possible. These majestic floating masses of ice are so beautiful that it is impossible to find someone who is not moved by the sight of them so close by.
Option 2: Zodiac Boat Ride on Fjallsarlón glacier lagoon
Right next to Jökulsárlón, within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) drive, is the location of Iceland’s second most famous glacier lagoon, Fjallsárlón. This glacial lake belongs to another outlet glacier, named Fjallsjökull.
Just like Jökulsárlón, this glacier lagoon is an absolutely surreal phenomenon. What makes it special is that Fjallsárlón is a smaller lagoon and the glacier in the background is very steep and much closer to the lakeshore than Breiðamerkurjökull is at Jökulsárlón. Moreover, Iceland’s tallest mountain, the spectacular Öræfajökull volcano, towers above the lake.
Though smaller than its neighbor and with browner water, Fjallsárlón has the advantage of being less well-known and thus much less crowded than Jökulsárlón. The Zodiac boat tours here are not overbooked weeks ahead of time.
The length of the boat trip is the same for both options. No matter which glacier lagoon you choose for your boat ride, there is definitely no wrong choice!
Part II: A Glacier Hike on Falljökull Glacier
After the lagoon ride, you’ll need to drive to the Skaftafell Nature Reserve (about 50 minutes drive from Jokulsarlon and 40 minutes from Fjallsarlon), which is part of Vatnajökull National Park. Skaftafell is truly unique oasis surrounded by black sands, glaciers, and volcanoes.
The valley is enclosed by outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull out of which Falljökull is the most impressive glacier tongue. Its name in Icelandic means the “falling glacier”, which is pretty accurate. The gigantic icefall drops impressively down the mountains towards the ocean.
As we arrive at the edge of the glacier, we will strap our crampons on and make our way up the icy, yet easily accessible slopes. On the way, 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 to see up close how the ancient ice stoically falls hundreds of meters off of the mountaintop as it flows in slow motion towards the ocean, a journey that it will never complete as global warming continues to fuel the melting of the glacier and its slow retreat.
You have the option of doing the zodiac boat ride on Jökulsárlón or Fjallsárlón. You can choose between the two variations in the booking widget. Upon booking you will receive a confirmation voucher that includes important information such as your meeting points and meeting times. Please note that driving between the two meeting points will take about 40-50 minutes. Transportation between the two locations is not included.
Skaftafell is located about 330 kilometers from Reykjavík. See map for directions.
Meet on location means travelling to the location of the tour yourself and then meeting our tour guides rather than being picked up and taken to the location.
Before and during activities on the multi-day tours consumption of alcohol is prohibited. If we suspect that a participant is intoxicated, we will prohibit them from joining the activity.
After the activities of the day are finished, you are welcome to have a drink and relax.
Yes, we do. Langjökull Ice Cave is a magical experience, the tour has no minimum age and is a wonderful option for the whole family. Whale Watching with our partner company Elding has been a favourite with families traveling with young children, these guys have a great success rate in seeing whales (upwards of 98% in the summertime).
Another option would be the Landmannalaugar Safari on this tour you get to explore parts of the Icelandic highlands and bathe in natural hot springs. Most of our jeep tours are also suitable for children over the age of 6 years old. If you would like a nice and relaxing experience we would also recommend the Golden Circle & Secret Lagoon tour.
Your safety is our number one priority! Keeping this in mind, Arctic Adventures reserves the right to adjust the itinerary and/or take different routes depending on conditions. Please read more information in our cancellation policy.
Yes, there is a specially trained and certified guide on each of our tours. The only exception to this is for our self-drive tours.
All of our tours are guided in English.
No, for all your questions and concerns you would need to contact our customer service.
Our tours are split into four different categories that help participants to understand what to expect from the tour. The categories are Easy, Moderate, Challenging and Demanding. Each tour is rated making it easier to find tours that suit you.
For further information about the difficulty ratings and descriptions.
We’ve partnered with the Kolviður Fund in a new carbon offsetting program, which passengers can select to participate in at the time of booking.
The Kolviður Fund is the oldest, most respected carbon offsetting program in Iceland. With your support, one tree will be planted in special Kolviður forests in Iceland to carbon offset your tour with us.
Kolviður forests are strategically planted to absorb the maximum amount of CO2 and the forests are protected for a minimum of 60 years. During their lifetime the trees absorb carbon and store it in their root system, trunk, and branches. Trees also prevent soil erosion and maintain storage of carbon in the soil.
Iceland is known for colourful 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 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.
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, harness and helmet. This will help you to complete the tour safely.
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.