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About Tour

Get intimate with the highlights of Vatnajökull National Park on a glacier hike and boat ride through towering icebergs!

Highlights

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

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

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 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.

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 created by the glacier. Then, you’ll walk across the surface of the ice mass itself!

You can choose which of two glacier lagoons you’d like to sail through in the booking widget. They are both beautiful, and only the surrounding landscape looks slightly different. These two lagoons are located within a 15-minute drive and belong to two different outlet glaciers of the mighty Vatnajökull ice cap.

After the lagoon excursion, you’ll put on crampons and, together with a certified glacier guide, hike on one of the most scenic outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull!

Availability May - Oct
Duration ~9 hours
Departs From Glacier Lagoon Parking Lot
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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  • Small Group Experience
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Please Select When Booking:

You have selected Zodiac Boat Ride at Jökulsárlón
You have selected Zodiac Boat Ride at Fjallsárlón

What's included

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 are recommended

Not Included

  • Meals

Contact us for more Information about this tour

Itinerary

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 at 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. You can switch between the locations in our booking widget and choose the lagoon you’d like to sail on. Read on to find out more about the lagoons!

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.

tour in glacier lagoon by zodiac boat

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, Fjallsjökull.

Just like Jökulsárlón, this glacier lagoon is an absolutely surreal phenomenon. What makes it unique 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. There is no wrong choice, no matter which glacier lagoon you choose for your boat ride!

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 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 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.

Reviews

5
Based on 4 reviews

Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour & Glacier Hike

1- of 4 reviews

Glacier grand slam

Reviewed on June 12, 2021 by Brittany m Review from TripAdvisor

We did the Glacier Lagoon Boat Tour and Glacier Hike. We went to Fjallsarlon lagoon for the boat tour. Our guide was amazing, he was from Iceland (his name started with a Y but I cannot remember it).

We had a few hours in between which we spent at glacier lagoon and diamond beach. I am glad that we had that time.

Then we drove to Skaftafell. Mark and Klaudia were our tour guides. The tour was an hour delayed due to lots of rain and a small problem with the bridge. We drove our own car with the supplies to the Glacier. Then, we hiked about 1.5 miles to the Glacier. Then we started to hike. It has hard. It wasn't too cold. I was tired. But, it was worth it. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Our guides were great, built up our confidence, took it slow, didn't rush anyone, and we're all around amazing.

Glacier Grand Slam Tour

Reviewed on October 03, 2018 by lynchtlcl Review from TripAdvisor

We had a great time experiencing both the glacial lagoon zodiac boat tour and the the afternoon glacier walk. The lagoon tour was spectacular and bright blue since the morning had brought a little now and rain to the area. The guide kept saying how lucky we were that it had rained/snowed because we got to experience the real beauty of the icebergs, and he was absolutely right! We were provided with clean waterproof/floatation coats as well as rain pants (they are technically 500 ISK, but they didn’t charge us) We were taken right up to the face of the glacier and all of the icebergs and the local guide was super knowledgeable. I appreciate that the guide didn’t have a set script and instead let us ask questions which he was very well equipped to answer in great detail. This is not a tour on the big lagoon, but instead is on the Fjallsárlón Lagoon, which to us was perfect. We saw the big tourist lagoon the day before and snapped photos, but we were able to enjoy this lagoon tour in privacy. We were the only boat on the lagoon and our boat only had 6 passengers! This is outsourced to a small local tour operator and they were fantastic.

Then in the afternoon we did the Glacier hike at Skaftafell with Arctic Adventures. Again the tour was wonderful and well organized. We were quickly fitted with ice crampons and off we went. It was a little challenging at first because it’s a 20-30 minute uphill hike to get to the actual glacier, but I think most of the struggle is learning to trust the crampons and to loosen up your body. Advice..... just relax and walk like normal on the ice and let them do the work! Once I was able to relax the tour was very enjoyable. I’d say if you are in moderate shape this is doable and not to difficult. If you are more mature in age or severely overweight/ out of shape, you might want to reconsider. Even though they say it’s for all ages and easy, they are talking relative to the other tours and not in general. My husband and I are 45 and in ok shape, not avid exercisers, but not not grossly out of shape either and it was fine for us( a little more challenging for me than my husband, but I’m not athletic at all, lol)

Overall, my only critique is the long gap (about 3.5 hours) between the morning and afternoon tours. We were able to go grab a quick bite and gas up the car in a nearby cafe/fuel station, but then we had to just sit and wait. If you are staying in the area it might be nice to get a quick rest, etc. but we were driving back to KEF after the tour for a morning flight the next day, so the long gap was a bummer.

Overall, excellent tour though!!!

Glacier Grand Slam Tour

Reviewed on May 16, 2018 by amp132 Review from TripAdvisor

I booked the Glacier Grand Slam tour for my husband and I, and it was incredible. First we arrived at the glacier lagoon for our boat tour. The tour takes place on a smaller lagoon than a lot of boat tours, but it meant it was a much smaller group. At the big lagoon, there are 30+ people per boat. Our boat was 4 people. We spent about an hour on the water and got to get up close to icebergs and the glaciers. Our guide Hokan was very knowledgeable and kept us safe and informed on the boat!

Then we had a 3 hour break and had to transport ourselves to the second part of the tour. The second part was a glacier hike, at a very easy level. We spent about 20 minutes hiking to the glacier, a little over an hour on the glacier itself with crampons, and 20 minutes hiking back. Our guide was Kuba, and he was very knowledgeable as well. He said he has hiked over 20 glaciers in his life. He taught us how to put on and safely walk using the crampons. We got to see so much of the glacier, including it's streams, where ash is inside it, and the "glacier mice" that are rocks completely covered in moss. This was my first glacier hike, and it made me want to do even more. Highly recommend!

A must do but be prepared!

Reviewed on July 10, 2015 by Skyla99 Review from TripAdvisor

My husband and I did the Glacial Grand Slam. This is made up of a 5 hour hike followed by a tour of Iceberg Lagoon. The hike was wonderful and the views are unforgettable but I strongly suggest that you read the descriptions carefully before making your choice. These hikes are extremely challenging and the longer excursions are not for the part-time hiker. Unless you are in very good physical condition, consider taking one of the shorter hikes. Out of the ten people in our group there was only one who seemed to take the hike with ease. Before you even get on to the ice you must hike for about 45 minutes up the muddy, slushy volcanic dunes. And then from there it's three hours on the ice itself. And you are climbing for the most part of that. Before you undertake this trek I suggest you spend a quality month with your Stairmaster! ;) I had never hiked on ice before or with crampons and I found it very treacherous and slippery. Our guide Sara was very good and took care to make sure everyone was together and doing fine. She took breaks very often to give us a chance to recover. We had many opportunities to take pictures and enjoy our surroundings. As we walked up she gave us more and more information about the glacier. It was very interesting. As for how to dress, I was very surprised at how many layers I took off. I started off with a Burton winter jacket and two thin sweaters underneath. I was also wearing my tuque, scarf and gloves. This was perfect at the base of Skaftafell because it was freezing and very windy. When we started hiking though I couldn't wait to start peeling layers off. When you're on the glacier it's less windy and the exertion makes you very hot, very fast. By our second stop I had taken off a sweater, my hat and scarf and I still felt that my coat was way too hot. I think the temperature on the glacier was between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius to give you an idea. You also have to wear helmets on the hike so that keeps in some heat as well. This is a great adventure to undertake and I recommend it completely but I strongly suggest you prepare yourself beforehand.

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 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, 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.