Overview

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

Highlights

  • Small Group Experience
  • 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. This is surely the ultimate Iceland adventure, filled with exploration, adventure, and truly 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 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!

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Small group experience
  • Expert guides
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

From

115
Per Adult(16+)
  • Flexible cancellation up to 24 hours
  • Fast & secure payment
  • Best Price Guarantee
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 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!

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.

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!

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.

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, 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.

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