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About Snowmobiling in Iceland

First hand experinces from Snowmobiling and Ice Cave tour on Langjökull, Iceland

 

Snowmobile tours in Iceland are the ultimate thrill. Driving on top of a glistening glacier, surrounded only by mountains and snow, is certainly something you’ll never forget. Take your seat on a fierce and vigorous snowmobile as you are taken up to the clouds on the amazing Langjökull Glacier!

Around 11% of Iceland’s territory is made up of glaciers, which are covered in snow for the biggest part of the year. We offer snowmobiling tours on both the East and West sides of the country, on Vatnajökull and Langjökull. These two glaciers are the biggest in all of Europe and both are true gems. There is no better way to see the beautiful landscapes and enjoy the quiet environment of the glaciers than on the back of a snowmobile. These vast plains of ice and snow are the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Adventure seekers will definitely enjoy the ride of their lives!

Two snowmobiles driving on Langjokull glacier

We offer various options on our snowmobiling tours. There is the possibility to ride one of our snowmobiles as part of a day tour. This is a good chance to mix incredible landscapes with amazing sensations. For example, the Golden Circle can be done with a snowmobiling tour, as one of our two base camps is located in this area. This tour is ideal for bringing together all the best locations of the Golden Circle, such as Geysir, Gullfoss, þingellir National Park, and other amazing places. This kind of tour is available all year round so that everyone can enjoy it, whether they are traveling during winter or summer.

One of our most popular snowmobiling tours is the combo with a visit to an incredible natural ice cave discovered in Langjökull Glacier. This is a truly magical experience! Every participant can witness the power of nature and what it can create itself. This tour is only available from November until April, as the ice cave melts when the temperatures are too high. All of our snowmobiling tours are available for everyone above eight years old. However, only adults over 18 years old with a valid driving license are allowed to drive.

There is no better season to go snowmobiling in Iceland. During summer, the temperatures are nicer and the days are longer. Around June, tourists can enjoy the midnight sun, which gives them more time to explore. However, during the wintertime, a snowmobiling tour can be combined with Northern lights. This is a really strong point about the cold season, check our winter tours.

A typical Snowmobiling Tour

To begin with, there are several tour options which begin at the base camps in Langjökull and Vatnajökull. You can choose to either be collected by your experienced guide in Reykjavík and take a minibus or, if you have access to a vehicle, there is the option to meet on location (the exact meeting locations are available on the tour pages). The alternative and very practical choice is to meet at Gullfoss Cafe, a strategic point as it is right beside the beautiful Gullfoss Waterfall.

Once at Gullfoss Cafe, a massive Super Jeep will take the participants to the base camp in Langjökull. Getting into a Super Jeep is a unique experience. These impressive engines with huge wheels can be driven anywhere, on any road. Driving to the snowmobiling base camp is impossible for regular cars for the biggest part of the year.

The base camp is about 40 minutes away from the cafe. There, all the necessary equipment will be given such as hoods, helmets, glasses, suits, and gloves. The snowmobiles will be waiting outside, but safety first! An experienced guide will give everyone the instructions to make sure you have fun while staying safe.

Adventure awaits! Now that the rules have been set, the fun can begin. Riding a snowmobile in the middle of a glacier is a breathtaking experience. Nature is so pure and untouched. Zooming on fresh snow at high speed can be scary, but fear not! The secret to not falling is to believe in the driver. After one hour of driving in this white scenery, the trip is over, and some hot drinks and cookies will be offered. Once you have enjoyed your refreshments, it will be time to go back to the Super Jeep for the return and to head home.

THE HISTORY OF SNOWMOBILING

Snowmobiles were created by the French-Canadian inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier. He was living in the remote town of Valcourt, in Quebec, at the beginning of the 20th century. As you can imagine, at that time it was not easy to go from one point to another in this kind of wintery landscape. That is why Mister Bombardier wanted to do something about it and make thousands of lives easier.

What made the inventor really want to create what would later become a snowmobile was his own son’s death. During the winter of 1934, his two-year-old son’s appendix burst. The couple did not manage to take him to the hospital on time and he unfortunately died. Devastated by his loss, Bombardier wanted to prevent this from happening to other families and got back to work. And here we are! In the 30s, the first snowmobiles sold were closer to steam locomotives than the current sleek ones we are used to nowadays, 7 people could go into it.

Later on, Bombardier’s technology helped during World War II. In 1958, the famous Ski-Dog (named “Ski-Doo” because of a printer error) was in business. It was a two-person snowmobile meant to replace the sled dogs that wintertime hunters have relied on for centuries.

Snowmobiles covered in snow

Nowadays, snowmobiles are more of an extreme sport than an extreme need, as infrastructures are developing around the world. However, it is still a great invention that can save the lives of people living in remote snowy places. Now, tourists can enjoy the evolution of this creation and professional riders can compete to be the best snowmobilers in the world. Bombardier died at the age of 56, in February of 1964. He didn’t live to see the success and the progress that had been made on his prototypes, but thanks to him, a great sport and leisure were created.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR SNOWMOBILING IN ICELAND

Our team has years of experience in guiding and snowmobiling in this area. The goal here is to provide safe and entertaining tours, zooming on glaciers. Our staff will take good care of everyone while all you have to do is have fun.

Novices can relax, no previous experience is required to do this kind of tour, however, if you wish to drive the snowmobile you must have a valid driver’s license and be over 18 years old. Of course, everybody needs to be sober and totally responsible for their own actions. It is really important to follow the rules that are given before the departure. Most importantly, you must remember to keep to a single line behind the guide.

Guide helping for snowmobilers

The safety equipment is provided: overalls, gloves, helmets, and glasses. The overalls are usually polyester onesies and the gloves are highly recommended, even if someone has their own gloves. There is also the possibility of wearing overshoes for those who forgot their hiking boots.

Of course, each person has to dress according to the weather despite the overall. Dressing in layers is really important to keep warm. Visitors should absolutely bring warm clothing, good hiking shoes, some lunch and for sure, their camera. Naturally, pictures can only be taken when off the snowmobile.

Luckily, you don’t need to worry about your handles freezing. All the snowmobiles have a really practical system allowing them to heat the handles.

Vatnajökull Glacier

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe, covering eight per cent of the whole of Iceland’s landmass. It is the main landmark of the big Vatnajökull National Park, created in 2008. This national park is the biggest in Iceland and the second biggest in Europe, it is definitely a must-visit in South West Iceland. This place is really popular for outdoor activities such as glacier hiking, boat tours on the glacier lagoon, ice caving and, of course, snowmobiling.

The total surface area of Vatnajökull is 8,100 square km (3,127 square mi). Due to climate change, this number is constantly going down, even if its recession is not as advanced as other glaciers such as Langjökull. In some parts, the glacier is up to one km deep (over 3,000 ft). Still breaking the records, Vatnajökull is home to the tallest peak in Iceland beneath the ice. It is called Hvannadalshnjúkur and is 2,200 m tall (7,218 ft). The big glacier has over 30 smaller outlet glaciers.

Some of the most active volcanoes are also located in the National Park. For example, there are Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn, which both erupted during the last decade. Geologists believe that significant volcanic activity around Vatnajökull will occur over the next half-century.

Two couples snowmobiling on glacier

Langjökull Glacier

Langjökull, which literally means “The Long Glacier”, is Iceland’s second-largest glacier after the great Vatnajökull. It stretches over 953 square km (368 square mi) across the Highlands in West Iceland. Its ice sheet is really thick, measuring up to 500 m (1,640 ft) at certain points. Langjökull is the most popular location for snowmobiling tours.

Compared to Vatnajökull and other glaciers, Langjökull is relatively volcanically quiet, with only 32 eruptions within the last 10,000 years. The long glacier is, however, home to several ice-filled volcanic craters. Snowmobilers on Langjökull will feel really small with its huge fields of snow and the impressive ice valleys. Eiríksjökull, the largest table mountain in Iceland, is located in Langjökull.

Ice Caves

Woman in snowmobile costume inside an ice cave

Just before every winter, our brave glacier guides begin their adventurous expeditions to look for new natural ice caves. Thanks to them, visitors from all over the world can explore new caves all year long. All ice caves are different from each other, and some of them are truly outstanding.

This year, we found the best ice cave we ever discovered at Langjökull! On this white glacier, we found a stunning bright jewel blue ice cave. There is a brilliant blue river just on top of the ice ceiling. This magnificent crystal cave with translucent ice will make anyone feel like they are inside a blue diamond. The ice around the blue river is white with gray zebra-like stripes, which makes this place even more magical. This particular pattern is the result of various volcanic eruptions through those ash layers.

FAQ

About Snowmobiling Tours

There is no better season to go snowmobiling in Iceland. During summer, the temperatures are nicer and the days are longer. Around June, tourists can enjoy the midnight sun, which gives them more time to explore. However, during the wintertime, a snowmobiling tour can be combined with Northern Lights. This is a really strong point about the cold season, check out our winter tours.

There is no specific weight restriction in place, however, participants need to be able to fit in our winter overalls. The largest size we have is 5XL. In terms of physical condition, snowmobiling is listed as moderate and anyone in average physical condition should be able to complete the tour.

Previous snowmobile driving experience is not required for these tours. Your guide will provide easy-to-follow operating instructions.

However, you do need a valid driving license if you intend to drive. If there are two of you, only one of you needs to bring a driving license but if you both bring one, each of you can take a turn at driving.

Yes, you can. The plus side to being a cold country is that our glaciers are here all year around and we can go snowmobiling in every season.

No, a full driver's license is required to ride a snowmobile.

Yes, we have toilets at the base camps where the tour starts that you are more than welcome to use before and after. Unfortunately, there will be no opportunity to take a bathroom break during the snowmobiling experience.

All tour participants will be provided with an overall, balaclava, goggles, gloves, and a helmet. This equipment is all included in the price of the tour.

The most important thing to bring is warm clothing. This means multiple layers including a thermal shirt with a thick sweater or fleece and a pair of warm pants. You may also wish to wear thermal pants if you feel the cold easily.

It’s best to wear hiking boots on your feet as it’s pretty cold on the glacier and they can get wet.

NOTE: You will also need to bring lunch or some snacks. Lunch is not included in the tour.

Yes, if traveling solo you will need to purchase the single ride extra.

Yes, there is. Safety is always our number one priority and after looking closely into this the age limit was set to 8 years. All children must be accompanied by a guardian.

We do not recommend women who are pregnant to participate in our snowmobile tours. If you are traveling in a group, you are welcome to travel with them and stay at our base camp while the group goes on the snowmobile part of the tour.