Glacier Hike departing from Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. Bestseller tour!
For those looking for a quick but stunning adventure, this popular trip is a great eco-adventure full of variety and interest. Our famous buses leave from Skaftafell national park several times a day for the scenic 15-minute drive to Virkisjökull glacier. On our way, we will see impressive mountains that line the southern edge of the Vatnajökull glacier.
Approx. 3 hours
Meet on location
- Tour highlights
- Glacier hike
- Virkisjökull glacier
- Vatnajökull glacier
- Guided Glacier Hike
- Certified Glacier Guide
- All specialised glacier gear
We will meet at Skaftafell booking Centre 15 minutes before tour start.
This is a fantastic introduction to the unique, fascinating world of ice, traversing the spectacular but easy tracks of the Virkisjökull glacier. We start with an introduction and you will get your gear before we head out for a short walk along the glacier valley. Your guide will explain the unique features of the retreating paths of Falljökull and Virkisjökull glaciers and their surroundings.
As we arrive at the edge of the Virkisjökull glacier we will strap on crampons and make our way up the icy but easily accessible slopes. On the way, we will witness incredible ice formations and crevasses, learning about how they are formed and how the glacier continuously reshapes itself. We will approach the awe-inspiring ice fall, seeing up close how the ancient ice stoically falls hundreds of meters off the mountain top below as it flows in slow motion towards the ocean, a journey it will never complete as global warming continues to fuel its melting and slow retreat.
Remember to bring: Warm outdoor clothing, waterproof jacket & pants, headwear, and gloves. Good hiking shoes are recommended.
What if I don’t own all of these clothing necessaries?
Don’t worry, you can always rent sturdy hiking shoes, waterproof jacket, and pants in the booking process. We do not rent gear from location.
Departure from our Skaftafell booking center (gray house with the turf roof). Skaftafell is located 327km (203 miles) from Reykjavík. The nearest towns to Skaftafell are Kirkjubæjarklaustur, 69km to the west and Höfn, 130km to the east.
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 and also the duration on the ice.
The Glacier Explorer (5.5 hours) trip spends approximately 3 hours on the ice, exploring the magnificent ice-fall on Falljokull as it descends from the Öræfajökull caldera. This tour has a ratio of 12:1 clients per guide.
The Glacier Wonders (3.5 hours) trip explores the lower section of the Falljokull glacier. You will spend approximately 1 hour on the ice, giving you a fantastic but brief encounter to the highlights of the Falljokull glacier and crevassed area.This tour has a ratio of 12:1 clients per guide.
The Glacier Xtreme (7 hours) is the ice climbing tour that operates from May – September only. This tour takes place in the same area as the Glacier Explorer tour – the upper area of the Falljokull glacier. On average the group will climb 2-4 climbs depending on the ability of the groups.
All trips start with 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 and crevasses area. The 5.5-hour and 7-hours tour walkers explore the glacier more thoroughly and experience majestic pinnacles and deep crevasses. On all trips you can sometimes come across spectacular ice caves but due to the nature of glaciers, this is not always the case.
The 5.5-hour walk and 7-hour tour require 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.
Iceland is known for 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 to dress in layers. Dress is 3 or 4 upper layers such as a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleece or heavy wool garment, topped off with a waterproof wind-breaker. 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 reflection 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 or some extra clothing.
You can bring you 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 each trip glacier tour we offer.
All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Arctic Adventures does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions. Participants have to sign a waiver before undertaking all trips stating that they realize that all outdoor activities carry an inherent risk.