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Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull: Our most recommended tours and activities

South Iceland: Vatnajökull Glacier Blue Ice Cave Tour

1. South Iceland: Vatnajökull Glacier Blue Ice Cave Tour

Meet at the Café by Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, about 40 minutes east of Skaftafell, for the start of a unique winter activity and look at an extraordinary natural phenomenon. Go inside some of the ice caves that form after water runs beneath the Vatnajökull Glacier during the summer. Every fall, local guides hunt for new ice caves, as their location can change each year. The structure and condition can also vary from year to year, but rest assured your guide will decide which is the best cave to visit, depending on the safety and weather conditions. Drive for approximately 20 to 30 minutes to the ice cave chosen by your guide, and then walk for 5 to 15 minutes to the mouth of the cave. Upon arrival, enjoy between 1 and 1.5 hours to look inside at the miraculous blue ice of the cave, and take in the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

Skaftafell: Ice Cave Tour and Glacier Hike

2. Skaftafell: Ice Cave Tour and Glacier Hike

Explore breathtaking ice formations and glacier mills on this guided tour in Skaftafell. Marvel at a naturally-formed, blue ice cave and learn how glaciers are formed. A professional hiking guide will take you to the base of Falljökull, an outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull ice cap, and lead you up to the cave. On a clear day, be sure to look out for Hvannadalshnúkur in the distance.

Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking

3. Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking

Begin in Skaftafell before heading to the Falljökull glacier tongue. Gear up and get safety instructions from your skilled guide before setting foot on the ice. Start by hiking to the ice cave while soaking up the magnificent scenery and spend approximately 30 minutes exploring. Afterwards, hike back over the glacier through an adventurous landscape of rugged ice. Ice caves are only accessible during winter when the temperature drops well below zero –  the water from the rivers that run underneath the glacier freezes and leaves this phenomena to explore. Each year new caves are formed in different locations.

Skaftafell: Guided Glacier Hike Day Trip

4. Skaftafell: Guided Glacier Hike Day Trip

Enjoy a frozen adventure in the wilderness of Skaftafell and hike across a stunning outlet glacier of Vatnajökull in the company of an expert guide. Get a short safety briefing and collect all the necessary equipment at the meeting point. Then, marvel at the majesty of the landscape on the short hike to the ice cap. Put on your crampons for security out on the ice. See different formations, including deep crevasses and ice sculptures, and get panoramic views over Skaftafell National Park. Learn how glaciers are formed and hear how their future is under threat as a result of global warming. Get an introduction to more advanced stages of glacier hiking before heading back to the meeting point.

Skaftafell National Park: Glacier Hike

5. Skaftafell National Park: Glacier Hike

Discover what it feels like to walk on impacted ice on an amazing hike across the outlet glacier of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier. Get breathtaking views of the ice-covered peaks of Skaftafell National Park in the epic wilderness of Iceland. Meet your guide at the meeting point to pick up your crampons, ice axes, harnesses, and helmets. Then, drive by bus to the start of your hike and put on your crampons and steel frames tied to your hiking boots for the amazing adventure ahead. Spend around 60 to 90 minutes on the ice to see crevasses and deep cracks on the surface. Learn about the vertical shafts known as moulins, formed when melting water finds its way into the fissures and cracks. Look into small ice tunnels and capture the beautiful blue heart of the ice in the winter. Learn the history of the glacier from your English-speaking guide.

Skaftafell: Vatnajökull Glacier Explorer Tour

6. Skaftafell: Vatnajökull Glacier Explorer Tour

Take a walking tour of the Vatnajökull Glacier, the largest in Europe, with a certified guide. Head with your group to the ice fall on a scenic and exhilarating walk and enjoy artful ice sculptures formed by the frozen waters of Falljokul Glacier along the way. Follow your guide on a scenic walk, during which you can appreciate the dramatic landscape carved by the glacier. Once at the tongue of the glacier, put crampons on, undergo a safety briefing, and then make your way to the real adventure. Head up towards the incredible ice fall (from which Falljokull derives its name), where you will explore a dramatic terrain, full of frozen ice formations and ice sculptures. Get plenty of photo opportunities while witnessing the rugged and majestic ice fall. Learn how the glacier was formed and how it keeps changing its shape day after day from your guide.

Skaftafell: Extra-Small Group Glacier Hike

7. Skaftafell: Extra-Small Group Glacier Hike

Embark on a small-group tour of Vatnajökull glacier and benefit from an intimate experience with a maximum of 8 participants. After meeting your guide at the meeting point in Skaftatell Airport, get geared up and prepare for your 20-minute 4x4 drive to the base of the Falljökull outlet glacier. At the base, step onto the glacier and listen to a quick briefing on how to wear your ice crampons. Then, it's time to begin your glacier hike. Follow your experienced guide through stunning ice formations, moulins, crevasses, and crystal-clear blue pools. Spend up to 120 minutes exploring the unique landscape of the glacier. Witness breathtaking views, listen to interest local anecdotes, and have your photo taken against this stunning natural landscape before heading back to the 4x4. Get dropped off back at the meeting point at the end of your hike.

Vatnajökull Glacier Natural Ice Cave 2.5 to 3-Hour Tour

8. Vatnajökull Glacier Natural Ice Cave 2.5 to 3-Hour Tour

Make your own way to the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon to experience a natural ice cave from the luxury of a huge custom-made super jeep. Drive for approximately 30-40 minutes to the base of the glacier outlet at Breiðamerkurjökull, where the glacier retreats every year to make every season a unique experience. Pick-up all the necessary security gear to explore the cave in safety using helmets and crampons. Then, enter the cave with a guide who will explain the most important features of the extraordinary phenomenon.

Skaftafell: Blue Ice Experience with 2.5-Hour Glacier Walk

9. Skaftafell: Blue Ice Experience with 2.5-Hour Glacier Walk

You will meet your qualified glacier guide in Skaftafell National Park, where you will be outfitted with crampons and an ice ax. When everyone is ready, a short bus ride will take us to the foot of the glacier. During the tour, you will explore one of Vatnajökull National Park's many outlet glaciers, extending from the mighty Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. After a short lesson on how to use the crampons and ice ax, you will step onto the glacier and be transported to an icy, foreign planet. The unique landscape truly seems out of this world, with white, clear and deep blue ice, deep crevasses, ice ridges and stunning scenery as far as the eye can see. We will take our time and make sure there are plenty of photo opportunities while your guide explains the inner workings of these white giants. Glacier walks are one of the most popular outdoor activities in Iceland and this is where it all started. Operating since 1994, this easy and safe tour made the Icelandic glaciers accessible to everyone, and today, you can't really visit Iceland without going on a glacier walk.

Skaftafell: Extra Small Group Glacier Adventure

10. Skaftafell: Extra Small Group Glacier Adventure

Explore the glacier of Falljökull, an outlet from Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Travel with your guide through the beautiful surrounding area in a modified Land Rover Defender. Climb to the base of Falljökull outlet glacier. At the edge, your guide will show you how to put on the crampons and explain the safety guidelines of hiking on a glacier. After receiving these instructions, your glacier adventure truly begins. Travel safely through the beginning part of the glacier, and then towards the less explored part of the glacier. Discover stunning ice formations in the higher part of the glacier as you are guided through parts fitting both the conditions of the glacier and the group. Be prepared to be secured in a rope and take on some light climbing or rappelling where there are no fixed routes higher up on the glacier. As you reach the highest point that is safely accessible, take a short lunch break before starting the descend from the glacier. As you reach the edge of the glacier, you will jump back into the Land Rover and drive back to the Skaftafell Terminal Tour Center.

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What people are saying about Vatnajökull

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 678 reviews

I was a bit worried about how strenuous/dangerous it might be - but (at least when we went), it was about a mile to the cave and fairly flat. Very little of the route was on ice, and the crampons were light to wear and worked beautifully. The route itself was otherworldly. And even though there were several other groups there at the same time, the guides did a great job of spacing the groups a bit, and each group had the innermost chamber to itself for 5-10 minutes. Our guide also shared info about how the caves form, and even sang a song to show us the acoustics.

Buena experiencia. Requiere algo de forma física porque hay que subir (y bajar) un terreno “peligroso”, pero fui con mi madre (71) y dos niños (10 y 12) y lo hicieron sin problema

Really amazing experience. Be prepared for 30 mins drive, 30 mins hike and 30 mins in cave. great guide and driver. Crampons and helmet provided

A very nice experience, the tour guide was really nice and taught us a lot abut glaciers and ice land, I love how small the group is

Superb experience with a top guide who allowed us to learn a lot of things and to be able to realize our dream in complete safety.