Vatnajökull National Park
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Our most recommended Vatnajökull National Park Hiking

Skaftafell National Park: Glacier Hike

1. 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: Guided Glacier Hike Day Trip

2. 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: Extra-Small Group Glacier Hike

3. 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.

Skaftafell: Vatnajökull Glacier Explorer Tour

4. Skaftafell: Vatnajökull Glacier Explorer Tour

Take a tour with a certified guide of the Vatnajökull Glacier — the largest in Europe. Head with your group to the ice fall, a scenic and exhilarating walk that requires crampons and a safety briefing. Along the way enjoy artful ice sculptures formed by nature. Your certified guide will take you 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, have 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 soon be exploring a dramatic terrain, full of frozen ice formations and ice sculptures. Get plenty of photo opportunities while witnessing the rugged and majestic ice fall. Your guide will explain how the glacier was formed and how it keeps changing its shape day after day.

Skaftafell Ice Climb and Glacier Hike

5. Skaftafell Ice Climb and Glacier Hike

Experience what it feels like to walk on ice on a hike across the outlet glacier of Vatnajökull. Brave Europe's largest glacier to get breathtaking views of the Skaftafell area. Learn how to put on and walk in your crampons and learn the basic techniques of ice climbing. Meet your guide at the Skaftafell Terminal to collect all the necessary safety equipment. Gear up with your harness, crampons, ice axe, and helmet, then jump aboard the shuttle bus for the 10-minute ride to the glacier. Challenge gravity as you climb up walls of ice, and hike around the glacier. Learn how it was formed, and its fascinating history, including its recent use as a film location for movies such as Interstellar, Batman Begins, and the epic TV series Game of Thrones.

Skaftafell: 3.5-Hour Glacier Walk

6. Skaftafell: 3.5-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: Ice Cave Tour and Glacier Hike

7. 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.

2 Day South Coast Tour with Glacier Hike & Boat Tour

8. 2 Day South Coast Tour with Glacier Hike & Boat Tour

Begin by visiting the two great waterfalls of the south coast, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, as well as visiting the lesser known, more secret waterfalls of Glufrabui, Kvernufoss, and Irafoss. You will stop so that you can buy lunch. Drive under the great Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano and the Mýrdalsjökull glacier cap, where you will take a glacier hike for about 1.5 hours and have a closer look at the Solheimajokull glacier. A bit further is the great Reynisfjara beach, where the sea crashes upon black sands and hexagonal basalt columns and rock stacks tower over the surroundings. You will be staying overnight in a very cosy accommodation, close to the famous Seljalandsfoss. On the second day you will take a closer look at majestic glaciers and lagoons. After a stop in the lovely village of Vik, you drive to visit the waterfall Foss á Sidu and the National Park in Skaftafell, where you will stop to buy lunch. Then you head to the amazing Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon where you will have an amphibious boat tour, sailing on the lagoon. The lagoon is full of huge chunks of ice which crack off Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier and float slowly out to sea. Some icebergs wash onto the shore, lying on the vivid black sand like diamonds on satin. There is a good possibility of seeing seals swimming around the huge icebergs. After enjoying this wonderful experience, you will head back in the afternoon towards Reykjavik.

Vatnajökull: Short Glacier Encounter Walk

9. Vatnajökull: Short Glacier Encounter Walk

This glacier encounter tour is the perfect introduction to Icelandic glaciers, hiking on the picturesque Falljökull glacier, an outlet glacier of Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull. The meeting point is at Freysnes gas station in the South-East of Iceland. The tour begins with a transfer by a 4x4 SuperJeep through the glacier valley that gets you as close to the base of the glacier as possible, reducing the time spent on accessing the glacier and maximising the time exploring up on the ice. After a short walk to get to the ice, your guide will teach you how to put on your crampons and how to use your ice axe. After a short safety speech you are ready to go on the ice. The hike in total is around 1.5 km and you will spend around 1 hour on the ice. The total duration of the tour is 2.5 to 3 hours. Along the way, your guide will be pointing out some of the fascinating natural features of the ice, the crevasses, moulins and dirt cones, while also teaching you about some of the local geography and history of the area.

Skaftafell: Ice Cave Experience and Glacier Walking Tour

10. Skaftafell: Ice Cave Experience and Glacier Walking Tour

Explore one of the amazing, naturally formed ice caves on Falljökull glacier, which are only accessible in the winter time, when the meltwater from the dynamic outlet glacier freezes over and leaves behind giant ice tunnels. Begin the tour in Skaftafell, a nature reserve in Vatnajökull National Park. Meet your highly trained and certified glacier guide, who will provide the necessary glacier gear for this expedition — an ice axe, crampons, harness, and helmet. Step aboard the glacier bus, which will take you to the glacier terminal face. Listen to a safety briefing and learn how to use the necessary equipment. Follow the guide as you step onto the glacier and navigate through a labyrinth of deep crevasses, beautiful ice formations, and high ridges before you reach the highlight of the day, the deep blue ice cave. Take in the beauty of the cave and capture the memory as a perfect photograph. Listen to how and why these ice caves are formed. After exploring the cave, return to surface and head back over the glacier to the bus before returning to Skaftafell where your tour began.

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What people are saying about Vatnajökull National Park

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 222 reviews

A great tour and a great guide (Erik). As promised, we didn't stop every 5 meters in the valley to take supposedly great pictures. Erik promised us from the start to take us to the best views of and into the glacier. So we quickly passed all the other groups up into the exciting rugged area of the glacier and were able to see a lot there, explore the glacier and enjoy the time there while the other groups were still taking photos at the foot of the glacier. Put on waterproof pants, sturdy hiking shoes (ice spikes for the shoes were available on site), a light sweater and a water-repellent jacket. Also thin gloves. When climbing the glacier, you will quickly get super warm, which is why it is not advisable to wear too thick clothing.

The 5.5 hrs glacier hike at Vatnajokull was a great experience. Barbara (our guide) was great, always aware of everyone’s safety. She was very knowledgeable with everything about the glaciers.

Our guide could answer all our questions about glacier, was a nice moderate tour for everyone. We could see a lot and only had a short break, so great value for money!

An incredible experience with great guides and a great understanding of the nature of Iceland and the impact of climate change.

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and also friendly. We knew we were in great hands! The adventure was simply amazing.