Large white glacier with blue sky

How To Pick The Best Iceland Glacier Tour 2020

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Iceland is famous for its breath-taking landscapes, fascinating light shows and awesome wildlife. An Iceland glacier tour is the perfect way to explore the country’s spectacular icy phenomenons. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose the best tour for you.

Whether you want a short glacier hiking trip, or a multi-day private glacier tour, there’s something for you. Take the time to read about each glacier and the tours you can take in the area, then pick your favourite. All the hard work has been done for you – it’s now down to you to book and enjoy your Iceland glacier tour!

Bright sun in top left corner shining on glacier in foreground

Taking an Iceland glacier tour should be on everyone’s bucket list!

What Is A Glacier?

A glacier is essentially just a huge block of ice! They form over many years because the snow becomes compact and changes into glacial ice. They move extremely slowly across the land and cut through rock and soil. You can even visit the ice caves that the glaciers create over the year!

However, in the warmer months they do start to melt which causes the caves to disappear, glacial lagoons to fill up and the landscapes reveal their new look.

Unfortunately, global warming has significantly sped up the melting process of glaciers across the world. That means that many of the incredible ice formations you see today may not be around in the near future. If you really want to experience an Iceland glacier tour, now is the time to do it!

Types Of Iceland Glacier Tour

An Iceland glacier tour will take you to the best glaciers in the country and let you explore them with varying degrees of independence. I have separated my recommended tours into different sections and outlined why you should pick that particular type! Some tours do interlink, but take a look at each section to get a feel for the types of experience you can have in Iceland.

There are plenty of different options for glacier hikes, but I’ve highlighted the very best ones below. Here are the different types of tour that you can expect:

Iceland Glacier Hiking

Multi-Day Glacier Tours

Full Day Glacier Tours

Glacier Adventure Tours

Private Glacier Tours


Iceland Glacier Tours for Hiking

The most popular Iceland glacier tours involve at least a little hiking on the ice. They can last anything from around 3 hours to over 6 hours of walking and climbing.

Depending on the type of hike and the glacier you’re at, you will be using specialist equipment like crampons and harnesses. However, you can easily find easier hikes where you just have to make sure that you bring proper walking shoes.

Book an Iceland glacier hike if:

  • You are able to walk/climb all day
  • You’re looking for an active holiday
  • You don’t want to spend too much time on one activity

Sólheimajökull Glacier Guided Hike

This tour will take you hiking across the ice, exploring ice cave tunnels and the beautiful glacier lagoon along the way. It’s a family friendly tour which means it’s a fairly easy glacier walk. You’ll need to wear safety equipment but that’s all provided for you and included in the price.

Your certified glacier guide will also share a lot of local knowledge with you, and will help you to use the provided equipment. Don’t worry if you have never used an ice axe before – you’ll be in safe hands! It’s a 40 minute hike to the outlet glacier of Myrdalsjokull where you’ll spend around an hour discovering the different parts of the ice and how it all formed so many years ago.

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 8+
  • Best For: Groups with children or people who need an easy walk

Click here for more information and prices of this tour

Low camera angle looking up at a person through an ice cave into the sun on an Iceland glacier tour

you’ll only get to see a view like this in the winter here!


Skaftafell Ice Climb and Glacier Hike

How many people can say they’ve climbed a glacier?! After a short journey to one of Vatnajökull’s outlet glaciers, you’ll be taught the basics of ice climbing by your certified guide. Then you will begin to scale the walls of the glacier. There’s also a lot of information to learn about the local area and the history behind the ice! The views at the top are definitely worth the hard work.

  • Tour Duration: 4 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 12+
  • Best For: Adventurers!

Check availability and prices of this Iceland glacier tour

Person climbing up a glacier with ice axes

What an incredible way to see a glacier!


Vatnajokull Glacier: Ice Caving & Glacier Hiking Tour

Ice caves are an awesome natural phenomenon and you can explore inside one underneath Europe’s largest glacier. You can then hike back over the top and be treated to some incredible wintry scenery. This Vatnajokull tour is not to be missed! You’ll actually explore a natural glacier tongue – Falljökull – first.You’ll slowly hike into the glacier via this entrance and then make your way back over the top of Vatnajokull. These ice caves are only accessible in the winter so make sure you plan accordingly.

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes (but bring your own hiking boots or you can rent them from the company)
  • Age Suitable For: 10+
  • Best For: Those who want to experience something different

Click here for details about this tour

Dark cave with blue ice opening out into air

Imagine walking through this beauty!

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Multi-Day Tours For An Iceland Glacier Hike

You can choose a short, 2-day tour or if you’d rather your whole trip be organised by a company, then a 7-day tour would be perfect. They obviously include more than just a glacier tour but it’s a great way of fitting lots in. You also have the added bonus of your accommodation being taken care of!

If you prefer to book your own rooms, there is also the option of booking multiple full day tours as a whole package. You’ll be dropped off at your hotel each day and then picked up again in the morning and taken off to explore.

Book a multi-day tour if:

  • You have plenty of time to spend in Iceland
  • You’d rather not plan your own activities at all
  • You don’t want to spend every night in the same accommodation

South Coast Tour With Glacier Hike & Boat Tour

This tour crams a lot in a short space of time so be prepared to keep moving! You’ll explore secret waterfalls, hike a glacier and enjoy a magical glacier boat tour in one of the prettiest glacial lagoons!

Your accommodation is sorted and there are plenty of other stops along the way to add to your Iceland adventure. You will have the chance to see a the small but famous town of Vík, as well as the incredible Black Sand Beach of Reynisfjara. A few scenes from Game of Thrones was filmed here!

  • Tour Duration: 2 days
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those who want a mix of activities in their itinerary planned

Click here to book your space now!

Rock formations out to see at the most popular iceland beach

Visit the mysterious Reynisfjara Beach and marvel at its beauty!


Guided Ring Road Tour: Explore The Circle Of Iceland

For 7 whole days you can tour Iceland with a local guide and discover plenty of hidden gems that you probably wouldn’t ever find on your own! You’l be picked up from your Reykjavik accommodation, and you’ll be dropped back there when the tour is finished. Explore the Golden Circle, hike a glacier and chase waterfalls!

You’ll also be treated to an epic whale watching tour, and taken to some truly special parts of Iceland that not many tourists visit. Throw in a couple of museums, a few gorgeous beaches and a dip in a natural lagoon and you’ll be begging not to leave!

  • Tour Duration: 7 days
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those with a lot of time in Iceland and are interested in wildlife

Check availability for this tour here

Whale tail going down into the sea

You can even get the chance to spot some whales in Iceland!

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Full Day Iceland Glacier Tours

A full day tour can last up to 11 hours (if not more) so be prepared to be busy! You will be able to see a lot of Iceland’s best attractions in one day if you pick the right tour. This option is great if you want to explore a lot but you don’t want to rent a car in Iceland. Full day tours will stop off at multiple locations so that you get to tick lots off your bucket list!

Book a full day Iceland glacier tour if:

  • You want to see and do lots of things in one day
  • You haven’t got your own transport
  • You’ve planned exactly what Iceland attractions you want to see

Reykjavik Golden Circle & Langjokull Glacier On A Jeep

The Golden Circle is the most popular tour route in Iceland. Stop at Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are slowly pulling apart! Watch powerful geysers erupt in Haukadalur, a geothermal area.

Visit the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall! From there, your certified glacier guide will then take you off road in your jeep to Longjokull glacier (the second largest ice cap in the country!). Taking an Iceland 4×4 tour is a must-do activity here!

  • Tour Duration: 8 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Safety Gear Included: N/A
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: People who want an easy and simple tour with no strenuous physical activity

Click here for more details and prices of this tour

4X4 parked on empty ice

Drives for days!


Langjokull Glacier Ice Cave Tour

Be impressed by standing on top of the second largest glacier in Iceland. Be wowed when your 8WD jeep takes you down inside of the blue ice! Being able to see what lies underneath Langjokull is a relatively new activity, so you will be one of very few to experience it.

Once you’re out of the ice, visit the beautiful Hraunfossar waterfall which stretches to almost a kilometre!

  • Tour Duration: 11 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: N/A
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those who have already (or plan to) hiked a glacier and want see a glacier from a different perspective

Click here to find out more about this Iceland glacier tour

1km wide waterfalls with blue sky and clouds and rocks in the foreground

these wateffalls are almost 1km wide!

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Glacier Adventure Tours

I recommend that you book at least one adventure tour in Iceland – you won’t regret it! There are some seriously cool adventure activities to do – from an ice climbing tour to snowmobiling along a glacier!

Even if you’re a bit of a scaredy cat then I still think you should try out one of the less daring activities. I was excited but really nervous about the snowmobiling but I LOVED it!

The guides are super helpful, and in this case I could be a passenger and still enjoy the ride. Definitely look at reviews to judge how adrenaline-based a tour is and see if you could imagine yourself enjoying it! You might just surprise yourself.

Book an adventure Iceland glacier tour if:

  • You’re an adrenaline junkie!
  • You want to push yourself
  • You want to experience something more unique

Small Group Golden Circle & Iceland Glacier Snowmobile Tour

You’ll be picked up from your city hotel and taken to explore the famous Golden Circle. This includes Thingvellir National Park, the geyser geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall.

Then the adventure begins! Once you have driven to Langjokull glacier, you’ll jump on a snowmobile and whizz off across the ice! If you have a driving licence, you have the opportunity to drive the vehicle, which is an incredible experience.

However, if you’re a little more nervous about speeding along a slippery glacier, then you can also stick to being passenger!

  • Tour Duration: 10 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those wanting to experience both the popular tour route and something unique

Click here to book your space on this tour now

Person on a blue snowmobile on the snow with their arms up in the air

Taking a snowmobile tour in Iceland is such an awesome adventure!


Small Group Skalafellsjokull Glacier Super Jeep Tour

This tour promises to give you some of the best views of Iceland’s fascinating glaciers. You’ll avoid the touristy crowds and there are plenty of photo opportunities up here. The super jeep ride will take you to see Skalafellsjokull, the natural ice valley Kalfafellsdalur, Brokartindur, Vatnajokull and þvertarindsegg.

What is also great about this tour is that there are five different departure times so you can choose what kind of views you will see. Don’t forget that the views will also vary depending on the time of year!

  • Tour Duration: 4 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: N/A
  • Age Suitable For: 5+
  • Best For: Those who would prefer to sightsee rather than hike or climb (however this isn’t suitable for pregnant women)

Click here to secure your spot now

Point of view looking over an ice valley

the views of the ice valley are amazing


Glacier Snowcat Ride and Ice Caving

This Iceland glacier tour is a great way of seeing the natural icy formations at Langjokull. Your crazy vehicle will take you across the ice – how many people can say they’ve travelled this way?

Then, you’ll be driven down into the ice to take in the unbelievable sights underneath the glacier.

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: N/A
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those who want to try something new and also see some incredible scenery!

Click here for more information and prices about this tour

Red snowcat machine on snow

take a ride on this beast on top of a glacier!


Solheimajokull: Kayaking By the Glacier

Most people would prefer to stay out of the water in Iceland because … well, it’s bloody freezing! However, seeing as kayaking right next to a glacier is an option, I’d recommend that you slap on your dry suit and float right in!

Paddle around the Solheimajokull glacier lagoon and take in the amazing views of the ice from the unique perspective of the water.

  • Tour Duration: 1 hour
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: Those who want to enjoy a peaceful yet awe-inspiring tour

Click here to book a space on this tour

Yellow kayak siting on water in front of glacier

this is such a cool way to explore Iceland’s glaciers

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Private Glacier Tours

If you would prefer to explore a glacier on your own, you can book a private tour with a guide who will look after you. These types of tours are often at least 5 hours long (with some being multi-day).

You may have the option of fully customising your tour, plus you won’t have to worry about waiting for other people!

Book a private tour if:

  • You want a personalised trip
  • Money is no object
  • You have a large group of people you’re travelling with

Ice Climbing at Solheimajokull

Fancy your hand at climbing a glacier!? Your private guide will teach you the basics of ice climbing and also different techniques which will eventually take you high enough to see some spectacular views!

  • Tour Duration: 5 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 10+ (must have a EU shoe size of 36)
  • Best For: Those who want a little more guidance taking part in exciting activities

Click here to book before spaces run out

blue and white ice in a glacier

the blue and white ice is so gorgeous!


Glacier Hike on Solheimajokull

If you visit Iceland, you have to hike a glacier. Whether you hike weekly, or you have never walked for longer than a mile, you’ll be able to enjoy this experience.

Your guide will give you plenty of information and facts about the ice, and will show you all of the best parts!

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours
  • Pick Up Included: No
  • Safety Gear Included: Yes
  • Age Suitable For: 10+ (must have a EU shoe size of 36)
  • Best For: Those who want to be able to independently explore with the safety net of a guide

Click here for prices and more details on this tour

Solitary person walking along an empty glacier

a private glacier hike is such an experience


Golden Circle and Langjokull Glacier Tour

The Golden Circle is a must-do attraction when visiting Iceland. This tour includes a trip to Thingvellir National Park, the geyser geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall.

Not only that, but then you’ll be whisked away to take in Langjokull glacier’s natural beauty. You also have the option of adding in a snowmobile tour here (not included).

  • Tour Duration: 9 hours
  • Pick Up Included: Yes
  • Safety Gear Included: N/A
  • Age Suitable For: Contact the company directly for information on age limits
  • Best For: People who want a personalised trip of the most popular tourist attractions

Click here to book your Iceland glacier tour now

Huge waterfall gushing down into the cavern surrounded by green mountains

You can’t miss Gullfoss on your Iceland holiday

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What Are Iceland’s Most Popular Glaciers?

Iceland is famous for its glaciers, but there are a few that particularly stand out for many reasons. You can take an Iceland glacier tour on any of the below glaciers, and they’re all beautiful in their own ways. Read up on the different glaciers and then you can make a decision about the type of tour you want to take.

Vatnajökull

This is the largest glacier in Europe! It’s pretty spectacular, spanning around 8100 sq. km (although it is sadly shrinking due to climate change!). Two of the most famous parts on the National Park in which Vatnajökull sits are the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach. The two attractions are opposite each other so you can see visit both on the same trip.

Langjökull

Langjökull is the most popular glacier in Iceland for snowmobiling and jeep tours. You can also actually explore inside of the ice, which is an incredible experience! The ice cave tours give a completely unique view of the glacier.

There aren’t many glaciers in Iceland near Reykjavik, but if you’re staying near the capital, Langjökull is the closest glacier for you to explore. You can combine a Langjökull tour with your visit to the Golden Circle attractions.

Sólheimajökull

Sólheimajökull is actually part of Iceland’s fourth largest glacier, Mýrdalsjökull, which lies above a huge volcano. It’s around 165km away from Reykjavík towards the southeast, so it will take around 2 hours to reach it.

It’s a popular place to visit as nearby is the charming town of Vík, as well as the insane Skógafoss waterfall. There’s a campsite nearby and the glacier is super easy to access from Route 1.

Eyjafjallajökull

You may recognise the name of this cheeky glacier, as it’s the one that caused all of the flight disruption back in 2010 across Europe! Eyjafjallajökull is actually the ice cap on top of the volcano.

Eyjafjallajökull is located in the south of Iceland, making it relatively easy to access even if you take a self-drive tour. It takes around 2 hours to reach it from Reykjavík.

Snæfellsjökull

This glacier actually sits on the west side of the country, 3 hours north of Reykjavík. It lies in Snæfellsjökull National Park, which has a lot of interesting history and folklore. If you want to hike this area, it will take around 6 hours to reach the summit. Don’t book a tour here if you can’t be on move for that long!

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When Is The Best Time To Take An Iceland Glacier Tour?

Surprisingly, you can take an Iceland glacier tour at any time of year. Travelling to Iceland in summer won’t limit your options because the glaciers are still holding strong. If you visit in the winter, from November until March, the glaciers are still accessible so the tours go ahead.

A lot of Iceland summer tours can tend to focus more on the melting water at waterfalls, not the frozen glaciers so pick your tour carefully if you want a specifics!

If you’re visiting in winter,  you’ll also be treated to the best chances to see the Northern Lights at this time of year so that’s a bonus!

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Things To Remember About Iceland Glacier Tours

There are a couple of points to think about to book your Iceland glacier tour to make sure that you have the very best experience.

They vary in difficulty so keep your own physical fitness in mind. Most people should be able to access a typical tour but if you have any medical issues, make sure you get in touch with the company before you book. You wouldn’t want to get all the way there and then be denied access without a refund!

Some tours don’t allow children under a certain age (usually 8 – 10) to take part. If you’re visiting Iceland with kids, be aware that younger children might not be able to take part in some of the more physically demanding tours.

Outdoor tours are usually dependent on the weather. The companies and guides will of course try their best to make sure every tour goes ahead, but sometimes there might be slight changes in the schedule depending on the weather or time of year. If you book a tour with multiple activities, check that all of them will actually be carried out at the time you are visiting Iceland.

Pro Tip

If you are going on an Iceland glacier tour that requires you to drive (snowmobiling for example) don’t forget to bring your driving licence.

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What Is Usually Included On An Iceland Glacier Tour?

When you’re booking a tour, it is important to realise that some things will be included on your trip. However, some things that you expect to be included might not be, so make sure that you read the small print. You don’t want to be caught out having to pay extra for something that your Iceland budget doesn’t quite stretch to!

Check whether these things are included in your tour or not:

An English speaking guide

Unless you have specifically booked a non-English tour (which is rare in Iceland) then you will have an English speaking guide who will be able to communicate with you and answer any of your questions. You won’t have to worry about not speaking Icelandic on your tours here!

Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off

Some tours will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel, but others will give you a specified pick up point. This could be anything from a bus stop to a car park so check the address and see if you are actually able to get there easily before you book.

Food

It’s likely that food won’t be included in your tour. Bring snacks and pre-made lunches to keep you going throughout your tour because there definitely won’t be a McDonald’s nearby to grab a quick burger from (Iceland is actually one of the countries that has NO McDonalds anywhere!).

You might be able to stop at a gas station (depending on your tour) at times but don’t rely on that. You might also be given snacks along the way but if your tour is 12 hours long, you’ll want something a bit more substantial!

Drinking Water

Again, it’s important to bring your own water for your Iceland glacier tour. You might be offered a bottle throughout the day but it does depend on the tour company and how many other people are on the tour with you.

Pro Tip

Buy a good water bottle before you go to Iceland and when you leave your accommodation, fill it up straight from the tap. The water in Iceland is so pure and drinkable, it will probably be better than bottled water! Don’t waste your money on buying water when you can easily spend nothing.

Safety Equipment

Sometimes your equipment will be included, but make sure you check because this could add a lot to the price if it isn’t. Usually simple items like snowsuits and helmets will be available because the tour companies know that tourists aren’t going to bring their own!

However, depending on the activity, simple clothing items like waterproof  trousers and standard hiking boots won’t be given free of charge. On some tours, you might be able to rent them but be sure to check because you don’t want to be underprepared or underdressed!

Tips

Tipping in Iceland is not customary, so they won’t be included in any of your Iceland tours. You’re not expected to tip your guide/driver but unlike in some countries, the staff won’t be offended if you do!

I know that many Americans find it difficult not to tip because that is what they are used to back home, but a lot of Brits only tip if they have received EXCEPTIONAL service (we’re a grumpy bunch!). Tip in Iceland if you want, but don’t feel like you have to.

If you do want to leave a tip in a restaurant, round up the bill. If you want to leave your guide a tip, consider something around the 10% mark. It is uncommon to receive tips in Iceland though so don’t be offended if someone refuses it!

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Is The Best Time To Travel To Iceland?

Every season in Iceland is different, which means that your experience will vary depending on when you visit. If you are 100% committed to taking an Iceland glacier tour, then the best time to visit would be the winter. This is because although the glaciers are still there in the summer, you’ll find that there are limited tours. The glaciers melt and change a lot in the warmer months so the winter is your best bet. The ice caves have appeared again so depending on which tour you choose, you’ll have the chance to explore those too!

Is It Safe To Take An Iceland Glacier Tour?

Glaciers are safe to walk on and people have been doing so for many years. The guides who lead the tours we recommend are knowledgeable and trained, but of course there is a certain responsibility on you as well! Listen to the rules and if you any questions or concerns, let someone know!

What Shoes Should I Bring For An Iceland Glacier Tour?

You should always wear appropriate shoes for your tour and you’ll be made aware of what that is before you go. Usually, you’l be asked to wear hiking shoes – these don’t have to be professional but just sturdy walking shoes that have a decent grip! Don’t be that person sliding across the ice in your Converse! Sometimes, you will be able to rent hiking shoes from the tour company when you arrive, but find this out before you pack your bags!

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An Iceland glacier tour is a must-do activity when visiting this incredible country! Iceland is famous for its breath-taking landscapes, fascinating light shows and awesome wildlife. An Iceland glacier tour is the perfect way to explore the country’s spectacular icy phenomenons. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose the best tour for you. Iceland Glacier Tour | Iceland Travel | Europe | Winter Trips | Best Tours | Iceland Tours | Iceland Holidays | #iceland #icelandadventure

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