Standing on a glacier

Iceland’s Main Glaciers

A Brief Summary of Iceland’s main Glaciers.

Iceland has multiple glaciers and some of them have become very famous. Glaciers have formed on our island over an extended period of time and are receding heavily.

 

Iceland got its name from all the ice in and around the country at the time of settlement. Some of the same ice caps still remain even today and in this article, we will be covering some of main Iceland’s glaciers.
We will start off with Langjokull Glacier since it’s our favorite one and our base of operations. With an area covering about 953 km² and a volume of ice of about 195 km³, it is Iceland’s 2nd largest glacier. The highest point of the ice cap is called Baldjokull, which is 1,450 m above sea level. Langjokull reaches a maximum ice thickness of about 580 m. Another reason we love this glacier so much is its proximity to Reykjavik. It only takes about 2 1/2 hours to reach our glacier hut on the east side, making it closer to the capital than any other glacier. To top it all off, it is only about 45 min. drive from Gullfoss Falls, one of the main attractions of the famous Golden Circle. Hence, it is an ideal add-on to Iceland’s most popular travel route. For more info, please see Meet us at Gullfoss and Snowmobile and Ice Cave Tour in Iceland.

Iceland's Glaciers

Our next glacier will be Vatnajokull Glacier. Covering about 8,100 km² and with a volume of about 3,000 km³, it is not only Iceland’s biggest glacier but the largest in Europe. Its thickest part is about 950 m and it has an average thickness of about 400 m. There are 30 outlet glaciers stretching from Vatnajokull and it is located on a very active volcanic area, namely Grimsvotn, Oræfajokull, and Bardarbunga Volcanoes (try these as tongue-twisters). In wintertime, snowmobile and modified super 4×4 tours are operated on the ice cap. It also contains Iceland’s most beautiful natural blue ice caves, such as the Crystal Ice Cave. Finally, the popular Jokulsarlon, a connected glacier lagoon, is located south of Vatnajokull with its magnificent floating icebergs. Several films and TV series have used Vatnajokull as a setting, for example; James Bond: A View to a Kill, Games of Thrones, and Amazing Race.

Our 3rd and coincidentally, 3rd largest glacier in Iceland is called Hofsjokull Glacier. Its ice cap covers around 925 km² and its highest peak is 1,765 m. It is located on a seemingly active central volcano, yet it is not known when it last erupted. There is regular seismic activity which indicates that the volcano might still be active. Hofsjokull is located between Langjokull and Vatnajokull, in the west of the Icelandic highlands. It has an attractive round shape which measures about 35-40 km in diameter. Its thickest point of ice is 750 m which is explained by its deep volcanic crater. It is possible to do snowmobiling there in the wintertime, though there are no scheduled daily departures.

Glacier sunset - Iceland's Glaciers

Our 4th and final glacier is Snæfellnesjokull Glacier. It might not be one of Iceland’s largest ice caps, but it is certainly one of the most impressive ones. The reason for this is the beautiful triangular shape of the mountain underneath, Mt. Snæfell, which resembles Japan’s famous Mt. Fuji (please Google for comparison). The glacier became iconic when Jules Verne used it as a highlight in his novel Voyage au Centre de la Terre or Journey to the Centre of the Earth. In the story, the party starts the journey by entering the ice cap’s crater but under Snæfellsjokull, lies an active stratovolcano. Its highest peak stands tall at 1,446 m. For the past years, the ice cap has been receding and there is a fear that in some years or decades, it may suffer the same fate as the ex-glacier OK, no longer holding the title “glacier.” Snowmobile tours are sometimes operated in the wintertime and so are scheduled hiking tours. Though the latter need to be organized as group tours with lifelines connecting hikers due to the danger of crevices. It is a great hike and well worth your time and money. Not to mention all the other great sites that the Snæfellsnes Peninsula has to offer; Arnarstapi, Hellnar, Lóndrangar, Vatnshellir Cave, Djúpalónssandur, Skarðvík White Beach, Well of the Irish, Mt. Kirkjufell (also featured in Games of Thrones), the Berserk Lava Field and Natural Heritage Site Gerduberg Basalt Columns. A highly recommended accommodation would be Hotel Budir, an old, rustic yet luxury countryside hotel.

So, that concludes our article on some of Iceland’s main glaciers. We sincerely hope you get a chance to visit some of them in the future and of course, we would be delighted to take you on a trip on Langjokull Glacier. Do not forget to add them to your bucket list on things to do when in Iceland. Good journey!

Tags: , ,

Other interesting things

Don’t Enjoy Rush Hour?

Mountaineers of Iceland operates the largest snowmobile fleet in the country. Generally, most clients join…

Read more
Snowmobiles in a row

Why Snowmobiling on a Glacier Should be on Your Bucket List

When travelers think of visiting Iceland, the main agenda on the top of their list…

Read more

Að nýta Ferðagjöf hjá Mountaineers

Allir einstaklingar 18 ára og eldri með lögheimili á Íslandi hafa fengið Ferðagjöf að andvirði…

Read more

Varnir gegn smitsjúkdómum.

Íslenska

Okkur hjá Mountaineers of Iceland er mjög hugað að öryggi og heilsu starfsmanna og viðskiptavina okkar.  Það er okkur mjög mikilvægt að halda öllu hreinu hjá okkur.  Í einu og öllu förum við eftir hreinlætisplani sem er í öryggisáætlun okkar og tilmælum Landlæknis er varðar hreinlæti.

Þar af leiðandi höfum við gripið til þessa ráðstafanna vegna Covid-19 og annarra sambærilegra smitsjúkdóma:

- Áður en sest er upp í faratæki okkar þurfa allir að sótthreinsa á sér hendurnar. Einnig áður en komið er í starfsstöðvar okkar við Langjökul til að klæða sig í viðeigandi fatnað.
- Viðskiptavinir fá allir hrein buff (höfuðklúta) til þess að fyrirbyggja snertingu við hjálma.
- Við reynum eftir bestu getu að tryggja að það sé 2 metrar á milli viðskiptavina. Við biðjum einnig viðskiptavini okkar að virða 2 metra regluna.

Allir snertifletir eru þrifnir nokkrum sinnum á dag og einnig eru gallarnir og hjálmarnir spreyjaðir með hreinsiefni eftir notkun með efni sem heitir Virkon. Það er sótthreinsandi efni og drepur alla sýkla sem það kemst í snertingu við. Buffin og hanskarnir eru svo þrifin í lok dag og einungis notuð einu sinni á dag til að koma í veg fyrir smit.

Gestir/viðskiptavinir mega ekki koma í skála hjá okkur né skipulagðar ferðir ef þeir eru í sóttkví eða heimkomusmitgát. Eru í einangrun (einnig meðan beðið er niðurstöðu sýnatöku). Hafa verið í einangrun vegna COVID-19 smits og ekki eru liðnir 14 dagar frá útskrift. Eru með einkenni (Kvef, hósta, hita, höfuðverk, beinverki þreytu, kviðverki, niðurgang o.fl)

Enska

We at Mountaineers of Iceland are very concerned about the safety and health of our employees and our customers. It is very important for us to keep everything clean. All in all, we follow a hygiene plan that is in our safety plan and the recommendation of the Medical Director of Health regarding hygiene.
As a result, we have taken these measures for Covid-19 and other comparable infectious diseases:

- Before settling into our vehicles, everyone needs to disinfect their hands. Also before coming to our local offices at Langjökull to dress in appropriate clothing.
- Customers are all given a clean buff (headscarf) to prevent helmet contact.
- We try our best to ensure that it is 2 meters between customers. We also ask our clients to respect the 2-meter rule.

All contact surfaces are cleaned several times a day and also the overalls and helmets are sprayed with detergent after use with a substance called Virkon. It is an antiseptic and kills any germs it comes into contact with. The scarves and gloves are then cleaned at the end of the day and used only once a day to prevent infection.

Visitors are not allowed in our mountain huts or on our organized tours if they are in quarantine or taking special precautions after border screening. Are in isolation (also while waiting for results). Have undergone quarantine for COVID-19 with less than 14 days from discharge. Have flue like symptoms (colds, cough, fever, head ace, bone ace, fatigue, abdominal pain, diarrhea etc).