Iceland is internationally famous as a natural wonderland. The landscapes one sees in Iceland are otherworldly and an experience no visitor ever forgets. Iceland is a country that almost every visitor ranks very highly – it is a land of volcanoes, dramatic coastlines, and impressive glaciers. One of the fun activities to do is to take a glacier tour of the famous Vatnajökull glacier.
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see glaciers – and a myriad of other landscapes found nowhere else. Iceland is also the only country where visitors can actually explore the inside of a volcano – Thrihnukagigur (spelled “Þríhnúkagígur” in Icelandic).
Vatnajökull Glacier – The Largest Glacier In Iceland
The Vatnajökull glacier is massive and covers around 8% of the country. It is the second-largest glacier in Europe (there’s a larger one on the European side of Russia) and the most voluminous ice cap in Iceland. Because of its massive size, it is visited with countless self-drive tours, guided packages, and more.
- Size: 7,900 km2 or 3,127 square miles
Parts of the Vatnajökull glacier can be explored by anyone renting a car. It is also the central feature of the Vatnajökull National Park. One of the popular activities is to go on a boat tour in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon – their visitors can see ice caving.
- Ice Caving: November to March
There are several volcanoes under the ice cap and these are some of the most active volcanoes in the country. Eruptions from these blanketed volcanoes have led to large pockets of water beneath the ice. They can burst and cause a glacial lake outburst flood.
- Notable Volcanoes Beneath: Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull, and Bárðarbunga
Vatnajökull has around 30 outlet glaciers flowing from it. The mighty glacier is actually shrinking rapidly due to climate change.
Easy Crystal Ice Cave Adventure
There are multiple jeep tours to the Vatnajökull glacier. Crystal Blue Ice Cave Adventure offers an easy adventurous, and off-the-beaten-path trip that families can enjoy. Their tours depart from Glacier Lagon every day at 9.30 am and 2.00 pm.
The Crystal Ice Cave tours include a ride in a super jeep, a tour to Iceland’s largest glacier, and tours inside the glacier.
- Ride: In Their Special Super Jeeps
They provide guests with the right equipment and guide them into the magical blue world hidden from view. Their guides are professional and experienced and not the ice caves inside out.
- Total Duration: 2.5-3.5 Hours
- Time In The Cave: Approx. 1 Hour Actually Exploring The Caves
- Season: October to April
- Pick up Info: Glacier Lagoon – Jökulsárlón
- Departure Times: 9.30 am and 2.00
- Minimum Age: 8 Years
This tour is ideal for anyone with some moderate physical abilities, including couples, groups, families, and solo travelers.
Remember, these tours are in the dark and cold Icelandic winters, so be sure to be wearing warm clothing (waterproof is recommended, and jeans are discouraged).
Moderate-Difficult Blue Ice Cave Tours
If one would like to see and experience more of the glacier and the ice caves, then one can take it up a notch. The Blue Ice Cave Adventure offered by Glacier Adventure explores the amazing Blue Ice Tunnel of the Vatnajökull glacier. There, visitors can walk and admire its colors and points of interest on the glacier.
This tour is recommended for those who are in good shape. Visitors should be able to stay outside and walk for around 4-5 hours. This tour takes place in pure Icelandic winter weather – so be prepared for it to be cold. The total time (including in the jeep) is between 5-6 hours.
- Suitable: For Anyone In Moderate Physical Shape
- Departure Times: 9.00 am, and 9.30 am
- Meeting Point: Glacier Adventure at Hali
- Difficulty: Medium-Hard
- Duration: 5-6 Hours
This is a very exciting tour where hikers go on the glacier, into the ice tunnels, and visit the Blue Ice Cave. The ice tunnels and moulins are difficult to access, and so to help with that, the tour is limited to just eight people and the minimum age limit is 16 years old.
Guests are provided with specialized fixed rope equipment and crampons.
In addition to their Blue Ice Cave tour, Glacier Adventure also offers their easier Crystal Ice Cave tour.