Blue Ice Experience in Skaftafell | Easy Difficulty
Reach new peaks with this highly popular Blue Ice Experience, hiking and climbing the beautiful Svínafellsjökull outlet glacier, situated within Skaftafell Nature Reserve, in southeast Iceland.
You will begin your adventure at the Sales Lodge, next to the National Park Visitor's Centre, fifteen minutes prior to the tour departure. It is highly advised that you bring with you: rain gear, hiking boots, warm clothing and a packed lunch! Both boots and rain gear can be rented on site, for a small fee.
At the beginning of your 2-hour tour, your experienced mountaineering guide will run through the basic principles of glacier hiking, ensuring your safety on the ice, and will teach you about the formation of Svínafellsjökull, as well as life in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve.
They will also instruct you as to how to properly use crampons and ice axes, two required pieces of kit for this tour. Whilst this instruction occurs, the mountain peaks and the glistening blue glacier stretch out in a fantastic vista around you. When you're all kitted up for the hike, your guide will start the hike!
Svínafellsjökull is an outlet glacier, originating from the giant Vatnajökull glacier, in Skaftafell Nature Reserve. Your guides will lead you through a natural Eden of periwinkle blue ice ridges, deep crevasses and intricately formed ice sculptures. Throughout your tour, the surrounding scenery of Vatnajökull National Park is destined to take your breath away.
This tour is classified as 'moderate' regarding the difficulty level of the hike. Don't be deterred, however, as the glacier hike is easily accessible to all those in good health, are generally fit and able to walk on all terrain. There is very little carrying of equipment at Svínafellsjökull.
Grab your jacket and hike your way to the top of the always incredible Svínafellsjökull glacier! Check the booking availability by choosing a date.
- Available: All year
- Duration: 2,5 hours
- Activities: Glacier Hiking
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 8 years old
- Languages: English
Vatnajökull is the largest ice cap in Iceland and the third largest glacier in Europe, covering 8% of the island's landmass. Vatnajökull Glacier can be found in the south west of Iceland and is a popular spot for glacier hiking and ice caving tours.
Facts about Vatnajökull
- Surface: 8,100 km2
- Average thickness: 400 - 600 m
- Maximum thickness: 1,000 m
- Height: 1,400 - 1,800 m
- Highest peak: 2,200 m (Hvannadalshnjúkur)
Information about Vatnajökull
Vatnajökull Glacier belongs to the greater Vatnajökull National Park, which encompasses the former national parks Skaftafell, in the southwest, and Jökulsárgljúfur, in the north. Vatnajökull's highest summit is Hvannadalshnjúkur which rests on top of a stratovolcano known as Öræfajökull.
Underneath the glacier rests some of the most active volcanoes in the country, the most notable being Grímsvötn, Öræfajökull and Bárðabunga. Volcanic activity in the region has occurred on and off throughout the centuries, and many geologists believe that such a period is overdue for immediate future. If their calculations are correct, it would mean significant volcanic activity for Vatnajökull over the scope of the next half century.
The glacier boasts of over 30 outlet glaciers, which are channels of ice that flow out of ice caps but remain constrained on the sides of the valley. The major outlet glaciers of Vatnajökull include Dyngjujökull in the north, Breiðamerkurjökull and Skeiðarárjökull to the south. To the west, one can find the outlet glaciers Síðujökull, Skaftárjökull and Tungnaárjökull.
Glaciers are in constant motion underneath their weight; as they form over the centuries, the accession of snow exceeds its melting, creating a constant "push" on the ice cap. Each year, due to the melting ice water, new ice caves form that disappear come spring.
- Click here for a selection of Ice Cave tours
Numerous rivers run out of Vatnajökull, making up some of the greatest glacial rivers in Iceland:
- Tungnaá (west)
- Köldukvísl (west)
- Þjórsá (west)
- Jökulsá á Fjöllum (north)
- Skjálfandafljót (north)
- Jökulsá á Brú (north east)
- Jökulsá í Fljótsdal (north east)
- Jökulsá í Lóni (south)
- Hornafjarðarfljót (south)
- Jökulsá á Breiðamerkursandi (south)
- Skeiðará (south)
- Núpsvötn (south)
- Hverfisfljót (south)
- Skaftá (south)
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park, in its current state, was established in June 2008. The park now covers an area of 14.141 km2, making it the second largest national park in Europe. Vatnajökull National Park has 14% coverage over the whole island of Iceland.
Rivers divide the highland plateau to the north of the park; an area that sees massive glacial flows in the summertime. The volcanic table mountain Herðubreið towers over this particular region, along with volcanoes Askja, Snæfell and Kverkfjöll.
The canyon Jökulsárgljúfur was carved out by glacial floods centuries ago. At the upper end of the canyon, you'll find Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Further north, the horseshoe-shaped canyon Ásbyrgi is believed to have formed when Óðinn's horse, Sleipnir, stepped his foot down from the heavens.
East around Snæfell, one can find wetlands and ranges, home to roaming herds of wild reindeer and abundant birdlife. Steep mountain ridges make up the south side of Vatnajökull, where outlet glaciers crawl in between the ridges onto the lowlands. The sandy plains of Skeiðarársandur also lie to the south as they reach out to sea. The glacial river Skeiðará runs through this vast desert.
One of Iceland's most visited landmarks is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, which sits at the head of outlet glacier Breiðamerkurjökull. There, large icebergs that have broken off the glacier gather to float in the lake before ending up in the Atlantic Ocean, or on the nearby Diamond Beach.
- Click here for a selection of Jökulsárlón tours
The Future of Vatnajökull
The volume of Vatnajökull reached its peak around 1930 but has since been in a steady process of decline. Because of rising levels of global temperature, approximately over the last 15 years, Vatnajökull has on average lost about a metre of its thickness annually.
If temperature levels continue to rise, the glacier could be all but gone nearing the end of the next century, leaving only small ice caps on top of the highest mountain summits.
Vatnajökull and Jökulsárlón in Popular Culture
- HBO's Game of Thrones (season 2, 2012)
- Batman Begins (2005)
- James Bond: Die Another Day (2002)
- James Bond: A View to a Kill (1985)
Departure time : 10:00 10:30, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00,
Icelandic Mountain Guides Sales Lodge (next to the National Park Visitor Center) 15 min. prior to departure
What to bring:
Good to know:
Available all year: Every day at 10:00, 10:30, 14:00 and 14:30. July 1st to August 31st: Every day at 10:00, 10:30 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 14:30 and 15:00
Very good guide , nice experience
easy level, but interesting
The blue Ice experience was amazing. Helgar or was it Helkar was our tour guide. She was informative and interesting. We really enjoyed the tour and it was suitable for most people and was graded as easy difficulty. Highly recommended. It was cool to walk the glacier where Interstellar was filmed, my son who is studying visual effects particularly enjoyed it!
Wei Lian Heng
Our guide Benjamin was knowledgeable about glaciers and it made the tour really interesting. Our group was also well taken care of and instructions were crystal clear. Highly recommended.
Tseng Yi Fang
The tour was wonderful. It gave us a good experience on the glacier. Our guide was knowledgeable, caring and funny. We did enjoy and highly recommend you to join this tour when you are in Iceland
The tour was an absolutely must do in iceland. Gives you a good experience on the glacier. Our guide (Mathew) was knowledgeable, caring and funny. Guided us through the tour introducing the geography of glacier, shared us funny facts and offered safe route to walk on and nice spots for taking photos.
This tour was an easy hike across the glaciers. Views were beautiful and out guide was very friendly and informative. Our tour took the full 3 hours and it was a beautiful day. Learned a lot about the glacier and the island as a whole, definitely worth the time and money
We brought our 16 year old and 8 year old on this tour, and it was absolutely perfect. Our guide (Pat) was funny, talkative, knowledgeable and made us feel like we were old friends visiting. Was a bit worried on how it would be for our younger kid, but Pat made sure to make him feel welcome and that we were able to see and do everything the normal trip would. So beautiful, if you are on the fence about this tour. DO IT, you won't regret it.
Iceland is a wonderful place and people from Iceland as well. Make this tour is a great experience, because you can go through nature and science and feeling completly safe. Our guide was very nice she took care all of us, she expleined everything about the formation of glacier. Don't miss this amazing experience
Don't miss this tour....just utterly amazing. My kids favourite tour!!
Very cool and unique experience - a must try! Pat was a fantastic guide, so try and get him if you can. He was helpful, safe, and relaxed. It wasn't a "canned" tour where you have one route in and one out. It was an exploration, with Pat checking the safest and most interesting routes and leading us accordingly. Bonuses include eating super old glacier ice and a glacier mud facial (if you so choose). Same glacier where Interstellar was filmed, so that's also a bonus if you're a film fan. We were originally going to cancel the tour, but I'm so glad we didn't! Definitely book this if you're coming to Iceland!
Keith Hoi Kit Chan
The service, the guide and also the scenery were awesome. We had 10 people together in one tour. The guide explained everything and the safety clearly. Lucky we had a very good weather and we enjoyed the whole tour very much!
Very nice guide and awesome excursion!
A see-through-glacier experience!!! Must do tour. It was one of the most amazing thing i've ever done. Our guide was so great, she gave us a great explaination about glacier and local area with some great allegory. It was heavy rain so from my shoes to my hair was soaked. It would be great if you can bring some rain gear but you can also rent some at the meeting point. An actuall time on ice is about 2 hours which is never short. Before I book this, I was wondering why there is no longer program. But I realised the reason as soon as I got the glacier. It was cold and hard enough to. Above all, it surely is must do tour. Thanks anlot to my guide(sorry i forgot your name, onlything i can remember is it sounds like Pretty). 강력히 추천합니다. 꼭 해보세요!
Awwww, the guide, the company, the tour itself were are FANTASTIC!!! We were late getting to the Glacier for the tour, and the Company were very kind and waited for us. We took the Glacier and blue ice walk and it was wonderful! The guide was full of local and historical knowledgeable... I would recommend this tour EVERY TIME!!!!
Iris was great! Glacier was so cool!!! Be careful walking inside the crevice though and on top... that snow may be deceiving. Great experience!
Our tour guide, Chris was very knowledgeable about glaciers and was able to explain everything well to the whole group using similes. (The group was collectively from 4 different countries too!) The tour was exactly what we expected from the discription - easy walking with an optional, short climb down into a crevice. I would recommend this tour to anyone. Chris also knew all about the filming for various films and shows that took place here! :D
My friend and I had such an amazing experience on the glacier walk. We were lucky enough to be in a small group of 4 that day, whereas the other companies looked to have about 15 per guide. Glad to have chosen this company! Our guide was very knowledgeable, informative, and entertaining. We spent almost 3 hours on the glacier walking to different points and discussing the changes over the past years due to global warming. This was honestly one of the highlights of our trip and we are so glad we decided to take this tour.
Being on top the glacier was great. I thought the tour would be more demanding but it was quite easy. I would loved a bit more challenge but the scenery was amazing and did not disappoint.
Awesome!The heavy rain made the glacier more pure and more blue.
What a fabulous glacier hike! I went with my boyfriend and his parents (who are pushing 70) and we chose this hike because it is suitable for all ages. It was just the right amount of activity for them, the views were fantastic, our guide (Tim) was knowledgeable, attentive and fun - reminding me of one of my best friends actually! My boyfriend's mum stumbled at one point and scratched her hands a little on the ice, but Tim was next to her in the blink of an eye, offering first aid and taking extra care of her for the rest of the trip. Gorgeous views, great guide and professional service! :)
Completing this hike was an amazing experience! Suitable for all ages and it wasn't overly strenuous. The guides were friendly, knowledgeable and chatty.
Incredible experience that should not missed while in Iceland. I wish I could upload my pictures here. The scenery on this glacier is incredible!
We had a great time! It was at a nice leisurely pace, allowing us to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. Our guide, having grown up in the area, was also also really knowledgeable.
This was a really wonderful tour. Our guide, Chris was super easy going and knowledgable. I am very happy that we booked this during our trip.
Really beautiful experience. Very nice guide. We definitely recommend the Glacier Hike. It was very easy and scenic.
It was an awesome tour of blue ice experience and this our best tour during this trip. If I back Iceland again, I will join the tour again, no doubt.
I was so excited for this tour before I came to Iceland, and I didn't disappointed by it. It was the my favorite tour during my trip in Iceland. The glaciers were so extremely beautiful, and the tour guide was so nice and funny. Overall, the hiking experience was amazing, very safe and easy, I wish that I could stay longer on the glaciers. If I go back to Iceland again, I would love to join that tour again!
I came with another friend, and we were so excited for this our entire time in Iceland. Thankfully, it exceeded our expectations. The glaciers were beautiful, our tour guide was funny and entertaining, as well as really knowledgeable about the glaciers and shared a lot of fun and interesting facts. The tour was pretty safe and easy for a novice hiker like me — definitely recommend for beginner hikers or those who have no experience.
We had a great time