Ice Caving & Snowmobile Tour from Reykjavik
Join this tour from Reykjavík to go snowmobiling on the Langjökull glacier and visit a natural ice cave hidden below the ice cap. This is the only natural ice cave day tour departing from Reykjavík, so don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to explore the shimmering ice cave of Langjökull.
You will be picked up from Reykjavík and driven to the base camp of Langjökull glacier. After gearing up, you will hop on your snowmobile and ride across the ice plains, taking in the breathtaking views and crisp air for about half an hour, culminating with a journey into the ice cave. Below the ice ceiling, you will have plenty of time to study the unique natural phenomenon and snap some pictures to send your friends melting with envy.
Langjökull (“The Long Glacier“) is located in the midwest highlands and is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, its wild beauty framed by snowy valleys and gnarled pillars of volcanic rock. The glacier feeds the river Hvítá (‘White River’), which is home to Iceland‘s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss, and is one of Iceland‘s most popular rafting destinations.
Natural ice caves are sculpted by melting glacial water or geothermal heat and are an impermanent phenomenon, flexing with the glacial crawl and undergoing regular seasonal shifts. One must take care to consult local experts before exploring natural caves, but glacial guides have located the most enticing caves and established their accessibility to ensure you can enjoy their majestic, fleeting beauty safely.
Cross “snowmobile” and “ice cave” off your Iceland bucket list. Book this tour today to join an exciting snowmobile adventure and explore the wild serenity of an Icelandic ice cave from Reykjavík. Check availability now by choosing a date.
- Available: Nov. - Apr.
- Duration: 7,5 hours
- Activities: Snowmobile, Ice Caving
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 8 years old
- Languages: English
The mighty Langjokull (“The Long Glacier“), in the midwest highlands is the second-largest glacier in Iceland, at 935 km2. For jeep and snowmobile trips, Langjokull is the most popular glacier in Iceland and skiing and hiking is possible as well. We stress that under no circumstances should one travel alone on Langjokull, as there are many cracks in the glacier. Experience of the area, whether that of yourself or of those traveling with you is all important.
Two main highland tracks, connecting the north and the south, lie alongside the glacier, Kaldidalur road and Kjalvegur (a.k.a. Kjolur road). The Kaldidalur road stretches from Thingvellir northwards to Husafell (in Borgarfjordur district), between Langjokull and Ok shield volcano. Kjalvegur lies east of Langjokull and west of Hofsjokull glacier, starting near the famous Gullfoss waterfall to the south and the Svartakvisl stream by the Hveravellir geothermal area to the north.
The landscape of Langjokull
Langjokull is about 50 km long and 15-20 km wide. The volume of the glacier is 195 km3 and the ice is around 580 m thick. The glacier reaches its highest point at the northernmost part of the glacier, which is called Baldjokull, rising around 1450 m above sea level.
Counting west and southwards from there, outlets extending from the main glacier are Thristapajokull, Flosajokull, Geitalandsjokull, Flosajokull, Geitlandsjokull and West- and East Hagafellsjokull furthest south, separated by Mt. Hagafell. On the eastside from north to south are Leidarjokull, Kirkjujokull, Nordurjokull, and Sudurjokull.
The glacier lies over a massif of hyaloclastite mountains that rise highest in the south and the east. The tops of these mountains can be seen in certain places on the glaciers. To the northeast are Hyrningur (1320 m), Peturshorn (1358) m), Fjallkirkja (1248 m) and Thursaborg (1315 m), a mighty series of immense rock pillars rising high to the sky. In the southern part of Langjokull, between Lonsjokull and Vestri-Hagafellsjokulll is the 995 high Klakkur.
Into the glacier
Deep within Langjokull lies a man-made ice tunnel, a true spectacle for any visitor passing by the glacier. This daring vision began in 2010, in the minds of Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrimur Orn Arngrímsson. Designed and constructed by geophysicist and presidential candidate, Ari Trausti Gudmundsson, dreams of an ice tunnel beneath the glacier soon became a reality. Guests traverse beneath Langjokull's thick ice sheet, experiencing the blue ice within, and gaining an insight into the glacier's beauty inside and out. The Ice Tunnel Tour is available inside the glacier all year round.
Notable nearby mountains
The main mountains that lie close to Langjokull to the north are Krakur and the Burfjoll mountain range, slightly eastwards. East of Baldjokull are Hafjall and the Thjofadalafjoll mountain range. Hrutfell with the Hrutfellsjokull glacier cap (1396 m) lies east of Fjallkirkja and is the most impressive mountain of the Kjolur area, along with Kjalfell (1008 m), further northeast.
On the south eastern side of Langjokull, between the outlets Nordurjokull and Sudurjokull lies Mt. Skridufell (1235 m) and south of Sudurjokull is the shield volcano Skalpanes. Further east, i.e. south of Hvitarvatn is the 1204 m high Blafell and south of Skalpanes is the impressive palagonitic mountain range Jarlhettur. Among the most prominent mountains south of the Langjokull glacier is Hlodufell at 1186 meters and the Skjaldbreidur shield volcano further east.
Among the most prominent mountains to the west of Langjokull are Hafrafell, south of Eiriksjokull, North- and South Hadegisfell, Ok volcano, Prestahnukur volcano, and Stora- and Litla Bjornsfell.
Glaciers located near to Langjokull are Eiriksjokull, to the west, the highest mountain of West Iceland, and Thorisjokull, further southwest. Hrutfellsjokull lies on the east side of Langjokull.
Between Thorisjokull and Geitlandsjokull is a valley called Thorisdalur. Along with stunning views it features prominently in Icelandic folk tales and the outlaw Grettir the strong of Grettis saga fame is further reported to have resided there for one winter.
Glacier-fed rivers & lakes
Two glacier rivers, both bearing the name of Hvita (‘White River’) trace their sources to Langjokull. The first is the mighty Hvita in Arnessysla county, home to Iceland‘s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss, the beautiful Bruarhlod canyon and one of Iceland‘s most popular rafting rivers. The source of this river is Hvitarvatn lake, east of Langjokull. The outlet Nordurjokull reaches the lake and lends it a distinctly glacial colour. Sudurjokull used to reach it as well but has retreated in recent times.
The other Hvita glacier river, in Borgarfjordur, also has its source in the area, by Eiriksjokull glacier. In this river are the beautiful waterfalls Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. Indeed, many of the hot springs in Borgarfjordur receive ground water from Langjokull. Sub-surface water also flows south to Lake Thingvallavatn, reappearing in springs in and around the lake. A few rivers flowing north to Hunafloi bay also have their sources there.
To the south, Eystri-Hagafellsjokull feeds a lake called Hagavatn and several smaller river flow from there to lake Sandvatn. In turn, rivers flow from this lake to two major rivers i.e. Hvita in Arnessysla & Tungufljot. Tungufljot later joins up with Hvita and Hvita itself merges with Sogid river as Olfusa and this river then flows towards the sea.
There are at least two active volcanic systems under Langjokull glacier, whose calderas are visible from the air. The best known of these is the geothermal area of Hveravellir, east of Baldjokull. Also to the east lies the Kjalhraun lava field, which flowed about 7800 years ago.
To the northwest of the glacier is another system that produced the vast Hallmundarhraun lava field, through which Hvita in Borgarfjordur runs, with its stunning falls. Also in the area is Iceland‘s longest lava cave, the fascinating Surtshellir.
Southwest of Langjokull is the Presthnukur lava field, its fissures extending under Langjokull. South of the glacier is the Lambahraun lava field and further east, i.e. south of Thorisjokull, lies the Skjaldbreidarhraun lava field and the Skjaldbreidur shield volcano.
Compared to other regions in Iceland, the area is considered relatively calm, with only 32 eruptions in the last 10.000 years.
Langjokull is shrinking fast and concerns have been raised about the glacier due to the effect of global warming. Some researchers feared that if climate change continues at its current rate the glacier may be gone in about 150 years.
Starting time : 08:00
Pick up from Hotel/Guesthouse in Reykjavík
1 hour double rider snowmobile tour
All the safety equipment
A visit to a natural ice cave
What to bring:
Bring with you warm outdoor clothing, waterproof jacket and pants, head wear, gloves and a camera.
Good to know:
Please note that you need be at least 17 years old and have a valid drivers license to be able to drive the snowmobile.
We had a fantastic time on the snow mobiling and ice cave tour! We were picked up at our hotel in Reykjavik in a really nice van with gigantic tires. It was about a 1.5 hour ride to the glacier (possibly a little longer) but our driver was great and had a good balance of telling us about the tour/city/etc. without it being a true tour. Once on the glacier, they gave us a snow suit, hat, gloves, and helmet to wear. Despite it being very cold/windy out, with their extras we were extremely warm on the excursion. After a quick tutorial on driving the snow mobiles, we then spent 20-25 heading out to the ice cave. We spent about 20 minutes in the ice cave, taking pictures and just marveling at the surroundings. We then snow mobiled back to "base camp". I have to say, I had never driven a snow mobile before but that was my FAVORITE part! It took a little getting used to but once you get comfortable with the vehicle, it is a lot of fun to drive. They had guides at the front, back, and middle of the line of cars so for those who weren't comfortable going full speed, they'd guide you in. Once we returned, they had some hot chocolate for us and then we left to go back to Reykjavik. We stopped at Geysir on the way home for a quick bite and called it a day. We were picked up around 830am and returned around 430/5pm. I'd definitely recommend this tour if you get the chance!
This tour was probably our favorite on the trip. The snowmobiling was a little hard since we had never done so before. Our guide, Mardis, was absolutely amazing! It started snowing and she maneuvered the vehicle like a pro. On the snow mobile ride, she even pulled over to help my sister and her daughter because they did not have the hand warmers on and she warmed up my niece's hands herself and gave them her gloves to keep them warm! Excellent trip and would recommend, especially if you have Mardis as your guide!