Snaefellsjokull glacier hike | Pick-up from Reykjavik
Hike the legendary Snæfellsjökull glacier on this incredible day tour. If you are eager for adventure, amazing scenery, and do not shy away from a challenge, then this is the trip for you.
You will be picked up from Reykjavík in the morning and will make your way north to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The landscapes around you will start with rolling countryside, but this 90 km long peninsula is known as a ‘microcosm of Iceland’ for a good reason; once you start driving along it, you can expect to see dramatic mountains, a beautiful coastline, stretches of lava and waterfalls.
Snæfellsjökull is titled ‘the crown jewel of the peninsula’, however, and as soon as you catch sight of it, it is clear why. An enormous, cone-shaped volcano with two distinct peaks, capped with ice the year-round, it dominates the horizon. It is little wonder why it has inspired artists throughout history; most famously, Jules Verne used it as the setting for his epic novel, ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.
Once you reach the edge of the glacier that tops this mighty volcano, you will learn about how to safely ascend it, then take your gear, namely a helmet, a pair of crampons, and an ice axe. Once you and your group are ready, you will start to ascend the ice.
All glaciers have an ancient, otherworldly beauty, with their deep crevasses, fascinating ridges, and unique sculptures. Snæfellsjökull, however, is special in the sense that the views from atop it are amongst the best you can get in the country. After a challenging ascent, on a clear day, you will be rewarded enormously. You will be able to see from the West Fjords in the North all the way to the Reykjanes Peninsula in the South, across leagues of ocean. Ensure you bring your camera with you, to enshrine these unbelievable sights forever.
After you have marvelled over the beautiful ice and the fantastic views, you will enjoy the descent back to the van, still admiring the landscapes around you. Your return journey will likely be spent in awe at what you have seen, and pride at completing the challenge of scaling this great, famous volcano.
Do not miss your chance to ascend Snæfellsjökull and attain the incredible views from its peaks. Book now to reserve your spot. Check availability by choosing a date.
- Available: May. - Aug.
- Duration: 13 hours
- Activities: Glacier Hiking
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Minimum age: 16 years old
- Languages: English
The Westfjords are the westernmost part of Iceland and the whole of Europe. The Westfjords are home to some off the most beautiful natural gems and off the beaten track attractions in Iceland.
The Westfjords are a wide area stretching as a peninsula to the northwest of the mainland. The peninsula is all mountainous with numerous fjords of varying length.
The town Isafjordur in the fjord Skutulsfjordur serves as the capital of the region, with around 3000 inhabitants. There are many fishing villages in the fjords, as good fishing banks are found around the Wesfjords.
The agriculture is very scant, due to the steepness of the mountains and the lowland is limited. Below are some of the best natural attractions you can find in the Westfjords.
Hornstrandir nature reserve
Many places in the Westfjords are now deserted, such as the northernmost part of the peninsula: Hornstrandir. Hornstrandir is a holy place for travelers who seek solitude, wildlife, breathtaking scenery and great hiking trails. Don´t miss it if you´re looking for peacefulness.
Dynjandi ('Thunderous') is one of Iceland’s most beautiful waterfalls. This is really a series of waterfalls, seven altogether, with a cumulative hight of 100 meters. The trapezoidal shape of its main uppermost tier is particularly notable (40 m wide at the top, 60 m at the bottom.
Europe’s westernmost part is in The Westfjords, the massive vertical seacliff Latrabjarg, over 400 meters high with millions of seabirds nesting there. In 1947 a British trawler stranded there. Local farmers managed to safe most of the fishermen by heaving them by rope 190 meters up into the air. This heroic deed has been filmed.
Raudisandur Beach & Sjounda
The beach by the cliff is called Raudisandur, rare for its pale red, almost pink sand. Along with many seabirds, the beach also features hundreds of seals.
Innermost of Raudisandur are the remnants of the farm Sjounda. At the beginning of the 19th century it was a site for one of Iceland’s most famous murder cases.
Two farmers lived there with there wives but the one farmer fell in love with the other's wife and she with him and they were later sentenced to death for murdering their spouses. This dramatic event later served as an inspiration for Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson's masterful novel Svartfugl (The Black Cliffs).
West Iceland is home to Europe's most powerful hot spring, Iceland's most significant lava tube, fascinating glaciers, beautiful waterfalls, some of Iceland's most important historical sites and more. It has three main districts:
Borgarfjordur has rich history, with Reykholt where Snorri Sturluson, author of Snorra-Edda and Heimskringla lived and featuring a medeval and cultural museum dedicated to his memory. In Borgarnes, the main village of Borgarfjordur, the Settlement Center can be found.The landscape is magnificent and includes the magical Hraunfossar waterfalls, Surtshellir lava cave, Deildartunguhver hot spring and Eiriksjokull glacier.
Breidafjordur is a natural reserve, a wide bay with countless small islands and home of thousands of birds. The inner part of Breidafjordur is the agricultural area Dalir. In Haukadalur is the old farm site Eiriksstadir, the home of Eric the Red, the first European to land in Greenland (in the year 984 AD). His son was Leif Ericsson, the first European to land in America (in the year 1000).
Snæfellsjökull (1446 m) is an ice-capped volcano found on the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in West Iceland.
Though many consider Snæfellsjökull to simply be a particularly impressive ice cap, it is, in fact, a 700,000-year-old glacier-capped stratovolcano. The mountain is actually called "Snæfell" (Snowy Mountain), though the “jökull” (Glacier) is often added to help distinguish it from other mountains of the same name. For the first time in recorded history, Snæfellsjökull had no snow or ice at its peak in August 2012, causing concern amongst locals that climate change is threatening the nature of the mountain.
On clear days, one can see Snæfellsjökull from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, approximately 120 kilometres away over Faxa Bay, making for an impressive sight—and a tick off the bucket list if you can’t make it to travelling across the Peninsula itself. The volcano makes up just a small part of the larger Snæfellsjökull National Park.
Nearby villages include Hellissandur, Rif and Ólafsvík, all of which were commercial and fishing hubs throughout the peninsula’s long history of human inhabitance. Fishing took off primarily in the 13th-Century, with fishing stations being built in all areas with easy access to the open ocean.
One notable example would be the settlement of Dritvík, one of the largest fishing stations in Iceland at the time, utilising around 40–60 boats and employing between 200–600 people. Fishing in the region declined during the 19th century due to a change in Iceland’s fishing practises, though it is still an important source of livelihood for those living on the Peninsula.
Snæfellsjökull has, for centuries, been considered to be one of the world’s ancient power sites, a source of mysticism, energy and mystery for the peninsula’s superstitious population. This likely has something to do with the stratovolcanoes place in the Icelandic sagas; the feature takes a prominent role in Bárðar saga Snæfellsáss, a late 14th-century saga that tells the story of Bárður, half-human-half-troll, who became the “guardian spirit of Snæfellsjökull.”
Snæfellsjökull serves as the entrance to a fantastical subterranean world in Jules Verne’s classic 1864 novel “Journey to The Centre of The Earth.” Given its central place in the novel, Snæfellsjökull has become one of the most popular spots for visitors in Iceland and has inspired a wealth of writers, poets and artists.
Since “Journey to The Centre of The Earth”, Snæfellsjökull has appeared in the Blind Birds trilogy by Czech SF writer Ludvík Souček (partially based on Jules’ work) and in Under The Glacier, a novel by Iceland’s only Nobel laureate, Halldor Laxness.
Along with the glacier, attractions include the two nearby basalt cliffs called Lóndrangar and the many fascinating lava formations at the beautiful Djúpalonssandur beach, such as the arch rock Gatklettur. At Djúpalonssandur, one can also test their strength just as the ancient sailors once did with the four "strength" stones, Amlóði ('Useless'), Hálfdrættingur ('Weakling'), Hálfsterkur ('Half Strength') and Fullsterkur ('Full Strength'). In the area, one can also explore the Saxhóll volcano crater and 'the singing cave' Sönghellir, which is named after the loud echoes inside.
Snaefellsnes is a large peninsula extending to the west from West Iceland ending with a national park, Snaefellsjokull National Park, where the glacier towers over the scenery, as can sometimes be seen from Reykjavik, lending its beauty to the area.
The peninsula stretches over 100 km to the west as a mountain ridge that includes active volcanoes and is unique in the variety of mountains found.
A few small and beautiful villages are located on the south side and a few fishing villages are on the north side: Rif, Hellissandur, Olafsvik, Grundarfjordur and Stykkisholmur. The last one is highly popular for travelers, featuring a volcano museum and a ferry that takes you across the fascinating Breidafjordur bay to Brjanslaekur on the south border of the Westfjords.
Other museums you might want to check out are the Maritime Museum at Hellissandur, the regional museum Pakkhusid at Olafsvik, and, last but not least, the shark museum at Bjarnarhofn, indeed listed as the nr. 1 Snafellsnes attraction by Lonely Planet Travelers. Also, many of the Icelandic sagas take place at Snaefellsnes.
Snaefellsnes has an abundance of interesting sights. At the national park, you can witness the impressive lava formations of Djupalonssandur creek and test your strength on its four stones, see the two massive lava formations that compries Londrangar, explore the Saxholl volcanic crater and enjoy the echo of 'The Singing Cave', Songhellir. You may also hike on the majestic Snaefellsjokull glacier. The glacier has strong ties with folklore and was the setting for Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Other sights we can recommend at Snaefellsnes recommend include Raudfeldsgja canyon, east of the national park and the rugged and colourful Berserkjahraun lava field, near Bjarnarhofn, on the north side of the peninsula.
Last, but not least, Snaefellsnes is one of the main setting for Laxdaela saga. Chieftain Snorri godi, Gudrun Osvifursdottir, Bolli Thorlakssson all lived there as well as his namesake Bolli Bollason, the first West Norse member of the Varangian guard, an elite unit of the Byzantine army. Iceland's most famous mass murderer, Axlar-Bjorn, also lived at Snaefellsnes.
Reykjanes is a peninsula in Southwest Iceland, characterised by immense lava fields, volcanoes and strong geothermal activity.
Volcanic & Geothermal Activity
The peninsula runs along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates are drifting apart. Because of this geological setting, the whole peninsula is extremely volcanically active, covered with lava fields and volcanoes and small earthquakes are very common there.
During the middle ages, many eruptions occurred in Reykjanes, but no eruptions have been recorded there for the last 500 years.
The main geothermal areas of Reykjanes are Gunnuhver, Krýsuvik and Svartsengi. Various mud pools and fumaroles can be seen at Gunnuhver while Krýsuvik is characterised by hot springs and mud pots that bestow multicoloured hues upon the soil. The green crater lake Grænavatn is also an impressive sight.
Svartsengi is home to a geothermal power station that produces 76.5 MW of electricity from the 475 litres of 90° C warm water that gush from the earth per second. The mineral-rich surplus water fills up the Blue Lagoon spa.
Nature & Wildlife
Reykjanes' cliffs are teeming with birdlife. Its best-known bird colony resides in Krýsuvikurbjarg which is the nesting place of approximately 80 thousand seabirds. North of Krýsuvíkurbjarg is Kleifarvatn, the largest lake on the peninsula and one of the deepest in Iceland.
Reykjanes is hammered by some of the most breathtaking breaker waves in the world. A short drive from Krýsuvík is Selvogur where one is able to witness some of the country's greatest waves. On Reykjanestá, the southwest tip of the peninsula, the waves are known to reach heights of 20-30 meters.
The peninsula's north side is dotted with fishing villages and towns, most notably Keflavík, Sandgerði, Garður and Vogar. Grindavík town is located on the south shore of the peninsula.
Near Keflavík is the Miðnesheiði heath, where the international airport, Leifsstöð (also known as Keflavíkurflugvöllur or ‘Keflavík Airport’) is located.
The World-Famous Spa
On the southern tip of the peninsula is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, an ideal place for relaxing and bathing.
Starting time : 10:30
What to bring:
Food (energy bars are advised)