Walk through Ice and Fire | Glacier Hiking and Hot Springs | Medium Difficulty
This tour is a combination of two of Iceland´s natural highlights, hot springs and glaciers.
You will start the tour at geothermal area, Hengill, which is located at the foot of an old volcanic cone. From there you will take an easy hike past a series of beautiful hot springs to Reykjadalur valley where you can enjoy a nature bath in a beautiful warm stream. Next you will go to see the two waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, and then we will take you right past the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Then, on to the wonders of the Sólheimajökull glacier where a short and easy glacier walk between ice sculptures, ridges, and deep crevasses will complete your day. This tour offers both magnificent nature and beautiful scenery! Check availability now by choosing a date!
- Available: Jun. - Aug.
- Duration: 12 hours
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Sightseeing, Hot Spring Bathing
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum age: 10 years old
- Languages: English
Skógafoss is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters and a drop of 60 meters. Due to the amount of spray the cascade produces, a rainbow is present any time the sun emerges from behind the clouds.
Located on the Skógá river, this mighty cascade is clearly visible from Route 1 and is an excellent place to stop and stretch the legs while travelling Iceland’s South Coast. The river below Skógafoss holds a large char and salmon population and is thus a favourite spot for fishermen in the summer.
The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water; keep in mind, however, that this will get you drenched. Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade.
Skógafoss is located near the small village of Skógar, south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano. There you’ll find the Skógasafn folk museum, an open-air museum with both old wooden houses and turf houses, as well as a regional museum with various artefacts from this area.
A part of the Skógasafn Regional Museum is the Museum of Transportation, which showcases the history and evolution of transportation, communication and technologies in Iceland. There, you can see how this nation evolved from the age of the working horse to the digital communications of the 21. Century.
The Skógasafn museum also includes a café and a museum shop, and in the village of Skógar, you will find both a hotel and a restaurant.
At the eastern side of Skógafoss, you will find one of Iceland’s most famed hiking routes; the Fimmvörðuháls pass. The 22 km trail leads you along Skógá river, between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, before ending in the beautiful Þórsmörk valley.
A gold ring is on display at the Skógasafn museum. According to legend, the ring is from a chest that was owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area. Folklore states that before his death in 900 AD, Þrasi buried a chest filled with gold in a cave behind Skógafoss waterfall.
Many attempts were made to retrieve the chest after Þrasi’s death, and years later, locals managed to grasp a ring on the side of the chest. As they pulled, the ring broke off, and the treasure was lost forever. The ring was then given to the local church before it made its way to the museum.
Seljalandsfoss in the river Seljalandsa in South Iceland is one of the most sought waterfalls in the country.
Seljalandsfoss has a narrow cascade but is one of Iceland's highest waterfalls, at 63 meters. The waterfall is highly picturesque and has the rare distinction that one can actually walk behind it.
The area of the impressive volcanic mountain Hengill is a geothermal site and a source of energy for the south of Iceland.
Two power stations derive its energy from Hengill, the nearby Hellisheidavirkjun power station and Nesjavellir, which provides energy for th Reykjavik area. Not far from Hengill is the town of Hveragerdi, unusual for being situated in an area of such geothermal activity.
The glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull (1651 m) is located at the borders of the South Icelandic highlands. It featured prominently in world news in 2010 when ash from its eruption halted air traffic in Europe.
An ice cap of about 100 km with several outlet glaciers covers the caldera of Eyjafjallajökull that stands at the height of 1651 meters. The diamaeter of its highest crater is around 3-4 km2 wide and the rim has several peaks.
Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano lies north of Skogar, and to the west of Myrdalsjokull glacier and the massive volcano there; Katla.
Eyjafjallajokull is thought to be related geologically to Katla in Myrdalsjokull and eruptions in the former have often been followed by eruptions in the latter.
The 2010 eruptions
The end of 2010 saw some small seismic activity that gradually increased and resulted in a small eruption in March of 2010, characterized by a flow of alkani-olivine basalt lava.
This first stage lasted until April 12th and created the volcanic craters Magni and Modi at the Fimmvorduhals trail. They are so far Iceland's newest vocanic craters, and still eminate steam with lava glowing under the surface.
However it was the second phase of the eruption that started on April 14th that created the huge ash cloud that rose about 9 km into the skies.
This eruption halted air traffic in Europe for days, and its estimated that as many as 107.000 flights may have been cancelled during the week it lasted.
The ejected tephra measured around 250 million cubic meters. This ash cloud lasted for six days and some more localized disruption continued into May. The eruption was officially declared to be over in October 2010, as the snow on the glacier had ceased to melt.
Future volcanic developments?
Eyjafjallajokull erupted in years 920, 1612 and again 1821-1823.
Its latest eruptions were the two that occurred in 2010.
Future volcanic developments remain unclear. The area is still highly active and can be quite unpredictable. It continues, however, to be closely monitored by The Icelandic Meterological Office.
Solheimajokull is a beautiful outlet glacier of the Myrdalsjokull icecap.
Solheimajokull is a rugged glacial tounge riddled with crevasses and spectacular ever-changing ice formations, jagged ridges and sinkholes and is popular for hiking and ice climbing.
The glacier river Jokulsa a Solheimasandur has its source at the glacier, flowing over the sand plain of Solheimasandur towards the sea.
Mýrdalsjökull is a glacier in the south of the Icelandic highlands. It is the country's fourth largest ice cap, covering nearly 600 kilometres squared, and its highest peak is almost 1500 meters tall. It is most well-known for sitting atop the notorious and explosive volcano, Katla.
Photo above from the Katla Ice Cave Tour
Eruptions beneath Mýrdalsjökull
Since 2010, the world has known of the volcano beneath Eyjafjallajökull; few, however, are aware of the much larger volcano right beside it. Mýdalsjökull conceals Katla, one of the country’s most active volcanoes, having erupted, on average, once every fifty years since 930 AD. Because of the glacier above it, these eruptions tend to cause enormous ash clouds.
The last major eruption beneath Katla was in 1918, in which such huge lahar floods occurred that the southern coastline was extended five kilometres outwards. This area is also very susceptible to glacial floods, or jökulhlaups, during eruptions, even those which do not break through the surface of the ice, such as those that occurred in 1955, 1999 and 2011.
Historically, the area was little settled for this reason.
Katla is connected to the same volcanic system as Eyjafallajökull and usually erupts violently a few years after. As the ex-president, Ólafur Grímsson, said in 2010:
Katla is monitored heavily, and roads around it closed when seismic activity increases. All road closures around Iceland can be found on the roads website.
Tours on Mýrdalsjökull
While there are no eruptions immediately imminent, tours continue to run on Mýrdalsjökull, allowing visitors to enjoy the glacier. It is, for example, possible to snowmobile across its surface throughout the year and take ice caving tours beneath it from October to April, with departures from both Reykjavík and Vík.
Considering the ice caves under Vatnajökull glacier are usually only accessible from November to March, this provides a wider window of opportunity for travellers to Iceland outside of the depths of winter. It should be noted that these caves do not have the same blue ice, however.
Tours around Mýrdalsjökull
The best perspectives of the glacier, however, can be found on the popular Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail, which goes between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. Part of this hike can be done in a day, or you can take the complete route from Þórsmörk to Skógar on a three-day trek.
Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') is a highly scenic valley innermost of Hveragerdi town. As the name of the valley implies, this is a geothermal area.
The hot water stream gushing down the mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
It's a great hiking route and to get there drive to Hveragerði, in South Iceland. You will reach its starting point just 40 minutes from Reykjavík.
When you reach Hveragerði, drive straight through the town to reach a gravel road that leads to Reykjadalur.
The people of Hveragerði are also known for being exceptionally polite, so you can ask for anything you need while there.
When you reach the end of the gravel road you will hike for about 50-70 minutes to reach the first spots warm enough for dipping in. The further up you go the warmer it becomes. If you don't have a car you can join this hot spring tour. You can also combine it with a horse riding tour.
Starting time : 08:30
All necessary safety equipment
Lunch can be bought on the tour
What to bring:
Good to know:
Boots and rain gear can be rented
Angelina M F Goncalves
Fantastic guide!! The tour was amazing!
Great guide! Great Tour!