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Frequently Asked Questions

About Glacier Tours in Iceland

Glacier tours take you exploring the many ice-caps and glacier volcanoes that define Iceland as the land of ice and fire. Almost all of the country’s glaciers can be explored during the summer, but the most popular glacier tours take you to the glaciers Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull which can be explored year-round. Both are located on the South Coast, the latter in the stunningly beautiful Skaftafell nature reserve.

1. Can I hike a glacier by myself or do I need to go on a tour?

You can not hike up a glacier by yourself; proper equipment is needed as well as a guide that knows the routes that are safe to walk.

2. Can I see glaciers year round in Iceland?

Yes, the term glacier is used to describe a mountain where the ice and snow never melts—if the ice melted away during a specific season, it wouldn’t be considered a glacier.

3. What is the difference between glacier tours onto Svinafellsjokull glacier and onto Solheimajokull glacier?

Sólheimajökull is closer to Reykjavík and a glacier hike can be done there on a day tour. Svínafellsjökull is an outlet of Vatnajökull, Europe's largest glacier, and because it is much farther away, a glacier hike there cannot be done on a day tour from the capital. Glacier hiking excursions on Svínafellsjökull normally depart from Skaftafell nature reserve.

4. What is Skaftafell nature reserve?

Nestled between jet black sand expanses and creeping glacier tongues, Skaftafell is a sub-Arctic oasis famed for its rich flora and contrasting landscapes. The area is lined with hiking trails that take you to numerous beautiful natural features such as the waterfalls Svartifoss and Hundafoss. Multiple glacier hiking tours depart from Skaftafell year round, but the area is also the perfect base camp for mountaineers seeking to climb Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur.

5. What is there to see on top of a glacier?

A glacier provides for ever-changing sceneries of ice formations, cracks and crevasses. The white snow is often streaked with black volcanic ash, but the views of the surrounding landscapes depend on the glacier. For example, Svínafellsjökull glacier is part of the highest mountain range in Iceland, and if you ascend the ice-cap on a clear day, you might see the magnificent Hvannadalshnúkur, the country's highest peak.

6. Is glacier hiking in Iceland a safe activity?

If you are planning on trying to conquer the glacier yourself, then absolutely not. Glaciers are thick but fragile ice caps with many hidden crevasses. Always go glacier hiking with a qualified guide.

7. What kind of shoes should I wear for glacier hiking tours?

You should wear sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that cover your ankles. No high heels, open shoes or sneakers.

8. Can the elderly join glacier hiking tours?

Yes they can, but keep in mind that a glacier hike is physically demanding, so it depends on the physical condition of each individual. The easiest glacier hike takes around two hours, with only minor elevation.

9. If my child is almost reaching the minimum age limit, can he/she join the tour?

No, operators must adhere to Icelandic law.

10. If it rains, will the hike be cancelled?

If the tour is cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions, your operator will contact you and you will receive a full refund or a rescheduled tour.

11. Which tour should I join if I want to visit the filming location of Game of Thrones, where they filmed the scenes beyond the wall?

Scenes beyond the wall in Game of Thrones have been filmed all over Iceland, including on Svínafellsjökull glacier, on Snæfellsjökull glacier, by Mt. Kirkjufell on Snæfellsnes peninsula, in Grjótagjá canyon by Lake Mývatn, and on Höfðabrekkuheiði by the town of Vík. Plenty of shots are also from south of the wall, such as at Þingvellir National Park which is on the Golden Circle sightseeing route.

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