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Frequently Asked Questions

About Glacier & Ice Cap Tours in Iceland

Glaciers and ice caps cover approximately 11% of Iceland's surface area. On glacier and ice cap tours, you can explore these natural marvels in numerous different ways, such as on a snowmobile, in a super jeep or by foot. There are also various options that allow you to explore the inside of a glacier, either by visiting natural ice caves or a man-made ice tunnel.

1. Are the glaciers accessible throughout the year?

Numerous tours—from snowmobile and super jeep excursions to glacier hikes—run onto some glaciers throughout the year, such as the glaciers Sólheimajökull and Langjökull. Other glaciers, such as Snæfellsjökull and Drangjökull, are only accessible during summer.

2. Will I be provided with all the necessary glacier hiking equipment?

Helmets, crampons and harnesses will be provided. You must, however, bring or rent sturdy hiking boots and wear warm, waterproof clothing.

3. Is previous glacier hiking experience required?

No, although the more difficult glacier hikes should only be undertaken by those confident in their fitness.

4. Is there an age limit for glacier tours?

Yes, in accordance with Icelandic law, the age limit is set at eight years. Some tours have a higher age limit, so please contact a travel planner for further information.

5. Can I wear normal shoes?

No, hiking shoes are a mandatory requirement for glacier hiking; they should reach above the ankle, and they must be thick-soled so the crampons can clamp onto them.

6. Must I bring my own hiking boots or can I rent a pair?

Most glacier hiking operators rent out hiking boots, and you will be able to select a renting option from the menu when you make your reservation.

7. How long does a glacier hike last?

That depends on the tour you choose. A short glacier hike lasts between 60 and 90 minutes; longer excursions can last between six and seven hours.

8. What is the difference between a glacier and an ice sheet?

An ice sheet is a glacier that is larger than 50,000 km² (19,000 mi²). There are no ice sheets in Iceland.

9. What is the group size on glacier hiking tours?

That depends on the operator, but there will always be at least one guide for every twelve people. You can book private tours for a more intimate experience.

10. Am I insured in case of an accident?

No, you will need to organise all insurances yourself. Please contact your tour planner for more information.

Customer reviews

Read reviews by travellers from across the world

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This tour was kind of demanding but it was amazing!! It was my first time trying on fat bikes and they are soooo cool!!! I got so many cool pictures on this tour and I will never ever forget this day! This is a once in a lifetime experience.

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Skaftafell Glacier Hike | Medium Difficulty

4.8 average rating | 135 reviews

Skaftafell Glacier Hike | Medium Difficulty

An amazing experience!

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Solheimajokull Glacier Hike | 3-Hour Expedition

4.9 average rating | 82 reviews

Solheimajokull Glacier Hike | 3-Hour Expedition

An amazing experience! We accidentally arrived a few minutes late for the morning tour, but Harold from the customer service kindly shifted our tour to the afternoon after we told him what happened. And we had an wonderful time on the glacier with our guide Agnes. Thank you Troll team!

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2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon | Glacier Hike, Waterfalls & Black Beach

4.8 average rating | 25 reviews

2 Day Tour to Jokulsarlon | Glacier Hike, Waterfalls & Black Beach

We were so lucky to have Lu and Davide as our guides!! The best trip we have had in Iceland!! The guides are responsible, humorous, considerate, and willing to share so much interesting knowledge with us. The schedule is very good, not too tight and so we have enough time for every spots. Amazing lanscape and amazing tour <3

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Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

5 average rating | 9 reviews

Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

This one really surprised me! I had no clue you could visit such a cool ice cave all year round. The drive was entertaining and informative. The tour guide was very helpful and fun to talk to. We took some amazing pictures in the ice caves that I will never forget! By far one of the best ice cave tours that i have been on!

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Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

5 average rating | 9 reviews

Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

This was an experience I will never forget. We met our friendly guide at Vík village where we boarded this massive super jeep that took us across the black sands of Mýrdalssandur, on the "old highway". The ride was bumpy, but that was a part of the adventure. As we neared the caves, the landscape around started to look like something out of a fantasy novel or a fairytale, which is probably why this location has been used in several Hollywood productions, from Game of Thrones to Star Wars. The caves were also out of this world; shimmering, blue ice with dark strips of volcanic ashes. At some places, meltwater from the glacier dripped down to the ground and created a beautiful rainbow in the sunlight. We explored two caves, and after some adventurous climb up the ice, were rewarded with breathtaking scenery. Although this was the fast-track tour of the caves, we had plenty of time to capture some amazing, once-in-a-lifetime photos.

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Skaftafell Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike Tour

4.9 average rating | 53 reviews

Skaftafell Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike Tour

My sister and I had a blast with Gisli via Troll Expeditions at Skaftafell glacier. We only had 6 people in our group excluding our tour guide. Gisli was very personable, and allowed us to slow down and really enjoy each moment. He had no problem with us stopping to take photos, and even went out of his way to make sure we got really great pictures. He even made sure everyone had a time-lapse video of our ice climb. We were able to have 4 turns at ice climbing, one with one pick to make sure we were using our crampons properly, two with 2 ice picks including getting a sweet photo-op and time-lapse video, and one timed. He made it a fun contest to see who could climb the fastest, representing their country. We hiked for a short bit, taking in the views, and our tour guide had no problem with us asking questions, and he really took the time to turn them into conversations. Our tour guide gave us photos and videos of us via airdrop, and even added destinations into our googlemaps after learning that we planned on making stops along our way back to Reykjavic. Many of these stops we would not have known to look for.He gave us a great restaurant recommendation for dinner in Vik as well. Not just Gisli, but all staff we came into contact with went out of their way to be helpful and ensure we enjoyed our time. We had a great experience and would recommend others do this tour.

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Overall, it was a fantastic 3 day tour . Although the weather is changeable, our tour guide Heimir rearrange the order of the stops flexibly to make sure we could join both glacier hiking , ice cave and other spots. To be honest, I felt a little disappointed about the glacier hiking due to the time we staying on the glacier. The time was quite short but I thought is was disrpted by the bad weather. The storm came right away when we arrived the parking lot. As for ice cave, we were really lucky to see a quite big and beautiful one . And we had enough time to take pictures in the cave and there were only our group. We finished these two activities on the second day because the weather was awful on the third day. Besides, we were unlucky that it wasn’t the right time to see the dimonds on the beach ,which I eager to see, however; our gide Heimir took us to another place th see the dimonds near the glacier . Dimonds there were really spectacular and was one of my favorite spots in Iceland . To conclude, I felt thankful for the all arrangement of our guide , or we might miss those activities and amazing sceneries if I we went by ourselves . I definitely satisfy this 3 day tour!

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Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

5 average rating | 23 reviews

Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

Both of us enjoyed this unique ice cave experience, and our guide was great! We enjoyed the whole tour, ice caves, glaciers and nice weather!

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Our tour was in early March 2018. We were lucky with the weather and it was beautiful every day. The tour was easy to setup up just note the communications might not be immediate depending on time zone (I am in US). It did not affect any of the travel. I recommend at your hotel to ask where the tour buses pick up passengers. Ours was not clear and our guide Sveinbjorn had to search us out. Sveinbjorn was a fantastic guide. Was a safe driver and could definitely relax and watch the scenery without worry. He takes pride in his country and enjoys talking about it with a passion. He made sure were on time and had it set where we arrived earlier at places then other tour groups which made it easy for us to get around. If the place was dangerous he made sure the group knew (multiple times). What I liked is I learned more about Iceland from him then any other resource. Now more about the trip. Each day we were on the road by 8 local time so the day starts early. All the hotels were nice and there were some brand new ones. A travel note is once you are at a hotel expect to be there and no other exploring since they are isolated. I personally was nervous about hiking the glacier but our guide (did not remember his name) kept me at ease and it was a great experience. The ice caves were fantastic and a lot of it was due to our guide Faye. She kept us entertained and played Icelandic rock music for us. All the places we stopped were interesting and we were glad we did the extended tours to the east side of the island (away from most of the tourists). I think my only frustrating thing was the end of the tour from Akureyri back to Reykjavík. We did not spend any time in Akureyri because our plane left about 11:00am local time. Might have been nice to seen more of Akureyri. And once we arrived back in Reykjavík we assumed there would be transportation since the tour asked where we were staying once we got back in Reykjavík but we had to find it ourselves. Plenty of taxis just be aware. I recommend a new visitor to the island to use a tour company and I think you will enjoy your stay

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Solheimajokull Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike

4.8 average rating | 46 reviews

Solheimajokull Ice Climbing & Glacier Hike

Highly recommend

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Snowmobile Tour on Vatnajokull Glacier

4.7 average rating | 15 reviews

Snowmobile Tour on Vatnajokull Glacier

Amazing and unique experience riding a snowmobile to the top of the glacier! Had a blast learning how to use the snowmobile and the views were amazing. Our guide was incredibly generous and made sure we were riding safely. I would definitely do this again and recommend it as a must-do when visiting south Iceland.

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The best day I spent in Iceland. This trip was amazing and the schedule was managed very well. Our guide Michael was very patient, knowledgeable and handsome. He made the trip very flexible to ensure we have the best experience. Highly recommend!

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It was a pleasure experience. My tour was the last day of the available season. The original ice cave that we were planning to go got flooded; however, new location got setup right away. Lucky that we checked our email. Tour guide was funny, friendly and professional. He told us a lot of information about the ice cave, environment and also some movie filming stories such as GOT and interstella. And we got some times to take photos.

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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

4.9 average rating | 17 reviews

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

We joined the 8-day tour with our guide Svein in March, hunting for amazing Aurora and beautiful landscapes. In the end, I left my camera on the minibus. Svein was so kind to send it back to me. I was really appreciate it.

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What are Glaciers?

What is a glacier, and under what conditions does it form? A glacier comes into existence when the snow of winter exceeds the melting of summer; multiple years of this accumulation result in compaction of the lowest layers of snow, turning them to ice. The weight of the top layers of snow, causes the bottom layer of ice to move downhill.

Glaciers normally start to form in an area known as a corrie, or ‘Cirque’; a stretch of land that is shaped like an arm-chair with two slopes on either side, allowing the ice to sit and gather without flowing away.

Vatnajökull is the largest glacier, not just in Iceland, but in the whole of Europe, covering a total area of 8,100 km² (3,100 mi²).

Glaciers cover approximately 10% of the earth’s landmass, which is very reflective of Iceland itself, which has 11.1% glacial cover.

The Icelandic word for 'glacier' is 'jökull'—hence it’s addition to the end of each glacier’s name; Vatnajökull (“Water Glacier”), Langjökull (“Long Glacier”), Hofsjökull (“Temple Glacier”), etc.

Glacier hikers will be exposed to a number of incredible and captivating features on the ice cap, including deep crevasses and sinkholes, as well as countless examples of naturally-formed ice sculptures. That’s to say nothing of the incredible, panoramic views of the surrounding areas that open up with a high vantage on the glacier peak.

The diminishing size of glaciers is one of the biggest threats and clearest indicators of climate change we as a species face today. With measurements made each year, and new steps in aerial and satellite photography, the diminishing stature of glaciers is clearly visible—not only putting into question the longevity of many of Iceland’s greatest attractions but also the future of planet Earth.

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