Ultimate Guide to the Best Glacier Tours in Iceland

Iceland, often referred to as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, is a country bursting with natural wonders and dramatic landscapes. The ‘fire’ part comes from the geysers and volcanoes of Iceland, while the ‘ice’ part is the majestic glaciers, which cover 10% of the country’s land area. 

At Ice Guardians Iceland, our mission is to bring unique and immersive experiences in Vatnajökull National Park, South East Iceland — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our approach on trips is to educate, advocate for, and show the importance of glaciers to the world. 

You’ll also learn about volcanoes, landscapes, floods, changing climates, and their impact on local lives.

Glacier tours are an excellent way to get up close and personal with these wonders, and in this guide we will look at the different types of tour, and the best times to explore. We are experts in the Full-Day Glacier Tour in Iceland. 

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for behind the scenes footage and educational information.

Glacial giants: the power of nature

Remnants of the Ice Age, Iceland’s glaciers have been shaped by thousands of years of snowfall and compression. They are living, ever-changing formations that play a significant role in the country’s ecosystem. 

The largest glacier in Iceland is Vatnajökull, which is also the largest in Europe. Learn all you need to know about Vatnajökull ice caves in our informative guide. Others, such as Langjökull and Snæfellsjökull are also very impressive. 

Experienced under the guidance of a local expert, your tour is sure to be informative and rewarding. 

Types of glacier tours

There are so many ways to explore the ice. Some more daring than others, but all have the same aim — to give you a deeper understanding of these ancient formations. 

Glacier Hiking Tours

If you have a sense of adventure and a need to explore, glacier hiking will be right up your street. Glacier hiking tours, like the ones at Ice Guardians Iceland, are led by experienced guides who know the glaciers like the back of their hands. 

We focus on the glacier hikes in Vatnajökull National Park, providing immersive and interactive experiences for all. It takes a full-day to get the most out of the hike, and due to the length and low ratio of guests to guides, you can expect to explore far beyond the most crowded areas. 

Otherworldly ice formations await you in this one-of-a-kind day trip in Iceland.

Ice Caving Tours

In the winter months, glacier meltwater carves intricate tunnels and chambers into the ice forming ice caves. This natural phenomena is truly mesmerizing, and a photographer’s dream to shoot. Stunning blue hues are a given.

Vatnajökull is a hotspot for ice caving tours because of the caves’ incredible ice quality. These world-renowned glacier ice caves are the single reason many people travel to Iceland in the winter months. Their ever-changing nature is something to behold each year. 

Few will ever witness these majestic caves, let alone venture into them, making this experience so special. 

Ice Climbing Tours

Iceland’s glaciers are the perfect playground to try ice climbing, whether you’re an experienced climber or just raring to give it a go! You can spend up to eight hours hiking to and ice climbing multiple faces and/or moulins (vertical rivers) on an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull.

This is a full day of learning, coaching, and ice climbing with an expert Ice Guardians guide. Start on a relatively low-grade climb and progress to increased steepness up to vertical or more during the day. 

Your day of ice climbing will also include the opportunity to go down and climb out of glacier moulins, one of the scariest glacier features. This is a private trip to allow for maximum progression with your ice climbing, spending lots of time with your guide. 

Other ways to explore glaciers

As well as glacier hiking, ice caving, and ice climbing, there are also several others ways to explore the glaciers in Iceland. 

Did you know that we introduced canyoning (or canyoneering) to Iceland? It is one of the most thrilling ways to explore the country, by jumping, river hiking, sliding, and abseiling amongst blue pools, cascading waterfalls, and volcanic formations!

Glacier kayaking is also a good option if you are confident in the water. It gives a unique perspective on the glaciers, allowing you to paddle through glacier lagoons, and get up close and personal with icebergs that have broken off from the glacier. 

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a popular location for this type of tour. Read more about this location at Visit South Iceland

When is best to book your glacier tour?

Your preferences and the type of tour you want to experience will steer when it is best to visit Iceland, and the beautiful glaciers and ice caves. 

April to March (Spring): Activities such as our Vatnajökull Glacier Walk are perfect for spring as the days are getting longer. Most companies are not running ice caving tours in spring and summer, however, if you book a Custom Tour with Ice Guardians we can arrange visits to caves. 

June to August (Summer): This time of year is perfect for glacier hiking, kayaking, and superjeep tours when the weather is milder. 

September to October (Autumn): Some tours close for the season in early autumn, but if open you can still enjoy glacier activities. 

November to March (Winter): This is prime time for ice caving as the caves are stable, and the snow-covered landscapes add to the enchantment of the experience. Shorter daylight hours are the payoff though!

Exploring Iceland’s glaciers is an awe-inspiring adventure on your trip to this ethereal country. Connect with Iceland’s natural beauty and geological wonders on a tour with Ice Guardians Iceland. 

Are you still looking for more adventure travel inspiration? Explore our excellent range of Iceland hiking and glacier trips and courses. And be sure to get in touch with our expert team if you have any questions about your trip to Iceland.

We hope to welcome you on a Vatnajökull glacier walk very soon!

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