The brief Glacier Fact sheet of Iceland

11. February 2013
Land Rover driving through Iceland´s nature

Vatnajökull

The Big One. When you look at a map of Iceland, this is the big white spot in the south-east. It covers about 8% of the country's surface (around 8100km2) and is the origin of many rivers and lakes. Like all the big glaciers in Iceland it has an active volcano lies under it. This one is called Grímsfjall. Last eruption in the spring of 2011!

Hvannadalshnjúkur glacier

Vatnajökull even holds the Guinness World Records of  " world's longest sight line". It is said that the glacier can be seen from Slættaratindur, Faroe Islands' highest mountain. More than  500 km away.

Iceland's highest mountain, Hvannadalshnjúkur, dominates the southern part of the glacier. Despite being "only" 2110 meters high, hiking to the summit is easier than one might think.  It is certainly physically challenging and takes up to 14 hours to get to the top but technically it is not complicated. The presence of numerous crevasses and ever changing weather still calls for expert guiding (and make sure it's Mountainguides). This is certainly an adventure well worth the effort.

Vatnajökull National Park has many amazing areas. Svínafellsjökull is a breathtaking outlet glacier of Vatnajökull glacier and the scenery and views are simply stunning. This is where many of our Glacier Ice Walks take place.  Another is Skaftafell which is well known for its natural wonders and the activities available.

Langjökull

The "Long Glacier" in Icelandic, is the second largest glacier in Iceland (around 950km2). A bit off the beaten track, this glacier is still accesible with a 4x4 vehicle in the summer. The are around Langjökull hosts many wonders. Caves where outlaws used to live, waterfalls, hot springs and more.

A famous highland track, Kaldidalur (Cold Valley) runs west of the glacier. This track begins (or ends) at Þingvellir, the site of the ancient Viking parliament dating back to 930 AD. From there the road heads into the highlands, through the barren mountain pass of Kaldidalur up to the glacier itself. From there you can continue to the Húsafell area and down to Borgarfjörður region.

Hofsjökull

Hofsjökull glacier (around 925km2) is the third biggest glacier in Iceland, after Vatnajökull glacier and Langjökull glacier and is located between them in the Icelandic highlands. This glacier can only be accessed via two highland tracks open only in the summer, Kjölur and Sprengisandur mountain roads.

Located right in the center of the island, the slopes are rather steep and like every glacier has many crevasses. Due to its isolated location, we wouldn't advice you to go there alone.

Mýrdalsjökull & Eyjafjallajökull

Mýrdalsjökull

The famous twins. They are separated by a mountain pass called Fimmvörðuháls (Five Cairns Pass) but this part of the country became famous after the 2010 eruption. The troubles it caused were quite memorable. A nearby volcano Katla, lying under the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, is still sleeping, pregnant and well overdue! Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier from Mýrdalsjökull is extremely popular for Glacier Walks.

On the other hand it can be quite difficult to hike Eyjafjallajökull and should not be done without a professional guide.  Make sure to take time to have a bath in Seljavallalaug, visit Seljalandsfoss and Skógar waterfalls, Dyrhólaey and the black sand beaches of Vík.

Snæfellsjökull

The smallest glacier of  the list. Don't get fooled by its size, the whole area of  the Snæfellsnes is incredible. A rugged but yet beautiful arm of the Icelandic west coast that reaches out into the Atlantic Ocean. The north and south coasts are separated one from the other by a chain of mountains which runs through the peninsula and culminates in the glacier of Snæfellsjökull.

This glacier is known all over the world thanks to Jules Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth where the characters of the book started their journey into Earths core. Also, the village of Arnarstapi, a mystical and a powerful place which lies south of the glacier, it is said to be a landing spot of UFOs! Maybe that's why the Snæfellsnes area is the centre of so many folk and fairy tales and other vivid stories.

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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