Sólheimajökull Glacier : Top Things to Do & See
Guide to the Solheimajokull area in Iceland
Meaning ‘sun home glacier’ in its literal Icelandic form, the Sólheimajökull glacier is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. Stretching down from the famous Mýrdalsjökull glacier, Sólheimajökull is a 40-45 km2 outlet glacier that is famed for its short ice tunnels, glacial plains and icy crevasses.
What can I do on Sólheimajökull?
Glacier walks, ice climbing and kayaking are all activities that can be enjoyed on Sólheimajökull. At neighbouring Mýrdalsjökull, snowmobile tours are available along with ATV tours to the black sand beaches. With the right tips and information, it’s easy to make the most of this unique area.
Glacier hike tours on the Sólheimajökull glacier
Sólheimajökull is bursting at the seams with scenic spots, and this tour takes you to the best ones within an hour. This snapshot ice walk is ideal for those strapped for time, as well as families with children older than 8 years old, who want to enjoy a day out on the ice together.
Sólheimajökull Glacier Walk and Ice Climbing
There is much more to Sólheimajökull than what you see on a glacier walk. This tour takes you deeper into its icy wonderland, where you can ice walk and ice climb your way across Sólheimajökull.
Glacier Walk & Kayak Combo
Experience Sólheimajökull glacier from land as well as its iceberg-filled lagoon. This excellent combo gives you the full glacier experience.
Which hiking trails can you follow around Sólheimajökull?
The Glacier Panoramic Trail is a guided trail by Katla and Eyjafjallajökull that takes you on a tour around some of the south coast’s best sights. With rosy cheeks and a racing heart, absorb the black sand beaches and glacial views of Sólheimajökull.
Where is the Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland?
Located on Iceland’s enchanting south coast, the Sólheimajökull glacier lies a few hours to the south-east of Reykjavik. It is an easily accessible glacier, which is a small part of the larger, sprawling Mýrdalsjökull glacier. It is also nestled between the Katla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes. Nearby scenic Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls offer contrasting views and are worth a stop on your way to and from Sólheimajökull. You’ll also be pleased to know that the surreal black sand beaches of Vík are only a short 30km drive away.
How do you get to the Sólheimajökull glacier from Reykjavik?
Reykjavik is an ideal base for exploring Iceland’s natural wonders, especially Sólheimajökull. Lying only 164 km from the capital, driving to Sólheimajökull takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. From Vík, it takes only 45 minutes.
Lots of people choose to drive here on their own, as the road to the glacier is smooth and accessible. As you leave Reykjavik, drive along Route 1 to the south-east, following the south coast until you see signs for Sólheimajökull. Alternatively, you can be transported to and from Sólheimajökull with your tour, so you can save your energy for glacier walking.
Best tours from Reykjavik
If you do not have a vehicle, don't worry! There are adventures on Sólheimajökull with transport from Reykjavík.
Take a Walk on the Ice Side
On this glacier hike tour, you will get to explore the icescapes of Sólheimajökull, the DC3 Plane Wreck and amazing waterfalls.
Glacier Walk & Northern Lights
The highlights of the Icelandic winter on an awesome day tour: glacier walk, traditional food, waterfalls and the northern lights.
South Shore, Glacier Walk & Ice Climbing
Explore stunning glaciers and waterfalls along the south coast of Iceland.
When is the best time of year to visit the Sólheimajökull glacier?
One of the best things about the Sólheimajökull glacier is that it is an incredible destination to visit all year round. Each season offers distinct experiences that others don’t. For example, Sólheimajökull comes alive in winter with a startling blue sheen, twisting ice tunnels, and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights. In summer, the warmer climate opens opportunities for kayaking, and the glacier becomes more accessible. The increased daylight hours also mean you aren’t limited by dark mornings and early evenings.
What do you wear on a Sólheimajökull glacier hike?
To prepare for wind, rain and snow, there are certain items we recommend wearing on your glacier hike at Sólheimajökull:
A waterproof jacket. Iceland is known for its infamous weather changes, meaning you must always prepare for rain and snow. Wearing a light, waterproof jacket will protect you from the elements and will help keep you warm in the winter months.
Hiking boots. It is no secret that sandals should not be your shoe of choice for a glacier walk. Instead, bring your sturdiest, waterproof boots that are comfortable to walk in. GORE-TEX or similar is recommended.
Lots of layers. The first rule you should follow in Iceland is to always wear layers. Plenty of thermal layers will keep you warm in winter and are also easy to peel off if you get too warm on a summer glacier hike.
Non-denim pants. Denim pants may look great, but they are certainly not practical on a glacier walk. Avoid slow-drying, heavy material and wear something flexible and breathable.
What is the temperature like on the Sólheimajökull glacier?
As with every destination, temperatures change throughout the year. Sólheimajökull is no exception, but temperatures will be warmer than you think. If you visit in winter, you can expect temperatures to range between 1.3 degrees Celsius (34ºF), and 3.8 degrees Celsius (39ºF), and up to 12 degrees Celsius (53.ºF) in the height of summer.
Top activities near Sólheimajökull and Vík
ATV Quad Black Sand Fun
Get your heart racing on an ATV tour with our partner, Arcanum Glacier Tours. Visit the DC3 plane wreck, and views of the nearby glacier and the Dyrhólaey Peninsula are only a few of the highlights you can expect.
The stretching ice fields of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier are rarely explored to their full extent. With the help of an expert guide get up close and personal with the powdery snow and glacial panoramas on this Arcanum Glacier Tours expedition.
ATV & Glacier Lagoon Kayak Combo
This 2-in-1 South Coast activity package combines an ATV ride on the black lava sand beach with a kayaking tour on Sólheimajökull glacier lagoon.
Waterfalls near Sólheimajökull and Vík
Skógafoss. Coming in at 60 m tall, this idyllic waterfall is located only 1 km from Skógar, 12 km from Sólheimajökull, and 34 km from Vík. Skógafoss––one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls––overlooks the black sand beaches of the south, and features a misty pool that is particularly striking in the lush green of summertime.
Seljalandsfoss. There are a few poster children of Iceland, and the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of them. This waterfall has origins at the Eyjafjallajökull glacier and is part of the Seljalands River complex. You can get there by turning off at Route 1, about 39 km from Sólheimajökull, and 60 km from Vík.
Where can I stay near the Sólheimajökull glacier?
You may be surprised to know that various accommodation options surround this icy wilderness. Many people choose to use Reykjavik as their base, but for those who prefer to stay on location, there are camping grounds in the nearby forested village of Skógar. If you’d like to add more experiences to your time at Sólheimajökull or visit the quaint town of Vík, a range of hotels and traditional bed and breakfasts offer comfortable lodging only a short drive from Sólheimajökull. Why not stick around for a few days to enjoy all the fun activities this area has to offer?