This activity was a true highlight of our time in Iceland! Starting very close by the iceberg lagoon at Jökulsárlón, we arrived at 9.30am at the Hali Country Hotel where we were greeted by our glacier hiking guide Stone. Stone was very friendly and welcomed us to Iceland and the Glacier Adventure tour. We were in a group of only 5 other people, and before we started the excursion Stone gave us lots of information about what we should expect for the day, including safety information and equipment.
Before departing Hali Country Hotel, we were fitted with a safety harness, and life-jacket for the upcoming boat ride to the glacier. We all jumped in a 4x4 super-jeep where we travelled away from the crowds on an off-road track towards the access point for our glacier hiking. Once we arrived at the shore of the lagoon we jumped into a boat where we went across the lagoon to the other side of the Vatnajökull glacier, the only way that it could be accessed due to the recent receding.
Once we emerged from the boat we were given crampons which made it a lot more easy to walk on the ice (no slipping!), as well as a helmet and ice-axe (not only great safety, but fabulous for photos too!)
After we were fitted with all of our safety gear, it was time to start having some more fun! We began to walk through the vast amazing glacier, where we saw different shaped sculptures, ridges, ice-caves, and lots of deep crevasses.
Stone was incredible in guiding our group safely and informatively, we all learnt so much about how the glacier forms, and why it is now receding each year. The Vatnajökul glacier is the largest glacier in the whole of Europe, and here we were hiking on top of it! Such an incredible experience.
We loved that we had lots of opportunities to stop and take photographs along the way, and we could ask Stone any questions at all about the glacier landscapes and he always had an answer for us! We did not see another person in sight, it was so refreshing to be away from the crowds and tourists, and soak in the landscapes that were on offer on what felt like the top of the world.
Lucky for us we brought along some empty water bottles, and half-way through the hike we came to a glacier stream where we were able to fill up our bottles with the most delicious and refreshing Icelandic glacier water we have ever been lucky enough to drink!! If only we could have brought more back with us, our bottles were just not big enough!
After around 1.5 hours of hiking and learning about the magnificent Vatnajökul glacier and it’s surroundings, we came towards the end of our adventure on top of the glacier, however Stone had one last surprise for us all!!
In groups of 2-3 people, Stone and his assistant guide, guided us down into one of the ice-caves that had not yet melted away. Here we were able to walk through the cave safely and take photographs inside at our own leisure. This was probably the highlight of the tour for us, and Stone explained that this is not always possible and is dependent on whether the caves are melting or still safe to enter - lucky for us we had wonderful timing! It was so fascinating to learn that ice-caves that were there one year ago no longer exist, and how quickly they can form and then melt away. We felt very privileged to have the opportunity to be inside of one.
Once everyone in our group all had a turn of entering the ice-cave and taking lots of photographs, it was time for us to hike back towards the lagoon where we took the boat back to the other side to make our return back to Hali.
Everyone was in very high spirits after a wonderful half-day excursion exploring the glacier - such a magnificent day that we will remember for always!
For anyone that is visiting Iceland, we recommend that a tour with Glacier Adventure truly is a MUST-DO! We loved that it was a fun and informative day away from the crowds where we were able to enjoy the untouched landscapes of Iceland at peace and safety.
Glacier Adventure was a very professional company, all their gear was high quality Black Diamond brand, and both Stone and his assistance guide was very knowledgeable and able to answer all of our curly questions! Open all year around, at affordable prices, there are a range of different tours that they offer depending on the season and time of year, and what type of adventure activity you are looking for - check out their website link here for more information and to organise your own booking today!
The tour that we did (Glacier Hiking) can be done at most ages, with kids from the age of 8 being able to participate - we would definitely recommended that you have hiking boots for this tour, but if you don’t have your own, don’t worry, Glacier Adventure will hire them out to you for the day! And remember, wear lots of warm layers, it can get cold up there!
Watch this space for our YouTube video of our day on the glacier - coming soon! For more information about our 14 day road trip in Iceland, check out our recent blog post online now which details our first 7 days & full itinerary of waterfalls, hot springs, and all other photography spots that we have stopped to enjoy - link here!