Your Guide to Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland

November 7, 2022

Your Guide to Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland

November 7, 2022

Located on the south coast of Iceland, Sólheimajökull winds its way between two of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes—Katla and Eyjafjallajökull—to give you an up-close experience of this country we call the Land of Ice and Fire. What’s more, the glacier is conveniently accessed from Reykjavik, meaning you can enjoy its thrills and return to the capital all in an action-packed day. In this guide, we’ll share all you need to know about this dramatic ice cap. And we’ll show you how to visit the Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland yourself.

Why visit Sólheimajökull glacier

Sólheimajökull is one of the most rewarding and frequently visited glaciers in Iceland. That’s for two main reasons.

Firstly, it’s an astonishing sight, a jagged blue stream of ice, flanked by high mountain peaks. Secondly, it’s easily accessible, meaning that you don’t have to venture into the Icelandic Highlands or to the country’s north to visit it. Combined, these two facts make a trip to Sólheimajökull the perfect day out.

While it’s impressive in its own right, the Sólheimajökull glacier is actually a subsidiary or “outlet glacier” of the Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest ice cap. Mýrdalsjökull sits on the notorious volcano known as Katla, which is expected to erupt in the not-so-distant future. Last time Katla did erupt, in 1918, it extended Iceland’s southern coast by 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), thanks to its huge lava flows.

Sólheimajökull itself slowly flows between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull (the volcano that erupted in 2010). When you visit Sólheimajökull, you’ll have the sense of walking in a fearsome volcanic landscape with the power to disrupt human activity all over the world.

The glacier itself is currently about 8 kilometres (5 miles) in length and 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) wide. However, over the years, it has been shrinking, leaving a glacial lake in the path of its retreat—a testament to the impact of a warming climate.

One day, Sólheimajökull may not be there at all. But today, the glacier’s manageable size, its striking scenery, and captivating volcanic activity makes it the perfect place for a glacier visit.

Where is Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland?

Sólheimajökull is one of southern Iceland’s most accessible glaciers. You’ll find its awesome bulk just over two hours east of the capital city of Reykjavik.

The mighty Mýrdalsjökull sits at the heart of Iceland’s south coast just north of the peaceful fishing village of Vík. Sólheimajökull extends further to the south, just a stone’s throw from route 1, the ring road that runs all the way around the coast of Iceland.

Travelling from Reykjavik to the east, you’ll soon cross the river Jökulsá. This is the glacial river that’s fed by the melting ice of Sólheimajökull, which slowly drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately after crossing the lagoon, turn left inland and you’ll arrive at the foot of the glacier.

While it’s accessible, Sólheimajökull still maintains its sense of the wild. Its rugged, complex surface is unblemished and the views around—over the Lakaþúfa and Kambfjöll mountains —are incredible.

How to get to Sólheimajökull glacier?

There are two ways to get to Sólheimajökull that visitors usually prefer. Either you can reach the glacier by car, which you can hire in Reykjavik, or you can join a tour that will handle the journey for you.

Taking a car has its pros and cons. It gives you the freedom to enjoy your own schedule, allowing you to stop wherever you choose along the way. However, the journey can be a little difficult if you’re not used to Icelandic roads —particularly in winter.

Alternatively, avoid the hassle of managing the journey yourself by taking a coach or minibus to Sólheimajökull. Typically running daily from Reykjavik, tours are the reliable and stress-free way to reach the glacier. And what’s more, you’ll be led by an expert guide who’ll share details of the area that you won’t find in the guide books. Of course, whichever method of transport you choose, Sólheimajökull will remain its captivating self. It’s just up to you which you prefer.

South Shore Adventure Tour


solheimajokull 9

One of the most exciting and convenient ways to visit Sólheimajökull glacier is on a South Shore Adventure Tour with Reykjavik Excursions.

On this day trip, you’ll explore some of the most breathtaking sights on Iceland’s south coast. Leaving Reykjavik in the morning, you’ll visit enchanting waterfalls and mysterious black sand beaches, the delightful coastal town of Vík, and the majestic Sólheimajökull too.

It’s a fantastic way to see some of the south coast’s most impressive destinations outside of the Golden Circle. What’s more, you’ll find yourself back in Reykjavik in the evening, ready for another adventure the next day.


What to do at Sólheimajökull glacier

With its sublime stream of ice, Sólheimajökull offers an unforgettable experience to anyone that pays it a visit. But what can you actually do when you get there?

Witness the glacial lagoon

One of the biggest draws of the Sólheimajökull glacier is its glacial lagoon, an ever-growing lake fed by the melting ice. Here, you’ll find icebergs floating in the serene waters against a backdrop of rugged mountains.

There’s plenty for you to explore on foot. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see the dramatic moment that ice breaks from the glacier and crashes into the lake.

Hike across the ice

For many visitors, the thought of walking across the glacier themselves is irresistible. Rightly so, because to find yourself above the ice, walking on its cracked blue surface, is an experience you’ll never forget.

A hike across the glacier is easily arranged, although weather dependent. At Reykjavik Excursions, we organise glacier hikes led by expert guides who can ensure you journey across the ice in safety. They’ll share the fascinating details of glacial processes too.

What’s more, you’ll learn about the specialist equipment you’ll be using too—from ropes to crampons.

Join a snowmobile tour

Another way to discover the world of ice is on a snowmobile. Imagine exploring this white expanse at high speed. It’s a thrill.

You can enjoy this exciting experience at the nearby Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, whose vast size gives you more space to zoom around.

What is the best time to visit Sólheimajökull glacier?

While it’s a common question among people planning a trip to Iceland, the answer is not so simple. Really, there’s no best time to visit Sólheimajökull. All times of year offer an incredible experience. The one thing you really need to be aware of is the weather.

As in all of southern Iceland, the weather at Sólheimajökull can be unpredictable—in summer and in winter. During the summer months, you can expect temperatures to sit between 5-20°C (41-68°F), but bright sunshine can quickly turn rain—and even snow—at any moment. In winter, expect temperatures between -15 and 0°C (5 and 32°F), and conditions are even more volatile.

If it sounds like it will be cold, that’s because it’s true! Here, we’re close to the Arctic Circle, where temperatures are low and conditions extreme. But a visit will more than repay you. In any weather, seeing a glacier up close is an incredibly rewarding experience.

What to wear at the Sólheimajökull glacier

Whichever time of year you want to visit Sólheimajökull, make sure you bring proper outdoor gear. While most tour operators will provide you with all the specialist equipment that you will need, it’ll be on you to bring the right clothes.

That typically means waterproofs and layers. Really, you shouldn’t go anywhere in Iceland without a waterproof! In all seasons, and wherever you are, it will help to keep you dry and protect you from the wind too.

Layers are essential because they’re the most convenient way to keep you warm. If you get too warm, it’s easy to take them off, but it’s always a good idea to have another jumper with you just in case.

Remember, if you’re taking part in a glacier hike, you’ll be completely surrounded by ice. Gloves are a must and, if the sun is shining, you’ll benefit from some sunglasses too.


Glaciers in Iceland


solheimajokull 2

It’s no mystery where Iceland gets its name. 11% of the country is covered in ice—one of the highest proportions of all countries in the world—and that comes in the form of glaciers and ice caps.

The amazing thing about glaciers is that they move. In fact, while it’s quite hard to imagine when you see them, they’re actually long, slow-moving rivers of ice, travelling over centuries. Because of this movement, they carve out shapes and valleys in the landscape.

In Iceland, there are many glaciers to explore. Sólheimajökull and its parent Mýrdalsjökull are some of the most visited. However, you can also visit Langjökull, the closest glacier to Reykjavik, or Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in all of Europe.

There’s so much more to see too—from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to caves beneath the ice.


Attractions near Sólheimajökull glacier

While Sólheimajökull is a fantastic destination all by itself, there’s plenty more to see and do in the area. In fact, whatever it is you choose to do at Sólheimajökull, we recommend that you put aside some time to visit these other attractions too.

Skógafoss

Tumbling 60 metres (227 feet) over a wide cliff face, Skógafoss is one of the loveliest waterfalls in southern Iceland. With its dramatic circle of cliffs and the rainbows that appear in the spray, it’s exceptionally picturesque.

But you don’t need to just take our word for it. There’s a reason why music videos and Hollywood films have been shot here, including James Bond and Thor.

Visit the waterfall on a tour of the south coast of Iceland. Or alternatively, swing by Skógafoss on the Fimmvörðuháls trail, a 22-kilometre (13.6-mile) hike.

Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss’s main competitor to being the most breathtaking waterfall in southern Iceland is Seljalandsfoss, a short distance down the road. Cascading from a similar height, Seljalandsfoss has one particular advantage—you can walk behind its tumbling water.

With the pastoral landscape opening in front of you, this opportunity makes Seljalandsfoss a truly unforgettable experience. It’s extra special in the evening, when the sun shines through the water.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose between Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Rather, visit both on a tour of south Iceland.

Black Sand Beach

A short distance from Sólheimajökull is the charming little coastal town of Vík. If you have spent any time at all researching the south coast of Iceland, you’ll likely have seen pictures of it before.

The village is best known for Reynisfjara, an iconic and atmospheric beach a brief walk out of town. Its black sands create an aura of mystery, accentuated by the imposing cliffs and sea stacks that emerge from the water.

Truly, you can’t be in this part of Iceland without stopping at Reynisfjara. Its otherworldly atmosphere will stay with you forever.

The South Coast of Iceland

In a country known for its natural beauty, the south coast of Iceland is packed with wonders. While all of the sites we have mentioned above can be found on the southern shore, there’s so much more to see.

For example, we can’t forget Iceland’s Golden Circle, perhaps the best known travel itinerary in the country, featuring geysers, tectonic rifts, and enchanting waterfalls. It’s well known for good reason.

Alternatively, there’s the magical national park of Skaftafell, with its distinctive waterfalls and incredible hiking trails.

However you like to travel, there’s something on the south coast of Iceland for you. Discover more in our guide to Iceland’s south coast.

solheimajokull 3

Visit Sólheimajökull glacier with Reykjavik Excursions

On the south coast of Iceland, breathtaking glaciers, sublime mountains, and magical coastlines await. And there’s no better way to start your Icelandic adventure than on a trip to Sólheimajökull.

At Reykjavik Excursions, we can help make your visit to the glacier comfortable, easy, and fun. We’ll pick you up in Reykjavik and drop you right back in town after a day of thrills.

While many visitors like to join our classic tours, which run year-round, some prefer private tours or custom trips, to see the sights at their own pace. We offer these too—all you have to do is get in touch.

Of course, it’s not just to Sólheimajökull glacier that we run tours. Visit the whole of the south coast—and beyond—with us.

Rely on Reykjavik Excursions for a thrilling and inspiring trip. Explore our tours to see Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland to get started.

SOUTH SHORE BLOG

Your Ultimate Guide to the South Coast of Iceland

The south coast of Iceland is home to some of the country’s most magical and marvellous natural wonders. Here, we show you what you’ve been missing.

Your Guide to Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland

November 7, 2022

Your Guide to Sólheimajökull Glacier in Iceland

November 7, 2022

Located on the south coast of Iceland, Sólheimajökull winds its way between two of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes—Katla and Eyjafjallajökull—to give you an up-close experience of this country we call the Land of Ice and Fire. What’s more, the glacier is conveniently accessed from Reykjavik, meaning you can enjoy its thrills and return to the capital all in an action-packed day. In this guide, we’ll share all you need to know about this dramatic ice cap. And we’ll show you how to visit the Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland yourself.

Why visit Sólheimajökull glacier

Sólheimajökull is one of the most rewarding and frequently visited glaciers in Iceland. That’s for two main reasons.

Firstly, it’s an astonishing sight, a jagged blue stream of ice, flanked by high mountain peaks. Secondly, it’s easily accessible, meaning that you don’t have to venture into the Icelandic Highlands or to the country’s north to visit it. Combined, these two facts make a trip to Sólheimajökull the perfect day out.

While it’s impressive in its own right, the Sólheimajökull glacier is actually a subsidiary or “outlet glacier” of the Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest ice cap. Mýrdalsjökull sits on the notorious volcano known as Katla, which is expected to erupt in the not-so-distant future. Last time Katla did erupt, in 1918, it extended Iceland’s southern coast by 5 kilometres (3.1 miles), thanks to its huge lava flows.

Sólheimajökull itself slowly flows between Katla and Eyjafjallajökull (the volcano that erupted in 2010). When you visit Sólheimajökull, you’ll have the sense of walking in a fearsome volcanic landscape with the power to disrupt human activity all over the world.

The glacier itself is currently about 8 kilometres (5 miles) in length and 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) wide. However, over the years, it has been shrinking, leaving a glacial lake in the path of its retreat—a testament to the impact of a warming climate.

One day, Sólheimajökull may not be there at all. But today, the glacier’s manageable size, its striking scenery, and captivating volcanic activity makes it the perfect place for a glacier visit.

Where is Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland?

Sólheimajökull is one of southern Iceland’s most accessible glaciers. You’ll find its awesome bulk just over two hours east of the capital city of Reykjavik.

The mighty Mýrdalsjökull sits at the heart of Iceland’s south coast just north of the peaceful fishing village of Vík. Sólheimajökull extends further to the south, just a stone’s throw from route 1, the ring road that runs all the way around the coast of Iceland.

Travelling from Reykjavik to the east, you’ll soon cross the river Jökulsá. This is the glacial river that’s fed by the melting ice of Sólheimajökull, which slowly drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately after crossing the lagoon, turn left inland and you’ll arrive at the foot of the glacier.

While it’s accessible, Sólheimajökull still maintains its sense of the wild. Its rugged, complex surface is unblemished and the views around—over the Lakaþúfa and Kambfjöll mountains —are incredible.

How to get to Sólheimajökull glacier?

There are two ways to get to Sólheimajökull that visitors usually prefer. Either you can reach the glacier by car, which you can hire in Reykjavik, or you can join a tour that will handle the journey for you.

Taking a car has its pros and cons. It gives you the freedom to enjoy your own schedule, allowing you to stop wherever you choose along the way. However, the journey can be a little difficult if you’re not used to Icelandic roads —particularly in winter.

Alternatively, avoid the hassle of managing the journey yourself by taking a coach or minibus to Sólheimajökull. Typically running daily from Reykjavik, tours are the reliable and stress-free way to reach the glacier. And what’s more, you’ll be led by an expert guide who’ll share details of the area that you won’t find in the guide books. Of course, whichever method of transport you choose, Sólheimajökull will remain its captivating self. It’s just up to you which you prefer.

South Shore Adventure Tour


solheimajokull 9

One of the most exciting and convenient ways to visit Sólheimajökull glacier is on a South Shore Adventure Tour with Reykjavik Excursions.

On this day trip, you’ll explore some of the most breathtaking sights on Iceland’s south coast. Leaving Reykjavik in the morning, you’ll visit enchanting waterfalls and mysterious black sand beaches, the delightful coastal town of Vík, and the majestic Sólheimajökull too.

It’s a fantastic way to see some of the south coast’s most impressive destinations outside of the Golden Circle. What’s more, you’ll find yourself back in Reykjavik in the evening, ready for another adventure the next day.


What to do at Sólheimajökull glacier

With its sublime stream of ice, Sólheimajökull offers an unforgettable experience to anyone that pays it a visit. But what can you actually do when you get there?

Witness the glacial lagoon

One of the biggest draws of the Sólheimajökull glacier is its glacial lagoon, an ever-growing lake fed by the melting ice. Here, you’ll find icebergs floating in the serene waters against a backdrop of rugged mountains.

There’s plenty for you to explore on foot. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll see the dramatic moment that ice breaks from the glacier and crashes into the lake.

Hike across the ice

For many visitors, the thought of walking across the glacier themselves is irresistible. Rightly so, because to find yourself above the ice, walking on its cracked blue surface, is an experience you’ll never forget.

A hike across the glacier is easily arranged, although weather dependent. At Reykjavik Excursions, we organise glacier hikes led by expert guides who can ensure you journey across the ice in safety. They’ll share the fascinating details of glacial processes too.

What’s more, you’ll learn about the specialist equipment you’ll be using too—from ropes to crampons.

Join a snowmobile tour

Another way to discover the world of ice is on a snowmobile. Imagine exploring this white expanse at high speed. It’s a thrill.

You can enjoy this exciting experience at the nearby Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, whose vast size gives you more space to zoom around.

What is the best time to visit Sólheimajökull glacier?

While it’s a common question among people planning a trip to Iceland, the answer is not so simple. Really, there’s no best time to visit Sólheimajökull. All times of year offer an incredible experience. The one thing you really need to be aware of is the weather.

As in all of southern Iceland, the weather at Sólheimajökull can be unpredictable—in summer and in winter. During the summer months, you can expect temperatures to sit between 5-20°C (41-68°F), but bright sunshine can quickly turn rain—and even snow—at any moment. In winter, expect temperatures between -15 and 0°C (5 and 32°F), and conditions are even more volatile.

If it sounds like it will be cold, that’s because it’s true! Here, we’re close to the Arctic Circle, where temperatures are low and conditions extreme. But a visit will more than repay you. In any weather, seeing a glacier up close is an incredibly rewarding experience.

What to wear at the Sólheimajökull glacier

Whichever time of year you want to visit Sólheimajökull, make sure you bring proper outdoor gear. While most tour operators will provide you with all the specialist equipment that you will need, it’ll be on you to bring the right clothes.

That typically means waterproofs and layers. Really, you shouldn’t go anywhere in Iceland without a waterproof! In all seasons, and wherever you are, it will help to keep you dry and protect you from the wind too.

Layers are essential because they’re the most convenient way to keep you warm. If you get too warm, it’s easy to take them off, but it’s always a good idea to have another jumper with you just in case.

Remember, if you’re taking part in a glacier hike, you’ll be completely surrounded by ice. Gloves are a must and, if the sun is shining, you’ll benefit from some sunglasses too.


Glaciers in Iceland


solheimajokull 2

It’s no mystery where Iceland gets its name. 11% of the country is covered in ice—one of the highest proportions of all countries in the world—and that comes in the form of glaciers and ice caps.

The amazing thing about glaciers is that they move. In fact, while it’s quite hard to imagine when you see them, they’re actually long, slow-moving rivers of ice, travelling over centuries. Because of this movement, they carve out shapes and valleys in the landscape.

In Iceland, there are many glaciers to explore. Sólheimajökull and its parent Mýrdalsjökull are some of the most visited. However, you can also visit Langjökull, the closest glacier to Reykjavik, or Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in all of Europe.

There’s so much more to see too—from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon to caves beneath the ice.


Attractions near Sólheimajökull glacier

While Sólheimajökull is a fantastic destination all by itself, there’s plenty more to see and do in the area. In fact, whatever it is you choose to do at Sólheimajökull, we recommend that you put aside some time to visit these other attractions too.

Skógafoss

Tumbling 60 metres (227 feet) over a wide cliff face, Skógafoss is one of the loveliest waterfalls in southern Iceland. With its dramatic circle of cliffs and the rainbows that appear in the spray, it’s exceptionally picturesque.

But you don’t need to just take our word for it. There’s a reason why music videos and Hollywood films have been shot here, including James Bond and Thor.

Visit the waterfall on a tour of the south coast of Iceland. Or alternatively, swing by Skógafoss on the Fimmvörðuháls trail, a 22-kilometre (13.6-mile) hike.

Seljalandsfoss

Skógafoss’s main competitor to being the most breathtaking waterfall in southern Iceland is Seljalandsfoss, a short distance down the road. Cascading from a similar height, Seljalandsfoss has one particular advantage—you can walk behind its tumbling water.

With the pastoral landscape opening in front of you, this opportunity makes Seljalandsfoss a truly unforgettable experience. It’s extra special in the evening, when the sun shines through the water.

Luckily, you don’t have to choose between Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Rather, visit both on a tour of south Iceland.

Black Sand Beach

A short distance from Sólheimajökull is the charming little coastal town of Vík. If you have spent any time at all researching the south coast of Iceland, you’ll likely have seen pictures of it before.

The village is best known for Reynisfjara, an iconic and atmospheric beach a brief walk out of town. Its black sands create an aura of mystery, accentuated by the imposing cliffs and sea stacks that emerge from the water.

Truly, you can’t be in this part of Iceland without stopping at Reynisfjara. Its otherworldly atmosphere will stay with you forever.

The South Coast of Iceland

In a country known for its natural beauty, the south coast of Iceland is packed with wonders. While all of the sites we have mentioned above can be found on the southern shore, there’s so much more to see.

For example, we can’t forget Iceland’s Golden Circle, perhaps the best known travel itinerary in the country, featuring geysers, tectonic rifts, and enchanting waterfalls. It’s well known for good reason.

Alternatively, there’s the magical national park of Skaftafell, with its distinctive waterfalls and incredible hiking trails.

However you like to travel, there’s something on the south coast of Iceland for you. Discover more in our guide to Iceland’s south coast.

solheimajokull 3

Visit Sólheimajökull glacier with Reykjavik Excursions

On the south coast of Iceland, breathtaking glaciers, sublime mountains, and magical coastlines await. And there’s no better way to start your Icelandic adventure than on a trip to Sólheimajökull.

At Reykjavik Excursions, we can help make your visit to the glacier comfortable, easy, and fun. We’ll pick you up in Reykjavik and drop you right back in town after a day of thrills.

While many visitors like to join our classic tours, which run year-round, some prefer private tours or custom trips, to see the sights at their own pace. We offer these too—all you have to do is get in touch.

Of course, it’s not just to Sólheimajökull glacier that we run tours. Visit the whole of the south coast—and beyond—with us.

Rely on Reykjavik Excursions for a thrilling and inspiring trip. Explore our tours to see Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland to get started.

SOUTH SHORE BLOG

Your Ultimate Guide to the South Coast of Iceland

The south coast of Iceland is home to some of the country’s most magical and marvellous natural wonders. Here, we show you what you’ve been missing.