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Into the Glacier

Five things glacial to do in Iceland

November 28, 2019

Into the Glacier

Five things glacial to do in Iceland

November 28, 2019

Have you ever heard people say that Greenland is icy and Iceland is green?

Although the saying may have some truth to it, they don’t call it Iceland for no reason. Around 11% of the country’s surface is covered in glacier. So we thought we would recommend a few glacier-related activities for you to consider while in Iceland – happy icing!
Islands Kort IOYO copy 800

1. Take a boat ride between icebergs

A blog about Icelandic glaciers can only begin in one place: Vatnajökull. It's that big white blob your eye is immediately drawn to when looking at a map of the island. The name is a combination of the Icelandic words for "water" and "glacier". Water Glacier, if you like, and at 8,300 square kilometres, it happens to be Europe’s biggest glacier.

Vatnajökull's most famous destination is undoubtably Jökulsárlón, an incredibly picturesque glacier lagoon just off the main road, south of the glacier. It’s essentially a retirement home for melting chunks of ice, a lake where ice breaks off the glacier and floats around while it slowly melts into oblivion. If you’ve never seen an iceberg, the thought that just around a tenth of the ice is visible above water is chilling. Granted, not as chilling as the fact that our glacial ice is melting away faster than it freezes back. Jökulsárlón is one of the Hollywood stars of Icelandic nature, featured in productions such as Batman Begins, Tomb Raider and not one, but two James Bond movies. More ambitious travellers will want to stay here for longer than the mandatory car park selfie pit stop. So why not take a boat ride around the mighty chunks of heavenly blue ice?

2. Climb Iceland’s highest peak

More hardcore outdoorsmen will also want to know that Iceland’s highest peak is in Vatnajökull National Park. South of the vast expanse of Vatnajökull lies Öræfajökull, an ancient volcano covered by the same glacial sheet. On this volcano, at 2,110 meters, lies the pyramidal peak that is Hvannadalshnjúkur, the roof of Iceland. Be sure to get in touch with an experienced guide if you dare make the trip, as glacial crevasses can be as sneaky as they can be dangerous. Also, try to go on a good day with clear visibility, as the view can range from jaw-dropping to mildly disappointing.

3. Go inside a glacier

The country's second biggest glacier is Langjökull, or "long glacier", aptly named because of its lengthy shape. It lies to the west of the Icelandic highlands, parallel to the volcanic zone that cuts Iceland in half from southwest to north. One of the more spectacular things to do at Langjökull is to go inside it. Yes, inside the glacier. A man-made ice cave makes it possible to visit the blue ice buried beneath the surface, all in the company of a guide, of course.

4. Check out some sculptures

When it comes to glaciers, bigger isn't always more beautiful. Sólheimajökull or "sun world glacier" is a testimony to this fact, as its popularity isn’t necessarily matched by its size. It is, in a way, like a tongue sticking out from the larger Mýrdalsjökull. If you're beginning to mix up your glaciers, don't worry. Glaciers cover all kinds of landscapes and often times they're seperated by what lies beneath while the untrained eye won’t see where one begins and another ends. Sólheimajökull is in many ways an easier and more accessible tour than the strenuous hike up to Hvannadalshnjúkur. One can pack their things and leave the capital not too insanely early in the morning, hike a glacier, and be back for drinks in the evening. The view from the smaller Sólheimajökull isn't too shabby either, as it’s nearest surroundings are mostly the southern lowlands of Iceland. The sights along the hike are breathtaking, like a perfectly curated exhibition of sculptures at times, and a tour on the glacier can be as informative as it is beautiful.

Sólheimajökull, like many glaciers, is also a living testimony of how rapidly the earth’s arctic ice is melting, as scientists have predicted it will be gone within decades. We could be the last generation to enjoy the ice formations that Mother Nature has been moulding here for centuries.

5. Ski, meditate or wait for an alien invasion

Not all glaciers in Iceland have the honour of having a national park named after them. Snæfellsjökull, or "snowy mountain glacier," is one of the lucky few. Sitting out on the edge of the world, or the stub sticking westwards out of Iceland’s mainland known as Snæfellsnes peninsula, is one of the more serene, beautifully symmetrical and beloved glaciers of Iceland. On a good day, one can see the glacier from Reykjavik, with locals pointing out that “huh, you can see the glacier quite clearly today,” as casually as one might say “huh, nice weather we’re having.”

Snæfellsjökull, probably owing to its beauty, is one of the more written and talked about glaciers in Iceland. One example is Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, where the mysterious entrance to our planet happens to be this very glacier. It features prominently in Icelandic folklore and is believed by many to be one of earth’s mystic points of power, with people ascending to the top regularly to meditate, roll around in the snow or perform whatever ritual they feel gets them in touch with the almighty power they believe to reside there. The glacier was even believed to be the point to which aliens would visit our planet back in 1993. Whatever truth you subscribe to, this glacier has an undeniable magical presence about it. It also happens to be one of the places one can go skiing in summer!

All of the above being said, it should be noted that a visit to the surface of a glacier is not without its risks. The untrained eye won’t spot the crevasses hidden beneath the surface. Make sure that when you go, you do so with proper gear and under the supervision of a trusted guiding service.

SRE81-GlacierWalk-03

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Into the Glacier

Five things glacial to do in Iceland

November 28, 2019

Into the Glacier

Five things glacial to do in Iceland

November 28, 2019

Have you ever heard people say that Greenland is icy and Iceland is green?

Although the saying may have some truth to it, they don’t call it Iceland for no reason. Around 11% of the country’s surface is covered in glacier. So we thought we would recommend a few glacier-related activities for you to consider while in Iceland – happy icing!
Islands Kort IOYO copy 800

1. Take a boat ride between icebergs

A blog about Icelandic glaciers can only begin in one place: Vatnajökull. It's that big white blob your eye is immediately drawn to when looking at a map of the island. The name is a combination of the Icelandic words for "water" and "glacier". Water Glacier, if you like, and at 8,300 square kilometres, it happens to be Europe’s biggest glacier.

Vatnajökull's most famous destination is undoubtably Jökulsárlón, an incredibly picturesque glacier lagoon just off the main road, south of the glacier. It’s essentially a retirement home for melting chunks of ice, a lake where ice breaks off the glacier and floats around while it slowly melts into oblivion. If you’ve never seen an iceberg, the thought that just around a tenth of the ice is visible above water is chilling. Granted, not as chilling as the fact that our glacial ice is melting away faster than it freezes back. Jökulsárlón is one of the Hollywood stars of Icelandic nature, featured in productions such as Batman Begins, Tomb Raider and not one, but two James Bond movies. More ambitious travellers will want to stay here for longer than the mandatory car park selfie pit stop. So why not take a boat ride around the mighty chunks of heavenly blue ice?

2. Climb Iceland’s highest peak

More hardcore outdoorsmen will also want to know that Iceland’s highest peak is in Vatnajökull National Park. South of the vast expanse of Vatnajökull lies Öræfajökull, an ancient volcano covered by the same glacial sheet. On this volcano, at 2,110 meters, lies the pyramidal peak that is Hvannadalshnjúkur, the roof of Iceland. Be sure to get in touch with an experienced guide if you dare make the trip, as glacial crevasses can be as sneaky as they can be dangerous. Also, try to go on a good day with clear visibility, as the view can range from jaw-dropping to mildly disappointing.

3. Go inside a glacier

The country's second biggest glacier is Langjökull, or "long glacier", aptly named because of its lengthy shape. It lies to the west of the Icelandic highlands, parallel to the volcanic zone that cuts Iceland in half from southwest to north. One of the more spectacular things to do at Langjökull is to go inside it. Yes, inside the glacier. A man-made ice cave makes it possible to visit the blue ice buried beneath the surface, all in the company of a guide, of course.

4. Check out some sculptures

When it comes to glaciers, bigger isn't always more beautiful. Sólheimajökull or "sun world glacier" is a testimony to this fact, as its popularity isn’t necessarily matched by its size. It is, in a way, like a tongue sticking out from the larger Mýrdalsjökull. If you're beginning to mix up your glaciers, don't worry. Glaciers cover all kinds of landscapes and often times they're seperated by what lies beneath while the untrained eye won’t see where one begins and another ends. Sólheimajökull is in many ways an easier and more accessible tour than the strenuous hike up to Hvannadalshnjúkur. One can pack their things and leave the capital not too insanely early in the morning, hike a glacier, and be back for drinks in the evening. The view from the smaller Sólheimajökull isn't too shabby either, as it’s nearest surroundings are mostly the southern lowlands of Iceland. The sights along the hike are breathtaking, like a perfectly curated exhibition of sculptures at times, and a tour on the glacier can be as informative as it is beautiful.

Sólheimajökull, like many glaciers, is also a living testimony of how rapidly the earth’s arctic ice is melting, as scientists have predicted it will be gone within decades. We could be the last generation to enjoy the ice formations that Mother Nature has been moulding here for centuries.

5. Ski, meditate or wait for an alien invasion

Not all glaciers in Iceland have the honour of having a national park named after them. Snæfellsjökull, or "snowy mountain glacier," is one of the lucky few. Sitting out on the edge of the world, or the stub sticking westwards out of Iceland’s mainland known as Snæfellsnes peninsula, is one of the more serene, beautifully symmetrical and beloved glaciers of Iceland. On a good day, one can see the glacier from Reykjavik, with locals pointing out that “huh, you can see the glacier quite clearly today,” as casually as one might say “huh, nice weather we’re having.”

Snæfellsjökull, probably owing to its beauty, is one of the more written and talked about glaciers in Iceland. One example is Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, where the mysterious entrance to our planet happens to be this very glacier. It features prominently in Icelandic folklore and is believed by many to be one of earth’s mystic points of power, with people ascending to the top regularly to meditate, roll around in the snow or perform whatever ritual they feel gets them in touch with the almighty power they believe to reside there. The glacier was even believed to be the point to which aliens would visit our planet back in 1993. Whatever truth you subscribe to, this glacier has an undeniable magical presence about it. It also happens to be one of the places one can go skiing in summer!

All of the above being said, it should be noted that a visit to the surface of a glacier is not without its risks. The untrained eye won’t spot the crevasses hidden beneath the surface. Make sure that when you go, you do so with proper gear and under the supervision of a trusted guiding service.

SRE81-GlacierWalk-03

The RE blog

vaskur
Golden-Circle-and-Fontana-Steam-bath
Fjaðrárgljúfur
Into the Glacier
Eistnaflug_EydisKlaraThorleifsdottir
iStock-1151150610
RE63
JRJ09685-min Dress the Part
Thorsmork Panorama
Nature Pool
BlueLagoon1
Skógafoss waterfall Iceland hero mynd
RE05-Reykjavik Panorama
kirkjufell-12x7
Reykjanes

Drinks are on us!

Did you know that Iceland has some of the purest tap water in the world?

Read more