Small Group Glacier Hiking & Ice Climbing Tour on Solheimajokull Glacier
Hop aboard for this adventurous and popular ice climbing and glacier hiking adventure, taking you from Reykjavík to the magnificent glacier of Sólheimajökull in South Iceland.
Solheimajokull is an outlet glacier, extending all the way from Mýrdalsjökull to the shoreline. From Reykjavík, your journey down the South Coast will take you passed numerous natural spectacles; you will see trickling rivers cutting through a wide expanse of rolling farmland, waterfalls big and small that cascade down the mountain faces and even small traditional farmsteads.
Travelling down the South Coast is one of the best ways to experience how diverse Iceland's landscapes truly are. On this tour, you will explore the glacier's amazing and intricate ice and rock formations, as well as delve into the jagged crevasses that slice through the Solheimajokull ice cap.
The more adventurous hikers will also have the chance to try their hand at ice climbing, a truly thrilling and unique way to experience and conquer the glacier. Nothing can quite describe the feeling of smashing in your ice axe for the first time! For those who choose not to ice climb, you will still be able to bask in the majestic panoramas.
You will be lead by friendly and experienced guides, trained to the highest standard in mountain safety and glacier expeditions. Your guide will provide you with all of the necessary equipment you need for a safe adventure, including helmets, crampons and ice axes. On your way back to Reykjavik, you'll stop off at Skogafoss waterfall, one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls. You will be mesmerized and enthralled by the cascading water, falling majestically into the pool below.
Please note that pick up from Reykjavik is not included in this tour but can be added for a small fee upon booking. Press choose a date to find availability and the best prices.
- Available: All year
- Duration: 10 hours
- Activities: Glacier Hiking, Ice Climbing, Sightseeing
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum age: 14 years.
- Languages: English
- Highlights: South Iceland,
South Iceland is the most popular part of the country and contains some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland, among them the Golden Circle, some of Iceland's most famous active volcanoes as well as the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
South Iceland is usually divided into the fertile South Icelandic lowlands between Hellisheidi and Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the one hand - and on the other hand the eastern part with the big volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull (home of Katla) and flattened sands stretching towards the sea.
The South Icelandic lowlands
The South Icelandic Lowlands stretch nearly 100 km from Hellisheidi in the west towards Eyjafjallajokull in the east as a very flat and fertile farming land. From the shore the lowland stretches about km towards the inland. This is the best agriculture area in Iceland. The whole area is geologically very young, mainly of tuff type, formed during the Ice Age by the lava flows of the numerous volcanoes of the area. The area is indeed surrounded by volcanically active mountains on all sides. The glacier rivers of the area have helped filling the lavas with sand and clay, leaving it more and less smooth and fertile. Very strong earthquakes are found in this area as well.
The most active volcanoes of the area are Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull. No less active and not far off, but on the east side, is Katla, which we’ll adress in the eastern part-section. South of the mainland are the volcanic Westman Islands, famous for the 1973 eruption as well as the eruption in 1963, when Surtsey island was formed. Closely linked to the volcanic activity in the south is the geothermal heat found in many places, the best known being the Geysir area, which forms a part of the famed Golden Circle, which also consists of Gullfoss waterfall , Iceland's most famous waterfall as well as one of its most beautiful, located in the popular rafting river Hvita and Thingvellir National Park, comprising three of Iceland's most beloved natural attractions.
The earthquakes of the area bear witness to the fact that Iceland is still in shape. This is further evidenced by the endless number of fissures in the lavas, fractures in the mountains and certain pieces of lands sinking. The area of Thingvellir is the best known example of this, showcasing the continental drift. Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of the old parliament, Althingi, (now situated in Reykjavik) and one of Iceland's most important sites.
Another of Iceland's most popular attractions is the beautiful Thorsmork valley, situated between Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull.
Natural harbour-sites are hardly any on the South shore, due to sand produced by the glacier rivers. A few towns are found in the area, Selfoss being the biggest one, Hveragerdi is another, then there are Hella and Hvolsvollur, all conveniently located by the ring road. By the shore are three fishing villages; Thorlakshofn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri. Thorlakshofn the only one of those that can accommodate modern ships and ferrys. The ferry to the Westman Islands sails from there. A new harbour has been built on the sandy coast opposite the Westman Islands. The whole south shoreline offers some of the most gigantic braker waves that you are likely to see.
Culturewise, in addition to Thingvellir, we reccomend the ancient bishop seat of Skalholt (weekends at Skalholt further offer rich music life). Also, Iceland's most famous saga, Njal's saga takes place in the South lowlands. We further recommend the large reconstructed turfhouse near Stong and the ancient excavated ruins.
For sports, horse riding is popular in the area as well as catching salmon or trout, hiking, and river rafting in Hvita.
The east part of South Iceland.
This is the area south and east of Myrdalsjokull. The volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull (near the border of the eastern and western part) and Myrdalsjokull, dominate the view. The landscape has been shaped by volcanic eruptions and vast sands stretch to the sea. Some agriculture is found here, however, with the farms in a row alongside the mountains. A few large glacial rivers fall down in this area which also has striking waterfalls, such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
Eyjafjallajokull is already well known for its 2010 eruption, disturbing air communication all over Europe for many days. Much more serious,however, would be an eruption from Katla, a volcano in the eastern part og Myrdalsjokull.
Katla’s last eruption was in the year 1918, when an enormous flood of water exploded from the glacier in a matter of minutes, threatening the local farmers of the area. Large amounts of ash and muddy material were brought to sea to form a new land of sand, Kotlutangi, later washed away by the sea. No people were killed in this eruption. Eruptions in Katla throughout the ages have further created the vast sand area Myrdalssandur. Sixteen eruptions have been recorded for Katla since 930 at intervals of 13-95 years and the volcano is being closely monitored, as time may draw near to its next eruption.
In the same volcanic system as Katla (geologically speaking), are the Lakagigar craters, northeast of Myrdalsjokull. Those erupted in the years 1783-84; producing the largest amount of lava known in historic times. The ashes hindered the sunlight from reaching down to the surface of Earth, resulting in cold climate over northern Europe.
In this area – what we call the eastern part of South Iceland -, there are many places worth visiting: Solheimajokull is a beautiful glacier in a walking distance (an outlet of Myrdalsjokull); Skogar has a very interesting museum of older time traditions and Skogafoss is only a few km away from there. One of Iceland’s most famous hiking routes, Fimmvorduhals, starts from Skogar. Southwest of the village Vik is one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches, Reynisfjara. Together with the promontory Dyrholaey, which is the southernmost tip of the mainland of Iceland, it offers a breathtaking view with amazing rock formations, a black pebble beach, an abundance of birds and the powerful waves of the North Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beach.
Further east stretches the world's most vast sand plain, Skeidararsandur. North of the sand is the fascinating Skaftafell preservation area. At its east end, south of Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest peak, is Ingolfshofdi cape, with its rich birdlife, old fishermen's shacks and its lighthouse. Following the shore further east is the incredibly beautiful and ice-filled Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Not far off is the region of Sudursveit, featuring the culture center and heritage museum Thorbergssetur, erected in the memory of Icelandic author Thorbergur Thordarson.Highlands,
The Icelandic Highlands cover the major part of the country and many of Iceland’s main natural attractions can be found there. Away from crowds, noise and bustle, the Highlands offer unique silence, serenity, peace and extreme natural beauty.
The Central Highlands
The Central Highlands cover a vast area, all at an altitude of over 500 meters, with numerous mountains reaching a height between 1000 and 2000 meters. Most of these higher mountains are covered by glaciers. Two of the highest mountains in the country (over 2000 m high) are located in Vatnajökull, namely Hvannadalshnúkur (2109 m, located in south Vatnajökull) and Bárðarbunga, a subglacial volcano in northwest Vatnajökull (2000 m).
Three of the largest glaciers in Iceland are located in the Central Highlands. These are Vatnajökull in the southeast (Europe’s largest glacier), Hofsjökull in the centre of Iceland and Langjökull, west of Hofsjökull.
- See here for all Glacier Hiking Tours
Various highlands paths lie between the glaciers, open for cars around June/July. One of the major ones are Kjölur, connecting south and north Iceland (the road is located between Hofsjökull and Langjökull). Sprengisandur, is another important path, connecting south and north, and located between Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.
Kaldidalur is a highland path stretching west of Langjökull, from Þingvellir towards the Borgarfjörður district. It then continues further north as Stórisandur.
Remember always that the natural environment that makes up Iceland's Highlands is as delicate as it is enchanting. The slightest damage inflicted upon small areas can cause erosion and irreversible landscape wounds that can easily spread over large areas. When travelling in the Highlands, therefore, visitors must at all times uphold responsible travel etiquette. Driving off roads and designated paths is strictly forbidden and punishable by heavy fines.
The South Highlands
Almost all the mountains south of the glaciers are tuff mountains. They were formed during the Ice Age, as well as the area north of Vatnajokull. Volcanic activity is confined to tuff areas of the country and in the southern Highlands are some of its most active and famous volcanoes, Hekla, Eyjafjallajökull and Katla in Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier.
- Learn more about Volcanoes in Iceland
Northeast, Central-North and Northwest Highlands
The northwest and central-north Highlands consist of ancient basalt formations and it is the same for the mountains of the Eastfjords.
There are a few oases in the highlands that have unique vegetation and wildlife. The most important of these are Þjórsárver, Nýidalur/Jökuldalur, Herðubreiðarlindir and Eyjabakkar. The pink-footed goose has its main nesting places at Þjórsárver and Eyjabakkar. Þjórsárver was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. Reindeers reside in the east Highlands.
- See here for all Highland tours
Skógafoss is one of the country’s biggest and most beautiful waterfalls with an astounding width of 25 meters (82 ft) and a drop of 60 meters (197 ft). Due to the amount of spray the cascade produces, a rainbow is present any time the sun emerges from behind the clouds.
Located on the Skógá river, this mighty cascade is clearly visible from Route 1 and is an excellent place to stop and stretch the legs while travelling Iceland’s South Coast. The river below Skógafoss holds a large char and salmon population and is thus a favourite spot for fishermen in the summer.
The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water. Keep in mind, however, that this will get you drenched. Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade.
Skógafoss is located near the small village of Skógar, south of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano. There you’ll find the Skógasafn folk museum, an open-air museum with both old wooden houses and turf houses, as well as a regional museum with various artefacts from this area.
A part of the Skógasafn Regional Museum is the Museum of Transportation, which showcases the history and evolution of transportation, communication and technologies in Iceland. There, you can see how this nation evolved from the age of the working horse to the digital communications of the 21st century.
The Skógasafn museum also includes a café and a museum shop, and in the village of Skógar, you will find both a hotel and a restaurant.
At the eastern side of Skógafoss, you will find one of Iceland’s most famed hiking routes; the Fimmvörðuháls pass. The 22 km (14 mi) trail takes you along Skógá river, between two glaciers, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull, before ending in the beautiful Þórsmörk valley.
A gold ring is on display at the Skógasafn museum. According to legend, the ring is from a chest that was owned by Þrasi Þórólfsson, one of the first Viking settlers in the area. Folklore states that before his death in 900 AD, Þrasi buried a chest filled with gold in a cave behind Skógafoss waterfall.
Many attempts were made to retrieve the chest after Þrasi’s death, and years later, locals managed to grasp a ring on the side of the chest. As they pulled, the ring broke off, and the treasure was lost forever. The ring was then given to the local church before it made its way to the museum.Sólheimajökull
Solheimajokull is a beautiful outlet glacier of the Myrdalsjokull icecap.
Solheimajokull is a rugged glacial tounge riddled with crevasses and spectacular ever-changing ice formations, jagged ridges and sinkholes and is popular for hiking and ice climbing.
The glacier river Jokulsa a Solheimasandur has its source at the glacier, flowing over the sand plain of Solheimasandur towards the sea.
Pickup time : 08:00
Small group guarantee
Certified glacier guide
All necessary glacier gear
Glacier hiking on Sólheimajökull Glacier
An introduction to ice climbing
Pickup from Reykjavík can be added for 5.000 ISK extra per person
Hiking shoes, waterproof pants & waterproof jacket (Can be rented for a small fee)
Food & drinks
What to bring:
Warm outdoor clothing
Good Hiking Shoes
Waterproof pants & waterproof jacket
Good to know:
Lunch is unfortunately not provided so we recommend that you bring packed lunch with you.