Looking for a multi-day tour that offers thrilling outdoor adventures, spectacular sightseeing, and cosy accommodation? This is it! This all-inclusive farm stay includes incredible scenery, including vast glaciers, epic waterfalls, and hauntingly beautiful black sand beaches.
Join this thrilling snowmobile experience on the mighty Mýrdalsjökull Glacier! Spend 1-hour riding across the ice field, with breathtaking scenery and an experienced guide. This tour doesn’t require previous snowmobile riding experience, and anyone over the age of 17 with a valid driver’s licence can operate the snowmobile. But, if there are kids over 8 in the group or non-drivers, they can ride as a passenger. Get ready to glide on a glacier!
Join this thrilling snowmobile experience on the mighty Mýrdalsjökull Glacier! Spend 1-hour riding across the ice field, with breathtaking scenery and an experienced guide. This day tour doesn’t require previous snowmobile riding experience, and anyone over the age of 17 with a valid driver’s licence can operate the snowmobile. But, if there are kids over 8 in the group or non-drivers, they can ride as a passenger. Get ready to glide on a glacier! The tour also includes sightseeing stops at the epic waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss!
Exploring the Frozen Surface of Mýrdalsjökull Glacier
Facts About Mýrdalsjökull Glacier
The fourth largest ice cap in Iceland, Mýrdalsjökull’s highest peak sits at 1,493 metres (4,898 feet) above sea level and it is estimated to cover a massive 595 square kilometres (230 square miles). It covers a part of the Katla volcano system – an active system that usually erupts every 40 to 80 years. The last Katla eruption was in 1918, so scientists are monitoring the area carefully for any signs of seismic activity. At the moment, the area is deemed as safe to explore.
How to Experience Mýrdalsjökull Glacier Up Close
As Iceland’s southernmost glacier, Mýrdalsjökull is a popular spot for all kinds of outdoor activities. It sits just off the Route One main road that runs along the south coast of the island. The Sólheimajökull glacial tongue creeps down towards the shore, making it one of the most accessible glacial outlets in the country.
While you can easily drive to the Mýrdalsjökull base camp from Reykjavík yourself, getting up close to the glacier requires a specialist vehicle. The only way to experience the surface of Mýrdalsjökull glacier is on a guided excursion. Glacier hikes leave from Mýrdalsjökull base camp at Ytri-Sólheimar or from the nearby coastal village of Vík. You can also join an organised day tour to Mýrdalsjökull directly from Reykjavík, taking in some of the highlights of the south coast before embarking on a glacier hike. This is a great option for those that want to simply sit back and enjoy the scenery, hopping out to walk to thundering waterfalls and stroll along black-sanded beaches.
On a Mýrdalsjökull glacier hike, you’ll be provided with crampons, ice axes and helmets, sometimes with the option of a helmet-top camera to document your journey onto the ice. The hike requires some steep ascents, hacking into the icy pathways with sharp crampons and squeezing through frozen gulleys and ravines. Finally, you emerge on the surface of the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap where a vast, frozen tundra greets you with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
In winter, you have the option of exploring Mýrdalsjökull’s glacier ice caves where blue walls glow like crystals and your guide can tell you tales of how these pockets within the ice were formed. During the summer months, meltwater at the caves’ entrances makes them inaccessible. Due to the uncertain nature of the terrain inside, you can only enter Iceland’s ice caves with a professional and experienced guide.
Those that have a really adventurous side can try their hand at ice climbing on Sólheimajökull glacier. You’ll be provided with ice axes and shown the basic ice climbing techniques by a qualified guide before climbing up a sheer wall of crystalline ice and out of a glacial crevasse. For those that have a need for speed, there is the option to take a snowmobile trip onto the vast expanse of Mýrdalsjökull ice cap.
Sights and Attractions Around Mýrdalsjökull
Mýrdalsjökull sits along Iceland’s south coast where there are myriad natural wonders to admire along the way. If you are taking a day trip to Mýrdalsjökull from Reykjavík, it’s easy to include stops at the two most majestic waterfalls of the south coast – Seljalandsfoss where you can walk behind the cascading water, and Skógafoss where you can admire rainbows floating in the spray.
Reynisfjara black-sand beach and the pretty coastal village of Vík are also both nearby. Miles of onyx sand stretches along the coast at Reynisfjara and you can take ATV tours across this other-worldly landscape to the wreck of an aeroplane. At Vík, you’ll find plenty of accommodation options should you want to spend the night and a handful of pubs and restaurants for an evening meal. The red-roofed church on a hilltop at Vík is a popular image for guidebooks and there’s also the option to try ziplining over glacial rivers and mossy hills nearby.
You’ll find Mýrdalsjökull glacier on Iceland’s south coast, just north of the village of Vík. It is close to the famous Eyjafjallajökull glacier and one of Iceland’s most popular hiking routes – Fimmvörðuháls – runs between the two ice caps. Mýrdalsjökull sits just off the Route One ring road. However, you need a 4x4 or super jeep to drive right up to the glacier.
As the crow flies, there are 146 kilometres (around 90 miles) between Reykjavik and Mýrdalsjökull. Following the road, it’s actually 165 kilometres to drive to Mýrdalsjökull as the closest car park to the glacier is at Ytri-Sólheimar. The drive takes around two and a half hours.
The most popular activity around Mýrdalsjökull is embarking on a glacier hike. Guided hikes onto the frozen surface of the ice cap take place at two of the glacial tongues: Sólheimajökull and Kötlujökull. Due to its close proximity to the Route One road along the south coast, Sólheimajökull is one of the most popular spots in Iceland for glacier walking. Here, you can trek across the frozen landscape with a guide helping you avoid hidden sinkholes and ravines in the ice. You can explore glowing blue ice caves beneath the surface and even try your hand at ice climbing. Those that prefer their hikes a little less frozen underfoot can simply admire the beauty of Mýrdalsjökull from the nearby popular walking trail – Fimmvörðuháls.
As Mýrdalsjökull sits just off the main route of Iceland’s south coast, there are loads of natural wonders and attractions to see on the way from Reykjavík. Most south coast itineraries include a stop at Reynisfjara black-sand beach where the wild North Atlantic laps at the jet-black shore and an ethereal cave is formed from twisting basalt columns. The nearby village of Vík is home to a pretty, red-roofed church perched on a hilltop which inspires visitors to snap a few photos. Then there are the beguiling waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.
Mýrdalsjökull’s weather tends to mirror that of the rest of Iceland’s south coast. In the summer months (June, July and August), you can expect temperatures to remain as low as 4°C and climb as high as 14°C. This is when the glacier experiences the least amount of rain and snow, and you’re most likely to get a sunny day for a hike. The warmer temperatures of summer do mean that the natural ice caves that form within Mýrdalsjökull become inaccessible as their entrances melt. In winter, the temperature lows of -2°C and maximum highs of 4°C keep the ice cave entrances frozen and therefore more stable. In winter, you’ll likely see the glacier covered in a blanket of snow and blizzards are not uncommon. Sometimes glacier hikes can be cancelled at short notice in winter due to the weather.
As with any outdoor activity in Iceland, layers are essential when embarking on a glacier hike on Mýrdalsjökull. While the air temperature might be cold, a glacier hike involves some steep climbing, so you soon warm up and will want to de-layer as you ascend. Wearing a sports t-shirt, a long-sleeve jumper, fleece or woolly jumper, plus a waterproof jacket, is the best option for a glacier hike. You’ll want to wear a pair of trousers that are comfortable for hiking – not jeans as these take a long time to dry and are really uncomfortable when wet. A pair of trousers that are water resistant or even waterproof is a good idea, especially if you are ice climbing or planning on going through an ice cave. In winter, you’ll want to wear a warm hat, scarf and insulated gloves. Crampons and helmets are provided, so just make sure your hat is thin enough to fit under a helmet (bobbles are probably not a good idea!) and that you wear sturdy, waterproof walking boots. Walking shoes are not advisable as you need to fit crampons over the top of your footwear. When the sun reflects off the glacier’s white surface, it can be dazzling so don’t forget to bring sunglasses.
Basic safety equipment is provided on guided tours of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, so you don’t have to worry about bringing ice axes, crampons and helmets. As it is an active experience, it’s a good idea to bring some snacks for the bus or drive from Reykjavik – cereal bars, nuts or even chocolate for a little post or pre-hike boost. There are places to stop for meals on the way to Mýrdalsjökull, so you don’t have to bring a packed lunch. Glacier hiking is a bucket-list experience and the pristine white surface or glowing blue walls of an ice cave make for endless pictures. It’s a good idea to bring a power pack with you to make sure your camera or phone doesn’t run out of battery. It’s also very easy to stay hydrated in Iceland because glacial outlets have water so pure and cold you can fill up your bottle from nearly any stream or river. Make sure to bring a refillable water bottle with you.
Like all of Iceland’s glaciers, you cannot walk on the icy surface on your own. To get onto the surface of Mýrdalsjökull, you need to join a guided excursion where you’ll be given a safety briefing and receive all the essential equipment to tackle the frozen surface. The natural ice caves of Mýrdalsjökull can also only be visited with a professional guide. You can’t even drive up to the base of the glacier without a specialist vehicle.