Embark on a Vatnajökull Expedition. Discover Iceland's largest glacier in an epic adventure!
Activity provider: Icelandic Mountain Guides by Icelandia
Cross the largest glacier in Europe during this perfect combination of adventure, stunning nature and physical challenge. This is a dream tour for outdoor enthusiasts! Crossing the mighty Vatnajökull ice cap should be on the list for every ambitious adventurer. You can expect a strenuous 9-day tour with 7-9 hours of walking per day for a total distance of 110-130 km (68-81 mi). A professionally qualified guide will lead the group (4-12 participants). On the vast ice, you will battle conditions ranging from extreme colds and strong wind to extreme heat when the sun comes out and bounces off the snow. This trek combines camping and mountain huts and is not intended for beginner climbers.
About this tour
PREPARATION MEETING WITH THE GUIDE - DAY BEFORE DEPARTURE
The tour begins with a mandatory morning meeting with the guide, where they will inspect the gear of each expedition member and introduce the itinerary. If something is missing, ski equipment has to be rented, or something else has to be arranged, there is time for that during this day.
Day 1 - REYKJAVÍK - JÖKULHEIMAR
Pick up from accommodation early morning (time decided the day before) and transfer to Jökulheimar on the west side of the glacier. A super-jeep takes us from Reykjavík and up to the snow line on the glacier, where we start the walk in the afternoon. When we part with the modified vehicle that brings the team onto the ice cap, we are fully exposed to the elements and reliant on our equipment, skills, training and the guide's leadership. The first night is spent in tents.
Distance: 5-10 km
Walking time: 4-6 hrs
Days 2 & 3 - ASCENT TO GRÍMSVÖTN
We continue the ascent of the main glacier up to the vast plains of the Vatnajökull ice cap. In the afternoon of day three, our destination is in sight as we arrive at the Grímsvötn caldera near the centre of the ice cap. The second night is spent in tents, but the third is in the comfortable Grímsvötn mountain hut.
Distance each day: 15 km
Walking time each day: 6-7 hrs
Day 4 - GRÍMSVÖTN CALDERA
Today is devoted to the exploration of the magnificent volcanic caldera of Grímsvötn. This is a highly active volcanic area with frequent eruptions in the last century, the last one in 2011. The Grímsvötn caldera is a complex of calderas, and the effects of the geothermal heat continuously melt the glacier ice to create a sub-glacial caldera lake. We spend another night in the comfortable Grímsvötn mountain hut.
Days 5 & 6 - TRAVERSING TO THE ICE CAP TOWARDS ÖRÆFAJÖKULL GLACIER
After Grímsvötn, we follow the glacier ridge southwards to the direction of Öræfajökull, aiming for Hermannaskarð pass. Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2110 m/6900 ft), and other peaks will seem to grow in size as we get further south. These nights are spent in tents.
Distance each day: 20-25 km
Walking time each day: 6-7 hrs
Day 7 - HERMANNASKARÐ PASS TO ESJUFJÖLL MOUNTAINS
The last night was spent either in Hermannaskarð pass or a bit further east under the Mávabyggðir mountain range. We break camp and begin our pleasant downward descent to the Esjufjöll mountains. The day is not too long, and the skiing is less intense than the previous days, so we might have time and energy to explore Esjufjöll a bit in the afternoon. We will spend the night in the Esjufjöll mountain hut.
Distance: 20-25 km
Walking time: 6-7 hrs
Day 8 - FROM ESJUFJÖLL DOWN BREIÐAMERKURJÖKULL GLACIER
The last leg of our journey is slightly downwards. There is no rush in the morning, and we can enjoy the magnificent area with all the mountains, crevasse fields (from a safe distance) and glacier moraines. The last night is in sleeping bag accommodation, in or close near
Distance: 15 km
Walking time: 5-6 hrs
Day 9 - RETURN TO REYKJAVÍK
We will be taken back to Reykjavík (private ride) in the morning of day 9 after a good night’s sleep and breakfast. If, because of weather o
Need to know
There is a preparation meeting with the guide in the morning of the day before departure. Therefore passengers should arrive in Iceland two days prior to departure. Please note that we need a minimum of 4 passengers to be able to confirm the departure.
- Flexible Cancellation
- No Booking Fees
What’s included and what to bring on this tour
It’s important to always be prepared for your next adventure in Iceland. See our list of what’s included, and what you should bring or add to your trip
- Experienced and qualified guide
- Mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation in dormitories (3 nights)
- Camping accommodation in two persons tent (4 nights)
- Guesthouse sleeping ba
- Sleeping bag
- Skiing equipment
- Accommodation in Reykjavík
If you're planning a trip to Iceland, it's important to be prepared with the right information. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you plan your trip
Our meeting points have no official addresses, but you can see directions and GPS points if you click the map above.
Before we head to the glacier for the tour, we need to get everyone fitted with the equipment, crampons and harnesses. The crampons need to be adjusted to each person's shoe size, so it is important that people arrive 20 minutes before so everyone is ready at the departure time.
We always recommend to book as soon as you are ready especially if you have a strict travel schedule or a large group. It is easy to change or cancel 24 hours before departure by emailing us (email@example.com). Tours can also be purchased the day of as long as there are spaces available.
Are you dreaming of an Arctic adventure of a lifetime? This 5-day tour has you scaling the highest peak of the Arctic (3694 m/12120 ft). Mt. Gunnbjörn has been called the 8th continental peak due to its massive size, and it beckons climbers from around the world. On the east coast, where towering mountains rise from the Greenland icecap, the conditions are pristine and similar to those in Antarctica. There’s nothing quite like challenging yourself to climb in one of the most isolated areas of the north, with the fresh Arctic air and stark white snow. An experienced and qualified guide will lead the group, keeping participants safe and informed. This is not a trek for a beginner as the hike is considered strenuous, and participants should have mountain climbing experience and be prepared to camp for four nights. Mt. Gunnbjörn is easily accessible on a ski plane from Iceland. Once in the Watkins Mountains, we set up a comfortable base camp at the foot of the mountain. To make the summit day more manageable, we establish one camp on the way to the summit. The climb can be done on snowshoes, with the last part done on crampons.