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Embark on a Vatnajökull Expedition. Discover Iceland's largest glacier in an epic adventure!

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.

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

Availability
Spring
Difficulty
Extreme
Duration
9 days
Minimum age
18
Accomodation
Camping and mountain huts
Max ascent
750 m (2460 ft)
Total distance
110 - 130 km (68 - 81 mi)

TourID: EXPI51

Activity provider: Icelandic Mountain Guides by Icelandia

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.

From €0/person
  • Flexible Cancellation
  • No Booking Fees

Tour itinerary

Vatnajökull Glacier Expedition ・ 9 days

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

Included

  • Experienced and qualified guide
  • Mountain hut sleeping bag accommodation in dormitories (3 nights)
  • Camping accommodation in two persons tent (4 nights)
  • Guesthouse sleeping ba

Not included

  • Sleeping bag
  • Mattress
  • Skiing equipment
  • Accommodation in Reykjavík
FAQ

Are you wondering about something?

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

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