Sólheimajokull Glacier Hike, South Coast Tour, Iceland

Iceland - the beautiful island on the periphery of Europe which offers many attractions for those seeking adventure and a different type of spending their vacation rather than beaches, famous places and tropical areas. The empty, volcanic scenery full of spectacular waterfalls will make you feel as if you were on another planet. Apart from taking a stroll on black beaches with basalt columns, immersing yourself in hot, blue milky waters of Blue Lagoon and admiring the magnificent phenomenon - the northern lights, the glacier hike is another unforgettable thing that you just must add to your bucket list!

 

How to get to Sólheimajokull Glacier

 

The Sólheimajokull Glacier is located around 150 km (93 miles) - 2 hour drive from the Icelandic capital - Reykjavik. If you decide to drive on your own, it's easy to reach, however, to go on a hike, you should have a proper equipment and know the way as the surface is extremely slippery and there are many cracks and gaps you can fall into. The easiest way is to take a tour with a guide - you'll get the equipment and be sure to follow the right path.

We took a tour from Grey Line - they offer great services and competitive prices (but bear in mind that prices in Iceland can get pretty expensive comparing to other countries). If you don't have much time, you can go on a day trip that's called South Coast, Glacier and Waterfalls - in one day you'll be able to see a lot - the most important sights along the southern coast of Iceland. I'll describe all the highlights of this tour and give an honest review in a separate post.

 

 Approaching the glacier

Approaching the glacier

 The area around

The area around

 In front of the glacier

In front of the glacier

 On a sunny day, the ice was melting

On a sunny day, the ice was melting

 Sólheimajokull glacier - before the hike

Sólheimajokull glacier - before the hike

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 Sólheimajokull Glacier

Sólheimajokull Glacier

 

Glacier hike in Iceland - the experience

 

We arrived at the glacier in the afternoon, after visiting the amazing black beaches and two of the most spectacular waterfalls - Seljalandsfoss and Skógagoss (I'll describe them in the future). We were told that this is one of the rainiest spots in Iceland - but we were lucky with the weather (usually we are not) and the day was mostly sunny and beautiful, without even one cloud in the sky.

The brochures and leaflets you'll get from the tour operators will probably not mention that (if they do mention - you'll need to read fine print), unfortunately, quite often the itinerary may be changed and the hike - canceled due to the weather conditions - instead you'll get to see a museum, exhibition or something of this sort.

The preparation and instructions from the guide were quite long and not adequate to what was awaiting us at all. We received crampons and little axes. I guess, if we'd taken the whole day tour which also explores the caves of the glacier from the inside - it all would have made more sense. But during a quick hike (as a part of the South Coast tour) that is extremely easy, all the equipment (maybe with the exception of crampons) is more for fun than use.

After a brief explanation about how the glacier is formed, we headed onto the slippery surface - with the crampons on it's not difficult. The white slopes painted with dark lines of melted snow created spectacular scenery that we'd never seen before. The little ice caves as well as the cracks on ice were equally impressive. I just wish we had gone straight to the top instead of wasting time on standing in front of the glacier listening to the unnecessary instructions.

From nature's side, everything was perfect - the glacier, landscapes, the weather and the overall experience - with the exception of the amount of time we spent for the hike. It was way too short! If you do want to experience the glacier fully, buy a tour that will allow you to spend the entire day only on the glacier. It's really worth it!

 

 Preparation for the hike

Preparation for the hike

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 A hidden hole under snow

A hidden hole under snow

 Cracks in ice

Cracks in ice

 Quite a large gap on the surface

Quite a large gap on the surface

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 Fully equipped!

Fully equipped!

 On top of the glacier!

On top of the glacier!

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 A little ice cave

A little ice cave

 Exploring the ice cave

Exploring the ice cave

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 Sólheimajokull glacier

Sólheimajokull glacier

 The view from the glacier

The view from the glacier

 

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