Iceland is home to the largest glacier in Europe, the 3rd biggest glacier in the world. This massive chunk of ice is the size of Puerto Rico! The Vatnajokull Glacier sits, taking up almost the entire southeast corner of Iceland—8% of the country. The average thickness of the ice is 400 meters and gets deeper than 1,000 meters in some places.

You can access the glacier at a few of its tongues in Skaftafell National Park. There is a visitor’s center where a trail originates to view the Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue. The two-hour round-trip hike leads up on the side, above the tongue for an outstanding view.

Just south of Skaftafellsjokull is Svinafelsjokull tongue with access to the edge of the glacier and an improvised trail up the northern edge.

You can also hire a tour company to go ice-hiking, or visit atop the glacier by jeep or snowmobile. Vatnajokull Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers and one of the highlights of Iceland.

 

Text and Photos by Stephen Bugno

View more photos of Vatnajokull Glacier below:

Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue

Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue

 

hike to Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

The edge of Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue

 

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

View of Skaftafellsjokull glacier tongue from our hike

 

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue (5)

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue up close

 

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue (4)

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue (2)

Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

 

from Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

The melting edge of Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

 

trail to Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

The trail to Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

Stephen at Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue

The author at Svinafellsjokull glacier tongue