Friday, 14 December 2018

Climate and Weather - How Windy is Iceland?

I'll just come right out and say it. Iceland can be very windy. I say “can” because windiness is a relative term depending on what you're used to. The gusts you'll find on this small, Nordic island are significantly stronger than your run-of-the-mill gentle breeze. Would it be an exaggeration to say that the wind in Iceland can knock you down? Definitely not. But thankfully it's not that powerful all the time. Extreme weather conditions and potent storms will definitely cause wind conditions to pick up. So just how windy is it in Iceland? And how do you deal with the extreme weather that you encounter? Is it safe for tent camping? And what about the average wind speeds? We'll get into these questions and more as we dive into Iceland's climate, weather, and the wind.

How windy is Iceland?

Iceland: A Tiny Island with Lots of Wind 

When most tourists travel to Iceland, they expect it to be really cold. The country's name has the word “ice” in it after all. But what catches many first-time visitors off guard is the wind. Most just aren't expecting it. Everyone knows the weather here is a bit crazy. And in addition to experiencing rain, snow, sleet, and sunshine all in the same day, you might also have to deal with some pretty high winds.

How Windy is Iceland? 

While windiness can vary from place to place and season to season, let's take a look at Reykjavik to see some wind forecasts. On a day with little to no wind, gusts will be around 10-15 mph (16-24 km/h). When the winds are blowing really strongly, they've been known to reach 32 mph (52 km/h) on some days. If you think that's rough, you haven't seen anything yet. While most people associate hurricanes with more tropical climes, I can assure you that Iceland has its fair share of gale force winds. Back in 2015, Iceland experienced a terrible winter storm near Vík with winds up to 160 mph (258 km/h). That's equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale. While it is rare to have winds this strong, you should never underestimate weather conditions in Iceland, especially during a storm.

Strong wind and waves near Hrisey during a winter storm

Practicing Safety When Driving in Iceland’s Wind 

When Icelanders tell you that it's going to be really windy, believe them. They've grown up in this climate, and they're very familiar with the weather. They also know the dangers of driving In high winds, and if they tell you to stay off the road, it's definitely for your own good. Tourists who have chosen not to heed their warnings have ended up blown off the road. It's better to be safe than sorry, so always use the tools at your disposal when driving in Iceland’s wind. Check the wind speed forecast before you embark upon your journey. There are also electric boards on the road the display temperature and wind speed. Pay attention to these and use good sense. If for some reason you find yourself caught in a windstorm, have the good sense to pull over and wait until it passes. This is especially true for smaller vehicles that can be easily blown around by powerful winds.

Two of my favorite resources for tracking the weather in Iceland are the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Road and Coastal Administration. They both issue advisories and severe weather warnings. is also a useful tool.

Iceland gets windy so practice caution while driving

Is Camping in Iceland a Good Idea Given How Windy it is? 

We've had some of our blog readers ask if it's possible to go tent camping in Iceland in spite of the wind. It is, that comes with a few caveats. I recommend coming in the summer because the weather is less harsh. I also recommend having a backup plan like sleeping in your car or campervan. Lastly, be sure to arrive at the campsite with plenty of daylight to set up your tent. If the wind gets really strong, you want to have tents that are well secured by having tent stakes driven deep into the ground. I also always tell people to pitch their tent against some sort of vertical surface. A tree, a hill, or even a large bush or hedge can act as a natural wind barrier.

How Windy is Iceland? 

If you come to Iceland for vacation, you need to be prepared to face the wind. While not every day is like battling a hurricane, even during the mildest days there are still some strong breezes blowing. Bring a high-quality windbreaker and maybe even a balaclava to protect your face from being lashed by high winds. And don't say I didn't warn you.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 7: The Golden Circle

It's the last day of our week-long trip to South Iceland. Can you believe it? After exploring the wonders of the South Coast such as Seljalandsfoss, Vík, Jökulsárlón, and Vatnajökull, we made our way back to Reykjavik. Yesterday saw a visit to Iceland famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Today it's time to finish it off with a trip around the Golden Circle route. This is one of the cooler sightseeing circuits in Iceland, and you're sure to enjoy it. From the mighty Gullfoss waterfall to the churning, bubbling, heated geysers at Strokkur and Geysir to the historically and geologically significant Thingvellir National Park, some of the country’s finest natural wonders are on full display. Taking a day trip from Reykjavik to the Golden Circle is the perfect way to end your 7-day South Iceland itinerary. The 190-mile (300-km) route loops around from Reykjavik close to the southwestern part of the Highlands.

Strokkur geyser on the Golden Circle is part of a 7-day itinerary of South Iceland

Day 1: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Sólheimasandur
Day 2: Vík, Reynisfjara, and Dyrhólaey
Day 3: Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and its Glaciers
Day 5: Reykjavik City and Nightlife
Day 6: The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
Day 7: The Golden Circle

You can actually go either clockwise or counterclockwise around the Golden Circle. There are also other stops along the way besides just “The Big Three”. Some other attractions along the Golden Circle route include Thingvallakirkja church, the Secret Lagoon, Efstidalur farm, Sólheimar Eco Village, Langjökull glacier, Slakki zoo, the Kerið volcanic crater, the Drumbó river, the Skálholt cathedral, and many more. Let's travel clockwise around the route.

First Golden Circle Stop: Thingvellir National Park 

This national park is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a major part of the country’s Viking past and political present. It was here that the world's first parliament, Iceland’s Althing, congregated over a thousand years ago in 930 AD. Back when the island was ruled by clans, the most powerful chieftains and tribesmen gathered here to make decisions using this early form of government. It continues to this day, and Iceland’s Parliament is now based in Reykjavik.

Another must-see in Thingvellir National Park is the Silfra Fissure. Iceland has the unique distinction of sitting right on top of the meeting point of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Not only does this make the island a volcanic hotspot, but it also means you can see a split in the Earth's crust if you come here. Iceland is literally breaking into two halves, and you can see tectonic movement at Thingvellir. Parts of the gash in the Earth have even split so wide open that you can scuba dive in the frigid, turquoise waters that fill the fissure.

Thingvellir National Park and the Silfra Fissure are must-dos on the Golden Circle and our 7-day South Iceland itinerary

Second Golden Circle Stop: Geysir and Strokkur Geysers in the Haukadalur Geothermal Area

Iceland is known as the Land of Fire and Ice. Due to the previously mentioned location above two tectonic plates, the island was formed thanks to massive amounts of geological and volcanic activity. In fact, the island of Surtsey just off Iceland’s coast was formed in 1967. All these rumblings beneath the ground and the ocean floor eventually bubble their way up to the surface. One spectacular result is natural wonders like geothermal hot springs and exploding geysers.

The Haukadalur geothermal area is home to not one, but two massive geysers. The bigger and more impressive one is called Geysir. We actually get the English word “geyser” from this natural wonder. Unfortunately, the high-reaching column of water seems to have gone dormant as of late. Eruptions of "The Great Geysir" are few and far between, sometimes only happening a few times a year.

If you're looking for a guaranteed show, head to Strokkur geyser. It's a much more reliable spout than Geysir and shoots water in the air every 10 minutes or so. When it erupts, it climbs to spectacular heights of up to 100 feet (30 meters). It's truly a spectacular sight to see. Just be careful to keep your distance. The water is boiling hot and can scald you.

Third Golden Circle Stop: Gullfoss Waterfall 

Last but not least is the gorgeous Gullfoss or “golden” waterfall. You'll find this waterfall and its double drop flowing into the waters of the Hvítá canyon and river. The falls received their name because on sunny days, they take on a special golden hue. During the summer, the lush green setting around Gullfoss is complemented by rainbows caused by the water’s spray. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Iceland during the winter, you can also see it half frozen! Witnessing Gullfoss in suspended animation is quite the sight to behold.

While visiting, be sure to stop by their cafe and restaurant to try their famous traditional meat soup. It will power you on your way or the return trip to Reykjavik.

Gullfoss waterfall is part of the Golden Circle and our 7-day South Iceland itinerary

Other Stops on The Golden Circle Route

While the three primary stops on the Golden Circle route are outlined above, they’re not the whole story. It will actually take several hours to drive the full circuit, so why not make an entire day out of it and add in some extra stops? The Kerið volcanic crater and crater lake are a wonderful stop-off for those who don’t have the time to visit Askja and its caldera. The town of Hveragerði is the hot spring capital of the world, and the town of Skálholt features a beautiful white and grey Church of Iceland cathedral. Langjokull glacier near the top of the circle has snowmobile excursions. The Secret Lagoon, Sólheimar Eco Village, and Slakki zoo also make interesting stop off points.

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 7: The Golden Circle 

You did it! You’ve made your way around Iceland’s Golden Circle. Hopefully, every day on your 7-day Iceland itinerary was better than the last. You’re ready to fly back home tomorrow and who knows? Maybe you’ll start craving more of this small, Nordic island as soon you land. Time to start planning your next trip to Iceland.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

How Much Time Should You Spend in Iceland?

When planning a trip to Iceland, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is how many days do you need. Is a 5-day itinerary long enough? Or do you need at least a week? Some people come for even longer, spending ten days, fourteen days or up to a month traveling around the small Nordic island. To be perfectly honest, how much time you spend in Iceland depends entirely on what you want to see and do. Realistically, five days is too short to see the country's main sights. With a seven-day (or even 10-day) trip, you have a much better shot of seeing the most interesting parts of the country. Fourteen days is entirely doable from a time-off standpoint; you'll have time to visit pretty much everything. Let's look at what you can and can't do depending on the length of time you spend in Iceland.

Seljalandsfoss is a must on any 5-day Iceland itinerary

5-Day Itinerary: Explore South Iceland 

If you’ve only got five days in Iceland, you’d be hard-pressed to fit everything in. In fact, it's already going to be quite a sprint just to see the main sites and partake in some interesting activities. My best advice is don't try to see everything. Focus on one part of the country, like the South Coast or the Diamond Circle, and really explore that area in depth. Even with this in mind, you’ll still want to fit in multiple stops per day. For example, give yourself a full day to explore the entire Golden Circle route. You'll be waking up early and arriving home later in the day. The same goes for making the two and a half hour drive between Reykjavik and Vik. Leave time in between these two endpoints of your journey to make stops at Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skógafoss waterfall, and the plane wreck at Sólheimasandur beach.

If you're taking such a short trip to Iceland, I highly recommend coming in the summer. The neverending rays of the Midnight Sun will give you plenty of daylight hours. Use these to your advantage to fit in as much as you possibly can.

7-Day Itinerary: Reykjavik and South Iceland or the Ring Road

Spending seven days in Iceland gives you a little more freedom and flexibility. You can breathe a bit easier now and not be in such a rush. Here, you have a choice. You can either expand your South Iceland visit by adding stops in Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle. Or you can fit these things into a condensed itinerary and adding other stops along the Ring Road. Seven days is definitely enough to drive all around the way the island, and you'll see a lot. But if you want to fit in the Diamond Circle and Snaefellsnes peninsula, you only really have a day or so in order to stay on schedule.

When deciding how long to spend in Iceland, see if you want to go to places like Vestrahorn in Stokksnes

If you plan on coming for seven days, I also recommend visiting in the summer. Not only will extended sunlight hours help you fit everything in, but you most likely won't be slowed down by inclement weather or unexpected snowstorms.

10-Day Itinerary: Travel Around Iceland’s Ring Road 

If you've got ten days in Iceland, I definitely recommend taking the trip all the way around the country’s Ring Road. For me, this is the perfect amount of time to spend in Iceland. It provides the ideal balance between spending a good amount of time on the island (but not too long) and getting to see nearly everything. Here’s a list of the sights you should consider visiting. We wrote a post about planning the perfect Iceland road trip, so if any of these pique your interest, then read the article here. This is a quick list for your reference.
  • Reykjavik 
  • Thingvellir National Park and the Silfra Fissure 
  • Strokkur and Geysir geysers 
  • Gullfoss Waterfall 
  • The Blue Lagoon 
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall 
  • Skógafoss Waterfall 
  • Sólheimasandur Beach DC-3 Plane Crash Site 
  • Vik Black Sand Beaches and Basalt Columns of Reynisfjara 
  • Landmannalaugar and the Laugavegur Trail 
  • Vatnajökull National Park 
  • Skaftafell Glacier 
  • Svartifoss Waterfall 
  • Vatnajökull Glacier 
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon 
  • Diamond Beach 
  • The East Fjords
  • Lake Mývatn 
  • Dettifoss Waterfall 
  • Goðafoss Waterfall 
  • Krafla Volcanic Fields 
  • Viti Crater and Askja Caldera 
  • Hverir Geothermal Area 
  • Húsavik Whale Watching Town 
  • Akureyri 
  • Dalvik 
  • Ísafjörður and the Westfjords 
  • Snaefellsnes Peninsula 
  • Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall 
It’s a lot to do in ten days, but these are just to give you an idea of some of the things to visit during your trip.

14-Day Itinerary: More In-Depth Trip Around the Ring Road

Fourteen days is another ideal length of time to spend in Iceland. It gives you plenty of time to drive around the country's Ring Road. Not only that, but you'll be able to spend multiple days in places like the Diamond Circle and the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Both of these areas have plenty of things to see and do. It's quite easy to spend two or three days exploring each one.

How long to spend in Iceland? A 14-day itinerary allows you to visit Stykkisholmur in West Iceland

This is a trip that can be taken during most of the year. You’re not on a rushed schedule, so if you get delayed by bad winter weather, it’s not such a big deal.

One Month in Iceland: You're Practically a Native

Spending a month in Iceland is every traveler's dream come true. You really get to explore the country in depth and who knows? Maybe you'll even be able to speak some Icelandic by the time you finish your trip. Or at the very least, be able to pronounce the tongue-twisting name of Eyjafjallajökull glacier. You’ll be able to visit the places listed above and more, appreciate the quaint little museums, fishing villages and small towns that Iceland is so famous for, and really get to know the people.

How Much Time Should You Spend in Iceland? 

As with most things, the answer to this question depends. We’ve laid out some ideas and itinerary suggestions. Feel free to search the Iceland24 blog for more ideas. However much time you decide to spend in Iceland, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience. Let us know if you have any questions or if you have any comments about the perfect length of time for the ideal Iceland holiday.

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Friday, 7 December 2018

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 6: The Blue Lagoon

After a week of traveling around Iceland and a night out in Reykjavik, you're going to need a day to rest. This is where Iceland’s world-famous geothermal day spa, the Blue Lagoon, comes into play. Let the lagoon’s healing, silica-infused waters wash over you as you soak up the healing elements. The misty turquoise blue water will slowly drain the tension away and leave you fully relaxed. Why not get a massage or other treatment during your time here? There's even a hotel on the premises. This is one of the most visited places in Iceland. Once you come, it’s easy to see why.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a great place to relax for a day

Day 1: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Sólheimasandur
Day 2: Vík, Reynisfjara, and Dyrhólaey
Day 3: Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and its Glaciers
Day 5: Reykjavik City and Nightlife
Day 6: The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
Day 7: The Golden Circle

How to Arrive 

The Blue Lagoon spa is located very close to Keflavik International Airport. It’s about 13 km (8 miles) away and takes around 20 minutes to drive. If you are coming from the city center of Reykjavik, it’s a 39 km (24 miles) drive that will take you around 40 minutes.

Getting Tickets

I highly recommend getting tickets in advance as this is a very popular tourist attraction. People queue up outside the Blue Lagoon, and the best way to bypass the line is to purchase your tickets online beforehand. The spa also encourages pre-booking, so if you find yourself traveling during high season, you may find it difficult to gain entry if you haven’t reserved a spot early enough. Here are some of the packages available.

Comfort package: 49€ ($56) - This includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, a silica mud mask, free use of a towel, and the first drink of your choice.

Premium package: 69€ ($79) - This includes everything in the Comfort package plus the second mask of your choice, a pair of slippers, the use of a bathrobe, a table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if dining.

Retreat spa package: 205€ ($233) - You get exclusive four-hour access to the Retreat Spa and Retreat Lagoon, private changing rooms, the Blue Lagoon Ritual of minerals, algae, and silica, and much more.

Woman with a silica face mask treatment at Iceland's Blue Lagoon

You can also opt for various in-water treatments, massages, and other rejuvenating options.

About the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa 

One of the main reasons people come here (other than to keep out Iceland’s chill) is for the healing properties of the waters. They are filled with silica, sulfur, and other beneficial minerals. Bathers suffering from everything from arthritis to psoriasis soak here in the hope of improving their ailments. Although the lagoon itself is man-made, the waters are heated by geothermal volcanic activity. If you're wondering how long to stay, most visitors average three to four hours.

Bathing Etiquette at the Blue Lagoon 

Something very important to mention is bathing etiquette at the Blue Lagoon. In addition to common sense things like no running or being quiet and respectful of other patrons, there are some other things to keep in mind. The water at the Blue Lagoon isn’t treated with chlorine, so anyone wanting to get in will need to shower naked beforehand. It's important to clean the sweat, oils, and grime off of your body. Iceland has a bathing culture, and this is standard bathing etiquette. Don’t worry too much about the water being dirty, though. The water is constantly being piped in and out. You’ll have a newly refreshed batch of clean water every two days or so.

Remember that showering naked is part of Iceland's bathing etiquette at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 6: The Blue Lagoon

You’ve had a nice refreshing day at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Now it’s time to head back to Reykjavik and rest up. Tomorrow is the last day on our 7-day South Iceland itinerary. We'll be exploring the Golden Circle and seeing some of Iceland's best sights. See you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 5: Head Back to Reykjavik

We’ve finished days one through four of our 7-day South Iceland itinerary, and it's time to head back to Reykjavik. If you only have time for a 5-day itinerary, then this will be your last day. But I highly encourage you to extend your trip. Taking seven days instead of five allows you time to visit Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon, and the Golden Circle. We’ve spent the first part of the week making our way east on Iceland’s Ring Road. Now it’s time to head back west on Route 1. The drive from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon takes about five hours in good weather. For that reason, I recommend having your base in Vík while you explore Vatnajökull and its glaciers. If you start the journey back to Reykjavik from Vík, you’re looking at around a 2.5-hour drive in good weather.

Reykjavik should be a stop on any 5-day or 7-day Iceland itinerary

Day 1: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Sólheimasandur
Day 2: Vík, Reynisfjara, and Dyrhólaey
Day 3: Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and its Glaciers
Day 5: Reykjavik City and Nightlife
Day 6: The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
Day 7: The Golden Circle

What To See and Do in Reykjavik

Once you’ve made your way back to Iceland’s capital, there are several things you can do. If you’re there in the summer and you arrive by mid-day or mid-morning, a whale watching excursion could be just the thing. Or walking around Reykjavik with one of the free city tours available. You’ll visit sights like Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran church, Harpa Concert Hall, and the Sun Voyager statue along the waterfront. You can also do sightseeing with one of the WOW Citybikes. The Reykjavik Art Museum is a free activity that’s quite popular. Or learn more about Iceland’s history by visiting the Settlement Exhibition and the Viking Saga Museum. The Phallological Museum and the Punk Museum make for more off the beaten path activities.

Stop by Hlemmur Food Hall for lunch and take your pick of the ten food stalls to have some tasty grub. They’ve got everything from Mexican to Vietnamese to Danish open-faced sandwiches called smørrebrød. Better yet, head over to Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur for the best hot dogs in town. The way to order it is “ein með öllu”, which means “one with everything”. Asking for it this way will get you a yummy Icelandic hot dog topped with raw white onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup sweetened with apples rather than sugar, pylsusinnep (a type of brown mustard), and remoulade, which is a mix mayonnaise, mustard, capers, and herbs.

Icelandic hot dogs should be part of your 5-day or 7-day itinerary in Iceland

Once you’ve had your fill of tasty food, head to Laugavegur street. This is Reykjavik’s main thoroughfare and the heart of its shopping and nightlife. You can find vintage shops like Spúútnik, specialty stores like Hrím, and bookshops like Mál og Menning. Get a taste of Icelandic design and if you start running low on energy, head to Sandholt Bakery. You’ll get a coffee and delicious pastry for a quick pick-me-up.

Restaurants in Reykjavik

Once you’ve had your fill of shopping and sightseeing, it’s time to head out and experience some of Iceland’s fine dining. Reykjavik has a wide range of restaurants to choose from. Dill focuses on New Nordic cuisine and was the first restaurant on the island to receive a Michelin star. Grillmarkaðurinn offers traditional Icelandic food with a twist. Kol is another favorite for excellent food and wine pairings. And Fish Company, with its deceptively simple name, is considered one of the best restaurants in Iceland.

Reykjavik Nightlife 

Reykjavik is famous for its nightlife, so you can’t take a trip here without trying it on for size. While Laugavegur street forms part of the shopping district during the day, at night it transforms into the epicenter of nocturnal social activity. Hot spots to frequent include Lebowski Bar, Bar Ananas, Kaffibarinn Bar, Le Chateau des Dix Gouttes Wine Bar, Micro Bar, KEX Bar, and Gallery Bar.

Northern Lights Excursion

If you’re visiting Iceland from mid-September to mid-March, you may want to skip the bar scene altogether. If you’ve only got one night in Reykjavik, maybe a Northern Lights hunt is more your speed? The Aurora Borealis requires cold, clear skies and an adventure-filled night searching for the green waves in the heavens is the perfect activity during the colder months.

A Northern Lights excursion is a must-do on any Iceland itinerary

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 5: Head Back to Reykjavik

Spend the night in Reykjavik and rest up. The next two days will be filled with exciting activities close to Iceland’s principal city. The Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon and are must-dos on any road trip here. We’ll be visiting those as we round out our 7-day Iceland itinerary. I hope you’ve enjoyed your journey so far and that it will only continue to get better.

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Monday, 3 December 2018

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and Glaciers

Welcome back to our 7-day South Iceland itinerary. This popular region of the country features some of its most stunning sights and well-known natural attractions. The highway that leads from Reykjavik along Iceland’s South Coast and the Ring Road will take you past stunning waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss all the way to coastal village Vík and finally Vatnajökull National Park. It’s here in the easternmost part of Iceland’s South Coast that we’ll spend day four of our trip itinerary. Skaftafell and Vatnajökull glaciers are located in Europe’s largest park. There is a plethora of outdoor activities and adventure sports that await above and within these vast, icy masses.

View of Skaftafell glacier in Vatnajökull National Park on 7-day itinerary

Day 1: Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Sólheimasandur
Day 2: Vík, Reynisfjara, and Dyrhólaey
Day 3: Jökulsárlón and Diamond Beach
Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and its Glaciers
Day 5: Reykjavik City and Nightlife
Day 6: The Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa
Day 7: The Golden Circle

Vatnajökull National Park Activities - Hike a Glacier

Have you ever hiked on a glacier? Iceland is every outdoor enthusiast’s dream. From the hiking trails at Landmannalaugar to trekking around extinct volcanoes, Iceland has something for everyone. While visiting the small, Nordic island why not take things a step further and go hiking on a glacier? Vatnajökull National Park is home to multiple glaciers, including Vatnajökull glacier, Svínafellsjökull glacier, and Skaftafell glacier. Take your pick and head on over. There are glacier walks starting at three hours for different ages and skill levels. The minimum age is usually around ten years of age, so check with local tour operators to see what they offer. Make sure to dress warmly and use the four-layer system to ensure optimal warmth.

Hiking Skaftafell glacier is a must do on your 7-day Iceland itinerary

Vatnajökull National Park Activities - Explore a Glacier Cave 

Lest you think the top of the glacier is the only part that is accessible to intrepid explorers, I’m here to enlighten you! Deep inside the glaciers are gigantic caverns of bright blue ice. They are formed the by the glacier water that melted over the course of the summer. Because glacier caves are formed anew every year, they each have a different size, shape, and appearance. No two are the same. You’ll create amazing memories when you visit this striking natural wonder. A word to the wise: always hire a certified, experienced guide to take you on a glacier tour exploration. It takes a trained eye to know which glacier caves are safe to go into and which ones may have cracks, melting, or other unknown dangers. Leave your safety in the hands of professionals you can trust. The tour operators provide most of the minimal safety equipment you need such as crampons and a helmet. Conditions can very between glacier caves, so you may also need a harness, rope, and/or an ice axe.

Glacier caves in Vatnajökull will be a highlight of your 7-day Iceland itinerary

Vatnajökull National Park Activities - Trek an Ice Cave 

Something distinctly different than a glacier cave (but just as cool) is an ice cave. What’s the difference between an ice cave and a glacier cave? As I mentioned, glacier caves are formed by melting water inside the glacier, and they are cavernous. Ice caves are actually caves whose walls have had ice frozen to them. They are permanent structures whose shape and location never changes. Glacier caves are much more ephemeral and change depending on the melting activity that took place the previous summer. Ice caves are also more like long, frozen tubes. Glacier caves are like frozen cathedrals of azure.

7-Day South Iceland Itinerary | Day 4: Vatnajökull National Park and Glaciers 

Exploring the ice caves, glacier caves, and glacier treks available in Vatnajökull will no doubt be one of the highlights of your Iceland road trip. Whether you do one or all three, you are sure to have a unique adventure and make memories that will last a lifetime. Dress warmly and get ready!

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