Discover the glaciers in Iceland – Vatnajakull Park and others
1 August 2019
The Iceland, the famous land of fire and ice. The glacier excursion in Iceland is a must during a roadtrip on the island. The discovery of glaciers comes in three experiences: hiking on glaciers, ice lagoons and Diamond Beach. Here is my feedback in pictures after hiking on the Icelandic glaciers in winter and summer. (Psss reads the article to the end and discover my trick to go to discover a glacier for free!)
Hiking on the Glacier
Many excursions are possible on the glacier, from simple hiking to climbing with stakes or even a snowmobile ride, there is something for everyone! For my part, I opted for hiking. In winter, hikes lead to ice caves, usually beautifully blue, and in summer you can access other parts of the glacier but without a cave as they melt from Mars. For intimate excursions in small groups I highly recommend Local Guides. An Icelandic family company and the pioneer of excursions on Icelandic glaciers.
The top of the glacier is sometimes flat, sometimes escapist. It is possible to explore this part on an excursion including climbing the glacier.
The material is provided somewhat the provider. Provide suitable clothing and hiking shoes at the ankle.
During the winter, ice caves form in the glacier. They take on different shapes and colours each year. Some are blue, others black (volcanic ash), others white… A whole palette of colors that make the discovery magical!
The Lagoon of Junkulsarlon
At the foot of the glaciers are lagoons that result from melting ice. This is both a magnificent and worrying phenomenon as glaciers melt faster and faster with global warming.
One of the largest lagoons in the country is the lagoon of The City. Easy to access, several facilities have been installed: parking, catering, sanitary facilities and excursion providers.
Indeed you can take a zodiac or amphibious boat ride on the lagoon to get as close as possible to icebergs that float quietly in the water. You can also take a walk along the water and take full view for free! The lagoon is the perfect place to observe different species of birds and seals that come to play in the water or rest on the ice.
Watching icebergs at Diamond Beach
After the discovery of the glacier, head out of the lagoon of The Moon. Here is a black sand beach, beautifully nicknamed the Diamond Beach. This is called because once the icebergs leave the lagoon to reach the sea, the smallest ice cubes are pushed back to the beach by the waves. That's how hundreds of pieces of ice litter the sand and the contrast in the transparency of the ice and the black of the sand is really beautiful! The colors at sunset are also exceptional!
Hiking to the glacier for free
It is not possible to hike on the glacier outside of a guided excursion. In addition to being banned, it's really dangerous. Guides know how to recognize ice and places that are passable or not. There are still too many accidents every year.
On the other hand, it is possible to hike easily to the foot of one of the glaciers for free! To do this rdv at the lagoon of Fjalls-rlon. Smaller than that of the city, it is possible to walk around it to get very close to the glacier. There is also a zodiac tower service on the water in this lagoon.
The tour of the lagoon from the right (facing the glacier) took us about an hour and a half way / 1h30 back. We stayed 40min on site to contemplate the language of the glacier. There is a soothing silence here, the atmosphere is very special.
In these pictures, it's 1:00 in the morning. Yes, yes. In summer the sun doesn't set and you can go hiking in the middle of the night! However, around 2 am, the mist started to settle and we could not see the glacier so we went back.
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