Langjökull is the second largest glacier in Iceland; it covers 361 square miles (934 square kilometers) and conceals at least two active volcanic systems. The glacier feeds Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot springs, and Thingvellir National Park, and offers opportunities for hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and exploring ice caves. The Basics
Tours of Langjökull—most of which depart from Reykjavík, Húsafell, or Gullfoss—typically include transport by helicopter, Super Jeep, or snowmobile, and might feature stops at Gullfoss waterfall, Secret Lagoon, and the Víðgelmir lava cave. It’s best to book a tour to explore Langjökull as it can be dangerous to try it on your own—plus, tours come with specially-equipped vehicles and equipment to help you navigate the glacier.
For a unique experience, book a tour that allows you to explore the glacier at night when the Midnight Sun or Northern Lights are in full swing.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Langjökull is a must-visit for outdoor adventurers, and fans of skiing and snowmobiling.
- Wear warm clothes to explore the freezing glacier. Crampons are often provided with tours, which make it easier to navigate the ice caves.
- Driving conditions to the glacier can be unpredictable. During the winter, roads leading to the glacier are closed to most vehicles.
Langjökull sits about 64 miles (102 kilometers) from Reykjavík and can be accessed from the east or west, though you need a special vehicle to get to the glacier since the roads are unpaved. When to Get There
Ample snow and a man-made ice tunnel allow you to traverse the surface of Langjökull glacier at any time of year. However, the best time to visit Langjökull is during mid-winter, when all of the ice caves are accessible—this is also the optimal time to see the Northern Lights. If you visit in summer, you can still visit the ice tunnel on the west side of the glacier.One Night of Iceland’s Best
It can be difficult to find the Northern Lights on your own, and even more difficult to see them from the city. If you’re short on time—or just want to experience the best of Iceland in one night—a tour offers all the adventure without the hassle of tracking the aurora down yourself. Some glacier tours start out with a snowmobile ride, ice cave exploration, or a dip in hot springs before capping off the evening with an aurora viewing. Keep in mind that peak season for the Northern Lights in Iceland is September through March, but conditions must be optimal for the lights to appear.