Sitting on two ever-shifting continental tectonic plates and formed by volcanic activity, Iceland is a hot bed of geysers, ice caves, and bubbling mud. It's also noted for its glaciers, which slowly move over nearly 12 percent of the country. From 4x4 vehicle tours to glacier hiking, here are some of the top glaciers in Iceland.
See the epic glacier of Eyjafjallajökull from above on a two-hour helicopter flight. The route passes over Mýrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers and the helicopter lands near the Katla volcano for a brief exploration of the icy terrain before retracing the course for aerial views of Iceland's compact capital city of Reykjavik.
Combine a guided hike across the crevasses of Falljökull with a magical boat journey across the glacial lagoon of Fjallsárlón, complete with floating mini-icebergs, for a truly unforgettable Icelandic experience.
Iceland's second-largest glacier is one of its most stable and can be explored close up on an hour-long snowmobile blast across its snowy expanses. Other icy adventures on the glacier include descending to its very heart in Europe's largest man-made ice cave, reached by an eight-wheeled monster truck.
Included as a stop on several glacier tours, Mýrdalsjökul can be admired from above by helicopter or paraglider — the latter involves flying in tandem with a certified pilot.
Helicopters actually land on Thórisjökull after flying directly above Glymur, the highest waterfall in Iceland. A second stop is made at Hengill to witness the bizarre bubbling mud pots in this region of high geothermal activity.
Two hours from Reykjavik on Iceland's southern coast, Sólheimajökull is reached by Jeep for expert-led ice-climbing expeditions (all safety equipment is provided) or hiking around its perimeter. Tour options can include stops at the thundering waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss or an off-roading session on the black-sand beach of Sólheimasandur.
Helicopter flights over Thórisjökull also take in the UNESCO-listed Thingvellir National Park, where the American and European tectonic plates abrade each other at one of the most active geothermal spots in the world.
Half-day hikes over Vatnajökull, Europe's biggest glacier, are extremely popular activities on day trips out of Reykjavik; routes are specifically tailored to suit all ages and abilities, while crampons are provided.