Covering more than 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) and reaching a thickness of as much as 2,460 feet (750 meters) in places, this vast glacier is Iceland’s fourth largest. It sits atop the active Katla Volcano, which has erupted many times over the centuries, spewing meltwater, rock fragments, and ash into the air.
With unstable ice, crevasses, and changeable weather conditions, the Myrdalsjokull Glacier can be dangerous to explore solo. For these reasons, most visitors go as part of an organized guided tour from Vik or Reykjavik. Many glacier experiences take place on Solheimajokull glacier, an easy-to-access section of the larger Myrdalsjokull Glacier.
Choose between Super Jeep tours, snowmobiling excursions, guided glacier hikes, and ice climb adventures that take place on the vast ice cap, or quad bike rides around the base of the glacier. Longer tours typically incorporate other south coast attractions, such as Eldhraun lava field, the town of Vik, Skaftafell National Park, the black-sand Reynisfjara beach, and Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Avoid venturing onto the Myrdalsjokull Glacier on your own, as conditions can be treacherous.
- No prior experience is required for most glacier hiking, ice climbing, and snowmobiling tours.
- Specialist equipment is typically provided on guided tours, though waterproof hiking boots are recommended.
- Because of the uneven surfaces and difficult to navigate terrain, Myrdalsjokull is difficult for wheelchair users to access.
How to Get There
Myrdalsjokull Glacier is located in South Iceland, just west of the town of Vik. The only way to get there is by car or organized tour. Take route 221 leading off from the Ring Road (Route 1). A car park is located at the end of the road. From there, it’s a short hike of approximately 0.6 miles (one kilometer) to the glacier’s edge.
When to Get There
Tours run to Myrdalsjokull Glacier year-round. Snowmobile tours are available throughout the year, while ice cave tours usually take place from October through April. Summer is Iceland’s peak tourist season, but even then, Myrdalsjokull never feels crowded. Try and pick a clear day to visit, as this is when the blue ice and other colors of Myrdalsjokull are most striking.
Iceland’s Other Glaciers
The Land of Fire and Ice is home to many slow-moving glaciers. In fact, some 10 percent of the country is covered by glaciers. Other notable examples include Langjokull, Iceland’s second-largest glacier, and Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier, which sits atop the most active volcano in Iceland, Grimsvotn.