Glacier You Can Climb

Solheimajokull is a glacier in southern Iceland. This glacier is beautifully located on a glacial lake and is relatively easy to reach. It is also one of the most popular glaciers on the island for a glacier walk. You do this excursion with an experienced guide. Discover below the best tips with all its sights for Solheimajokull.

You can visit countless glaciers in Iceland. Just like various ice caves. I have done several excursions in different places. Recently I visited Solheimajokull myself. To get a good look at the glacier and the lake. I especially liked the location and the ice cave. Both change constantly, as they are natural phenomena. This glacier is melting remarkably quickly due to global warming. Scientists fear that it could disappear completely in the coming decades.

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A Stunning Glacier

The glacial tongue of Solheimajokull ends in a lake. Some parts incidentally break off with a lot of noise. You can wait for it on a hot summer day. And watch the ice floes float in the lake.

This glacier tongue is an offshoot of Mýrdalsjökull, the fourth largest glacier in Iceland. This immense ice cap sits atop the terrifying volcano Katla. According to scientists, the Katla crater has a diameter of no less than 10 km.

Tourists at Solheimajokull. ©Corno van den Berg

When you see the glacial river of the Sólheimajökull, try to smell the air. You can often smell the sulfur (or rotten eggs) from the water. This is due to the volcanic activity under the glacier. Partly for this reason, this river is also called Fulilækur by the inhabitants. This means stinking brook, which is appropriate.

Visiting Without a Guide

You can easily visit this glacier yourself. There is a parking lot, from where you can walk to the lake with the glacier. This is possible with normal shoes. It is a perfect spot for photos of the ice wall and surrounding area. If you want to avoid the groups of people going on the ice, the early morning is perfect. Then it is remarkably quiet here. Please note, that it is strongly not recommended to go on the ice yourself. This is due to various dangers.

Guided Tour at Solheimajokull

Tourists depart for their guided tour at Solheimajokull. ©Corno van den Berg

The most popular way to discover Solheimajokull is through an organized tour. You will set off with an experienced guide. At the bottom of the glacier, you put on your crampons and get further instructions. The most important is that you should always follow the path of the guide. This is because there are deep crevasses. Some you will also see on the way. The ice is also constantly moving, which is why the guide always checks the path first.

Along the way, the guide will give you more information about the origin of the glaciers in Iceland. Of course, the Sólheimajökull glacier is an example. This way you learn the importance of water on the island. And you can hear, for example, why various pieces of ice are coloured strikingly blue. While others are just brown. In general, everyone should be able to do this excursion. You have to climb a little bit on the ice along the way, but it is not strenuous.

Ice Climbing

Iceclimbers at Solheimajokull. ©Corno van den Berg

It is also possible to go ice climbing at this location. This usually happens on frozen waterfalls, but can also happen on glaciers. I did it and thought it was a great experience. In ice climbing, you climb a steep ice wall with special crampons and pickaxes. You are secured so that you do not fall down in the event of a fall. For this excursion, you must have good clothing, the stuff for climbing you get from the guide.

How to Get There

Glacier Reynisfjara in Iceland. ©Corno van den Berg

Solheimajokull is located along the main road 1 in the south of Iceland. The nearest town is Vik, which is half an hour away. The road to the glacier is called 221. You'll see some signs along Ring Road 1 for Glacier Hikes as you drive west from Vik. Also nearby are the famous Skógafoss and Kvernufoss waterfalls, while Seljavallalaug hot spring is also located in this part of Iceland.

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