Glaciers and ice caps are part of most road trips in Iceland

  • ​The interesting thing about glaciers
May 22 2017

Glaciers are a fascinating part of the Icelandic landscape.  Glaciers and Glacier tongues are often in such proximity to inhabited areas that they are an inseparable part of daily life. Needless to say, they are also part of the overall experience for visitors as many glaciers are visible when driving the Ring Road, taking an exciting road trip in many regions or visiting the many famous natural wonders on the Golden Circle.  Compared to most other countries, this is unique and one of the things that make Iceland enjoyable and different.  You can even drive for hours in the south and southeast part of Iceland, and you have a glacier in sight for hours.

The main glaciers in Iceland

There are eight main glaciers in Iceland.  First and foremost is Vatnajökull ice cap, the largest glacier in Europe.  The glacier covers a large portion of the southeast part of Iceland and the Highland.  It is a captivating mass of ice forming a clean white background as you drive the main road, the Ring Road in the south.  It is also visible when traveling in the Highland, the difficult dirt road towards Lakagigar and Laki being the most obvious.  Like most glaciers, Vatnajökull glacier is home to one of the most notorious and dangerous volcano in Iceland, Bardabunga, and other volcanoes pressed under the humongous ice cap.  It is a volcano that continues to shake the ice cap on a regular basis, even while you are reading this article.
Four other glaciers are also quite large, and often visible while taking a road trip to Iceland.  In the Highland, there are Langjökull and Hofsjökull, and by the south shore, there are Eyjafjallajokull and Mýrdalsjökull.  Both glaciers by the south coast are homes of volcanoes’.  Mýrdalsjökull is the home of the most terrifying and most dangerous volcano Katla destined to erupt at any time with catastrophic consequences.
Also, there are about four smaller, less visible, and less dangerous glaciers in Iceland, Tindfjallajökull, Drangjökull, Snæfellsjökull and Tungnafellsjökull.  These are all impressive glaciers and Snæfellsjökull being the most remarkable of them all at it is located at the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  It is also the most mysterious one as it is connected to myths, unworldly power and stories from hundreds of years ago.

The interesting thing about glaciers

The most interesting thing about glaciers as a tourist attraction is the access on the one hand and the beauty of the bright, white and, clean mountains they convey in the landscape background. There are only a few countries in Europe where you can see this and usually where mountains are very high.  This has many advantages, in particular for photographers and people that want something different.  In summer you can stand in a place with beautiful vegetation like Þórsmörk and Skaftafell, and you have this wonderful background of White Mountains. The glaciers are just one of many natural wonders in Iceland.

Read this important article written by a local expert before you choose a car.