The second biggest glacier in Iceland, after Vatnajokull, Langjokull is arguably the most popular glacier for tourists to visit. This is mainly due to how easily accessible it is from Reykjavik and the abundant activities available there! Langjokull sits happily within ‘The Golden Circle’ of Iceland’s main tourist attractions. This generally includes Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Haukadalur, a geothermal area which contains the geysers Geysir and Strokkur, amongst other smaller attractions.
How To Get There
Named after its large, oblong shape, ‘Langjökull’ literally means ‘long glacier’ in Icelandic. This incredible, natural formation can be found in the midwest highlands of Iceland. For those wanting to visit Langjokull from Reykjavik, there are two options. The first option is to book a tour that leaves directly from Reykjavik. This is a great option for travellers with little experience of driving in adverse conditions. The second option is to drive to Husafell waterfall (a worthy sightseeing stop in itself) and then join a tour that departs from there. The drive will take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Exploring the Glacier
Deep within Langjokull is a manmade ice tunnel that burrows down 30 meters into the glacier and is around 500 meters long. Five separate rooms within the tunnel are waiting to be explored, including a wedding chapel where smitten adventurers can get married! If you go for a glacier tour then most tours will depart from both Reykjavik and Husafell and include a 40-minute ride up the glacier to the mouth of the tunnel on a monster truck. Crampons are provided to make walking easier, though the surface of the tunnel is flat. Participants are encouraged to wear warm clothing and adequate walking boots as, unsurprisingly, it gets quite chilly within the glacier! The tunnel is open year-round.
Jumping on a snowmobile is a great way to get to know Langjokull, as it allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Many tours are available and they depart from either a provided ‘basecamp’ on the glacier or Gullfoss waterfall. Gullfoss is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Reykjavik. Tours can last from 2-4 hours, though 1 hour will be spent on the snowmobile. A certified guide will accompany you and all drivers will need to provide a valid driving license, though snowmobiles can accommodate 2 people. Snowmobiling tours are available during June - October. Other activities include skiing and snowboarding when weather permits and glacier hiking tours.
Driving in adverse conditions can often lengthen journeys so always allow adequate time. It is also imperative that you only head onto a glacier with a professional guide and always wear adequate clothing for the conditions.
Langjokull, like all glaciers, is a force of nature that inspires awe in all who explore it. However, there are other glaciers in Iceland that are just waiting to be explored. For the more adventurous, Iceland has some of the best locations for volcano tours, and ice cave tours.