It’s not a secret that I absolutely adore Iceland. It’s a perfect place for an unforgettable adventure. If you happen to visit during winter, consider doing a snowmobile Iceland tour, as it will literally blow your mind. The many Iceland guided tours offer a variety of options, but there is something unforgettable about gliding on a glacier in a snowmobile. You feel on top of the world.
Like most tours in Iceland, this one started with a pick up at the bus stop right outside my hotel in Reykjavik. Convenient, since it was early and I didn’t get a chance to get breakfast. Having gone to bed late just hours before didn’t provide me with a whole lot of sleep. I decided to use the travel time as an opportunity to nap. You will find that many of the tours take about an hour or two to get to the destination, so use that time wisely.
We made a quick stop at a rest stop where I snagged a hot tea and some yogurt. It was a great call since I didn’t end up stopping for real food for a long time. As Iceland is sparsely populated, there aren’t many places to stop and eat once you leave the city. Quite often, the Iceland tour companies will stop in places like this to provide much needed fuel brakes as well as toilet stops.
If you really want to make sure you don’t go hungry, bring some snacks with you. Water is also a good idea. The snowmobile Iceland tour sounds epic and it is, but that also means you literally are on top of the glacier. There are no shops and restaurants there. Having your own snacks will be a lifesaver, especially after you’ve been out for few hours.
Iceland’s South Coast
Once you hit the Ring Road, you make your way through the fascinating landscape along the island’s coast. Due it its proximity to Reykjavik, the South Coast of Iceland is probably one of the most popular of the many guided tours offered. Here is also, where you can find two magnificent waterfalls – Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
You have probably seen these iconic images online, as they are as popular as they are stunning. Even though I’ve seen them before, it was still amazing to be back here. The snow and ice definitely made them both look a lot different from the last time I was here.
The waterfalls can be quite dangerous in winter as there is ice all around. Add splashing water from the powerful waterfall and you got yourself very slippery conditions. It’s best to stick to the main areas for safety. You’ll find that many of Iceland’s attractions are in remote areas and there is nobody there to keep watch on careless tourists. If anything were to happen, it would take a while for any type of rescue to arrive. Best to be safe than sorry.
This is definitely one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and it is stunning. With 25 meters wide with a 60-meter drop, you feel dwarfed standing in front of it. If you have a hard time picturing it, you’re not alone. With that much water, be prepared to get soaked the closer you get.
While we were there the last time, the waterfall was surrounded by lush greenery and we were able to climb the numerous staircase (over 500 steps!) to the observation platform on top. This time, there was ice everywhere and it was difficult to walk near the waterfall, never mind the stairs. I didn’t even attempt to climb them for safety reasons. The ice-covered rocks actually looked quite pretty, if not deadly.
The water that feeds this waterfall comes from the melting water from the glacier-capped Eyjafjallajokull volcano. This name might be familiar to you if you recall the volcanic explosion in 2010 that halted almost all travel in and out of Europe.
Nevertheless, this is a stunning work of nature. You will fully understand its power when you walk behind the curtain of water that falls something like 60 meters down. While safe in warmer months, it is not so when it’s cold. Everything becomes ice and the path becomes quite dangerous to get by. Always use caution and if it looks dangerous, it probably is.
While a glacier seem like a giant ice mountain, it’s quite a fascinating work of nature. The Mýrdalsjökull glacier, with its highest peak at close to 1,500 meters, actually sits on top the Katla volcano. Despite that, it’s a popular destination for snowmobile tours, ice caving and climbing as well as hiking. It is the country’s fourth largest ice cap and covers nearly 600 square kilometres (232 square miles).
I have often said that being in Iceland feels like being on a different planet. Standing on top a glacier definitely gave you that feeling. There is just something about mountains, snow, skies and sunshine. They create a masterpiece that is hard to imagine until you’re standing there. Simply breathtaking.
Glacier snowmobile Iceland tour
Since I have never been on a snowmobile before, I was very excited at the opportunity do to a real snowmobile Iceland tour. I was excited, nervous and curious. There were so many questions.
Once you arrive at the site, you are outfitted with a special snowsuit that fits over your clothes. I was already wearing snow pants and my winter coat, but gladly took the additional layers. I think everyone did. In addition, we got head coverings that keep you face covered and they fit under the helmet. I felt like a sausage.
We then piled into a special bus that took us to the next part of the glacier, where the snowmobiles waited all lined up. The trip seemed to take long, but it was only about 20 min. The further up we got, the more spectacular the views became. I think we were all in awe when we finally got out. After safety checks and instructions, we piled on the snowmobiles and off we went.
The snowmobiles are quite large and you easily fit two people on each one. I also discovered that if you’re sitting in the back, the handles you hold on to are heated. I don’t think I have ever felt as delighted as when I discovered that feature. There is nothing worse, in my mind, than having frozen hands while the rest of you is warm.
I think originally I wanted to drive the damn thing, but I guess I wasn’t fast enough to grab a driver seat. I ended up grabbing a ride with Simon, another fellow traveler who was much better at driving the snowmobile that I would’ve been. There were some steep parts where I would definitely have hesitated and probably tipped the snowmobile.
I think I was grinning like a kid the whole time. Between the views, the sunshine and the fact that I was in a snowmobile on top of a glacier, it was an amazing experience. Some parts were a bit choppy and steep, which made me glad I wasn’t driving. Instead, I marvelled at the scenery around me and wished my head could spin all the way around so that I can see it all.
When we got to the top, we were able to dismount and just enjoy the views. Our guides provided us with a quick lesson on the glacier, the stats and other important info. I was staring everywhere around us. I think everyone else was as blown away by the experience as well.
The ride back was just as incredible and the views just as amazing. Definitely one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Snowmobile Iceland tour – check.
Practical tour info
The south coast and glacier snowmobile Iceland tour itself is a full day excursion. With stops at both Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls you get to experience Iceland’s spectacular natural beauty. The snowmobile part can be taken by itself if you are doing a self-driving tour around that part of the island. This is run by Arcanum Glacier Tours.
The tour runs all year so you are not limited to a specific time of the year.
Price: ISK 38,600 (different rates may apply depending on your options)
What to wear: As always in Iceland, the weather changes on the drop of a hat so wear comfortable clothes and layers. The suit provided fit on top of your coat so you will be warm.
Duration: 9.5 -10 hours
Snowmobile tour (only): approximately 1 hour
My recommendation: I would definitely recommend bringing a mounted camera if you have one. The experience is amazing, but you won’t have that much time to take pictures while on the snowmobile. It’s also very cold on the glacier and it might affect your equipment.
For more details on the tour, visit the official tour page.
Disclosure: My south coast and glacier snowmobile tour with Sterna Travel was complimentary, but all photos and opinions are my own. The company offers popular day tours from Reykjavik and around Iceland. You can find all tour info online.
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