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My epic glacier snowmobile tour in Iceland

by kasiawrites

SPONSORED – 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 tour in Iceland. It will literally blow your mind. The are many incredible guided tours with a variety of options, but there is something unforgettable about gliding on a glacier in a snowmobile.  You feel on top of the world.

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Like most tours, our snowmobile tour in Iceland 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 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 getting 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. There are no shops and restaurants for miles. Having your own snacks will ensure that you have something to snack on, especially after you’ve been out for a few hours.

A stop along Iceland’s South Coast

You can’t do a snowmobile tour in Iceland without making couple of important stops. Driving along 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.

A stop at Skógafoss waterfall

I came here to do a snowmobile tour in Iceland, but I wasn’t going to pass on this opportunity. Skógafoss 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.

During warmer months, you can climb the steep staircase just beside the waterfall. While Skógafoss is stunning while you’re standing below it, the area above is just as spectacular. You can go on an extensive hike along the water, which looks more like an average river before it drop down. It’s definitely worth taking the time while you’re here.

Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland
Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland

While we were there the last time, the waterfall was surrounded by lush greenery and we were able to climb that staircase (with 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 iconic Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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.

waterfall in Iceland

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 during winter. Everything becomes ice and the path becomes quite dangerous to get by. Always use caution and if it looks dangerous, it probably is.

The waterfalls in Iceland are an iconic part of the island. It’s really worth making a stop to check them out. You definitely won’t regret chasing these waterfalls. Just make sure that you are dressed appropriately.

The Mýrdalsjökull glacier

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 where we came to do our snowmobile tour in Iceland. You can also do ice caving and climbing here as well as hiking. It is the country’s fourth largest ice cap and covers nearly 600 square kilometres (232 square miles).

snowmobile tour

I have often said that being in Iceland feels like being on a different planet. Standing on top of 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.

Our glacier snowmobile tour in Iceland

Since I have never been on a snowmobile before, I was very excited at the opportunity do to one. Especially since it was on top of a glacier.  I was excited, nervous and curious. There were so many questions.

Snowmobile tour in Iceland – the gear

Once we arrived at the site, we ware outfitted with a special snowsuit that fit over our 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.

person in an orange snow suit waiting to do a snowmobile tour in Iceland

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.

snowmobile tour in Iceland

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 us over. Or worse, stalled the snowmobile.

Snowmobile tour in Iceland – the experience

Once we set off, I think grinned 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.

person in an orange snowmobile suite and black helmet
Snowmobile tour in Iceland

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. I can say that a snowmobile tour in Iceland has been checked off my bucket list. What an incredible experience.

Snowmobile tour in Iceland – practical info

Our snowmobile tour in Iceland was a full day excursion. With stops at both Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, we also got 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.

a group of riders in orange snowmobile suits with black helmets

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 1-2 hours

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. If you’ve never been to Iceland, you might want to read this guide for tips.

Prefix

Press trip info

My south coast and snowmobile tour in Iceland with Sterna Travel was complimentary, but all photos and opinions are my own. This tour is no longer available with Sterna Travel. You can visit the company’s  official tour page for other tours. You can do similar tour to this one directly with Arcanum Adventure Tours.

Additional thoughts on my snowmobile tour in Iceland

The snowmobile tour in Iceland was an epic adventure. I still think about that trip and how amazing it was. While the tour company I did the tour with no longer offers it, the snowmobile adventure is available directly with the company mentioned above. You don’t have to love snow or riding a snowmobile. All you need is a sense of adventure and an appreciation for nature.

I won’t lie when I say that doing a snowmobile tour in Iceland should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s an experience you will never forget. I know that it is something I would definitely love to do again. It also is a good reason to go back to the land of fire and ice.

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    egodiary.com
    18 Jan 2018
    4:06am

    Seljalandsfoss waterfall looks amazing! I have never been to Iceland, but it’s a unique destination. Ice and cold definitely have something so beautiful.
    Have you also been to any of the hot pools? I have only seen pictures from the famous Blue Lagoon, but I’m sure there are many more.

    xoxo

      kasiawrites
      18 Jan 2018
      6:42am

      Yes we have been! It wasn’t blue lagoon tho. Iceland isn’t that cold, at least not by Canadian standards 🙈 you should totally go if you get a chance 👌🏼

    thewonderer86
    19 Jan 2018
    2:13am

    Those waterfalls are so beautiful.

      kasiawrites
      19 Jan 2018
      7:11am

      Yes! Absolutely stunning! 😍

    harikawanders
    21 Jan 2018
    7:54pm

    Wow this looks incredible – makes me want to look at flights to Iceland!

      kasiawrites
      21 Jan 2018
      8:19pm

      Do it! You’re going to love it!

    Jennifer | Stewie Overseas
    21 Jan 2018
    11:56pm

    It’s beautiful. I can see why you love it. Good thing you had such nice weather for this tour, too!

      kasiawrites
      22 Jan 2018
      7:20am

      I hope one day you get to visit! It’s an awesome place 😍

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