Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions. On the trip detail pages you will find a more detailed list of FAQ's pertaining to that particular trip.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have a question that is not answered here.
My accommodation is not included in your pickup locations.
Our trips in Skaftafell all depart from the Glacier Guides booking office which is located on the parking lot of Skaftafell National Park. We not not offer any pick up services in the area unfortunately.
If you are booking our tours departing from Reykjavík and are unable to find your accommodation on the list when you are completing the online booking, please contact us and we will help you to select the nearest pick up point.
What´s the deal with Ice-caves and the winter?
One of the most common questions we get is can I see the "crystal cave" in the summer. Understandably since ice-caves are quite brilliant!! Shortly after receiving our rather disappointing answer, one naturally ask´s -why not? In the fall and winter we have colder temperatures along with shorter days, this is they key to making the glacier rivers smaller. As most larger caves are melt water holes (moulin´s) filled with raging melt water in the summer the fall and winters colder temps greatly reduce the flow of water and we can therefore explore the caves.
When do the boat trips on the glacier lagoon depart?
First of all, there are two different operators of boat trips in the area.
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon runs the amphibious boats. During the summer May through September there are lots of departures, at least one every 30 minutes, last one leaving around 18:00 (6pm). The Jökulsárlón Café is open all year round. June, July and August it's open from 9:00 - 19:00 (9am-7pm) and the rest of the year from 10:00-17:00 (10am-5pm) excluding Christmas and New Years (23.december– 26.december and 31. December – 2. January).
Fjallsárlón is best known for being less known, a local favorite, and therefore usually more quiet. Fjallsárlón has a small local operator that runs 4 Zodiac boats that take up to 10 people per boat. This lagoon is really stunning and now a part of our Glacier Grand Slam trip. The boats on Fjallsárlón are operated from May through September and depart every hour. As they are quite full during the season, make sure you contact them and book beforehand. Glacier Grand Slam tour has a fixed departure each day with the Fjallsárlón team.
Can I follow in my own car to save time?
Our Skaftafell trips depart from our sales office which is located on the parking lot of the Skaftafell Visitor center in Vatnajökull National Park. From there we provide transportation to the glacier, this is included in the trip price. In regards to our Glacier Wonders, Glacier Explorer and Glacier Extreme Trips our driving time is only about 10 minutes to the glacier from Skaftafell (traveling East towards Höfn) so there is very little time saved on those trips taking your own car.
As far as the Glacier Grand Slam trip goes we depart from Skaftafell, arrive 10 minutes later at the glacier parking lot. After our glacier hike is done we travel back to Skaftafell by 14:00. You will then have to take your own car and drive East (towards Höfn) to the Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon where you join the Zodiac boat tour. This drive is roughly 30-35 minutes and you could save 10 minutes of this time if you take your own car.
Do you offer Private Tours?
Yes, we do! Please contact us via the Special Request Form and we will send you a quote for a private tour.
We/I have an infant, can we take him/her in a carrier?
We really wish we could accommodate this request more often but the truth is it is rarely doable and we do not allow carriers on our scheduled departures. So officially the answer is no. There are a few reasons for this; things do not always go as planned when it comes to infants, our guests have often traveled a long way to get to walk on a glacier, some see it as a big thing that there is a baby on the glacier while others just do not like baby´s. We also think that you would not be able to enjoy your hike to the fullest taking care of an infant while hiking. Try to get someone to babysit for you or if you are not traveling alone with a baby we recommend that you split up and take separate departures while you take turns taking care of the kid.
I am pregnant, can I still join a glacier hike?
This is, of course, a personal choice, we have often had pregnant women on our trips. We recommend you take a close look at our trip description and difficulty rating, they will hopefully give you a better idea. It is also good to contact your physician, pregnant women's health can be quite different. Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or concerns.
I have a group and would like a private departure, do you offer discounts?
If you are looking for a private departure on any of our scheduled tours please contact us and let's see what we can do for you. If you are looking for a private, off the normal menu, tour please fill out our Special Request Form so we can give you as accurate an estimate as possible.
I am traveling alone and can not book for one person online?
Some of our tours have a required minimum of participants in order for us to operate them. Please contact us and we will do our best to find you an already confirmed departure or put you on a waiting list for the one you wish to join.
Do I have to book the tour in advance?
We always recommend booking in advance, but if you like living on the edge, you might get lucky if you just drop by our office. But we are quite often fully booked in the high season (mid-June - end of August) so if you want to be sure to get on one of our excellent glacier tours while you are in Iceland - book in advance!
How do I get to Skaftafell, and how do I find you there?
You can get to Skaftafell either by car or by bus. Check out our Vatnajökull Voyager trip departing from Reykjavík to Skaftafell, making it all the way to the Glacier Lagoon and back to Reykjavík in a day. Further details on the location and how to get to Skaftafell can be found on our "Getting Here" page.
What is the difference between the 3.5 and 5.5 hour trips?
The main difference between these trips is that they take you to different locations on the glacier. Our Glacier Explorer (5.5 hours) trip spends approximately 3 hours on the ice, exploring the magnificent ice-fall where it falls down from the Öræfajökull caldera. The Glacier Wonders (3.5 hours) trip explores the easier lower part of the glacier and you will spend approximately 1 hour on the ice, giving you a fantastic but brief encounter to the highlights of the Falljökull glacier. Both trips are in a 15-minute driving distance from Skaftafell base camp. After the drive, we continue on foot following the retreat of the glacier for about 25-30 minutes where we set foot on the ice. Once there the 3.5-hour walkers spend their time exploring the features of the lower glacier and seeing spectacular views of the icefall. The 5.5-hour walkers explore the glacier more thoroughly and experience majestic pinnacles and deep crevasses. Both trips sometimes come across spectacular ice-caves but due to the nature of glaciers, this is not always the case.
The 5.5-hour walk requires a higher level of fitness and agility as you will be on your feet for a longer period of time and the terrain is more challenging.
What should we wear on our glacier trip?
Iceland's weather is noted for its ability to deliver 4 seasons in one day at any time of the year. Dressing for this sort of weather can be challenging and as a general rule, it is wise to use the layer approach. 3 or 4 upper layers such as a light t-shirt (preferably wool) next to the skin, then a fleecy or heavy wool garment, topped off with a waterproof wind-breaker. Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when wet. Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are best. We also recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy due to the high UV and sunlight reflection off of the glacier.
We can rent out good hiking boots as well as a waterproof raincoat and trousers for all of our trips.
Do I get my money back if it is raining or the weather is bad?
No, we do not give refunds if it is raining.
It is the high annual rainfall in the glacier region (6-8 meters per year) that allows the glaciers to grow and without the rain, these magnificent glaciers would not be here. We can rent you the best in rain protection including waterproof jackets and trousers. However, if we at any point feel that conditions are not safe on the glacier we will contact you and reschedule the trip and in the case of cancellation, we will refund you the trip.
Do I need to bring a backpack?
We recommend bringing your own backpack on our full day or 1/2 day tours. We have a limited number of backpacks for hire if you do not have one of your own.
Do I need to bring a lunch?
We do not provide lunch on any of our trips, so we recommend you bring your own lunch (for the longer trips), snacks and a bottle of water (you can refill it on the trip).
Why should I not wear Jeans on the longer trips?
We ask our clients not to wear jeans on our longer trips, but instead to wear lightweight trousers, as jeans get very cold and uncomfortable when wet. If jeans are all you have then we can provide you with waterproof over-trousers to at least keep you dry on the tour.
Are the Glacier Hikes for everyone?
Our tours have different difficulty levels so some of our tours are not suitable for others than those in good physical conditions. If you are fit to walk for about an hour on an uneven surface a glacier hike is for you.
For our easiest glacier hikes from Skaftafell National Park check out: Glacier Wonders.
Moderate to more challenging trips from Skaftafell: Glacier Grand Slam, Glacier Explorer, Glacier Xtreme (Ice climbing tailored to your ability).
And last but not least our Alpine Program where along with an experienced guide you will ascend some of Iceland's most majestic peaks - Hvannadalshnjukur - Iceland's highest or any other peak of your choosing.
You can find more about the difficulty level of each tour on the relevant tour site.