In Iceland you can walk inside a glacier

Into the Glacier: 
walk inside Europe’s second largest glacier in Iceland 

Photo: facebook/intotheglacier

Iceland is not all volcanoes and heroic football teams. As well as stunning landscapes in this winter wonderland, the country’s newest attraction brings tourists into a man-made ice cave in the heart of Europe’s second largest glacier

Into the Glacier offer tours to Langjokull, or Long Glacier, which covers an area of about 367 square miles and is also the second biggest in Iceland. According to the group’s website, what lay beneath the glacier had always remained a mystery.

In 2010, Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrimur Örn Arngrímsson had a vision to take tourists deep into the ice cap to witness the blue ice within. A team of engineers and geo-physicists combined to make the dream a reality and create “the first and biggest man-made ice cap glacier ice cave.”

Getting ready to go 300m into a glacier. #intotheglacier #westiceland @lorenasendic

A post shared by Into the Glacier (@intotheglacier) on

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How do you get there?

Daily tours depart from Reykjavík and Húsafell and there are plenty of different packages on offer. As well as trips to the glacier, visitors can take in the surrounding fjords and geysers. A guide will show travellers around Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot springs in Europe, and the cold blue water of the Hraunfossar waterfall. 

Langjokull is located in the country’s mid-west highlands. During the summer, a gravel road is open from June to September as far as the Klaki base camp. But journeys up to the ice tunnel are made in specially-modified four-wheel vehicles. Most of the glacier rises between 1200 and 1300 metres above sea level.

The ice tunnel leads almost 300 metres into the glacier. The route and ice caves are well lit but the temperature inside is around 0°C so visitors need to dress appropriately including wearing boots or snowshoes

To the snowmobile!

If the special glacier vehicles are not extreme enough for you, you can opt for the snowmobile tour. After some lessons in the basics, you and a partner will make your way up to the base camp at Klaki to check in. You’ll need a valid driver’s licence to opt for this tour, and along the way you will encounter the magnificent views of the Icelandic highlands. 

Mountain air

Iceland is also famous for its scenery and the ‘Ice and Fire’ tour takes in land and air. Guests can board a plane at Reykjavik Domestic Airport for an hour-long ‘flightseeing’ trip over volcanoes, waterfalls and glaciers. Sights include Glymur Waterfall, Þingvellir National Park, the Langjökull and Þórisjökull glaciers and the geothermal area Hengill before landing at Húsafell to travel up to the ice cave.  

Nothing beats the sunrise on the glacier #midnightsun #intotheglacier. #nofilter #mystopover

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Get to the chopper

Whatever about flying over the glacier, how about landing on it? The helicopter tour option gives fantastic aerial views over lava, craters and the tectonic plates before first landing at the hot springs at Hengill. From there, passengers take to the skies again to land on top of Langjokull by the ice tunnels. The 3-4 hour trip by air is described as a ‘once in a lifetime experience.’ 

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12 2016 The Red Bulletin

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