Glacier Hike, Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
I have one word to describe day 4 in Iceland: EPIC!!! Y’all! Iceland did some major flirting and showing off this day exposing us to things we’ve never experienced before! We started off the morning with a glacier hike…no big deal, right?!? After we cooled down from the icy hike, we headed to the peaceful iceberg lagoons where time seems frozen still. It was dreamy.
So, basically, glaciers cover about 11% of Iceland with Vatnajökull being the biggest in the country. In the east of the island, this glacier dominates! Alone, it covers 8% of the country and it is the largest ice cap in volume in Europe. Oh, and it has volcanoes under the ice! You know…that whole “land of fire and ice” thing? Yeah…that’s a real phenomenon in Iceland!
On the way to our hotel in Hof the night before, Vatnajökull definitely made itself known from a distance as if it was puffing up and saying, “Are you sure you want a piece of me?” We did. We were like giddy school kids seeing bits of the beastly glacier and its glacier tongues running down into the surrounding land. I thought we would never reach our cabin because Ben kept jumping out the car to get pictures around every bend!
Our glacier hike was scheduled for 9:15 the following morning with a company called Glacier Guides. The team at Glacier Guides were so welcoming and helpful! We were offered hot chocolate and tea as soon as we arrived, and they quickly got us fitted for our hiking boots. They got us set up with crampons (metal plate with spikes worn on your shoes for walking on ice) and an ice axe, then delivered us safely to our hiking location: Falljökull glacier tongue. By the way, even though the glacier is called Vatnajökull, all the glacier tongues have their own individual names. Our hiking guide, Alfred, told us to pronounce “Falljökull” like “fat yogurt.” So, if you were wondering how to say it, there you go!
After a hike on solid ground and a hop over the sketchiest, barely pieced together bridge, we finally arrived at the base of the glacier tongue and put on our crampons. We got a quick lesson on how to walk on the ice from Alfred which was to “walk like cowboys” and a few other tidbits, then we began the trek up the glacier. We zigzagged our way around cracks and crevasses in the ice while walking in a single file line like a bunch of penguins! Alfred would stop us for a rest and photo opportunities while he educated us about the glacier. I don’t think I did a very good job listening because my eyes were popping out of my head from the scenery! We filled up our water bottles with glacier water on the way back down, and we had some fun photo opts with our group. It was so fun and an experience that I will truly never forget!
We had the rest of the day to spend time at the iceberg lagoons, so we made off right after the hike. There are two popular iceberg lagoons in Iceland. The first one we arrived at was Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Out of the two, Fjallsárlón is the smaller iceberg lagoon, but it packs a big punch! What it lacks in size, it makes up for in elegance and peacefulness. We just gawked at its raw beauty for a while. It was so polished with its bright, white icebergs floating in the mirror-like water. It’s just one of those sights that will stay forever perfectly etched in your brain because you’ve never seen anything like it before.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon was our next destination. We bought a ticket for a boat tour as soon as we arrived and had time to just sit and take in the sight before it was our turn. Jökulsárlón, with its dark, blue water and blue-tinted icebergs, is just as beautiful as the last glacier lagoon. In fact, it is so beautiful that it has been in several famous movies such as James Bond and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It is much bigger than Fjallsárlón and has at least two glacier tongues that drool into it. The icebergs themselves are also much bigger and immediately bring to mind times of the Titanic. It was surreal to get up close and personal with them on the boat! We also got to see a lazy seal sunbathing on one of the icebergs! The whole day was stunning!