When we spent a spring week as a family in Iceland, the best thing we did while there hand down was a Glacier Tour!
In fact it was part of the reason we went to the country in the time of year we did was to ensure we could do this tour as the close for the summer season once the temperatures start to rise.
I cannot fully describe to you what this experience was like; you need to see it for yourself, but I’m going to attempt to share a little about our experience with you.
Seeing Disappearing Waterfalls
We went on this glacier cave tour and I would highly recommend it for anyone wanting an authentic small group experience.
Our glacier tour guide explained to us that they don’t even name the waterfalls because the glacier is disintegrating so quickly that they just disappear normally within a couple months. It was such an experience to witness something that might not be there in a year’s time. This was almost a spiritual experience for our entire family.
Our tour guide was hilarious and I would 100% recommend the glacier tour company we used.
We ventured out from Vik, which was a good place to start the tour as the drive out to the glacier wasn’t far.
The ride over to the glacier was in a jeep with a small group of us, about 10 people total. It was fun for the kids because of the bumps and turns and ever so scenic. Our guide explained as we drove that even the barren otherworldly parts of Iceland are a testament to the volcanic activity that could occur at any time on the island.
In fact we drove right though a very strange looking volcanic area that was actually used to film part of Star Wars, which made it even cooler for my kids to enjoy.
You feel like you’re experiencing nature in a way that you never will get to experience again.
The tour guide was full of information and history, and he shared all kinds of fun Icelandic things with us on the way over.
Repelling Down A Glacier Cave
Then was the fun part, we put our provided crampons on and began to hike on top of the glacier. I thought I would be more nervous about this, but it was actually a lot of fun.
Then we got to the entrance to the cave and were instructed on the procedures to repel down into the glacier cave. We used the attached ropes and although it was a bit tricky to balance and hold the ropes while taking photos (Ha!), everything felt incredibly safe.
The guides go out and find these tunnels every season ensuring they are safe to enter and enjoy.
Hiking Through Zebra Ice
Once we roped down into the glacier tunnels. It was a whole new kind of experience.
You can see the 800 year old Katla volcanic rock with its layers intertwined with the Mýrdalsjökull glacier from thousands of years ago. The glacier itself looks like the clearest, bluest eyes you’ve ever seen in your entire life. I was awestruck at the contrast. They call this Zebra ice.
It’s pretty hard to get me emotional, but I was speechless at this whole experience and this whole day.
After the experience in the glacier cave was through, we hiked down to see a few more waterfalls.
It was really a great educational experience for my kids to be able to see & understand climate change on this very real level.
We can talk about things like the world warming up, but allowing them to see and touch it close up, to be standing in a place where this is happening right now.
I believe this will be monumental for their future growth and development.
Drinking From The Fountain Of Youth
The guides joked with us that they don’t age because they enjoy drinking glacier water and it’s magic daily! I’m not sure about the magic, but we did get to fill our bottles up with the fresh glacier water and it was the purest, best tasting water I have ever consumed.
My water bottle ended up with a small volcanic rock at the bottom that I’ve kept with me and will treasure remembering this experience for years to come.
During the drive back my kids were amazed to hear all about the Katla Volcano and how it’s past due to blow!
The guides explained to us how the town of Vik and many other towns will be destroyed when this happens because it’s not just a volcano bursting, but a huge glacier on top of it that will melt and flood for miles. The government in Iceland has built up a few barriers along the highway that we saw to help protect the towns, but it doesn’t sound like the locals have a great hope in these measures.
Thankfully, this volcano is watched closely and people should have about 10 days notice when it’s going to explode again! Crazy. In the meantime, if you get to Iceland – go hike in a glacier cave if you can. It’s definitely one to put on your bucket list.