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Langjökull, the ‘long glacier’, is Iceland’s second largest and a popular spot for 4x4 and snowmobile trips. It’s also the closest major glacier to Reykjavík and is easy to access on either a day trip or with an overnight stay.

Reykjanes PeninsulaThe region around the glacier is a microcosm of the many and varied landscapes of Iceland, and you can find ancient lava fields, geothermal pools, waterfalls and glacial caves all within the immediate vicinity. It’s a great spot to relax and simply admire the landscape or plan a thrilling outdoor adventure.

Geologists think that at least two volcanic systems lie under the massive ice cap. On the eastern side, there are hot springs at Hveravellir, while others are located not far from Húsafell to the west. Close by, waters from underground streams emerge to form the ribbon falls at Hraunfossar, making a good place for a leisurely hike. One of the regions’ most impressive geological phenomena, however, is the lava tube at Víðgelmir.

Iceland’s largest lava tube lies beneath the Hallmundarhraun lava field. Formed over 1,100 years ago when the top-layer of the moving lava cooled and formed a roof over the continuously flowing molten lava resulting in a huge, cylinder-shaped cave formation that stretches almost 1,600 m (5,250 ft). Inside, a diverse array of lava formations creates a strangely beautiful subterranean world in flat-black with accents of deep-purple, russet-orange and canary-yellow rock. You can take a tour of the cave along permanent walkways, and in winter, see glittering ice formations in the great halls.

Northern lights in West IcelandIn addition to the spectacle of the frozen landscape, the region is popular in winter as a good spot for viewing the northern lights. The ice-capped mountains offer a dramatic backdrop and at Hotel Húsafell, our preferred hotel in the area, guests can expect a higher than average probability of seeing the northern lights as there is little light pollution and the hotel offers a free northern lights wake-up call if the aurora is visible.

You can also take a tour from Húsafell to see the glacier itself. The most popular option uses a specially modified vehicle to take you up onto the glacier and then on a guided walking tour into a series of manmade tunnels and caves that reach far into the glacial ice. There’s even a chapel inside.

Other possibilities for activities in the area include taking a snowmobile tour of the glacier.

Best time to visit Langjökull

Langjökull makes a good year-round destination with most activities available throughout the year. In summer, the contrasts in the surrounding landscape are more apparent, while winter often brings a covering of snow and regular sightings of the northern lights.

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