Like many of Iceland’s glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull sits above a volcanic caldera. An eruption here in 2010 made it one of Iceland’s best-known landmarks, however, the huge ash cloud disrupted international flight schedules for days on end, glacial meltwater caused massive flooding, and huge electrical storms occurred. Driving up onto the ‘island-mountain glacier’ by snowmobile offers a close up look at this powerful force of nature. You’ll have a chance to examine its structure, ridges and layers, learn about its formation and history, and enjoy panoramic views over the south coast, the interior and the highlands.
This small-group tour starts near Skógafoss, where you’ll meet your guides and other tour participants and get kitted out for snowmobiling. After a short briefing on safety procedures, you’ll be fitted with a snow suit and helmet and set off in a Superjeep, a specially modified 4x4 vehicle, toward Eyjafjallajökull.
Driving up to the snow line, you’ll navigate your way over bumpy tracks through an otherworldly landscape of lava, ash, boulders and ice until you reach the lower slopes of the glacier and the snowmobile base.
Here, you’ll have another briefing on snowmobile use and control, and safety on the glacier, before setting off onto the glistening ice. With stripes of white, blue and black ice on its lower levels, topped by a snowy white cap, the glacier is a dramatic place to explore, with undulating ridges and sculptural drifts.
Conditions will vary depending on the time of year and amount of snow cover on the glacier, but whenever you decide to visit, driving about on this snowy wilderness is an eye-opening experience. On clear days you’ll get sweeping views of the south coast, into the interior and of the highland peaks. Even on a cloudy day, a visit gives a great sense of the scale of the island’s natural landmarks and the forces of nature that have shaped them.
Exploring the glacier from above gives a totally different view of the surrounding landscape and the dramatic upheavals and geological changes that have taken place here. While driving the snowmobiles can be a thrilling experience, opting to be a passenger gives you more time to examine the formations in the glacier and to enjoy the views while still moving.
Your group of no more than eight will be led by two guides, so there’s plenty of time to ask questions, take photographs and enjoy the serenity that comes with being in such an unusual location.