Hike the glacier and summit of Snæfellsjökull on a day trip from Reykjavík

Moderate to Challenging
Tour Time
12 - 14 hours
On The Glacier
5 - 6 hours
Transportation to and from Reykjavík, Pick-up and drop-off in the city center, certified mountain guide and all required gear
What to bring?
Meeting point


Challenge yourself to stand on top of the glacier covering completely a volcano surrounded by ocean from all sides but one, as you conquer the iconic Snæfellsjökull located in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Although it’s a serious hike we will make it easier, by driving halfway to the top in our modified 4×4 vehicle on one of the most spectacular mountain roads in Iceland, from which point our certified mountain guide will lead you to the summit. This long tour starts and ends in Reykjavík and the transportation is included, but meeting at the starting point of the hike is also possible – please read more in section “Meeting Point”.

Our guides are all skilled and trained professionals, certified by the Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides. They have vast knowledge of geology and glaciology which they share with you in an entertaining way. Our goal is to educate and have fun on our tours at the same time, so that your experience will be both memorable and rewarding. Of course the safety of our guests is always our highest priority.

Please note: Due to the length of the hike itself this tour doesn’t include other sightseeing spots in Snæfellsnes. It just wouldn’t be feasible to do it all in one day. However you will see most of the peninsula from the road. Your guide will try to make extra stops if time allows, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Highlights of the tour


Have you heard about Jules Verne’s famous novel called Journey to the Center of the Earth? The story starts right here! The main characters descend right into Snæfellsjökull volcano and discover a passage leading them deep underground to an ancient world unknown to humans. Although the book is completely fictional it has brought fame and attention to this picturesque mountain for over a century.

Snæfellsjökull stands 1446 meters tall and is the only large stratovolcano in the western part of Iceland. Its last eruption is estimated to have happened around year 200 CE, which means it is an active volcano, but no one in Iceland has ever seen it erupting – after all the first Viking settlers arrived here in early medieval times. Signs of the historical eruptions – smaller craters, vast lava fields and hidden lava tunnels can be seen all around the mountain in the area, which in 2001 became a National Park. Therefore the name Snæfellsjökull, meaning snowy mountain glacier, is applicable for the mountain itself, volcanic system underground, glacier that covers it as well as the whole park. That’s pretty confusing, isn’t it?

In winter and spring snow covers the glacier fully hiding the ice and its features, but in June it melts fast and the crevasses – deep cracks in the glacier start to open, until in the middle of the summer big parts of it become a dramatic maze impossible to traverse. Fear not, our guides know safe ways through it to the top where in good visibility you can get a panoramic view all the way to Reykjavík and Reykjanes peninsula to the south and Westfjords to the north. That’s almost the whole longitudinal extent on the country! Unfortunately sightings of Greenland from there haven’t yet been confirmed…

Fun fact: In 2024 Icelandic presidential election Snæfellsjökull glacier was proposed as a candidate by a group of Icelanders, who argued that it fulfilled all the criteria being over 35 years old citizen of Iceland with no criminal record and a support of enough voters who signed the petition. The glacier didn’t respond to that and in the end it sadly didn’t appear on the final list of candidates.



The tour will begin with the pick up in Reykjavík. Please be ready at your pick up location at the time of the departure, but keep in mind that picking up all the guests can usually take up to 30 minutes, as we drive from one location to another in our modified minibus marked with Ice Walkers logo. Upon booking a tour with us you will always be contacted by us to confirm the pick up location. Please read more in our “Meeting Point” section. We then leave the city and head straight to the town of Arnarstapi located at the foot of Snæfellsjökull, where we’ll stop for toilets. The expected departure time from there is roughly 3 hours after the tour starts in Reykjavík, but if you choose to meet us there we will also stay in touch with you.

When we’re finally ready to head up we’ll begin with a bumpy ride on a the mountain road number 570. It surely will feel adventurous! We should reach the height of about 700 meters before the road ends and the hike will begin from there. First the guide will adjust and hand you the gear which you will use. Upon reaching the glacier you will be properly introduced to using it and the guide will tie the whole team on a rope for safety. The way up is a gradual low-angle ascent of 700 meters on rock, ice and snow, which although a bit strenuous requires no technical movements. Usually after 3 hours we stand on the plateau right underneath a steep nunatak – rocky peak sticking out of the glacial ice, which is the real summit. The views are already stunning here, but for those of the brave hearts and if time and conditions allow the guide will offer to climb the peak itself. We will also enjoy a break for lunch and rest here.

The way down the same path should take about 2 hours and feel much easier. We then hop back on our vehicle and head back to Reykjavík pondering upon the experience. There are no more stops in the peninsula scheduled other than toilet breaks, however if the timing is favorable the guide might offer you to make extra stops at some of the tourist sites on the way. The expected arrival time in the city is 12 hours after the departure and just like during pick-up the guide will drive you to your chosen location downtown. You can then enjoy a well deserved drink in one of the bars or rest assured knowing you’ve summited one of Iceland’s most famous mountains.

Important information


No prior glacier experience is required for this trip, however participants must be relatively fit to hike for 5-6 hours while carrying a backpack. We provide glacier gear such as crampons, ice axe, helmet and a harness as well as ropes and all the emergency and rescue kit, small part of which you might be also expected to carry.  It is absolutely necessary that you bring your own good hiking boots – renting boots that haven’t been tested by you for a longer hike like this is not recommended, as well as different layers of clothes for all kinds of weather – rain, cold or wind. You can see the detailed list of equipment required in the section “What to bring”. We always hope for the best conditions, but in Iceland everything can happen!

The success of reaching the summit depends on the effort of all participants. The first priority of your guide will always be your safety, which in remote conditions could be compromised by many factors you can only recognize with experience. With the best hopes to reach the summit, he will monitor the group and the weather  for the whole time and if the situation becomes too risky he will turn around to bring you back safely even if it means abandoning the plan to summit. Such decisions are always difficult and we’re sad when we have to take them, but such is the way of the mountains. In such cases we always still try to see as much as possible and hike on the glacier.

This trip is quite weather dependent, because heavy wind, high precipitation and low visibility can decrease not only your experience, but also safety and chances of success. We always monitor the weather forecast and will contact you if it’s looking like the trip needs to be cancelled before the departure. When it happens we will try to offer you an alternative or refund you the whole price of the trip. However if the weather allows us to operate, but we don’t reach the summit due to conditions suddenly changing during the hike or participants not being able to make it, then no refund is issued.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which might affect the trip you must inform us before the trip. When in doubt we recommend you to consult a doctor. The guide can refuse you to join the hike if it’s obvious that your condition will affect it.

What to bring?

Please contact us if you need advise on hiking gear
  • Good stiff ankle-covering hiking boots, already worn and tested by you.
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warmer jacket (for example puffy)
  • Windproof layer (for example softshell)
  • Hiking pants (no jeans)
  • Backpack 20-30 liters
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Sunglasses with UV filter
  • Sunscreen
  • At least 1 liter of water
  • Snacks and food for lunch on the mountain
  • Recommended – hiking poles

Meeting point:

Our meet-on-location for this tour is the car park in front of Arnarstapi Hotel in the village of Arnarstapi. We will send you an email when you book this tour with us to confirm your choice: pick-up location in Reykjavik or meet-on-location.