Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing
Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

9 days

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Glide across the largest glacier in Europe on cross-country skis

Imagine waking up each morning to glacial lands that stretch to the horizon and then getting to cross-country ski across them to the next destination. And you’re in Iceland!

Are you a cross-country skier ready to take on a new challenge? This 9-day tour in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park is your chance. This tour takes you on a challenging and rewarding cross-country ski loop covering 130 kilometres. Push yourself out of your comfort zone as you travel across the largest glacier in Europe, through active volcanic and geothermal regions, and past towering mountains for some downhill cruising. If you’re a fan of glaciers, this tour will not disappoint.

On the 9-day Vatnajökull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing, you’ll be led by a local expert guide who will take you to the best campsites for each night. Some nights will be spent in two-person tents, and others will be spent in mountain huts—an ideal combination for sleeping in the backcountry. If this sounds like your kind of challenge, book now!

Highlights of the Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Marvel at the wonders of the Grímsvötn Volcano and the surrounding crater-filled area.
Channel your inner NatGeo photographer skills and capture these supernatural landscapes on your camera.
Catch a glimpse of Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur (2,110m), and its snowy neighbours.
Cruise some sweet downhill sections to give your legs a break and get your heart pumping.

Prices

From $4,275USD
9 days
Difficulty
Guided
Tents, Mountain Huts, Guesthouses
  • No Booking or Credit Card Fees
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Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Vatnajökull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing Itinerary

Day 0 Meeting in Reykjavík

A day before your departure, you will attend a meeting with your guide and group to inspect your gear and get orientated on the upcoming expedition. If you need to stock up on any gear, you’ll have time to rent something before starting the journey tomorrow.

Accommodation for tonight is not included but can be added for a fee.
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: None

Day 1 XC Ski to Jökulheimar

Time to start the epic journey! You’ll be picked up from your accommodation in Reykjavík and transported in an all-terrain vehicle to plow through the snow line up to the trailhead.

In the early afternoon, you’ll start the cross-country ski into the unbelievable landscapes that comprise this area of Iceland. Prepare to see jaw-dropping views for the next nine days! Set up camp in a secluded spot, gather for dinner prepared by your guide, then settle into your tent for the night.
Overnight Location: Camping
Distance: 4–6 hours, 5–10 km
Meals: Lunch, dinner

Day 2 Ascend Grímsvötn Volcano

Wake up surrounded by snow-covered plains and prepare for a challenging ascent. Over the next two days, the guide will lead you across the icecaps extending across Vatnajökull National Park to the summit of the Grímsvötn Volcano.

On the first night of this mini-expedition, you’ll camp in the rugged outdoors.
Overnight Location: Camping
Distance: 6–7 hours, 15 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3 Summit Grímsvötn Volcano

Your hard work yesterday and this morning will be rewarded with incredible views from the top of the volcano. Enjoy the uniquely beautiful winter scene all around you, a treat few people ever enjoy.

Tonight, you’ll enjoy stretching out in a bunk bed in the Grímsvötn mountain hut.
Overnight Location: Mountain hut
Distance: 6–7 hours, 15 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 Explore Grímsvötn Volcano

Not ready to leave the area yet? Great! You don’t have to. Today, you’ll have all the hours of sunlight to explore the phenomenal volcanic area of Grímsvötn. It’s a highly active area, both volcanic and geothermal, so take care as you travel the area, stumbling upon infinite craters and a sub-glacial lake.

After your exploring, rest for another night in the mountain hut.
Overnight Location: Mountain hut at Grímsvötn
Distance: Flexible
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 Cross Icecaps to Öræfajökull Glacier

Indulge in a hearty breakfast at the hut, then set out southwards across immense icecaps. To start, you’ll follow along a glacier ridge and across vast open lands, drawing closer to Iceland’s highest peak and its mountain siblings.

Spend the night camping in a wild location with the end of the glacier in sight.
Overnight Location: Camping
Distance: 6–7 hours, 20–25 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 Descend Öræfajökull Glacier

After breakfast, you’ll complete your journey across the glacier. Savour the vast views and the feeling of being the only people in the world where you are.

Officially off the glacier, you’ll kick back at camp in preparation for the exciting ski tomorrow.
Overnight Location: Camping
Distance: 6–7 hours, 20–25 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7 Cross to Esjufjöll Mountains

After breaking camp in the morning, the group will traverse more unreal snow meadows and icecaps. Your cross-country skiing efforts will be rewarded today with an easygoing downhill segment towards the Esjufjöll Mountains.

With a less demanding ski day behind you, you’ll have the energy to spend time storytelling and laughing with the group in the mountain hut accommodation.
Overnight Location: Mountain hut at Esjufjöll
Distance: 6–7 hours, 20–25 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 Cross Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier

Rise and shine for your last full day of cross-country skiing in Iceland! Have a leisurely breakfast, then clip into your skis and head out.

Your eyes will feast on mountain views, crevassed fields, and glacial moraines—truly a cross-country ski paradise! For the final night of the tour, you’ll stay in a guesthouse in Skaftafell.
Overnight Location: Guesthouse in Skaftafell
Distance: 5–6 hours, 15 km
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 Return to Reykjavík

Well, that’s that! After a good night’s rest and breakfast, you’ll be driven back to Reykjavík, where the tour ends. The expedition is complete—and it’s certainly one for the books!
Overnight Location: None
Distance: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Vatnajökull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing Price and Dates

This guided cross-country ski tour in Iceland is run as a group tour on select dates, therefore the price per person is fixed.

Prices below are per person:

Apr 20, 2022
Apr 28, 2022
From Reykjavik, Iceland
To Reykjavik, Iceland
USD$4,275
9 days / 5+ Spaces Left

Accommodation on the Vatnajökull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

This tour is based in tents, traditional mountain huts, and a guesthouse. You will be provided with high-quality two-person tents, but you must bring your own sleeping bag and mat. The huts are basic with dormitories for sleeping. The guesthouse has simple amenities with dorms.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travellers
Single rooms are not available on this tour as mountain huts only have shared dormitories. Single travellers are not required to pay an additional supplement for this tour.

Hotels on Standard Tour

Night 1-2

Camping in Iceland

Stay warm and dry in expedition-style two-person tents. Set up camp in the most spectacular and remote sites.

Night 3-4

Mountain huts in Iceland

Stay in a shared mountain hut. You’ll have access to basic amenities and shared dormitories for a comfortable night in the wilderness.

Night 5-6

Camping in Iceland

Stay warm and dry in expedition-style two-person tents. Set up camp in the most spectacular and remote sites.

Night 7

Mountain huts in Iceland

Stay in a shared mountain hut. You’ll have access to basic amenities and shared dormitories for a comfortable night in the wilderness.

Night 8

Guesthouse in Reykjavik

Enjoy a night in a guesthouse with shared dormitories.

What’s Included in the Vatnajökull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing?

Meals

8 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 8 dinners are included.

Accommodations

Accommodation for 8 nights is included in the tour.

Transportation during the Tour

Transportation to and from Reykjavík at the start and end of the tour is included. During the tour, you will transport yourself on cross-country skis and carry your pack on a pulk (gear sled).

Also Included

  • Experienced English-speaking guide
  • Two-person tents for camping nights
  • Cooking gear
  • Pulk (sled for gear)

Not included

  • Personal expenses or gratuities
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Anything not mentioned as included

Optional Extras

  • Cross-country ski equipment rental:
    • skis, skins, poles and boots: $275 USD per person
    • skis, skins and poles: $225 USD per person
  • Sleeping bag rental
  • Sleeping mat rental
  • Extra nights in Reykjavík

Frequently Asked Questions about Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Icelandic Mountain Guides are a boutique adventure tour company that has been sharing the best of Iceland’s beautiful wilderness since 1994. Their passion for nature and adventure drives them to provide quality, fun and educational experiences for their guests. They are also committed to the environment, carbon neutralizing all of their day tours.

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Map of Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Map of Vatnajokull Glacier Cross-Country Ski Crossing

Is this tour for me?

We rate this tour as a 4/5. You should be comfortable cross-country skiing for up to 7 hours for multiple days in a row. You will have some downtime to recuperate, but the route can be strenuous. This tour is not recommended for beginner cross-country skiers. You should be comfortable in very basic accommodations in winter conditions as well.

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