Skaftafellsjokull and Svínafellsjokull Glaciers
The most accessible outlet glaciers from Vatnajökull are Skaftafellsjokull and Svínafelsjokull glaciers, both located in Skaftafell. The spectacular landscape, formed by the glacier for the past thousands of years is not something you see every day!
From Vatnajokull around 30 outlet glaciers flow from the ice cap. Outlet glaciers are channels of ice that flow out from the ice cap but are constrained on the sides with exposed bedrock. The ice moves forward very slowly but formes all kind of holes, deep crevasses and sometimes ice caves. The ice caves are popular attractions in Iceland but they vary every year in size and shape. At the end of some glacier tongues is a lagoon because the icebergs break away from the glaciers and melt into a lagoon. The most famous lagoon in Iceland is Jökulsárlón.
Private travel companies offer glacier tours on the nearby glaciers and mountains, the tours are truly a unique and essential Icelandic experience. It is also possible to hike from the visiting center in Skaftafell to the Skaftafellsjokull glacier. The round-trip is about 3,7 km long and takes about 1-1,5 hours, fairly easy. The views where the trail ends are good over the glacier tongue. Make sure to follow the instructions on the warning signs before going closer to the glacier and make sure not to enter the glacier without a professional guide.
The drive from Reykjavík is about 4 hours (319km) to the visitor center at Skaftafell. Follow Ring Road nr. 1 and then turn on road nr. 998.
Read more about Driving in Iceland.