Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour in Iceland with Tröll Expeditions: What to Expect + Review

Note to my fellow wanderers: This guide was written from my first-hand experiences. I try my best not to over-glamorize any location I travel to because I want HappyWander’s content to be as authentic as possible. My goal is to provide you real information so that you can have the best possible adventures wandering the world. Enjoy!

Hiking on a glacier is a bucket list adventure for many people. Iceland offers such adventures that will immerse you in the raw beauty of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. Guided by expert professionals, hikers can explore the glacier’s stunning features safely, while learning about its unique geological history and the environmental changes impacting it. Whether you’re an avid adventurer or a curious traveler, the Skaftafell Glacier Hike promises an exhilarating journey through Iceland’s pristine wilderness. In this guide, I will highlight everything you need to know about hiking Skaftafell Glacier with Tröll Expeditions, what you can expect, and my review of this experience.

Essentials For Skaftafell Glacier Hiking in Iceland

In this section I highlight everything you need to know about Glacier Hiking in Iceland.

Why Hike Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland?

Hiking the Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland offers a unique adventure through the stunning landscapes of Vatnajökull National Park, home to Europe’s largest glacier.

Where Is It Located?

Skaftafell Glacier is part of Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest glacier. Skaftafell Glacier is located on the southern side of Iceland near the city of Skaftafell, which is a famous spot for many movies and TV shows (such as Game of Thrones and Batman Begins). Skaftafell Glacier is located at the red marker below:

Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland Map

Cost to Hiking Skaftafell Glacier Via a Guided Tour

The costs for a Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour vary depending on the length of the hike, duration, activities, and tour guide company that you choose. The tour guide company I chose cost around $100 USD, and was roughly a 3 hour glacier hike.

How Long Does It Take?

Most hiking tours on Skaftafell Glacier take between 3 and 6 hours. The shorter glacier hiking tours usually just include hiking on Skaftafell Glacier, and the longer ones include the glacier and nearby ice cave(s).

What to Bring

When hiking Skaftafell Glacier, it’s important to bring the proper gear. Here are some things you should bring:

  • Hiking shoes that go past your ankles (you can rent these with Tröll Expeditions).
  • Under layers and water resistant outer layer, with additional warm layers if it’s a colder time of the year. In May, I ended up taking my jacket off because it was quite warm, even on the glacier.
  • Camera or phone for taking pictures and videos.

What’s Included (Tröll Expeditions)

Tröll Expeditions includes the following for each guided hike:

  • Crampons (for hiking on ice)
  • Ice axe (for looking cool)
  • Helmet (for protecting your melon)
  • Climbing harness (to ensure your hiking safety)
  • English speaking guide (for safely guiding you on your adventure)

You’ll need to arrange transportation to and from your Skaftafell hiking location.

Difficulty of Hiking Skaftafell

Hiking Skaftafell is not a very challenging hike. At worst, Skaftafell is a medium difficulty hike when you have the proper gear. With Tröll Expeditions, they provide crampons that will make hiking on the glacier relatively easy. If you can walk up hills as a slow to medium pace, you can hike Skaftafell.

Do I Need to Hire a Guide to Hike a Glacier?

It’s not recommended to hike Iceland’s glaciers without a professional guide because they can be dangerous and you could get seriously hurt or even killed. Skaftafell National Park in Iceland offers a variety of glacier tours, including hikes, ice cave tours, and ice climbing tours

Glacier Hiking Tour Guide Options

There are quite a few glacier hiking tour guide options in Iceland. I’m going to highlight the main ones, including the one I ultimately chose.

Tröll Expeditions

Tröll Expeditions is a renowned adventure tour company in Iceland, specializing in guided tours that showcase the country’s extraordinary natural beauty. Known for their expertise and commitment to safety, Tröll Expeditions offers a wide range of activities, including glacier hikes, ice climbing, and Northern Lights tours. With knowledgeable guides and high-quality equipment, they provide unforgettable experiences for adventurers seeking to explore Iceland’s stunning landscapes. I chose Tröll Expeditions because their adventures were rated very highly with lots of reviews.

Arctic Adventures

Arctic Adventures is a leading Icelandic tour operator, offering a diverse array of adventure tours that highlight the country’s spectacular natural wonders. From glacier hikes and white-water rafting to snorkeling in Silfra and Northern Lights excursions, Arctic Adventures caters to thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. With a focus on sustainability and safety, their experienced guides ensure memorable and responsible explorations of Iceland’s unique landscapes.

Icelandic Mountain Guides

Icelandic Mountain Guides is a premier tour company specializing in adventure trips across Iceland’s diverse terrain. They offer a wide range of activities, including glacier hikes, ice climbing, and mountain trekking, all led by highly skilled and knowledgeable guides. Known for their commitment to safety and sustainable tourism, Icelandic Mountain Guides provide exceptional experiences that allow travelers to intimately explore Iceland’s stunning natural beauty.

Midgard Adventure

Midgard Adventure is a top-rated Icelandic tour company known for its personalized and immersive adventure experiences. Offering activities such as glacier hikes, super jeep tours, and multi-day treks, Midgard Adventure specializes in exploring the hidden gems of Iceland’s South Coast. With a focus on small group sizes and local expertise, their passionate guides ensure memorable and authentic encounters with Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes.

Asgard Beyond

Asgard Beyond is a distinguished Icelandic tour company offering specialized adventure experiences in the country’s remarkable wilderness. Their tours include glacier hikes, ice climbing, and mountaineering, catering to both beginners and seasoned adventurers. Renowned for their professional guides and commitment to safety, Asgard Beyond provides an in-depth exploration of Iceland’s stunning natural features, ensuring each journey is both thrilling and educational.

My Experience Hiking Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland With Tröll Expeditions

In this section, I will review my experience hiking Skaftafell Glacier in Iceland with Tröll Expeditions.

Parking

Parking at Tröll Expeditions parking lot is easy peasy. It is conveniently located off route 1 and is large and easy to drive on gravel.

The address for Tröll Expeditions Skaftafell parking is: W76C+6QF West of Hofgardur, 785 Hof, Iceland

Gearing Up

Once I parked, it was time to walk over to the small building that houses all the gear required for various Tröll Expeditions’ adventures. I was greeted by a woman to check in, and then sent to get my gear and crampons adjusted for by hiking boots. I was provided the following items: Crampons, ice axe, helmet, and climbing harness.

After about 40 to 50 people arrived and went through the same process, we were ready to rock.

Bus Ride

Tröll Expeditions used one bus to take all 40 to 50 people to the starting point at Skaftafell Glacier. Once we arrived at the starting point, we began to walk towards the glacier. There were 3 groups of hikers on the bus: 1 group was hiking the ice caves and glacier, and 2 groups were hiking the glacier.

Beginning of Hike

For glacier only hikers, they split us in 2 groups. My group was less than 10 people, which was great to communicate with the guide and meet each other. We began to hike towards Skaftafell Glacier, which seemed to be about a mile away.

My guide, Mar, was awesome. She knew how to break the ice (no pun intended) and was very knowledgeable about the glacier.

Hiking on the Glacier

Once we arrived at the bottom of the glacier, our hiking guide instructed us how to put on our crampons. Once we all had them on, we started hiking up the glacier, which was awesome.

Our guide knew exactly which routes to go on, taking us in a little ice cave, which was probably my favorite part of this adventure:

I think it’s important to have a hiking guide on a glacier because the glaciers change frequently: They melt, collapse, and change often. Mar even demonstrated how to properly drink fresh glacier water that was melting, also known as a Viking pushup:

After a while hiking with the group, most of us began to get more comfortable around each other. Most people in the group came with someone, but there were a few of us that joined the group solo (including me).

Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour with Tröll Expeditions Hiking Group Photo

After about an hour on the glacier, we started to head back to the bus and parking lot. In all, this glacier hiking adventure lasted around 3 hours, which seemed like long enough to get a taste of hiking on a glacier in Iceland.

Is Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour with Tröll Expeditions Worth It?

So was my Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour with Tröll Expeditions worth it? In this section, I’ll explore some of my favorite parts, least favorite parts, and my overall score of this adventure.

My Favorite Parts

Here are a few of my favorite parts of my Skaftafell Glacier hiking tour:

  1. The Small Ice Tunnel: walking through the ice tunnel on the glacier was definitely amazing and so cool to see the different colors of blue and white ice.
  2. Drinking Glacier Water: Drinking glacier water via a Viking pushup was an experience. You won’t find fresher water than that!
  3. My Hiking Guide: My glacier hiking guide Mar was great, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to hike with. I can definitely see the benefits of having someone extremely knowledgeable and experienced leading the way.

My Least Favorite Parts

Here are a few of my least favorite parts of my Skaftafell Glacier hiking tour:

  1. The Bus Ride: The bus ride was a little awkward because none of us knew each other and there was no music being played. I’d recommend pumping some tunes up to set the mood.
  2. Long Walk to Glacier: The bus parked about a mile from the beginning of the glacier. While not a big deal, it was quite a walk to the actual glacier. It would have been better to spend more time on the glacier.

Overall Score

I thoroughly enjoyed my Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour with Tröll Expeditions. While I can’t speak to the other adventure guide companies, I would recommend choosing a company with high reviews and with an abundant amount of them to get a proper gauge of quality.

I give this adventure a 8.7 / 10.

Final Thoughts on Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour in Iceland

Thank you for joining me on my Skaftafell Glacier Hiking Tour adventure recap! I highly recommend that you schedule a Skaftafell Glacier hike guided tour for an adventure you won’t forget.

Happy wandering!

Anthony Bart
Author: Anthony Bart

Hello! Welcome to HappyWanders! My name is Anthony, I'm on a mission to live a life full of adventure and to help you to do the same. As an ex-corporate worker and current entrepreneur, I've been working to design a life with more time for adventure and less time for the 9-5 grind. If you're ready for an adventure, you're my type of person!

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