One of the perks of visiting the island during the colder months is that you can ride a snowmobile in Iceland. But don't think that's it! You can also take part in all sorts of other extreme sports and snow-related activities in Iceland, such as freshwater fishing, skiing, and snowboarding.
In this article, we dive into one of these extreme sports, the exciting world of snowmobiling in Iceland. We'll tell you everything from where to go to what to wear. Here’s everything you need to know for the ride of your life!
The Best Places for Snowmobiling in Iceland
It should come as no surprise that some of the best places to go snowmobiling in Iceland are on the glaciers. Although the glaciers in Iceland are open all year round, the best time to take on these types of activities is during the colder months.
Glaciers make up 11% of our country’s land surface and provide massive stretches of flat, snow-covered surfaces that one can cruise. Some of the favorite snowmobile spots on glaciers in Iceland are Langjökull, Vatnajökull, and Myrdalsjökull.
Then, there are also a few other places that offer some of the best snowmobile tours in Iceland that don’t require the helping help of a glacier. These include Akureyri and Tröllaskagi (Troll Peninsula). So, without further ado, let’s find out more about the best places for snowmobiling in Iceland:
Langjökull (Long Glacier) Snowmobiling
At 55 km (31 miles) long and 20 km (12 miles) wide at its thickest, Langjökull is Iceland’s second-largest glacier. With an area of 953 km² (368 mi²), this giant is bigger than New York City.
It’s conveniently located close to the capital, Reykjavík, hence why it’s a great place to go for your glacier-related activities. Tours related specifically to this glacier leave from Húsafell, which is 132 km (82 miles) from the capital.
Snowmobiling in Vatnajökull (Water Glacier in Iceland’s National Park)
Iceland’s largest ice cap (and Europe’s largest by volume) covers 8,100 km2 (3127 mi2). It is over 1000 meters (over 3000 feet) at its thickest and contains the tallest peak in Iceland underneath it. As of 2008, it became part of Iceland’s largest national park, aptly named Vatnajökull National Park. This particular glacier lines much of the south coast.
Mýrdalsjökull (Mire Valley Glacier)
Iceland’s fourth-largest glacier sits on the south coast, in between Reykjavík and Vatnajökull. It covers 600 km2 (232 mi2) and is well known for sitting on top of an active volcano, known as Katla. Do not fear; Katla is monitored heavily, so we will all be ready for when it next erupts.
This is Iceland’s second-largest urban area and is found in the north of the island, next to Eyjafjörður. Close to Akureyri is Súlumýrar Winter Park, a flat area that is great for snowmobiling through. The town is a beautiful place to visit and has one of the best ski areas in Iceland nearby, Hlíðarfjall. On a side note, see if you can spot the town’s heart-shaped red traffic lights.
Tröllaskagi (Troll Peninsula)
North of Akureyri is the Troll Peninsula, an area famous for its beauty and challenging terrain. The peninsula is full of mountains, valleys, and a few small permanent ice caps. Experienced snowmobilers can expect even more exhilaration from a tour here. You’re going to be close to the Arctic Circle here, so warm clothing is of extra importance.
Best Season for Snowmobiling in Iceland
As we already mentioned, there are plenty of places where one can snowmobile in Iceland during the summer months. However, there is something particularly magical about snowmobiling in an Icelandic winter wonderland. The season where one can take part in and see all sorts of other winter activities and attractions.
For example, during the wintertime, you can ride a snowmobile and go on an ice cave tour in Iceland. This is because things such as the ice caves and Icelandic cave tours done with a snowmobile are closed during the warmer seasons due to safety concerns (ice melts, remember?).
Best Snowmobile Tours in Iceland
A snowmobile excursion in Iceland will generally last for 1–2 hours. Most companies will provide protective clothing and equipment. You will be fully briefed on how to operate the machine and keep in mind that they are very powerful. So, know that you’ll need to be strong and vigilant to ride them.
You must have a driver’s license to drive a snowmobile here, and those who don’t can ride as a passenger. The minimum age for snowmobile tours in Iceland varies for passengers. Still, many companies insist that passengers are at least 10 years old.
Bring a pair of sunglasses with you, and wear good hiking boots and warm clothes. Note that if the weather is unsuitable, tours may be canceled and rescheduled at short notice. No previous snowmobiling experience is necessary for most tours.
The cost of snowmobiling will vary based on where you do the snowmobile tour in Iceland and how long the tour takes. You’ll also need to consider what is included in the price. Some snowmobile tours in Iceland also include visiting other attractions. Other tours include things such as entry fees to certain attractions, as well as pick-up and drop-off.
In case you opt for a private snowmobile tour in Iceland, the price of the snowmobile trip might also be slightly higher. That's due to the customized experience for your friends/family. . But generally speaking, a 3-4 hour snowmobile tour in Iceland should cost about $230 and a 9-10 hour tour should leave you roughly $350 out of pocket.
Best Snowmobile Tours from Reykjavík
Many snowmobile tours in Iceland are daily excursions from Reykjavík. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be snowmobiling the streets of the capital, but tours do depart from there. Some of the best Reykjavík snowmobile tours to consider are:
Viator Snowmobile Tours
As you might’ve already figured out, snowmobiling in Iceland does not come cheap. So, purchasing a combination tour is a great option to ensure getting the most bang for your buck. Viator offers exactly such tours on their platform, with many departing from Reykjavík.
These include tours such as the Golden Circle and snowmobiling Langjökull tour in Iceland. While on the tour, you’ll not just do snowmobiling across the glacier, but also see some of Iceland’s most infamous attractions. The most famous ones are Gullfoss Waterfall, Thingvellir National Park, and the Geysir Geothermal Area.
Another combo tour option is their snowmobile and ice cave tour in Iceland. You’ll snowmobile the Langjökull Glacier as well as explore the magical world of a real ice cave on your snowmobile. Coach transport is included with this tour and will last approximately 10 hours. But please note that food and drinks are not included. Do come prepared if you don’t want to start feeling hunger pangs whilst traversing the glacier.
Extreme Icelandic Adventures
If you are coming to Iceland in the winter and traveling north, Extreme Icelandic Adventures offer fantastic snowmobile tours. Prices start at ISK 25,000 per person for a two-hour double ride (two people sharing one vehicle). Single rides are more expensive, and the tours begin in Akureyri.
If you are passing Vatnajökull via the Ring Road, Arctic Adventures has you covered for snowmobiling. Their tours come with all the inclusions mentioned above. They operate tours throughout the year and take you across the glacier to get personal with this icy wonder.
Arctic Adventures also offers tours to Eyjafjallajokull. The great thing about these tours is they teach you about glaciers, and how we can better protect them.
The Best Ice Cave Tours With a Snowmobile
Visiting the ice caves in Iceland is an extremely unique experience. Oddly enough, it’s only been recently that one could start gliding through these magical giants on snowmobiles. Ice caves are exactly what it sounds like; a cave made of ice. But these are one of the direct products of the fire and ice combo in the Land of Fire and Ice.
Ice caves are the result of either red, hot lava or a river of melted glacial water making its way through the thick glacial ice, creating a tunnel. What is even more interesting about these caves is you will actually never be able to visit the same ice cave twice. That's due to the continuous snowing on and compressing of the glacier and the continuous melting and freezing in the summer and winter.
If you’ve visited the Crystal Cave this year, the Crystal Cave version you’ll be visiting next year would be completely different! If you are also fascinated with the ice caves like we are, below are some of the ice cave snowmobile tours that come highly recommended:
Mountaineers of Iceland
This snowmobile tour in Iceland departs from Gullfoss Waterfall and lasts half a day (4 hours to be exact). The tour is open all year round and usually starts around lunchtime. The very start of the tour is already exciting with the hour-long monster truck ride through the snow to the snowmobiles.
The Glacier Ice Cave that will be visited is more than 400 years old, and you can still see layers of ash from the various eruptions through the centuries. This Mountaineers of Iceland snowmobile and ice cave tour is incredibly educational as well as thrilling.
The Glacier Adventure ice cave and snowmobile tour takes you on a scenic ride across the largest glacier in Europe; Vatnajökull Glacier. The snowmobiling makes up about 3 hours of the tour (perfect for beginners).
Thereafter, you’ll explore the famous Crystal Ice Cave for roughly 3.5-4 hours. Although the snowmobile part of the tour has no age limit, only children older than 10 years of age will be allowed to go into the cave.
What to Wear Snowmobiling in Iceland
Do you plan to go on one of the winter snowmobile tours in southeast Iceland? Or maybe join a snowmobile tour of Myrdalsjökull in Vik, Iceland in the warmer months? Well, what you wear whilst snowmobiling will remain the same.
Whilst most will opt to rent gear such as a thermal suit, helmet, and gloves from the tour operators, the clothing part will be 100% your responsibility. Be sure to wear (and pack) the following:
Layers of warm fleece or woolen jerseys.
An extra fleece to take along with you in case of emergency.
Hand warmers (you need to put them on before the ride even starts).
Sturdy hiking shoes.
Water & snacks (and lunch if the tour is longer than 3-4 hours).
Check our ultimate Iceland packing list to make sure you take with you everything you need for your upcoming trip.
Is Snowmobiling in Iceland Worth It?
The short answer is “Absolutely!”. Gliding across the vastness of a glacier is an experience that no one who hasn’t experienced it for themselves can understand. Mix that with unique experiences such as... exploring the ice caves! You'll certainly have an absolutely winning combination of everlasting memories.
To kick-start your adventure on the island, be sure to rent a car in Iceland. Or rent a 4x4 if it’s during winter, so you have your own transport to discover the island and reach departure points. And then remember to book your spot on any of these tours well in advance, especially if you’re planning on visiting during the busy summer months.