Vatnajokull Glacier (Glacier of Lakes): Size, Ice Caves, Cap and Volcanoes

Vatnajokull Glacier

Vatnajokull Glacier (Glacier of Lakes) is the second-largest ice cap in Europe and the largest and most voluminous glacier in Iceland. Its surface is 7.900 square kilometers and covers around 8% of the country’s total area. Vatnajokull Glacier is located in the southeast of Iceland with coordinates 64.4220° N, 16.7902° W. The Vatnajokull Glacier has more than 25 named outlet glaciers and 7 subglacial volcanoes. Vatnajokull gives birth to several glacial rivers such as Köldukvísl, Tungnaá, Þjórsá, Jökulsá á Fjöllum Skjálfandafljót, Jökulsá á Brú, Jökulsá í Fljótsdal, and Jökulsá í Lóni. The distance between Reykjavik and Vatnajokull is 237 kilometers but there are many tours and tour guides visiting the glacier. Tourists can stay in nearby settlements like Hnappavellir, Skaftafell, or Höfn.  

What is the Size of Vatnajokull Glacier?

The Vatnajokull Glacier size is 7.900 square kilometers. Covering an area of 8% of iceland, it is the largest ice cap in the country. Vatnajokull is the second largest ice cap in Europe. The only larger ice cap in Europe is Severny Island in Novaya Zemlya. 

What are the Volcanoes in Vatnajokull Glacier?

The Vatnajokull Glacier has seven identified subglacial volcanoes with the three best-known being Grímsvötn, Bardarbunga, and Öraefajökull. The most active is Grímsvötn whose last eruption occurred in 2004. Bardarbunga and Öraefajökull are also active but have not erupted recently. 

What is the prominence of Vatnajokull Glacier in Icelandic Culture?

Vatnajokull Glacier is a prominent part of Iceland Culture. In 1985 the glacier was featured in James Bond’s movie “A View to Kill.” Later on, in 2004, Vatnajokull was part of “The Amazing Race 6” series. In 2009, Westlife used the glacier for a scene in its music hit “What About Now.” Finally, HBO used the Vatnajokull Glacier as a shooting location for several scenes for the second season of the fantasy series “Game of Thrones” in 2011. 

How to Get to Vatnajokull Glacier

If visiting the Vatnajokull Glacier, it is best to rent a car. Easily accessible and year-round open areas are Skaftafell, Jökulsárgljúfur, and Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Depending on which area of the glacier you want to visit, using public transport is also possible. 

What are the Things to Do in Vatnajokull National Park?

Popular things to do in the Vatnajokull National Park include ice climbing, cave exploration, hiking, and seeing natural wonders such as waterfalls and lagoons. Winter sports and 4WD tours are also popular among visitors to the Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland.  

What are the Similar Glaciers in Iceland to Vatnajokull Glacier?

There are many Glaciers in Iceland, but if talking about the ones similar to the Vatnajokull ice cap glacier, we should mention:

  • Langjökull Glacier
  • Mýrdalsjökull Glacier
  • Eyjafjallajokull Glacier
  • Drangajökull Glacier
  • Sólheimajökull Glacier
  • Eiríksjökull Glacier
  • Brúarjökull Glacier