A couple of hours from Reykjavík is the mystical Langjökull – Long Glacier – Iceland‘s second largest glacier. It covers an area of about 950 km² and rises for the most part between 12-1300m above sea level. It rests on a massif of Hyaloclastite Mountains formed under ice and water. The south-western part of the ice cap is called Geitlandsjökull – Glacier land of goats – which rises to an elevation of 1400 meters. To the south of Geitlandsjökull and separated from the main ice cap, is the smaller 1350m high Þórisjökull. According to legend, it was named after the troll Þórir, who lived in a green valley in the pass between the two glaciers.
Until recently, what lay beneath the surface of the Langjökull glacier, had been a mystery, known only by a small group of scientists and glaciologists.
The magnificent “Blue Ice”
In 2010 however, daring pioneers had a bold vision to take people not just around and onto the glacier, but also inside the heart of the remote and extraordinary Ice Cap. Their mission was to see the magnificent “Blue Ice” which is buried deep beneath the surface. With this bold vision in mind, entrepreneurs and scientists began studying, planning, modelling and carefully preparing for construction. Perhaps against all odds, what started as a dream, rapidly became a reality as passion, energy, enthusiasm and drive, combined with science, engineering, finance and political support, making it possible to shape the largest man-made Glacier Cave. Giving people the amazing opportunity to explore and see the inside of the massive Glacier.
To make the journey inside one of Iceland’s frozen giants is truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience. To venture down the World’s largest Man-Made Ice Tunnel is surreal. Then there is driving snowmobile across the surface of the Glacier, which is amazing and basically where the adventure began as the locals really started exploring Langjökull 50 years ago when Neil Armstrong was walking on the Moon; “One small step for man, Giant leap for Mankind.”
To venture onto the Glacier on a snowmobile on a beautiful summer or winter day – all year around twice a day – with the spectacular view is really out of this world; almost like being on the moon watching down on mother Earth. And afterwards go into the Glacier. Can it be beaten?
Where everything is “cool”
Everything is “cool” about the journey into Langjökull Glacier as people travel with Giant Trucks from the days of the Cold War when they served as Missile Launch Pad against the Soviets; it’s cool whether you make the journey from nearby Húsafell – Ridge of Houses; National Park Þingvellir – Parliamentary Fields – or the capital Reykjavík – Smokey Bay.
There are daily tours out of Reykjavík towards the Glacier through the beautiful Borgarfjörður with its extravagant waterfalls out of the lava and Europe’s most powerful hot spring Deildartunguhver – translation impossible – which provides 180 l/sec of 100° hot water!
World’s first monument of ex-glacier
We live in the days of Global Warming and just recently it was discovered that the OK glacier just west of Langjökull is Iceland’s first ex-glacier. This summer a monument will be erected. The first world’s monument about a glacier to fall victim to Climate Change. Over the next 200 years, glaciologists expect all of Iceland’s 400 Glaciers to have disappeared.
Iceland’s Mightiest Lava Cave
After the journey into the Glaciers, there is Iceland’s Mightiest and one of World’s Largest Lava Cave; Víðgelmir – Wide Elf – just shy of 1600 meters with amazing features, wonderful clava stalactites and stalagmites of amazing colors and formations, diversity and grandeur lurking in the depths of mother Earth. In fact, Gelmir was the Elf of Nargothrond, a character in Tolkien’s Silmarillion. Gelmir rode forth against Morgoth but was captured and slain. The Lava Field was formed during a destructive Volcanic Eruption in the 10th Century which originated from under Langjökull Glacier. The Lava Cave tour into Víðgelmir is family friendly, thanks to lighting and the new 300m walkway.
Spectacular landscape, rich History
Þingvellir are intrinsically part of Langjökull as the Glacier’s underground streams feed the picturesque Þingvallavatn – Lake Þingvellir – Iceland’s largest natural lake. At Þingvellir in a spectacular way, on the borders of the European and American Tectonic Plates, Nature is tearing Iceland apart, strikingly seen in the landscape.
People simply love taking tours from Þingvellir over the rugged Highland Road of Kaldidalur – Cold Valley – to the top of Langjökull at Klaki Base Kamp by the Ice Cave. There are not many places in the World where you experience such breath taking contrasts of majestic Landscape of Ice, Lava and Rich History; Þingvellir is birthplace of World’s first National Parliament and birthplace of Christianity in Iceland in the year 1.000.