Hvannadalshnúkur – Iceland’s highest peak

Stairway to heaven

The Iceland’s highest - Hvannadalshnúkur

Private alpine trekking tour to Hvannadalshnúkur, the highest summit in Iceland 2110 m.

Due to uncertainty of the increased earthquake and geothermal activity in the Öræfajökull volcano in November 2017, we are not taking bookings for this tour at the moment. Instead we offer the Mountaineering Adventure – Alpine trekking tour, which focuses on less climbed mountains east of Öræfajökull, outside the reach of the volcano.

Hvannadalshnúkur is on every ambitious mountain trekker´s list, and despite it’s low elevation it is a long and hard day out in the mountains.

The climb it self starts at around 90 m in elevation so the elevation gain to the top is around 2.000 vertical metres and the distance from the beginning to the top is 12.5 km (25 km round trip). The classic and most popular route to the top is the Sandfell route, starting at the Sandfell parking lot, following hiking path to 750 m and from there snowy or rocky terrain up to 1100 m where we rope up and hike on the snow covered glacier all the way to the top. The same route is then taken back down to Sandfell.

Note there is a meeting with your guide at 18:00 the day before the climb.

Hvannadalshnúkur is a part of the Öræfajökull volcano, a sleeping stratovolcano that is one of the biggest stratovolcanos in Europe.

Öræfajökull is located in the southern part of the Vatnajökull ice cap and on a good day the view over the ice cap and its southern edge is magnificent.

Climbing Hvannadalshnúkur has for years been a challenge for mountain hikers all around the world. It was first climbed by Páll Jónsson, Þorlákur Þorláksson and Fredrick W. Howell in 1891.

Despite its low elevation getting to the top of the mountain can be tricky due to the ever changing Icelandic weather and  the fact that most of the route is covered by a glacier.

What kind of fitness is needed for the climb?

First of all being able to hike up 2000 m in height and back down, add to that the total length of the tour 25 km. This is not recommended as a first mountain hike.

The day before the climb there is a meeting at 18:00 with your guide. On the meeting the guides goes over the weather forecast for the day, the route and give you the equipment needed for the trip

Best way to enjoy the climb is to train. Train your cardio, and do mountain hikes in preparation for the climb. Doing mountain hikes is a key thing to train your muscles for the big day.

  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar

Availability: 1st of May to 1st of August
Minimum age: 16 years old
Meeting point: Hali Country Hotel reception
Area: South East Iceland
Type: Full day-tour
Duration: 12 – 16 hours
Distance: 25 km
Elevation gain: 2.000 m
Difficulty: Difficult
Group min: 2 people
Group max: 6 people
Departure: Early morning (Around 05:00)

Needed equipment

  • Waterproof mountaineering boots with good ankle support and possible to use with crampons
  • 2 pairs of woolen socks
  • Hiking pole
  • Base layer pants (wool or synthetic)
  • Light, breathable hiking pants, wind resistant and fast drying recommended
  • Base layer long sleeve shirt (wool or synthetic)
  • Thin fleece or wool sweater
  • Thick warm fleece, or lightweight puffy jacket down or synthetic, to use in breaks and on cold days.
  • Wind and waterproof jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
  • Wind and waterproof trousers (Gore-tex or equivalent)
  • Warm hat/beanie that might work under a helmet. Note beanie’s with
  • pompom are not recommended since the pompom does not go under the helmet.
  • Balaclava, neck gaiter or woolen buff
  • 1 pair of warm wind and waterproof gloves or mittens
  • 1 pair of thinner gloves,
  • Backpack 30-45 L
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Sunscreen
  • 1,5-3L af of liquid and energy rich lunch pack for 12-16 hour day
  • Ski googles (on cold days)


  • Phone
  • Waterproof case or bag for the phone.
  • Lightweigth waterproof camera.
  • Extra hiking poleGPS device
  • Local certified AIMG Alpine Trekking Guide  
  • Transport from Hali
  • Technical glacier travel gear and ropes, suchs as:
    • Crampons
    • Helmet
    • Harness
    • Ice axe
    • Snow shoes

63.200 ISK for 2 climbers
50.400 ISK for 3 climbers
42.800 ISK for 4 climbers
39.200 ISK for 5 climbers
32.800 ISK for 6 climbers


  • There is a meeting with your guide at 18:00 at Hail Country hotel reception
  • This is a physically demanding tour so please show up prepared.
  • We recommend you to stay somewhere in the area from Skaftafell to Hali the night before the tour and the night after the tour. You can find accommodation suggestion under useful information on our front page
  • You can find useful information about the weather at www.vedur.is and the road conditions at www.vegagerdin.is

Disclaimer: All glacier trips are undertaken at the responsibility of participants. Glacier Adventure does not assume any responsibility for accidents which are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions.

Photos from earlier tours

  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar
  • Titill Myndar

What are people saying


A must do!

Glacier Adventures tours allows you to visit some of Iceland’s most stunning places Jim Cook
View reviews on Tripadvisor


    Glacier Adventure has a license provided by Icelandic tourist board to function as a tour operator.

looking for something else