Top 6 Destinations to See Glaciers

Friday, 8th February 2019

Becky Masih

arctic spitsbergen zodiac monaco glacier front istk

Glaciers all around the world have long drawn travellers from far and wide to admire the sheer wonder of these giant masses of ice! Their ever-changing nature, size and spectacular shapes and colours make for a truly unique experience. We have put together a list of our favourite destinations to go and see these mesmerising natural spectacles. 

What on Earth is a Glacier?

Glaciers are made from snow that has compressed into thick ice masses over many years. Glaciers have the unique ability to shift and due to their sheer mass, they are constantly on the move, flowing like very slow rivers.

new zealand west coast franz josef glacier ice twc


First and foremost, at the top of our list is Alaska, known for having some of the largest and most popular glaciers in the world. One of the best places to find them is the spectacular Prince William Sound; it is home to over one hundred named glaciers including active tidewater glaciers that regularly calve icebergs. Also, keep an eye out for sea otters and whales…

Recommended holiday:

Inside Passage Glacier Bay Cruise – join guided nature hikes ashore, kayak amongst icebergs and keep your eyes peeled for bears and whales on this small ship expedition-style.

2. Iceland

Known as the land of ‘fire and ice’,  Iceland is a glacial paradise with over 11% of the land area covered in icecaps. Including one of the largest glaciers of Europe, the Vatnajokull. You can find out more about glaciers at the Perlan in Reykjavik – the Glaciers and Ice Cave exhibition is the first of its kind in the world. In addition, we would recommend staying at Glacier Lodge as a base for the beautiful Snaefellsjokull glacier that towers over the iconic Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Recommended holiday:

Northern Lights, Glaciers and Waterfalls – ideally located close to the Langjokull icecap, the secluded rural setting of Hotel Husafell is also perfect for northern lights hunting

3. Canada

In the shadow of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, in between Jasper and Lake Louise, Alberta lies the Icefields Parkway. Throughout this 230km stretch of road are over 100 icefield glaciers, as well as soaring mountains, incredible waterfalls and emerald lakes. Along the way, it is also worth stopping at the Columbia Icefield to take a ride out onto the Athabasca Glacier. There’s also an opportunity to do the Glacier Skywalk – step out over a glacial valley is rewarded with spectacular views from a new perspective

Recommended holiday:

The Rocky Mountains in Depth Self-Drive – from Banff to Jasper, discover magnificent lakes, alpine scenery, rugged peaks and glittering glaciers on this spectacular self-drive.

4. New Zealand

Whilst the twin glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox on the South Island are probably New Zealand’s best known, there are many other glaciers to be found along the island’s spectacular Southern Alps. Head to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook and take an iceberg cruise or scenic flight. Did you know? Mt Cook provided excellent training for a young Sir Edmund Hillary before he conquered Everest.

Recommended holiday:

South Island Explorer – a dramatic self-drive experiencing the sweeping West Coast glaciers, majestic lakes, mountains of Queenstown and Fiordland National Park.

5. Patagonia

Patagonia, a region which straddles the south of Chile and Argentina, is another wild and wonderful destination to see lakes and icy fjords. Moreover, the Chilean Fjords offer the chance to witness calving glaciers in remote bays, spot Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, whales…

Read our blog 7 Reasons to Visit Patagonia

Recommended holiday:

Discover Patagonia – a jaw-dropping escorted tour taking you on a journey through picturesque lake districts, visiting Perito Moreno glacier and Torres del Paine.

6. The Arctic (last but not least!)

This will not come as a surprise to you! The Arctic is surrounded by breathtaking glaciers, gigantic icebergs and rugged mountains. A voyage to the Arctic is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience (that you’ll want to do over and over).

Recommended holiday:

Spitsbergen to East Greenland – encounter wildlife such as narwhal, polar bear and musk oxen as you visit Spitsbergen, Greenland and Iceland on this memorable voyage.

Want to find out more?

Speak to one of our Travel Specialists to plan your next holiday to see a glacier. They will tailor your options to your timeline, budget and interests.

Speak to a specialist

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