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It’s no secret that glaciers across the world are receding. Here are some amazing glaciers in Europe you have to visit before they’re gone.
Why Europe Is a Great Place to See Glaciers
Europe is a great place to see glaciers because many of these icy masses are not only stunning but also easily accessible. While people often think you need to visit somewhere more remote like Greenland or Alaska to experience a real glacier, it turns out you don’t. Europe is home to thousands of glaciers, some of them measuring over 10 miles long!
The Best Time of Year to See Europe’s Glaciers
The best time of year to plan on seeing a glacier in Europe is between mid-June and September. While you can see a glacier any time of year, during the summer the snow has melted off the ice, making their deep blue color really pop.
Glaciers - Things to Do
Below are some options of the top ways to experience a glacier and glacier activities you can do during your trip to Europe.
Drive to a Glacier
The easiest option if you want to see a glacier is to drive up. Numerous high-mountain passes throughout the Alps make this choice a no-brainer if you want to experience ice cascading over the mountainsides without a lot of work.
Scenic Glacier Drives:
- Großglocknerglockner High Alpine Road; Austria
- Furka Pass; Switzerland
- Grimselpass; Switzerland
- Ring Road; Iceland
- Bøyabreen Viewpoint; Norway
- Folgefonna National Park; Norway
Cable Cable Car to a Glacier
Throughout central Europe, cable cars are a frequent mode of transportation that can whisk you up to glacier views in a matter of minutes. Some of these cable cars may even take you to a hut on top of a glacier.
Cable Car Accessible Glaciers:
- Bavarian Zugspitzbahn; Germany
- Hohe Mut Bahn; Austria
- Firstbahn; Switzerland
- Fiesch-Eggishornbahn; Switzerland
- Aiguille du Midi Cable Car; France
Hike to a Glacier
For people who want to walk up to the foot of a glacier, hiking is a great choice. Hiking trails offer a variety of angles and viewpoints to soak up the views from. Glacier hiking also has fewer crowds than cable cars and drive-up locations.
Glacier Hikes to Check Out:
- 360 Loop Gornergrat; Switzerland
- Schreckhornhütte; Switzerland
- Aiguillette des Houches; France
- Innergschlöss Glacier Trail; Austria
- Geptaschferner Glacier; Austria
- Buarbreen Glacier; Norway
Throughout Europe, skiing is available nearly year-round thanks to glacier resorts. While you may not be able to see the glacier as well since it’s covered in snow, it’s a unique way to get out on the ice.
Glacier Ski Resorts
- Hintertux; Austria
- Stubai Glacier; Austria
- Les 4 Vallées; Switzerland
- Les Deux Alpes; France
- Tignes; France
Take a Glacier Tour
Get up close with a glacier by taking a glacier tour! If you’ve always wanted to step foot on a glacier, be sure to hire a guide to take you across one. Traveling across glaciers can be dangerous without the proper equipment and experience, so booking a tour is a great way to see more than you could on your own. Booking a tour also allows you to learn more about these icy masses and how they’ve impacted the landscape over millions of years.
Glacier Tour Companies:
- Arctic Adventures Iceland
- Glacier Guides Iceland
- Fjord Tours Norway
- Bergsteigerschule Pontresina; Switzerland
Book a Helicopter Tour
For a truly incredible experience, consider booking a glacier helicopter tour. Companies like these allow you to not only get breathtaking views that can’t be had any other way, but many of them also land directly on the glacier where you’re given time to safely explore with a guide. Helicopter tours are one of the most expensive options and are extremely weather dependent, but if seeing a glacier is a bucket-list item, it’s well worth planning for.
Helicopter Tour Companies
- Savoie Hélicoptères; France
- CHS Central Helicopter Services; Switzerland
- Swiss Helicopter; Switzerland
- Norðurflug Helicopter Tours; Iceland
- Geiranger Fjordservice AS; Norway
The Best Glaciers to Visit in Europe
Lower Grindelwald Glacier
Mer de Glace
Seil de la Baque
Vedretta del Mandrone
Innergschlöss / Schlatenkees
Don’t Wait to Visit These Glaciers
The best time to plan your glacier vacation is now! If you’re looking for a photographer to document a honeymoon trip, couples holiday, or any other special occasion (like “just because”) while visiting one of these gorgeous spots, get in touch. We’d love to help make something happen.