15 Glaciers You Can Actually Visit (Two Are in The U.S.)

SAVING & SPENDING - TRAVEL
Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of glaciers with these must-visit destinations.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Tourist looking at glacier from cruise

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Visiting a naturally beautiful glacier site is a great way to immerse yourself in winter wonder — and you don’t just have to go to Antarctica to do it.

To help you step up your travel game and plan the winter getaway of your dreams, here are 15 sites around the world where you can visit these captivating mountains and valleys of ice.

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Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland

swisshippo/Adobe swiss flag with snowy mountains

The breathtaking Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches over 20 km (12.4 miles) and weighs more than 10 billion tons.

There are many viewpoints throughout the region where hikers and visitors can check out the glacier in all its grandeur.

Antarctica

Rob Schultz/Adobe winter camping at portal point antarctica

We couldn’t have an article about glaciers without mentioning Antarctica, though a visit to the most remote continent on the planet is not for the faint of heart.

If you’re determined to see the vast glaciers and gigantic ice sheets, luxury travel companies like White Desert take small tourist groups to stay in camps throughout Antarctica.

Denali National Park, Alaska

evenfh/Adobe denali in alaska during day time

The massive glaciers at Denali National Park cover one million acres, about one-sixth of the park. 

There are incredible natural wonders to see all over Denali, but a “flightseeing” tour to the glaciers is a particularly popular way to experience it.

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El Calafate, Argentina

JackF/Adobe mountain landscape view perito moreno glacier

The stunning ice cliffs of Perito Moreno glacier in El Calafate can be explored by boat, kayak, or on foot, with many coming from far and wide to see the Patagonian wonders.

The town of El Calafate is mainly known as the gateway to the awe-inspiring Los Glaciares National Park.

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, New Zealand

naughtynut/Adobe female hikers at franz josef glacier

Compared to many other glaciers on this list, Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in New Zealand are relatively easy to get to for travelers of all sorts. 

Visitors can take an easy walk to the foot of the enormous Franz Josef Glacier and check out an excellent view of Fox Glacier from Cook Flat Road.

Glacier National Park, Montana

ricktravel/Adobe Glacier national park montana mountains and lakes

Glacier National Park has everything you need for the ideal winter vacation, with stunning glaciers, beautiful valleys, breathtaking lakes, and more than 700 miles of trails.

With much natural beauty and plenty of history, Glacier National Park is a perfect destination for adventurers.

Hohe Tauern National Park, Austria

Shambhala/Adobe alpine landscape with cows grazing meadows

About 6% of Hohe Tauern National Park is made up of massive glaciers. With more than 300 glaciers, the area has plenty to do and see, including the Grossglockner, the highest mountain in Austria, and its glacier, the Pasterze.

If you're not exactly the hiking type, consider taking in the views by car via the Grossglockner Alpine Road.

Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland

EnricoPescantini/Adobe greenland ilulissat icefjord view

Another official UNESCO World Heritage site, Ilulissat Icefjord is located on the west coast of Greenland. It's famous for its glaciers, including Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the most active glaciers in the world.

Visitors can explore the beautiful scenery by boat, kayak, plane, or foot.

Jasper National Park, Canada

hpbfotos/Adobe woman at pyramid mountain pyramid lake

The Athabasca glacier in Canada’s Jasper National Park is the most visited glacier in North America. 

The massive ice mountain stands across from Columbia Icefield and has been slowly receding for more than a century, creating what appears to be a stunning, frozen river.

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Khumbu Glacier, Nepal

rois010/Adobe everest base camp on khumbu glacier

Khumbu Glacier lies on the slopes of Mount Everest in Nepal. The famed glacier is a site to see, and many ambitious travelers have trekked through it.

However, like many glaciers in the Himalayas, Khumbu Glacier has been melting due to climate change and will sadly no longer be an Everest base camp.

Matanuska Glacier, Alaska

DCrane Photography/Adobe woman on matanuska glacier in alaska

Another excellent glacier viewing option, which tends to be more accessible, is Matanuska Glacier. The icy giant is visible from the highway, and many visitors to the Last Frontier will stop along the road between Anchorage and Glennallen to view it.

Mer de Glace, France

Elisa Locci/Adobe hilly train station with mountains

A valley glacier along the side of Mont Blanc, Mer de Glace is the largest glacier in France. Those looking for a breathtaking adventure can view both Mer de Glace and the ice cave in Chamonix by taking the train of the Montenvers.

From fine dining to the “Glaciorium,” there’s plenty to do in the surrounding area as well.

Svalbard, Norway

Incredible Arctic/Adobe blue iceberg arctic landscape spitsbergen svalbard

Visitors to Svalbard can enjoy unbelievable scenery, explore ice caves, and then kick back and relax in the lively city of Longyearbyen.

The city is near many glaciers, and travelers are welcome to take in the beauty in several ways, including a stunning one-day cruise, but are warned not to stray too far from Longyearbyen without a trained guide.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

bajla/Adobe people horse riding in patagonia

Another top-notch Patagonia option is in Torres del Paine National Park. Those with adventurous hearts can hike the “W Trek” up the Valle Frances and check out the hanging French Glacier and Glacier Grey, a massive ice monster fed by Lago Grey.

This is another option that’s not for the faint of heart, though, as the famed W Trek is easily a four- to five-day hike.

Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland

Rosana/Adobe icebergs at jokulsarlon glacier lagoon

Home to the largest glacier in Europe (Vatnajökull), this national park in Iceland draws visitors from far and wide. Those hoping to see an ice cave should visit Vatnajökull in the winter and plan to explore the stunning scenery with an experienced guide.

Bottom line

rawpixel.com/Adobe excited female tourist exploring ice cave

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Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.

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