A new episode in our natural wonders of the world series! Today we’ll be talking about glaciers. Unfortunately we haven’t been to the Arctics and Antarctics (yet) where they supposedly have some of the most amazing glaciers. However, we’d still like to share the world’s best glaciers with you, at least the ones we’ve seen!
Can someone describe the sound of a calving glacier for us? Because we just can’t. Saying a piece of ice cracking and then hearing plunge into the water doesn’t do it justice. Neither does thundering sound or thrilling sound. We’re not native English speakers … Suggestions are more than welcome!
1. Perito Moreno – Argentina
It’s the busiest glacier in the world (or at least, one of them) yet it’s also one of the most active ones. This massive ice tongue finds its way down from the Patagonian ice cap into Lago Argentino. As it’s a growing glacier it is always moving a lot, resulting in a lot of calving. If it wouldn’t have been for the flight home we needed to catch, we could have stayed on the boardwalks forever, observing the falling ice of Perito Moreno.
2. Vatnajökull, Iceland
The second biggest glacier in Europe is called Vatnajökull and can be found on Iceland. It covers about 8% of the country and various ice tongues glide away from this massive icefield. Many of them can be observed from the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lake or from Skaftafell National Park.
3. Pia Glacier, Chile
This beauty can only be reached by boat and therefore it’s unique. During our sailing with Cruceros Australis we got on land here and admired this giant from up close and personal. Pia Glacier comes from the Darwin Range located in Tierra del Fuego, all the way down south in Patagonia.
4. Knik Glacier, Alaska
Knik Glacier has a very special place in Anto’s heart. It’s located within an hour drive from Anchorage, yet it’s not visited by many people. However when she went to Alaska for the first time, she was up in a bushplane flying over it within 12 hours after her arrival. Ever since she went back a couple of times, always very impressive with this giant.
5. Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Although this may not be the world’s most spectacular glacier, this one still has a special place in our hearts as it’s the first real glacier we ever got to see. And got to set foot on, too. Back in 2002 we were here for the first time and did a guided glacier walk. We just had pouring rain but that didn’t spoil the fun for us. When we were back in 2011 we were shocked to find out that Franz Josef has drastically receded and you can’t even access it by foot from the valley anymore…
6. Grey Glacier, Chile
Glaciar Grey is found in Torres del Paine National Park. Like Perito Moreno it comes from the Patagonian ice cap but it is less active. You can get there by foot (a day of walking with an overnight in a refugio) or by boat, which is always a bit unpredictable because of the strong winds that howl on Lago Grey. However, if you made it all the way to the deep-frozen south of Patagonia, you might as well stay here for a bit longer… (you can read more about Grey Glacier here)
7. Child’s Glacier, Alaska
This one is located close to the fisher town of Cordova. The only way to get to Cordova is by airplane or by boat, so there’s usually not many tourists here. A couple of years ago, Child’s Glacier was still accessible from town by car but the road leading through the massive Copper River Delta has been washed away. There for Child’s Glacier can only be reached by boat nowadays. Anto feels honored to have been to such a pretty place.
8. Viedma Glacier, Argentina
This once is also found in Patagonia, close to a small town called El Chalten. As many people have already been to Perito Moreno before going to El Chalten, they usually don’t bother going to the Viedma Glacier. So we were pretty much the only ones on the boat taking us there. The water in Lago Viedma has a spectacular color and having a bright day made it even more special for us…
9. Ventisquero Negro, Argentina
This one is also in Argentina, just a couple of thousand kilometers further up north than the other mentioned ones. The name of the glacier literally means “black snowdrift” because it’s all black. If you wouldn’t know it’s a glacier, you probably wouldn’t even recognize it as one. You can’t get too close however because at first sight it doesn’t look like a glacier, we added it to our top 10.
10. Holland Glacier, Chile
Our own glacier! I’m just kidding of course and even though it could barely be seen, we still felt proud having seen Holland Glacier! On our Australis sailing we passed by Glacier Alley, which has 5 glaciers in a row. All of them are called after countries, so we passed France, Spain, Italy and Germany before finally seeing Holland Glacier. The weather was horrible though and the pictures are not really worth posting here, however we felt this one should not be missing in our list.
So if you love glaciers, Argentina, Chile and Alaska are your best places to go, followed by Iceland and New Zealand. While you are reading this we are in Norway, hoping to see a couple more glaciers. Hopefully we can update this list of our best glaciers soon and impress you with more natural beauty!
Now tell us, did you ever see a glacier? And which is your favorite one of the ones above? We could have mentioned at least 10 more to make the list longer but we won’t … there’s simply too many of them. Luckily, because for all we know, they may be gone for good before we know it…
The Natural Wonders of the World series is an inspirational recurring series on we12travel, made of pictures and stories of natural features that we came across during our travels. We love to share our passion for nature with you. Earlier episodes are about geysers , volcanoes and waterfalls.
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