Along the Ring Road of southwest Iceland are many visit-worthy sites. One that drew us on the third day of our trip was the Sólheimajökull glacier, only five minutes north of the Ring Road on Route 221 . It's a (mostly) gently winding road that doesn't require a 4x4 until you reach the parking lot. Seriously, it was awful, and this is coming from someone who lives in Michigan where the roads are renowned for a certain sort of awfulness. But if you take it slow, you'll be fine, even with a tiny Citroen like we had - your chances of losing a tire are quite low. Even from the Ring Road, it looks impressive.
Let's get one thing straight - we were trying to do Iceland as cheaply as possible. This is not always an easy thing to do, but it does exclude some of the famous - and pricy - excursions. With this restriction, we did not pay to take a guided tour of Sólheimajökull. As cool (pun!) as glacier hiking is - I experienced it on Fox Glacier in New Zealand - it just wasn't in the budget this time around.
But no tour does not mean no glacier. You are free to wander your way to Sólheimajökull. There are two paths, the high road and the low road. We took the high road to the glacier, the one that everyone else was on, and it was the easier of the two ways. And it provided higher-up views because, duh, it was the high road. Along the way, you'll see lovely scenery, waterfalls cascading down valley walls, and signs warning you of your impending death should you proceed onto the ice without a ticket. The Iceland tourist board also helpfully includes all the ways you can die should you venture forward. Here there be dragons.