Why choose a glacier cave tour in Iceland?
In a vast landscape of ice, the last thing you might expect is to find a world to explore beneath your feet. But you’d be surprised. The glaciers and ice caps that give Iceland their name hide an incredible network of caves and tunnels you can visit.
In fact, venturing beneath the ice is an essential experience on your trip to Iceland. On an ice cave tour in Iceland, you’ll get a glimpse of some of the richest blue colour and most mesmerising natural patterns on the planet. And you’ll gain an insight into the natural processes that have shaped Iceland’s landscape.
There are two main types of ice caves in Iceland. Most commonly, there are those that are created naturally by the movement of glaciers. As they accumulate and then melt throughout the season, glaciers twist and warp, opening holes in the ice to explore. Then, there are man-made caves. Carved from glacial ice, they’re astonishing places to see the scale of Iceland’s ice sheets.
Whichever you’d like to see for yourself, an ice cave tour is the best way to visit. You’ll be led by an expert guide who will ensure that the caves and conditions are safe, then you’ll have the chance to explore the ice caves to the fullest.
There are options to choose from across the south coast of Iceland. For example, explore the glacier caves of the Vatnajökull National Park or visit the Mýrdalsjökull glacier to get off the beaten track. You can also book a tour that combines ice caves with journeys across the surface of the ice cap for a complete glacier experience.
If you want to be based in the capital, you can book an ice cave tour from Reykjavík, too. Visit the man-made cave beneath the Langjökull glacier or stretch out along the length of the south coast—all in a day.
Explore our tours to find out more!
As ice caves are a natural phenomenon, they’re very dependent on weather conditions. In the summer, when higher temperatures mean that glaciers retreat, ice caves aren’t always safe to enter. That’s why most ice caves are only available to visit during the winter, typically between mid-November and March.
That said, the man-made ice cave in Langjökull is open to visitors all year round.
Every ice cave has its particular character, quality, and magic. Perhaps the most impressive ice caves are those you’ll find in Vatnajökull, one of Europe’s largest glaciers. Thanks to their breathtaking forms and ever-changing shape, they promise an unforgettable experience.
That said, the man-made ice cave beneath the Langjökull glacier is an astonishing piece of engineering—and it’s open all year round.
There are many ice caves that you can visit in Iceland. But it’s always best to do it with a guide. As ice caves and glaciers more generally are always changing, you can only be sure that you’ll be safe if you’re led by a local expert.
The glaciers of Langjökull and Vatnajökull are where you’ll find most of Iceland’s best ice caves to visit.
Venturing into Iceland's ice caves without an expert guide is strongly discouraged. These awe-inspiring formations, nestled within the dynamic landscapes of glaciers, are not only hard to locate amidst the vast open ice and rugged terrain but are also subject to changing conditions that only local experts can accurately assess. It's crucial to understand that glaciers, in their majestic beauty, pose significant risks to those unfamiliar with their intricacies. With a knowledgeable guide, you can safely experience the mesmerising beauty of ice caves while ensuring your safety amid the glacier's ever-shifting environment.
Ice cave tours range in length, from quick visits to longer full-day experiences. The shortest tours last for an action-packed three hours including transport time, in which you can glimpse these icy caverns.
On a longer tour you can combine your ice cave visit with other experiences, such as a glacier walk, waterfalls, or a ride aboard state-of-the-art modified vehicles.
There’s a wide range of ice cave tours available in Iceland, each offering a different kind of experience.
One of the most popular options is to visit the Langjökull Ice Cave, beneath one of the deepest glaciers in Iceland. This is one of the world’s largest man-made ice caves, in an incredible remote location.
Alternatively, you can visit one of the natural ice caves formed when glaciers melt, twist, or change shape. Some of the most spectacular can be found in the Vatnajökull National Park.
As you might expect, Iceland’s ice caves are incredibly cold. They are formed of glacial ice after all!
That means that dressing warmly will be your top priority when taking an ice cave tour. Lots of layers, a warm jacket, and waterproofs are all highly recommended.
The other thing you shouldn’t forget are sturdy shoes. You’ll be walking on rugged, rocky terrain.
Ice caves are blue due to the way that light passes through the compressed ice of the walls. As the ice is very tightly packed, only blue light passes through it.
There are many ice caves in Iceland that claim to be the bluest ice cave in the country. However, you’ll see the blue effect no matter which ice cave you visit!
An ice cave tour in Iceland is truly a unique experience. How often do you walk beneath ice sheets or get up close to the mesmerising blue patterns in a wall of ice? On a visit to Iceland, a visit to an ice cave is definitely worth your time and money.
Why not combine your ice cave experience with a complete glacier tour? These landforms are one of Iceland’s most spectacular features.
Tours to the ice caves run throughout the day, and no matter what time of day you visit, they are always a beautiful experience. Choose a time that best suits your schedule.
Many of Iceland’s ice caves can be visited easily.
For example, you can visit the Langjökull Ice Cave onboard a specialised glacier vehicle that takes you right up to the entrance to the tunnel. Similarly, transport is available to take you to the Secret ice cave and the Aurora ice cave too.
If you’re up for more of a challenge, combine a visit to an ice cave with a glacier walk. This way, you’ll get the full experience of Iceland’s icy landscapes.
The closest ice caves to Reykjavík are those at the Langjökull glacier. These are roughly two hours from the city centre and are typically visited on an ice cave day tour from Reykjavík.