Explore the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland on this unique underground adventure! Those fascinated by Viking and Celtic history eager to learn more about this country’s heritage will find this a fantastic choice of excursion.
This tour begins when you meet your guides at the entrance to the Caves of Hella, which can be found by the village of Hella in south Iceland; this settlement is easy to get to due to its proximity to the South Coast and Golden Circle sightseeing routes. After being briefed on what is ahead, you’ll be escorted down into one of the 12 man-made tunnels that date back to the decades - maybe centuries - before Iceland was officially ‘discovered’ in 874 AD.
Spacious, winding, and decorated with carved seats, old crosses, and engravings on the wall, there is a true sense of historical wonder in the ambiance of this medieval marvel. There is also a great amount of beauty in the way the light enters from holes in the ceiling and illuminates the colors in the walls.
None know quite who made these caves, but there are two prevailing theories. Some believe they were created by Celtic monks, who originated from Scotland or Ireland to spend periods of time in spiritual isolation; there is evidence that this pilgrimage occurred several times before the first Vikings settled Iceland.
The other most likely option is that they were created by the Norse, who arrived before the famed landing of the first known permanent settler, Ingolfr Arnarson, without leaving a record. It is believed, after all, that runaway slaves and political outcasts may have found refuge in Iceland in the 9th Century.
Regardless of who created them, they have been used over the past millennium for various reasons by different generations of Icelanders, such as dwellings, storage, and a place to shelter sheep. Now, they are an increasingly popular cultural attraction, enshrining them as a fascinating part of the country's heritage.
As you explore, your guide will tell you more about local history and folklore and answer any questions you have. Once you have fully enjoyed the magic of this place, you’ll return to the surface to continue the rest of your adventures.
Don’t miss a fantastic chance to immerse yourself in the oldest archaeological site in Iceland. Check availability by choosing a date.