Lava Cave Tours

Best Lava Cave Tours in Iceland

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Caving in Iceland

Lava caving in Iceland offers a unique opportunity to explore the mysterious underground world created by volcanic activity. 

These lava caves, formed by ancient lava flows, reveal the dynamic geological history of Iceland. As you step into the darkness of a lava cave, time seems to stand still. The cool, shadowy interiors are home to bizarre rock formations, stalactites, and stalagmites. You'll enter a surreal landscape that feels almost alien.

Most of these caves are accessible only through guided tours. Guides ensure visitors' safety and provide insightful information about their formation and significance. Each cave is different — some offer accessible walkways with lighting installations, while others require more adventurous scrambling over uneven terrain.

Many of the caves, such as Raufarholshellir and Leidarendi, are wonderfully spooky, with dark, echoing chambers. You'll learn about their geology as you walk through the enchanting tunnels.

Caving in Iceland is an all-year activity, though accessibility may vary with weather conditions, especially in winter. Lava caving allows you to witness Iceland's volcanic beauty from within and experience the thrill of exploring the depths of the Earth. Whether you're a seasoned caver or a curious first-timer, the lava caves of Iceland promise an unforgettable adventure.

Frequently asked questions

What are lava caves in Iceland?

Lava caves, or lava tubes, are underground structures formed by molten lava flows, often near volcanic eruption points. When the lava flow stops, the surrounding rock cools, leaving hollow tubes.

What is the best lava caving tour in Iceland?

The best lava caving tour in Iceland is a six-hour inside the Thrihnukagigur Volcano tour, which includes transfer from Reykjavik. The tour has a 4.8-star rating from more than 325 reviews. The tour begins with a 2-mile (roughly 3-kilometer) hike. Guests then descend into the enormous lava cave to see the beautiful volcanic rock formations.
Adventurous visitors to Iceland will also love this three-hour tour of the Raufarholshellir lava tubes. It has 5-star reviews and lets travelers experience the rugged, rocky interior of a long lava tunnel.
Anyone keen to visit the Snaefellsnes Peninsula will love this two-day tour, which includes lava caving in the Vidgelmir cave. It has a 4.7-star rating from over 55 reviews.

What is the cheapest lava caving tour in Iceland?

The cheapest caving tour in Iceland is a 50-minute tour of the Vatnshellir lava cave. The tour costs about 33 USD per person and has an average rating of 4.8 stars from more than 85 reviews.
Another excellent option for travelers on a budget is a one-hour tour of the Raufarholshellir lava tubes. It has excellent reviews, with a 4.7-star rating from 60+ reviews, and costs about 62 USD per person.
If you're traveling with children, this family-friendly tour of the Vidgelmir cave is an excellent alternative. It has an average score of 4.7 stars from over 110 reviews and costs about 55 USD per person.

Are lava caving tours in Iceland worth it?

Yes, caving tours in Iceland are definitely worth it for anyone interested in unique geological formations and adventurous experiences. These tours offer a rare opportunity to explore the mysterious underground world of lava tubes, showcasing Iceland's volcanic landscape from a different perspective.

What's it like to go inside a lava cave?

Exploring a lava cave is a fantastic experience for anyone interested in geology and volcanic activity. The caves are usually dark and cold — they can feel a bit spooky, as the unique rock formations create an almost otherworldly atmosphere.
Visiting with an experienced guide is the best way to see a lava cave, as the guides will provide the safety equipment you need.

How do lava caves in Iceland form?

Icelandic lava caves form when a river of lava cools from the outside, forming a rock-crust surrounding still flowing lava. When this lava has flushed out, all that is left is the tube that cooled around it. Eventually, experts discover this tube in the field and once it is deemed safe, visitors are invited to explore.

Will there be any natural light inside the caves during my tour?

Most lava caves in Iceland will be pitch black as soon as you are away from the entrance, although some are fitted with light installations to help you navigate your way within the cave. Your tour operator will provide you with a helmet equipped with a torch to increase visibility when it gets dark.

Are there walking paths inside the lava caves?

Some lava caves, like Raufarholshellir and Vidgelmir, have walking paths, but others don’t. If you visit a cave without a walking path, you’ll walk over rocky ground. Either way, it's worth wearing sturdy hiking shoes.

Can I enter a cave in Iceland by myself?

Most lava caves require a guided tour for access. Visiting alone is strongly discouraged due to the risk of getting lost or encountering unstable conditions. Proper equipment like helmets and lights is essential, and guides provide these on organized tours.

How many people will be in one group for a caving tour in Iceland?

Most operators have a ratio of one guide to eight customers, though it may vary depending on the tour provider.

What equipment do I need to go caving in Iceland?

You will be provided with a helmet, a flashlight, and crampons in winter. Make sure to bring some warm clothing and sturdy hiking shoes with ankle support.

Can I wear sneakers for my caving tour in Iceland?

Good hiking shoes are much better as they provide better grip and ankle support.

Are lava cave tours operational during Christmas time?

Some lava caves close for the winter, but many, like the Leidarendi cave on the Reykjanes Peninsula, are open throughout the year. Most operators provide services throughout the Christmas season.

Is lava caving safe in Iceland?

Lava caving is a safe activity, as you'll be accompanied by a guide and equipped with a torch and helmet. All you need to bring is decent hiking boots. Follow your guide's instructions, and you should avoid any issues!
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