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Frequently Asked Questions

About Ice Cave Tours & Lava Trips in Iceland

Discover a world hidden beneath Iceland’s landscapes on ice cave tours and lava trips. Ice Caves form beneath glaciers and can only be explored during specific times of the year. Lava Caves are tunnels beneath Iceland's lava fields, some cavernous and vast, others so narrow that they must be crawled through.

1. What is the Crystal Cave?

The Crystal Cave is an enormous ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier. The cave's electric-blue interior resembles a crystal dome, and it has appeared roughly in the same location since the winter of 2011-2012. If you only have time to explore one ice cave while travelling in Iceland, visit this one. 

2. Are ice cave tours operational during Christmas time?

Ice cave tours beneath Vatnajökull run from November to March, including Christmas. Some lava caves close for the winter, but many, such as cave Leiðarendi, are open throughout the year. Most operators provide services during Christmas.

3. Can I visit the ice caves in late October?

The ice caves in Mýrdalsjökull are open in October. Some tours under Vatnajökull are available by the end of the month, but most start operating in November when the weather is colder and the ice is more stable.

4. Is a glacier hike included in the ice cave tours?

Not in a standard ice caving tour. In several multi-day tours, combos and packages, however, you will have the chance to do both.

5. How much time will I spend inside the ice cave?

You will spend roughly 40-50 minutes inside the ice cave.

6. Will there be any daylight in the early entries to the ice caves in the middle of winter?

Yes, it takes a bit of time to reach the ice caves, and by the time you get there, the sun will be up.

7. How do the ice caves form?

Ice caves form when summer meltwater enters a glacier through its cracks and crevasses and erodes its way out.

8. How do you know whether or not the ice caves are safe to enter?

Ice caves are only entered when experienced glacier guides and experts agree that it is structurally sound. Never attempt to enter an ice cave without a local guide.

9. What clothes do I need to wear during an ice cave excursion?

Warm, waterproof gear and hiking shoes with ankle support.

10. Do I need glacier hiking equipment? If so will it be provided?

You will need a helmet and crampons, which will be provided.

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Ice caves and lava tubes in Iceland

Iceland is often hailed as a land of stark contrasts, and this is perfectly exemplified by the fact that you can stand inside a dormant volcano one moment and the next, be exploring the ethereal beauty of a glacier ice cave

Forged in fire and ice, Iceland is alive with a primordial energy unlike anywhere else in the world. The geological and geothermal elements provide seductive sightseeing activities and visiting ice and lava caves should not be overlooked while travelling here.

Iceland has many different caves, both well known and uncharted, but if you have your sights set on a glacier ice cave, you are guaranteed an entirely one of a kind visit; no ice cave stays the same from year to year, due to the movement of the glaciers and Iceland's ever-changing weather—and the unique character of each ice cave is an alluring call to adventure.

The incredible beauty to be admired inside the reaches of a glacier has a divine quality which, when combined with the geothermal power of Iceland, can make you feel like you are closer to earth’s beginnings.

11% of Iceland's landmass is covered with glaciers which means that an abundance of ice caves are found in the extremely thick glacial ice. These caves form when summer meltwater flows through the ice sheets, carving tunnels that can be explored during the colder months of winter. Most often, all light is absorbed in these icy vacuums, rendering the caves in brilliant blue colours that are unparalleled anywhere else.

One of the largest repeating ice caves in Iceland, the Crystal Cave, is located in Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. The sheer size of this cave likens it to an icy citadel, its heavenly blues and enchanting coolness evoking a real sense of awe. You will want to take a camera, but nothing can prepare you for the subject.

No-one should ever attempt going into an ice cave without a guide, no matter how experienced they are, and with no end to guided tours, you have no reason to try.

Given Iceland’s volcanic natural landscape there are many lava caves and tubes you can explore all over the country, just be prepared to get your knees dirty and be sure to wear the helmet you will be provided with.

One of the most epic adventures you could hope to take while travelling in Iceland is the descent into Þríhnúkagígur magma chamber. Situated in the Blue Mountains, this impressive dormant volcanic dome is truly remarkable and large enough to fit Iceland’s iconic Hallgrímskirkja church. Under normal circumstances, when a volcano ceases to be active, the magma chamber cools and solidifies. In this case, however, the magma drained away leaving this magnificent and rare feature behind.


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