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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.

Customer reviews

Read reviews by travellers from across the world

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This tour was kind of demanding but it was amazing!! It was my first time trying on fat bikes and they are soooo cool!!! I got so many cool pictures on this tour and I will never ever forget this day! This is a once in a lifetime experience.

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Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

5 average rating | 9 reviews

Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

This one really surprised me! I had no clue you could visit such a cool ice cave all year round. The drive was entertaining and informative. The tour guide was very helpful and fun to talk to. We took some amazing pictures in the ice caves that I will never forget! By far one of the best ice cave tours that i have been on!

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Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

5 average rating | 9 reviews

Ice caving tour from Vík in South Iceland

This was an experience I will never forget. We met our friendly guide at Vík village where we boarded this massive super jeep that took us across the black sands of Mýrdalssandur, on the "old highway". The ride was bumpy, but that was a part of the adventure. As we neared the caves, the landscape around started to look like something out of a fantasy novel or a fairytale, which is probably why this location has been used in several Hollywood productions, from Game of Thrones to Star Wars. The caves were also out of this world; shimmering, blue ice with dark strips of volcanic ashes. At some places, meltwater from the glacier dripped down to the ground and created a beautiful rainbow in the sunlight. We explored two caves, and after some adventurous climb up the ice, were rewarded with breathtaking scenery. Although this was the fast-track tour of the caves, we had plenty of time to capture some amazing, once-in-a-lifetime photos.

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Overall, it was a fantastic 3 day tour . Although the weather is changeable, our tour guide Heimir rearrange the order of the stops flexibly to make sure we could join both glacier hiking , ice cave and other spots. To be honest, I felt a little disappointed about the glacier hiking due to the time we staying on the glacier. The time was quite short but I thought is was disrpted by the bad weather. The storm came right away when we arrived the parking lot. As for ice cave, we were really lucky to see a quite big and beautiful one . And we had enough time to take pictures in the cave and there were only our group. We finished these two activities on the second day because the weather was awful on the third day. Besides, we were unlucky that it wasn’t the right time to see the dimonds on the beach ,which I eager to see, however; our gide Heimir took us to another place th see the dimonds near the glacier . Dimonds there were really spectacular and was one of my favorite spots in Iceland . To conclude, I felt thankful for the all arrangement of our guide , or we might miss those activities and amazing sceneries if I we went by ourselves . I definitely satisfy this 3 day tour!

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Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

5 average rating | 23 reviews

Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

Both of us enjoyed this unique ice cave experience, and our guide was great! We enjoyed the whole tour, ice caves, glaciers and nice weather!

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Our tour was in early March 2018. We were lucky with the weather and it was beautiful every day. The tour was easy to setup up just note the communications might not be immediate depending on time zone (I am in US). It did not affect any of the travel. I recommend at your hotel to ask where the tour buses pick up passengers. Ours was not clear and our guide Sveinbjorn had to search us out. Sveinbjorn was a fantastic guide. Was a safe driver and could definitely relax and watch the scenery without worry. He takes pride in his country and enjoys talking about it with a passion. He made sure were on time and had it set where we arrived earlier at places then other tour groups which made it easy for us to get around. If the place was dangerous he made sure the group knew (multiple times). What I liked is I learned more about Iceland from him then any other resource. Now more about the trip. Each day we were on the road by 8 local time so the day starts early. All the hotels were nice and there were some brand new ones. A travel note is once you are at a hotel expect to be there and no other exploring since they are isolated. I personally was nervous about hiking the glacier but our guide (did not remember his name) kept me at ease and it was a great experience. The ice caves were fantastic and a lot of it was due to our guide Faye. She kept us entertained and played Icelandic rock music for us. All the places we stopped were interesting and we were glad we did the extended tours to the east side of the island (away from most of the tourists). I think my only frustrating thing was the end of the tour from Akureyri back to Reykjavík. We did not spend any time in Akureyri because our plane left about 11:00am local time. Might have been nice to seen more of Akureyri. And once we arrived back in Reykjavík we assumed there would be transportation since the tour asked where we were staying once we got back in Reykjavík but we had to find it ourselves. Plenty of taxis just be aware. I recommend a new visitor to the island to use a tour company and I think you will enjoy your stay

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The best day I spent in Iceland. This trip was amazing and the schedule was managed very well. Our guide Michael was very patient, knowledgeable and handsome. He made the trip very flexible to ensure we have the best experience. Highly recommend!

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It was a pleasure experience. My tour was the last day of the available season. The original ice cave that we were planning to go got flooded; however, new location got setup right away. Lucky that we checked our email. Tour guide was funny, friendly and professional. He told us a lot of information about the ice cave, environment and also some movie filming stories such as GOT and interstella. And we got some times to take photos.

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8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

4.9 average rating | 17 reviews

8 Day Winter Excursion | Guided Circle of Iceland Minibus Tour

We joined the 8-day tour with our guide Svein in March, hunting for amazing Aurora and beautiful landscapes. In the end, I left my camera on the minibus. Svein was so kind to send it back to me. I was really appreciate it.

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I really want to take the time to write a proper review for this awesome tour. I just got back home to the USA last night, and am off again tomorrow on a business trip to TX, so this has to be brief right now! It's not difficult to give this tour 5 stars ! Our guide, Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson (better and more easily known as OLI) was awesome! He kept us entertained throughout the tour, and was a font of all knowledge relating to Iceland and its heritage. He was also our driver (we did not have both a driver and a guide, Oli did double duty) and we felt very safe with him driving through the snow and rain. I was glad I was not driving in that! Our minibus seated 20, and there were 18 of us on the tour, so it was a little snug in the bus, but not too bad. (The worst part was the couple who kept eating dried fish - the smell of very fishy dried fish in a warm bus was a little nauseating to say the least!) Oli was pretty good at keeping us on schedule, and was very flexible in moving things around so that we were able to see all the major sites in reasonably good weather. We did the Ice Cave Walk on the second day rather than the third day to take advantage of the fact that it was the end of the season and it would be closing on our last day. We also went to a different glacier from the original one on our schedule because the snow was coming down thick and fast on the one we were supposed to climb and it would not have been a pleasant trek. We had an awesome guide for the glacier walk - he made sure we were all safe, and gave us lots of information about the glacier. We also had the opportunity to sample nature's 'champagne' - 700yr old crystal clear ice! Big G (our guide) climbed up a ways to hack out some clean and clear ice for us to try. We were glad of it at that point, as the climb up the glacier left us all hot and sweaty, despite the cool weather! All of the areas we visited were outstanding. The waterfalls, the beaches, the national parks were spectacular and we had plenty of time at each to enjoy the sites. The Geyser was interesting ... I expected something like Old Faithful, but it was a much tamer version! Still fun, though! One of the most fun parts of the trip was when Oli took us to a 'secret' waterfall - we waded through a stream and climbed over rocks to get through an opening and when we entered through the gap in the rocks, there was a fantastic waterfall hidden from the road. Really cool way to end our tour! Oli also took us to see the Icelandic horses, which wasn't technically a part of the tour, but was a testament to his flexibility and him wanting us to have a great experience. He also pointed out a great place to see the Aurora, but unfortunately, we had cloud both nights and so we were not able to view that natural phenomenon. Although we were there at the beginning of April, it was still pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings, and when the wind blew it was bitingly cold! I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the two hotels we stayed in. Both were very clean, and while the rooms were small, modern and minimalist, they were very comfortable. Be warned, though, that the food in the hotels is VERY expensive! We were a captive audience at the first hotel and dinner was $US44 a person - a small bbq chicken breast, three boiled potatoes and a scoop of boiled vegetables!! Tasty, but extortionately priced for what really could only be described as Diner food. The second hotel, in Hofn, was expensive too, but the food was stellar and much better value than the first hotel. Regardless, both hotels were very nice and food in Iceland is very expensive everywhere. The breakfasts in both hotels were very nice and you could certainly eat a substantial amount to keep you going throughout the day. I would, without a shadow of doubt, recommend this tour if you want to experience Iceland at its best. Our guide, Oli, was excellent and from what I am reading from other reviews, so are all the other guides used by Aurora Hunters. But, of course, we think we got the best one!!! Thanks to Oli (Olafur Valtyr Rognvaldsson - I sure hope I spelled that correctly!) we had a fantastic trip.

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Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

5 average rating | 23 reviews

Katla Ice Cave Tour | Departure From Vík

Our family of 5 really enjoyed this truly unique experience. Our guide David was very competent and told us lots of funny stories about Icelandic traditions along the way. There was a short hike to the caves. The first was narrow and long and a little tricky to navigate, but no one had any trouble. The second was easier and more open. Absolutely stunning scenery and the caves were amazing. We also spent some time on the open glacier and along the black sandy beach. Great experience, don't miss the unique opportunity!

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6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

4.9 average rating | 18 reviews

6 Day Guided Winter Tour | Highlights of South, East & North Iceland

We completed this tour in March 2018 and our tour guide was Hildigunnur(Hildi). The whole tour was an amazing experience from start to finish. Our wonderful guide Hildi was a great ambassador for her country and ensured that we not only enjoyed the trip but also received a great insight into the history, culture and geography of Iceland. Nothing was too much trouble for her as she would help us with scheduled or unscheduled stops for photos, trying local produce and understand in local folklore. The trip was well planned with convenient stops and lovely accommodation. The atmosphere which Hildi created was one of comfort and relaxation while enjoying some unbelievable scenery. We enjoyed not having to rush which we would have done if we did day tours from Reykjavik. All in all a great tour with an excellent, caring and fun tour guide.

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Wasn't sure whether a tour was the way to go but it was great. Our guide Hilmar navigated some ferocious weather expertly and then adjusted our schedule the next day when the roads closed. That let us get in all we were promised plus some bonus sites despite the delay. His stories and knowledge enhanced the trip for sure and having a driver let me concentrate on the sights. Great trip.

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Very exciting, beautiful views, kind and helpful guide, highly recommended.

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Ragnheiður was a fun and great guide with an amazingly positive attitude and we enjoyed the trip immensely. She kept us very comfortable and made the most of our time with good pacing of the viewpoints and visits with plenty of rest-stops in between. The sights were all well picked and provided a wonderful view into the natural treasures of Iceland. Very happy with the tour and our wonderful guide Ragnheiður.

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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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