Ice Cave Tours

Best Ice Cave Tours in Iceland

Browse the largest selection of ice cave tours in Iceland. Explore the insides of glaciers and see the blue color and stunning patterns of ice caves.
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Ice caves in Iceland

Iceland is often hailed as a land of stark contrasts, where you can explore the ethereal beauty of a glacier ice cave. 

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

Iceland has many different caves, both well known and uncharted, but if you would like to visit a glacier ice cave, you are guaranteed an entirely one of a kind visit. Ice caves change 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 natural ice 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 ice colours that are unparalleled anywhere else. Some caves also have what looks like black ice, where volcanic ash has landed on the caves. This natural occurrence is truly magnificent to witness.Ice caves in the region of Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier, were previously referred to as the Crystal Caves. The sheer size of these caves liken them 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.

Most day tours which involve visiting a glacier cave in Iceland involve taking a super jeep up onto the glacier. There you will be fitted with crampons (studs which fit over your boots) and be invited to take a short glacier hike (less than 5 minutes) into the cave.

Ice cave tours in Iceland can be taken at several places throughout the island. The best ice cave tours in Iceland take place at Vatnajokull glacier in Skaftafell National Park. Closer to Reykjavik, and extremely close to Vik, the ice caves in Myradsjokull glacier are popular among travellers. The meeting point for this day tour is at Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, from where you embark on the super jeep journey.

There are also tours of man-made ice tunnels which have been created in the Langjokull glacier. Some tours are available year-round and those in this area are ideal for those traversing the golden circle. Nearby Gullfoss waterfall is a popular stop on guided tours.

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

Frequently asked questions

What's the best ice cave tour in Iceland?

The best ice cave day tour is the one starting from Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Our most popular multi-day tour with ice caving is this 2-day ice cave tour to Jökulsarlón glacier lagoon, as well as this 3-day south coast ice cave tour including the Golden Circle.

The most popular ice cave package tour in Iceland is a 5-day trip that visits the Blue Ice Cave in Vatnajokull National Park along with a trip to the South Coast, the famous Golden Circle, and the Blue Lagoon.

What are the best ice caves in Iceland?

The most popular ice caves in Iceland are the Crystal Ice Cave, the Katla Ice Cave, the icy blue Langjokull Ice Cave, the spectacular Vatnajokull Ice Cave, and the remote Skaftafell Ice Cave.

What's the cheapest ice cave tour in Iceland?

The cheapest ice cave tour in Iceland starts from approximately 153 USD. This tour is a 4-hour small-group tour that starts at the Skaftafell Visitor Center and takes you to the Vatnajokull glacier, where you will experience both ice caving and glacier hiking. If you are located in Reykjavik, it's about a 4-hour drive to Skaftafell Visitor Center.

How do the ice caves form in Iceland?

Ice caves in Iceland form when summer meltwater enters a glacier through cracks and crevasses and then erodes its way out. Most ice cave tours in Iceland are only available during the winter when the ice caves become more stable.

When can I visit ice caves in Iceland?

Because of the vulnerability of the ice caves during the summer months, most ice caves in Iceland are only open for visitors between November and March.

Are the ice caves in Iceland worth it?

Definitely. This is truly a unique experience in Iceland and transports you to an otherworldly place you won't forget. The photography opportunities are also amazing, and the caves are only accessible during the winter, making the experience even more exclusive.

Are ice caves in Iceland safe to enter?

All ice caves in Iceland are checked by experienced glacier guides and experts to ensure they are structurally sound. They can only be visited on an ice cave tour with a local guide.

Can you visit ice caves in Iceland on your own?

No. You should never visit an ice cave in Iceland without a professional guide as it can be dangerous.

Can I visit the ice caves in Iceland in late October?

There are some ice caves in Iceland open in October. Both the Myrdalsjokull Glacier and some caves under the Vatnajokull Glacier are typically structurally sound during this time of year. Additionally, you can explore the Katla ice cave all year round.

Are ice cave tours in Iceland operational around Christmas?

Ice cave tours beneath the Vatnajokull glacier in Iceland run from October to March, including Christmas. Most operators provide tours around the Christmas season.

How much time will I spend inside the ice cave in Iceland?

Most Iceland ice cave tours spend around 40–50 minutes inside the cave.

Is a glacier hike included in the ice cave tours in Iceland?

A glacier hike is not included in a standard ice caving tour in Iceland. However, you can find them in several multi-day tours and vacation packages.

For example, in summer you can enjoy glacier hiking on this 2-day tour to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon or this 5-day Golden Circle and Glacier Lagoon package. In winter, this 8-day guided northern lights tour will take you along the unforgettable Ring Road to see Iceland's most magical destinations, and of course, go on an adventurous glacier hike.

What is the best ice cave tour from Reykjavik?

The best ice cave tour starting from Reykjavik is this exhilarating 10-hour ice caving tour in Langjokull glacier. It includes transport to the glacier, a knowledgeable guide, and a monster truck ride on the glacier itself while getting to the ice cave. That makes for a day you won't soon forget!

How long is an ice cave tour in Iceland?

While your time inside the ice cave is around 45–60 minutes, depending on the tour, most Iceland ice cave tours are at least 4–5 hours since it takes time to put on proper equipment and hike towards the ice cave itself, which is located inside a glacier.

Do you offer a snowmobile and ice cave tour in Iceland?

Yes, we offer several snowmobile and ice cave tours in Iceland.

Do you offer a photography ice cave tour in Iceland?

Yes, we do offer a photography ice cave tour in Iceland.

How cold are the ice caves in Iceland?

The temperature inside the ice caves in Iceland is around 32°F (0°C) and can get as cold as 14°F (-10°C) in some parts. Thus it is important to wear warm clothes, hats, and gloves when visiting an ice cave, even during the summer.

Will there be any daylight if we visit the ice caves in Iceland early in the day in the middle of winter?

Yes, it might take 4–5 hours to travel to the ice caves in Iceland if you're arriving from Reykjavik. By the time you arrive and put on your safety gear, the sun will be up and you're ready to go ice-caving.

How much do ice cave tours cost in Iceland?

Ice cave tours in Iceland start from 100 USD and can run into thousands of dollars for luxury or multi-day trips.

What should I wear for my ice cave tour in Iceland?

Dress warmly and in layers for an ice cave tour. Wear waterproof and insulated clothing, including a warm jacket, gloves, hat, and thermal base layers. Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support are essential for navigating the icy and uneven terrain.

Will there be any climbing tools necessary to explore the ice caves in Iceland?

Unless your tour description explicitly says so, no you won't need climbing tools to explore Iceland's ice caves. If your tour includes some ice climbing activities it will say so in the tour's description and the tour company will provide you with any tools you might need.

Are ice cave tours in Iceland suitable for children?

It depends on the age and ability of the child. Ice cave tours involve walking on uneven, slippery terrain, and some tours may have age restrictions. We recommend checking the minimum age on the tour product page beforehand.

How physically demanding are ice cave tours?

The physical demands of an ice cave tour can vary depending on the specific cave and tour. Some caves require hiking on the glacier, which can be physically demanding, while others may involve only short walks.
We recommend reading the tour description carefully to determine the level of physical fitness required for the tour.

What happens if the weather is bad on the day of my ice cave tour?

If the weather is deemed too dangerous by the tour operator, the tour may be canceled or rescheduled for another day. If the tour is canceled because of bad weather or rescheduled and you can't make it, then you will always receive a full refund.

When is the best time to visit ice caves in Iceland?

The best time to visit ice caves in Iceland is during the winter months, from November to March. During this period, the caves are more stable and accessible due to colder temperatures.

Where can I find ice caves in Iceland?

Iceland's ice caves can be found all across the island, but some of the most popular and accessible ones are located in Vatnajokull National Park, near Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Other notable ice caves can be found in Langjokull Glacier by the Golden Circle, and the Katla cave (open all year) is close to the southern town of Vík.

How can I visit an ice cave in Iceland?

Visiting an ice cave in Iceland requires joining a guided tour. These tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the caves and local conditions. Guided tours ensure your safety and provide you with valuable information about the caves and their formation.

Can I visit ice caves during the summer?

Ice caves are generally more stable and safer to visit during the winter months. The ice cave in Katla and the glacier tunnel in Langjökull are the only ones accessible during the summer. Always join a guided tour and consult with local experts before visiting ice caves during the summer.

Are ice caves wheelchair accessible?

Ice caves in Iceland are typically not wheelchair accessible due to the challenging and uneven terrain, as well as the need to navigate narrow passages or climb in some cases. If you have specific accessibility concerns, contact us to discuss possible accommodations or alternatives.

Can I take photographs inside the ice caves?

Yes, photography is generally allowed in ice caves, and they provide stunning opportunities for capturing unique and beautiful images. Be sure to bring a camera suitable for low-light conditions, and always follow your guide's instructions for safety and conservation purposes.

Do I need to book an ice cave tour in advance?

It is recommended to book an ice cave tour in advance, especially during the peak winter season when tours can fill up quickly. Booking in advance ensures you have a spot on the tour and can help you plan your trip more effectively.

Is it possible to combine an ice cave tour with other activities in Iceland?

Yes, many tour operators offer combination packages that include ice cave tours along with other popular activities, such as glacier hiking, snowmobiling, or Northern Lights hunting. These packages can provide a more comprehensive and convenient way to experience the diverse attractions that Iceland has to offer.

Are there restroom facilities at the ice caves?

Restroom facilities at ice cave locations are generally limited or nonexistent. It is advisable to use restrooms before departing for the tour, usually at your accommodation or nearby facilities in towns or by the glacier lagoon.

Can I take a private ice cave tour?

Yes, some tour operators offer private ice cave tours for individuals or small groups. These tours often provide a more personalized experience and can be tailored to your preferences and needs.

Is there a maximum group size for ice cave tours?

The maximum group size for ice cave tours varies between tour operators and may depend on the specific cave location. Group sizes can range from 8 to 20+ participants.

Are ice cave tours suitable for seniors?

Ice cave tours can be suitable for seniors, depending on their fitness levels and the specific tour's difficulty. Some tours involve short walks on flat terrain, while others require more strenuous hikes or climbing. You can see how demanding each tour is on the tour product pages.

How far are the ice caves from Reykjavik?

The distance from Reykjavik to popular ice cave locations varies. For example, ice caves in Vatnajokull National Park are approximately 370 km (230 miles) from Reykjavik, which is about a 4.5-hour drive. Some tours include transportation from Reykjavik or nearby towns, while others require you to meet at a specific location closer to the cave, like in Vík.

Can I use a drone to capture footage during an ice cave tour?

Drone use is often restricted or prohibited in many natural areas in Iceland, including ice caves and their surroundings. Always check with the tour guide and follow local regulations regarding drone use. In many cases, drones are not allowed due to safety concerns and potential disturbances to the environment and wildlife.

What types of ice formations can I expect to see inside the caves?

Inside ice caves, you may encounter various ice formations, including icicles, frozen waterfalls, and layers of blue, white, or even black ice, created by the compression of ice and incorporation of volcanic ash. The specific formations and colors can vary depending on the cave and time of year.

How do I choose the right ice cave tour for me?

When choosing an ice cave tour, consider factors such as the tour's difficulty level, duration, location, and group size. Also, take into account the time of year and your personal interests, fitness level, and travel plans.
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