Visiting the blue ice cave in Vatnajökull glacier is something I will never forget, it left me totally speechless! I was on a tour with the Guide to Iceland team in with the purpose of checking out the ice caves in this area. We had already visited the beautiful aquamarine ice caves in Fláajökull glacier earlier that same day.
So I was very excited about visiting another ice cave, as these rare natural ice caves are out of this world. The ice cave guides go look for ice caves every winter and we are always eager to see what the newly formed ice caves look like each year.
The blue crystal ice cave, which we visited, is located in an outlet glacier of Iceland's largest ice cap, Vatnajökull glacier, called Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
I had already seen some pretty amazing photographs from inside such ice caves, shot by the very talented photographer, Iurie Belegurschi, and was dying to see this ice cave with my own eyes. One of Iurie's beautiful photos is below, so you understand why I was eager to see the ice caves with my own eyes.
We met our tour guide at Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon and were driven in a specially modified car on a very bumpy mountain road up to the glacier. The ride only took 15 minutes and there was a very short and easy 5-minute's-hike to the mouth of the ice cave.
In my photo below you can see the specially modified car which transported us to the ice cave. In the photo to the left is Ingólfur, the COO of Guide to Iceland, and Kolbeinn, our glacier guide.
We were given a safety helmet and crampons for walking on the ice. These ice caves, although so extremely beautiful, can be dangerous and should never be entered without a glacier guide and proper safety gear. Wear a thin cap so you can wear it with the helmet.
When we entered the ice cave the beauty of it just took my breath away. I and the rest of the group turned into kids, playing in the snow and touching this blue ice which formed an ice dome above our heads.
I can tell you that one can get quite emotional inside the ice caves as the beauty is just overwhelming. And I have heard of glacier guides, who get so emotional, that they have started crying when they see the beauty of a new ice cave.
The ice cave is big and further inside the cave, away from the light, the ice turned into a sapphire blue wonderland! With ice sculptures and icicles hanging from the ceiling!
We were totally emerged in this beautiful blue colour and all of us were taking photos left and right. I had been worried about not having enough light inside the ice caves for my photos to turn out right and had been reading up on which camera settings would be the best for taking photos inside ice caves.
But once inside the caves I just left it up to the camera and shot the photos on the auto setting and used flash.
And I was praying for my photos to be able to capture this beauty and not come out all blurred or in the wrong colour.
I think the photos came out beautifully and justly showing all these extraordinary blue colours inside the ice cave. One of the photos looks like I shot a painted wall, but it is blue ice on one of the ice cave walls.
The photos above and below are of very old blue ice with black ash stripes from volcanic eruptions in Iceland! The blue ice you see inside the cave might be 900 years old!
Isn't this just breathtaking!! I had quite a few WOW moments inside this extraordinary beautiful ice cave.
We spent half an hour inside the cave and when we left I felt elated - this is such a unique experience.
This crystal ice cave tour is by far the most popular ice cave tour and it is almost always sold out. If you want to book a tour of this ice cave then don't wait too long as it might be sold out! I was helping a small group of Chinese people with their itinerary and suggested to them a visit to the ice caves.
They, unfortunately, waited a couple of days before booking and by then this tour was sold out. I felt for them as they really wanted to see this ice cave.
There is only a limited number of people who are allowed into the ice cave per day, so it is unfortunately not possible to add an extra tour. Take into account that the ice caves can get crowded nowadays, as there is so much demand for seeing them.
These ice caves form in the summertime when water runs underneath the glacier and every winter when it starts getting colder the glacier guides look for new ice caves in Vatnajökull glacier. Fortunately, this ice cave was located relatively close to ring road 1.
These natural ice caves are rare and as I said earlier, then we are very excited when a glacier guide finds a new naturally formed ice cave. But nature is unpredictable and the glaciers are constantly moving and shrinking. So one never knows where the ice caves will be located each winter.
That said, then seeing that the glaciers are shrinking then more and more ice caves are discovered.
If you want to drive to Jökulsárlón lagoon to meet up with the glacier guide, then you can either rent a car in Reykjavík and join Iurie Belegurschi's photography tour to the ice cave, where you will be able to take professional photos of the cave.
Other options are:
A good idea is also to join a package tour f.ex.:
Also, check out the many self-drive tours on offer:
Dress warmly and wear sturdy shoes for the ice caves. The ice caves can only be visited in the winter time for 5 months from November until the end of March, when it is cold enough and safe to enter them.
Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is located some 390 km east of Reykjavík in southeast Iceland or 375 km depending on from where you start your journey in Reykjavík city.
Have a lovely time visiting the ice caves :)