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Best Ice Cave Tours in Iceland

What Are the Best Ice Cave Tours to Do in Iceland?

|July 28, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

Iceland is certainly known for its many natural phenomena, and as suggested by the name of the country, ice is one of these wonders. Did you know that glaciers cover 11 % of Iceland? Thanks to these icy giants, we have the opportunity to explore ice caves. Having in mind how many of them you can find along the way, the real question is – which one of these are the best?

Where Are the Ice Caves in Iceland?

There are 269 named glaciers in Iceland. So, no matter which side of Iceland you decide to explore, the chances that you’ll end up finding an ice cave there and have an unforgettable adventure are pretty high. If you’re curious to learn more about Iceland’s ice caves, read all about it here

But where are some of Iceland's best ice caves located? Before giving that out, it’s important to keep in mind that there are ice caves and glacier ice caves found throughout the country. While ice caves are described as “regular” rock caves coated in ice, glacier ice caves, as the name suggests, are found inside a glacier. 

Ice Cave Tour in the National Park of Vatnajökull

Vatnajökull National Park

Exploring any type of ice caving is an exciting experience. One of the places that often first come to mind when looking for ice caves is Vatnajökull National Park and its glacier. It’s the biggest glacier in Iceland and also holds the title of the second-largest glacier in Europe. The place is situated southwest of Iceland and opens up the possibility to visit its most popular ice caves, such as Crystal Ice Cave and Skaftafell Ice Cave

Besides Vatnajökull ice caves, the second largest glacier in Iceland is Langjokull. Its name translates as “long glacier”, so it’s very suitable for ice-caving walks. What makes a visit to Langjokull Glacier special is that it has natural ice caves and is also home to a man-made ice cave. What makes it even better is that you can experience a Langjökull Ice Cave tour all year round instead of having to find a suitable time anywhere from October to March. 

Found in the south of Iceland, the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, which also covers the well-known Katla volcano, is among the often visited sites because of its Katla Ice Cave. This cave is known for its extraordinary appearance. Due to volcanic activity, the “walls” here are encrusted with black ash, creating quite a different view from what’s usually seen in ice caves.

Best Ice Caves in Iceland

While Iceland can certainly boast about its vast number of ice caves, the important question for its visitors remains – which one of these are the most worth visiting? If you find yourself at such a crossroads, keep in mind a few aspects that will help you to find the best option.

Time. One of the main things to consider when thinking of when to go ice-caving is the time of the year. While natural ice caves can only be visited during colder months, usually from the middle of October to the end of March, man-made ice caves are reachable all year round. 

Man Spelunking in Crystal Cave of Vatnajokull Ice Cap in Iceland

Man inside crystal ice cave

Location. While there are a few major locations from which you can go ice-caving, such as Vatnajökull Glacier, for your convenience, choose the location that’s nearest to you. You can also book a tour; this way, you’ll basically get everything done for your transportation and preparation wise.    

Safety. Booking a tour is also a smart idea because ice caving can be dangerous. So going on your own means that you’re putting yourself at risk. A trip with a guide will ensure your safety and provide you with interesting and entertaining information about the attraction. 

Now that you know what you’re looking for, what are some examples of the best ice caves in Iceland?

Skaftafell Ice Cave

Located on the South Coast of Iceland, Skaftafell Nature Reserve is part of a large Vatnajökull National Park and, most importantly, a home to Skaftafell Ice Cave. This blue ice cave is recognized for its stunning ice formations that were formed thanks to ice and volcanic activity. These interesting formations include ice walls, arches, and even complex sculptures. One of the greatest ways to explore the area is by going on a Skaftafell hiking tour, including a walk on the glacier.

Crystal Ice Cave

This ice cave in Iceland is among the country's most famous and often visited caves. This large, wide, spacious cave can accommodate around 100 people. Situated in Vatnajökull Glacier, each year, during summertime, it's shaped by a glacier river. Once you're here, prepare yourself to be stunned by the beautiful shades of blue seen on the walls. And to reach the area faster, know that you can hop in a Super Jeep that will get you to your ice-caving adventure.

Katla Ice Cave

Entering any ice cave in Iceland will leave you mesmerized and probably out of words to describe the beauty that's there. What makes Katla Ice Cave even more special is its location. How? The cave is situated near an active volcano Katla, so once you enter the inside, you're met with quite an irregular view of the cave: The walls of it are dark due to black ash from years of volcanic activity. One way you can reach this magnificent place is by going on a jeep tour to Katla Ice Cave.

Which Ice Cave Is Best to Visit?

Still can’t make up your mind about which of these ice caves to go to? It’s a tough decision, but to make it easier, let’s try to compare them to see which one would suit your expectations best.

Ice Caves Comparison

Iceland is known to attract travelers with its mesmerizing nature. While there’s always a problem of too little time to see everything, it’s natural to only go through the best of everything that’s offered to us. But the good news is that no matter what you choose, especially ice-caving-wise, you’ll be met with astonishing sights. If you're keen to experience an ice cave during your trip to Iceland, we've included this thrilling adventure in our 2 day South Coast tour.

The Ice Caves of Vatnajökull Glacier Skaftafell in Iceland

Skaftafell Ice Cave

Best Ice Cave Tours in Iceland - FAQ

Can You Visit Ice Caves in Iceland on Your Own?

Visiting ice caves is a fantastic experience, but to make sure that it would also be a safe one, it’s best you would be accompanied by an experienced and trained guide. It’s strongly advised not to go to natural ice caves alone as it can be dangerous.

Can You See Ice Caves in Iceland in Summer?

While natural ice caves are unsafe during summer because rising temperatures melt the ice, you can visit Katla Ice Cave all year. Another ice cave you can visit during summer is the man-made ice caves in Langjökull. Even though visiting Langjökull is possible during the summer, winter can bring its own unique magic. Book onto our Ice Cave and Northern Lights tour that combines the ice cave experience with a Northern Lights hunt.

Iceland's Crystal Ice Caves Carve Walkways Deep Within A Glacier

Crystal Ice Cave

What Is the Best Time of Year to See the Ice Caves in Iceland?

The best time to go ice caving is considered to be from the end of October to mid of March. Safe ice cave visits require it to be colder outside for you to be able to explore them.

What to Wear for Ice Caves in Iceland?

It’s important to keep yourself warm as the temperature in a glacier ice cave is quite low. So remember to, of course, wear warm clothes and dress in layers. Waterproof pants and a jacket are a must, as well as accessorizing in gloves, hats, and scarves. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to the fabrics of the clothes: It's best to wear Merino wool and avoid cotton and denim. 

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