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When is the Best Time for Ice Caves in Iceland?

Making the most of your icy adventures

|December 21, 2023
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Is winter the only time to visit ice caves? Is it true that you can’t see them during the summer? Get all your questions on the topic answered!


Ice caves are one of the most stunning attractions to be found in Iceland. These crystal formations have captivated visitors and residents alike throughout the ages. The best time to see ice caves is from November to March and sometimes even early April. The fluctuating force and temperature of water means that ice caves are constantly changing in appearance.

Should I visit ice caves in Iceland during the winter?

Iceland’s ice caves are accessible between November and March, with most tours being offered during this period. This is because the temperature is low enough for the ice cave walls to remain solid. Grab your warmest clothes and enjoy the pink and orange winter sky outside Iceland’s beautiful ice caves.

Will I be able to visit ice caves in Iceland during the summer?

The chances of visiting ice caves are slim in the summer. From mid-March onwards, the temperatures in Iceland slowly increase. The melting water of glaciers makes ice cave walls prone to collapsing. This makes it almost impossible to safely explore ice caves during the summer.

Ice caves can form either when meltwater streams carve a labyrinth at the base of a glacier, or when the biting wind hollows out tunnels in the snowfield and the cold air settles there. Because the formation of ice caves is dependent on fluctuating natural conditions, it is difficult to visit them in the summer when the temperature starts changing again.

If you’ve already planned a summer trip, don’t be disheartened - you can still experience icy enchantment after winter’s end. Named after the Katla volcano, the Katla ice cave underneath the Kotlujokull glacier can be visited all year round. Even if you’re visiting in winter, it is worth checking out the contrasting black and blue walls on the Katla Ice Cave tour.

Whatever month you choose to visit, we have a number of winter tours to keep you occupied. If you would like help with planning, don’t worry. We have covered the best things to do in Iceland each month on our blog. We even have a winter weekend itinerary if you’ve booked that last-minute flight.

You don’t need to bring any special equipment for ice caves. Your tour will include a helmet and crampons. Just dress warmly with layers and get ready to explore the interiors of a magical snow kingdom. Which ice cave would you like to venture into first?

 

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