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Be prepared to explore one of the most mesmerizing natural wonders located in Iceland. Vatnshellir Cave is an expedition that lets you travel deep into the earth. Natural formations like this make for fascinating tours with expert guides teaching you about the impact of volcanic activity in Iceland.

Tours visiting Vatnshellir cave

Exploring the Vatnshellir Cave is one of the most intriguing and unforgettable experiences. We are talking about a tour 35 m (115 ft) below the surface of an 8,000-year-old lava tube. A trip to Vatnshellir Cave is sure to leave you speechless. This little guide will prepare you for the experience.

Round Staircase at Vatnshellir Cave in Iceland

Vatnshellir Cave round staircase, Iceland


Vatnshellir lava tube cave was formed thousands of years ago. Like many other geological abnormalities in Iceland, Vatnshellir was a byproduct of a volcanic eruption. Lava tubes like this are all formed the same way - an underground river of lava will slowly begin to cool from the outside. This forms a tube as the outer layers begin to cool and the inner molten liquid runs back into the earth. The cooling of lava in countless different formations makes the exploration into caves and tunnels in Iceland an incredible and unique experience.

As one of the most popular tourist spots in Iceland, you'll find several family-friendly tours throughout the year. Besides being 35 m (115 ft)  deep under the earth's surface, these caves are 200 m (656 ft) long too. The stunning and vibrant colors of the unique lava formations inside are a sight to see. As you continue to explore the caves, you'll notice otherworldly stalactites hanging from the roof and some rising upwards on the ground. Some of the minerals you'll spot along the way include iron, sulfur, and copper.

Lava Rocks at Vatnshellir Lava Tube

Rock formations at Vatnshellir Cave, Iceland


If Lóndrangar Cliffs and Djúpalónssandur Beach are on your list of places to explore, Vatnshellir Cave is situated right in between. From Reykjavík, Vatnshellir lava cave is about 136 km (85 mi) away, and it will take you an estimated time of two hours to get there. At the entrance of the cave, you'll see a cylindrical metal door and a map of the cave to give you a glimpse of the tour.

Djupalonssandur Blck Sand Beach in Iceland

Djupalonssandur black sand beach, Iceland

How to Prepare for the Expedition

There is no doubt that the experience is well worth the effort, but it is quite an adventure, and you need to be fully prepared. Iceland's weather is quite unpredictable, and you should dress in layers that can be easily removed, when necessary.

For this adventurous expedition, we recommend wearing caving trip-appropriate clothing, warm gloves, and sturdy hiking shoes. If you book a professional tour provider for lava caving, you will be provided with all the necessary equipment.

Hiking Shoes with Crampons in Iceland

Good sturdy hiking shoes are necessary for an expedition at Vatnshellir Cave


If you’re making the trip to the Vatnshellir Cave, there are some other incredible attractions on the Snæfellnes Peninsula that you should make time to visit. Here are some of the worthy sites to see nearby.

  • Londrangar: Londrangar Basalt Cliffs are a dramatic sight to behold on the peninsula.
  • Hellnar: Hellnar is a charming fishing village situated within easy reach of Vatnshellir Cave.
  • Arnarstapi: Reachable from Hellnar via a gentle hiking path, Arnarstapi is another quaint fishing town on the peninsula. 
  • Gatklettur: Gatklettur in the Snæfellnes Peninsula is one of the most iconic sea stacks in the country.

You can combine a visit to Vatnshellir Cave with a range of fascinating Icelandic attractions on a five-day tour from Reykjavík.

While there are numerous lava and ice caves across Iceland, Vatnshellir Cave stands on top of the list. For those interested in experiencing and learning more about Iceland’s geology and folklore, this is an impeccable attraction. An absolute must-see site in the Snæfellsnes National Park, especially for travelers who enjoy nature.

Locations near Vatnshellir Cave