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Viðgelmir isn’t just Iceland’s largest lava cave, but also one of the largest lava caves in the world. Visitors will find themselves in an underground world of crystal lava and stunning rock formations.

Enjoy Iceland’s volcanic power first-hand with a trip to Viðgelmir in West Iceland. The paved paths and man-made walkways make it accessible and fun for the whole family, and you’re guaranteed to be amazed by the sight of stalactites hanging from the ceiling of the cave.

Tours near Viðgelmir cave

What is Viðgelmir?

Viðgelmir is a lava tube cave located beneath Hallmundarhraun Lava Field in West Iceland.  The cave was created by a massive volcanic eruption in 930 CE. The eruption lasted several years and spread lava over a 200km² (78 sq-mi) area. 

Viðgelmir is the largest lava tube in Iceland, with a volume of more than five million cubic feet (150,000 cubic meters). It’s 1585 m (5200 ft.) long, 15.8 m (52 ft.) at its highest and 16.5 m (54 ft.) wide.

In the lava cave, researchers discovered human artifacts from the Viking Age. Exile was a common punishment at that time, and many outlaws were forced to live out their days in hiding. The artifacts from Viðgelmir are now in the National Museum of Iceland.


Víðgelmir - the largest lava cave in Iceland


A lava tube cave is formed when the outer layer of a lava river cools. This creates a solid shell around the molten lava. The liquid lava then flows out of the solid shell, leaving behind a tube-shaped cave. Viðgelmir was formed in exactly the same way. Due to the level of historic underground volcanic activity, Iceland has more than 500 lava tube caves.

Viðgelmir is renowned for its sheer number of stalactites and stalagmites, making for an ethereal caving experience. Stalactites are formed when lava on the ceiling of the cave cools and drips toward the ground, like lava icicles. Stalagmites are formed when lava collects on the floor. Both of these lava formations are eerie but beautiful.

stalagmites Inside Vidgelmir Lava Cave


Viðgelmir is located in Borgarfjörður in West Iceland. The cave is about 136 km (85 mi) from Reykjavík and 345 km (215 mi) from Akureyri. Nearby attractions include Langjökull Glacier, Snorralaug Hot Spring, and Snæfellsnes National Park.

GPS coordinates of Viðgelmir Cave: 64.7503° N, 20.8019° W


Vidgelmir can only be reached by car. The cave is located around 85 miles (136km) from Reykjavik. The drive will take you about two hours.

From Reykjavík, drive north along the Ring Road until you reach the charming village of Borgarnes, then head inland. You’ll pass by Deildartunguhver Hot Spring, Hraunfossar (“The Lava Falls”), and Húsafell before you reach Viðgelmir.

People entering Vidgelmir Cave


The closest towns to Viðgelmir are Reykholt and Husafell. In both locations, you can find great hotels, guesthouses, and camping grounds.

  • Hótel Húsafell – A three-star hotel on the site of a former farm. Rooms have scenic views of the surrounding nature.
  • Hótel Á – A simple three-star hotel in Reykholt, offering great value for travelers on a budget.
  • Fosshotel Reykholt – A three-star hotel on the site of Snorri Sturluson’s farm in Reykholt. It offers exceptional views and good facilities.
  • Guesthouse Steindórsstadir – A charming guesthouse in Reykholt with basic facilities and great value.
  • Nes Guesthouse – This budget guesthouse in Reykholt provides great facilities at a bargain price.
  • Husafell Campsite – Husafell campsite is in the middle of a serene forest. The grounds provide 60 electrical outlets, restrooms, showers, hot and cold water, and laundry.
Aerial view of Husafell Hotel


There are several good restaurants in and around the Viðgelmir area.

  • Hraunfossar Restaurant – A chilled-out café with stunning views. 
  • Brúarás GeoCenter – A modern restaurant serving local dishes. There is also a souvenir shop.
  • Husafell Bistro – A relaxed bistro with an excellent lunch buffet, ideal for travelers seeking a quick meal.
  • Hverinn – A charming farmer’s market and restaurant serving traditional meals. Best of all, you can take the food to-go.
  • Staldrið – This popular hotdog stand in Reykholt is ideal for a quick bite.


Guided tour inside Vidgelmir lava cave

Viðgelmir is one of the most accessible caves in Iceland, with paved paths and man-made walkways. This makes it easy to enjoy the stunning underground lava rock formations while protecting the site from damage. Still, there are a few rules to follow when visiting the lava cave.


Viðgelmir has a paved walkway and lights throughout, making this cave tour accessible for everyone. However, it’s always important to take care on walkways and steps, holding the handrail if needed. Furthermore, Viðgelmir is so large that you won’t need to stoop when visiting the cave.


Vidgelmir Cave in Iceland

The stalagmites and stalactites in Viðgelmir are rare and irreplaceable. It’s against the rules to interfere with them in any way. You will receive a large fine if you attempt to touch them or break them off.


Wooden path in Vidgelmir lava cave

Viðgelmir is one of Iceland’s most popular lava caving spots. On a guided tour, you’ll see cave walls in stunning shades of ruby, turquoise, amber, and magenta. All around you, dramatic stalagmites and stalactites hang from the ceiling and rise from the floor. Ice sculptures form on the walls in winter, adding an extra layer of beauty to the scene. 

A paved walkway spans the entire length of Viðgelmir, making the walk safe and easy. The real thrill happens when your guide turns out the lights, plunging the cave into total darkness!


Viðgelmir is located in West Iceland, close to many other amazing sites. 

  • Hraunfossar (“The Lava Falls)  a series of incredible waterfalls flowing out of Hallmundarhraun Lava Field. The white water of the falls contrasts against colorful volcanic rock.
  • Deildartunguhver  Europe’s most powerful hot spring pumps huge clouds of steam into the air. This is one of Iceland’s most rare natural wonders.
  • Husafell  This charming village in West Iceland is a hiker’s paradise. 
  • Borgarnes  This cultural hub played a big role in the Viking settlement of Iceland. It’s also considered the gateway to the iconic Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
  • Barnafoss (“The Children’s Falls)  The foggy cascade of this beautiful waterfall has a ghostly quality. The story behind the falls is even more haunting.
  • Reykholt In this charming village you’ll find the famous Snorralaug Hot Spring. Reykholt was also home to Snorri Sturluson, one of the most important figures in Iceland’s history. You can learn more about Sturluson and Medieval Iceland at the Snorri Museum.
  • Langjökull Glacier (“The Long Glacier)  The second-longest glacier in Iceland is excellent for snowmobiling, ice caving, and glacier hiking.
  • Snæfellsnes Peninsula  This magical peninsula is home to Iceland’s most photographed mountain and geothermal wonders. Snæfellsnes is called “Iceland in Miniature” and is a great place to visit if your time in the country is limited.