Ice Cave Tours
Explore the frozen wonders of Iceland’s natural Ice Caves with one of these fantastic trips. Ice Cave Tours are the perfect option for nature-lovers seeking an unforgettable adventure. Check out our selection of icy experiences below.
About Ice Cave Tours
Ice Caves are glittering caverns found inside glaciers. They are formed when meltwater enters the glacier through a crack or glacier moulin. Over time, the water will carve out chambers or passageways known as ‘glacier caves’ or ‘ice caves’.
Ice Cave Tours in Iceland operate on two glaciers: Mýrdalsjökull, which is found on the south coast, and Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. Mýrdalsjökull is approximately 165 km (102.5 mi) from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík, while Vatnajökull is about 380 km (236 mi).
Included In Your Ice Cave Tour
Included in an Ice Cave Tour is transport to the glacier from a designated pick-up point near the glacier. This usually means that you will have to make your own way to the said pick-up point, be it the village of Vík or Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Please make sure to read the “Included” section of the tour carefully to find out where the pick-up point is. If transportation from Reykjavík is included, it will be stated in the “Included” section.
The use of all safety equipment, such as crampons, ice axes, and helmets, is also included in your tour. Your guide will show you how to put on and use the safety equipment.
What Is The Best Ice Cave Tour?
When choosing the perfect Ice Cave Tour, you should take into consideration the time of year you will be visiting and how far from Reykjavík City you will travel.
The ice caves in Mýrdalsjökull are known as the Katla Ice Caves. The ice cap is located closer to Reykjavík than Vatnajökull, meaning that a visit to the Katla Ice Cave can fit nicely into a day tour from the capital.
Another advantage to the Katla Ice Caves is the fact that they are open year-round. The Vatnajökull Ice Caves flood with meltwater every spring so one cannot enter them during that time. The Katla Ice Caves, however, are located at the edge of the glacier. That means that meltwater drains from the ice caves more easily, making them accessible all year round.
Mýrdalsjökull Glacier covers the active volcano Katla and is located next to the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Don’t worry, all volcanoes in Iceland are meticulously monitored. However, past eruptions have left the ice on Mýrdalsjökull streaked with black ash, meaning that the Katla Ice Caves are darker than the bright blue ice caves found in Vatnajökull.
Visiting the blue ice caves in Vatnajökull is one of the most popular winter activities in Iceland. Vatnajökull is located far away from Reykjavík city and getting there in the winter usually requires two days on the road. Fortunately, the route is very scenic with multiple stops along the way well worth a visit, such as the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, Reynisfjara black sand beach and the glittering Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, some Ice Cave Tours operate during Christmas time. You can see when a tour is available by looking at the timetable located on the tour description’s right side.
Yes, you can visit the Katla Ice Caves in October. The Ice Caves in Vatnajökull, however, are not open in October.
A short glacier hike might be necessary to get to the ice cave. This depends on which glacier you choose and at what time of year. Each day, glacier guides select the cave they visit depending on weather and ice conditions, so it is impossible to say in advance if glacier hiking is required or not. If you are looking for a longer glacier hike, Traveo offers a few tours that combine glacier hiking with ice caving.
Travelling to and from the ice cave will take the most time. However, you will spend about 45 min. in the cave itself, which is plenty of time to explore and take photos.
Iceland experiences very little sunlight in the wintertime but don’t worry; it won’t be completely dark all day. Even during the darkest months, Iceland still gets at least 4 hours of sunlight. The departure times for ice cave tours take that into account. If it isn’t bright enough for you, you’ll get a helmet with a torch to illuminate the cave yourself.
Ice caves are safe to enter when in the company of a trained glacier guide. These professionals check the glacier conditions each day to make sure the caves are safe. Never enter an ice cave without an expert guide.
You’ll be visiting a glacier, so make sure you wear warm clothes. Wind and waterproof outer layers and warm thermal underwear are always a good idea. Pair that with thick socks, gloves, a scarf and a hat. Make sure your hat can fit under a helmet. You should also wear comfortable hiking shoes with good ankle support on which you can easily fit crampons.