Frequently asked questions about Ice caves in Iceland
Where are the blue ice caves in Iceland?
The glacial caves of electric blue, deep violet and icy white are mostly found below Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest ice-cap but not all. Tours generally depart from the car park by Jökulsárlón Lagoon in southeast Iceland.
When can I visit the blue ice caves of Iceland?
The caves are accessible between October and March, although many operators don’t begin their tours until November. Even then, access to the caves is weather-dependent. If a trip is cancelled, you will be refunded, and hopefully the trip can be rearranged.
Which ice cave tours are the best in Iceland?
Arguably, the Crystal Ice Cave, although all of the Vatnajökull glacial caves pack a punch. One of the largest in Vatnajökull National Park, the Crystal Ice Cave gets its name from the glassy walls of blue and white. And if agility is an issue for you, never fear - tour companies can drive right up to its entrance. By the way, the clarity of the crystalline ice is due to the ice-cave’s age - step back 1,200 years!
New glacial ice caves are appearing all the time in Iceland. The Blue Diamond Cave made its debut in Vatnajökull in 2016 - and what an appearance! It may be a lot smaller than the Crystal Ice Cave but what it lacks in size (it fits fewer than twenty people) it makes up for in beauty: the intense blue of its walls is even more vivid than the Crystal Cave.
You may recognise Katla Ice Cave from Star Wars, the ice cathedral formed by one of Iceland’s most notorious volcanoes. Inside, its impressive blue and black walls are dotted with bubbles. It’s found on the southern tip of Iceland, south and west of Vatnajökull.
How do I reach the volcanic caves of Katla?
Mountain Guides partner, Katlatrack, offers you a trip to the Secret Ice Cave on a small-group day trip from Reykjavik, hidden directly beneath the dormant volcano of Katla. On the way in, you’ll experience an otherworldly landscape of black sands and green-mossed mountains. Inside the cave, the luminous blue ice walls contrast the surrounding black ash. It’s a phenomenal sight. This trip combines the Secret Cave with the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The tour crams a lot into one day but has you back in time for dinner in Reykjavik!
Can you recommend a tour for hardcore adventure in Iceland?
Mountain Guides offer a thrilling tour Ice Cave - Only the Brave. It takes a bit of effort to access the remote cave found on an outlet glacier near Skaftafell National Park. From Skaftafell base camp, next to the visitor centre, you’ll be taken into a frozen world of glacial ridges, deep crevasses and an ice cave of vivid colour.
Come equipped with warm and waterproof clothing, hiking boots, drinks and snacks and Mountain Guides will provide the rest: crampons, ice-pick, harness and helmet. You get the picture - this is a trip for the adrenaline junkie. Here is our detailed guide to what to wear on a glacier in Iceland.
Can you visit ice caves in Iceland on your own?
Not unless you are an experienced ice caver. Otherwise take a guide. Glacial ice caves are dangerous, constantly in flux and changing from one day to the next. Book a trip with an expert guide who is trained in safety and will provide you with all the equipment you need. The guide will - as the name suggests - guide you into the cave safely.
How long is an ice cave tour in Iceland?
The family-friendly Crystal Ice Cave tour takes around four hours with approximately an hour in the cave.
The easy Aurora Cave tour lasts three hours, the more challenging ‘Only the Brave’ tour five-and-a-half. The Secret Cave beneath Katja Glacier lasts from one-and-a half to two hours. For more information check out the Icelandic Mountain Guides Ice Cave Tours.
If you love northern winters, snow-covered mountains, frozen waterfalls, pure wilderness, stormy seas and caves of indescribable colours visit the Aurora Ice Cave in Iceland. To combine this colourful spectacle with the charged energy of the northern lights is an experience you’ll unlikely to forget.