Iceland‘s glaciers are part of its unique, beautiful and harsh landscape. Every year, thousands of people come to look at these wonders. Perhaps the most adventurous dare to hike across the glacier, which can be dangerous and is only to be done with an experienced guide. There is another option: enjoy the glacier from the inside.
Ice caves can be found in different parts of Iceland. Some occur naturally, while others are man-made. Regardless of how they were created, the experience of walking through the ice into a glacier is unlike anything you have ever experienced. And just like walking on top of a glacier, walking into an ice cave should never be done without a guide.
A natural ice cave is formed when the meltwater of a glacier moves through the ice, leaving behind a cavern. The summer sunlight sometimes melts the ice inside the cavern, creating stunning ice formations.
One of Iceland‘s most famous natural ice caves resides in South Iceland under Mýrdalsjökull glacier, near Vík. Created by a volcanic eruption – Mýrdalsjökull is also home to Katla, one of the most violently explosive volcanoes in the country – what is now known as The Secret Ice Cave is an unbelievable spectacle. To get to the cave, you must first traverse the otherworldly black sands in a special 4×4 vehicle. The illuminating blue of the ice contrasts wildly with the bleak landscape. It is an easy hike through the cave that takes around three hours.
The most popular ice cave experience, however, is in the man-made cavern in Langjökull. Opened in 2015, this tunnel goes 30 m into the ice and then stretches on for half a kilometre. Even though it was fabricated, nature has put its own stamp on the cave, as ice formations have formed naturally inside. To get there, you have to first ride on the giant, 8-wheel glacier truck, which is an unforgettable experience itself. Once inside the cave, however, you will see a side of nature most people never get to experience. Into the Glacier is the company that runs these tours, and they operate year-round.
Don‘t have the time or the ability to get out to these wonders? You can experience an ice cave inside the Perlan museum! Inside the exhibition room is a 100 m long ice cave made from 350 tonnes of snow. Make sure you grab a selfie while sitting on the ice throne!
There are several other natural and man-made ice caves found throughout the Icelandic countryside – but these should never be visited without a guide. Ice caves and glaciers change constantly under influence of the weather and movements of the ice. Outside adventure tours are heavily weather-dependent and might be cancelled based on weather conditions. Caves are sometimes narrow, and cave floors might be slippery. Tour operators will make sure you have the right clothes and equipment.