ICE CAVE & GLACIER TOURS
Get off the beaten path
Get amazed by our glaciers!
It comes to no surprise that Iceland boasts one of Earth’s greatest patchworks of natural backdrops. From explosive volcanoes to all mighty waterfalls, surrealistic black sand beaches that go kilometres upon end to gateways of the underworld, Iceland gifts its visitors with otherworldly views as far as their eyes can see and memories that last a lifetime.
The land of Fire and Ice is a glaciated country – with approximately 11% of its surface being covered by ice and dotted by glaciers. The islands’ geo-location and unique characteristics make it the ideal grounds for ice caves to appear over the years, gradually reshaping into spectacular formations trapping history in every droplet and giving way to the country’s visitors to experience this exclusive phenomenon.
What is an Ice cave?
An Ice cave is a cave that has ice present all year round, also known as perennial ice. Unlike popular believe, ice caves don’t always have to be underground caves.
They can form in cavities, or holes, in ice and still be deemed as caves. They’re a natural phenomenon that can be to some extent predicted however, never fully guaranteed. If you’re asking yourself why that is, the simple answer is because with everything related to Mother Nature, she’s the one that calls the shots.
Global warming puts a big question mark on future existence and most importantly disappearance of ice caves – with the rise of the earth’s core temperature, ice slowly vaporizes, which leads to a great possibility of melting of the cave’s structure that, as a consequence leads to its partial or total collapse.
Each ice cave is unique in its structure, shape and size: the immediate environment and how the cave is formed greatly determines its colour: glacier caves produce blue spectrum tints – the striking bold icy blue colours that come to mind when most picture ice caves are produced when ice contains minimal to none bubble which allows it to absorb all light rays except blue ones. In presence of algae, aquamarine and violet colours are known to appear.
How are they formed?
Ice caves are formed when melt water runs down a glacier, creating a mini stream of liquid that hollows out the glacier and produces its own passageway. Over time, this passageway changes in shape and form: extends and deepens, creating a labyrinth that contains one or more channels, shaping the ice cave we know today.
Although they might appear intimidating at first glance, ice caves are extremely fragile and, like us, are at Mother Nature’s mercy. The beauty of these magnificent creations is that they always manage to surprise their visitors with constant altering appearances.
During summer months, the warmer weather paired with Iceland’s vast geothermal activity allows parts of the ice cave to melt with water penetrating into the cave’s deepest points only to restructure and refreeze during the winter months giving way to fascinating new visual spectacles.
Blue Ice Caves in Vatnajokull National Park
The blue Ice cave is by far Iceland’s most venerated and popularised ice cave of all times. If you’ve scrolled through guide blogs or picked up a tourist brochure, chances are you’ve already been flooded by photos of this particularly striking coloured cave. Found in the southeast part of the island, the Blue Ice cave sits on Vatnajökull glacier – Europe’s biggest ice cap. The glacier’s name comes from ‘vatna’ =water and jökull=glacier and covers approximately 8% of the islands whole glacier surface and, to this day has around 30 outlet glaciers flowing from the ice cap. Global warming paired with other factors, have, throughout the years, had a great impact on the glacier and consequently ice cave found in its proximity: Warmer climate has resulted into its slow but certain recession which is carefully monitored by Icelandic and international geologists alike.
The Blue Ice cave is truly a spectacle for all human senses: From visual pleasing grandiose ice statues that go as far as the naked eye can see, to the haunting noise of the glacier crackling deep into the underworld; this experience is by far, a definite one to tick off your bucket list!
This location is rather distinctive; although it’s deemed to be one of the most popular ice caves in Europe and pretty much worldwide, access is only made possible by Super jeeps that safely take you from point A to point B through an array of rugged landscapes and untouched raw Icelandic sceneries. The intimate and exclusive ride on off the beaten path tracks towards the cave makes you feel as if you were on a private tour exploring the true Icelandic outback that only very few have had the chance to go to. Due to the uneven surface characteristics of the glacier itself, the ride towards the cave is rather bumpy however, nothing a super jeep cannot handle!
What to bring and how to prepare for an ice cave tour?
The beauty of ice cave tours are that they’re suited for all – from youngsters to adults, beginners to avid mountaineers; anyone and everyone can join and get a change to experience up-close and personal this surreal magical landscape. It’s worth mentioning that as this is an outdoor activity, basic fitness level and good overall health is a must when embarking on such experiences in order to get the most out of the tour as well as to keep yourself, the guide and fellow travelers on the safe side of the ice.
All professional and necessary equipment is provided by the tour operator however, it goes without saying that sturdy winter or hiking shoes, as well as basic waterproof winter wear are mandatory. Crampons and helmets will be provided and are, of course, free of charge and essential to use.
When it comes to clothing – it really is up to you and your personal preferences. As a rule of thumb, wool blends are much more suited for Icelandic weather conditions than other materials such as acrylic or cotton. They insulate much better from the wind and cold whilst providing breathability and water repellent.
It’s better to have more layers and take some off if you get too hot rather than having a big bulky heavyweight jacket that’ll only cause discomfort when it gets wet or warm. The first layer (your inner layer) would ideally be long merino or thermal underwear, followed by a wool shirt/sweater and waterproof rain jacket.
The weather is extremely unpredictable in Iceland – one moment you’re in prime time summer, next moment there’s a snowstorm; Always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your clothing essentials! Medium weight gloves, beanie’s, sunglasses and everything else are optional but recommended.
Broken in hiking boots with good arch support and leather waterproof outer material will make your trip much more comfortable and contribute to your overall safety regardless if you’re participating on an Ice cave or visiting Iceland’s other natural wonders.
Glacier Hike - breathtaking views are within your reach
Admiring a glacier from a distance is one thing but exploring them by foot is a completely different world a part. A glacier hike, as its name suggests, is a professionally performed activity on which careful glacial routes are selected and thereafter hiked by a small group of people led by a certified guide.
The sensation of placing on foot after the other whilst consciously realizing the magnitude and power of what lies beneath is a feeling that can only be felt when there. This glacier hike will is bound to show how truly fragile we are in the face of Mother Nature – a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience!
Glacier hike is one the most popular summer activity here on Iceland. However, the idea sounds quite terrifying to some people. Is it safe to hike on ice that is potentially full of holes, cliffs and other traps like we see in many Hollywood survival movies? Well, let’s just make it clear – glacier hike is safe when you know where and how to do it. Equipped with the right equipment, under care of an experienced, skilled and qualified guide, you do not have to worry about anything and just enjoy the magnificent, raw view around you. Glacier hike guides know the best hiking trails on the glaciers in Iceland, so following them guarantees spending a really nice time there. During our tours we stop for glacier hike at Solheimajökull (Mýrdalsjökull glacier cap). What is worth to mention is the fact that part of this glacier is also Eyjafjallajökull glacier– well known because of the volcano of the same name located under the ice cap, famous for its 2010 eruption.
How to prepare for hike on top of the glacier?
It is necessary to wear solid hiking shoes and highly recommend to wear warm, windproof jackets. That is basically all you need to bring – we provide the crampons and all necessary equipment to walk safe on glacier. What if you do not have hiking shoes and buying them just to spend couple days on Iceland makes no sense to you? No worries, you can rent them from us. Under the tours that include activities on the glacier site like One Day South Coast tour you can find and order hiking shoes rental as an extra option. Please remember to provide your shoe sizes, so we can take them on the bus for you.
Even though glacier hiking in Iceland is not very demanding activity it is advised to be in a good, regular shape. If walking up the stairs and being able to be active for at least 2 hours is not something beyond your limit, then you will be fine. There is a minimum age though – from the safety reasons we can´t take anyone below the age of 10.
Selection of Ice Cave & Glacier Tours
Join one of our most popular multi day tours along Iceland's South Coast to discover many natural wonders, including Blue Ice Cave
approx. ISK 58.900
Take this tour along Iceland´s South Coast to discover its stunning glaciers, lava fields, volcanoes, waterfalls and much more!
approx. ISK 42.900
Discover the true magic of Iceland by visiting the three main national parks of the country, go on ice and lava caving and search for Northern Lights
approx. ISK 119.900
Discover the glorious Golden Circle, see the waterfalls of the South Coast, be amazed by the Glacier Lagoon and the Blue Ice Cave
approx. ISK 74.900
See the most majestic sights in South Iceland, including the Glacier Lagoon and the Golden Circle, waterfalls, blue-ice glaciers, volcanoes and more
approx. ISK 59.900
Visit the three main national parks of Iceland, go on a glacier hike, lava caving and take a boat ride on the ice strewn Glacier Lagoon
approx. ISK 129.900
Need more ideas?
Have Questions? We will be happy to assist you!
+354 419 0100 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NICETRAVEL was founded by three Icelandic families with the aim of helping visitors to Iceland to enjoy a nice and enjoyable experience
All our services are of course fully licensed by the appropriate Icelandic authorities
Fiskislóð 45M, 101 Reykjavík
ID. 650712-0800 | TAX. 120367