The ice caves in Icelandic glaciers are truly a mesmerizing wonder of nature. When I first received a question about tours to the glacier caves (sometimes called the Crystal Caves) of Vatnajokull glacier such experiences were almost unheard of. But little by little the rumour spread and today a visit to the ice caves has become one of the most sought after winter activity in Iceland.
So, after years of helping travelers visit the ice caves I feel it’s time to share with my glacier knowlege and hopefully help you plan your very own glacier cave experience.
Where are the ice caves?
The ice caves are located in Vatnajokull glacier which is in south east Iceland. There is no way to say where the caves are precisely, as new caves form in different locations each year. And what makes these caves even more exciting is the fact that they can only found during the wintertime when glacial rivers retract and the water freezes. So each fall the glacier guides head out in search for them and once they’ve found caves that have everything needed for travellers to visit them; thick walls and roof, extreme glacial beauty (you’ve seen those photos – right?), they have the location for the season. So as you can see you will have to allow for flexibility in your timing as these caves are not always located right next to the highway.
How to get to the ice caves of Iceland?
If you are up for driving yourself you can rent a car and drive to the Vatnajokull region. As it it’s more than a 4 hour drive and the winter time in Iceland offers limited daylight, we recommend you plan an overnight stay along the way to break your journey, or even book a ready made glacial self-drive. Either way you need to book a local tour to visit the caves as glaciers can be very dangerous (doesn’t mind if you’re walking on top of them or exploring their insides) and you should always have a professional guide with you and wear the appropriate gear, when exploring them.
If you would rather not drive yourself and just have everything planned for you (transportation, accommodation, glacier tour and of course a guide to give you local secrets) then you might want to consider joining a guided ice cave tour directly from Reykjavik.
When should you book a ice cave tour?
To tell you the truth there is a chance it might already be fully booked for next season. As you need a professional guide to take you into the caves and the demand for the tours is so great it is wise to plan ahead.
If you’re ready to book your ice cave tour feel free to contact us but until then take a look at a few of my favourite ice cave photos.