Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier – An Iceland Ice Cave Tour Review

It was a day full of waterfalls and amazing views along to South Coast of Iceland.  It was late afternoon when we arrived at one of my favorite places in Iceland – Jökulsárlón.  My then-boyfriend and I were on an amazing 3-day adventure weekend road trip in Iceland.  We both were super excited because we were going to head out to see an Iceland Ice Cave.  We were being provided the Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier from Guide to Iceland.

Ice Caves are the most exciting of the Iceland cave tours.  Ice caves are a uniques cave that are only found in cold climates. Most ice caves are found at the edge of glaciers.  The ice cave is formed by water melting and moving underneath a glacier.  As it moved, it starts to melt the ice above it and it slowly starts to form an opening.

Each season in Iceland, guides must scour the edges of the Vatnajokull Glacier to find this years ice cave.  Some caves last multiple years but most are destroyed as the ice melts during the summer. During my first trip to Iceland, I visited an amazing Skaftafell ice cave.  Alas on my return two years later, that glacier cave had collapsed.

The Meeting Spot

The meeting spot for our crystal ice cave tour was Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.  Jökulsárlón is about four and three-quarters of an hour drive from Reykjavik.  The easiest way to get out there is to rent a car.  I suggest Go Car Rental Iceland for that rental. Most ice cave tours start here but it is possible to get an ice cave tour from Reykjavik.  These tours are a full day tour. Our tour was scheduled to be between 3-5 hours.

Our tour guide meet us outside the Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon Boat Tours and Cafe.  The Cafe has a nice restroom with a gift shop and a small selection of sandwiches and snacks.  Our guide was easy to spot.  Just took for the person holding the clipboard.  Actually, He approached us as we walked up.  He marked us off.

The weather in Iceland is hit or miss and due to recent rain. This year’s best ice cave was flooded.  He let us know this upfront.  It was not safe to enter this cave but the tour would visit the entrance and a couple of other caves instead.

The Tour

Promptly at 4:00 PM our ice cave tour left and started the long drive out to the Vatnajokull Glacier.  We drove down the main road a couple of miles before our guide pulled over and deflated the tires to make the ride smoother and do less wear and tear on our massive off-terrain van.  Our tour group had 12 people including myself and the then-boyfriend. It was a nice size group.  The tour bus had several rows of seats and there was plenty of space for everyone and the backpacks.

The drive out to the base of the glacier was an adventure in itself.  It was rough and very bouncy.  Our drive handled the steep curves and deep drop-offs like a pro.  It took about an hour to get out to the edge of the Iceland’s largest glacier.

We arrive at the entrance to the blue ice cave.  It was full of water but standing at the entrance I could really appreciate the beauty of the cave.

I wish we could have gone in but that’s Iceland for you.  Our next stop was a darker much less pretty ice cave.  This cave was a little older and didn’t have water moving thru it so the ice was full of dirt and was the clear blue of the first cave.

We then walked back to the van and were handed crampons to wear and we were headed out on a tour of the Vatnajokull Glacier.  We walked out to what our guide called an ‘Ice Cave with a sunroof.’  Aka, the ice cave had collapsed and had become a hole in the glacier.  We walked down into this whole and explore a few of the features of the hole.

It was just starting to get dark but our guide took us the long way back to the van so we could spend some more time exploring the glacier.  We walked passed some really deep hole and just generally enjoyed walking exploring the glacier.

The Cost

The tours are a little expensive but nothing in Iceland is cheap.  Guide to Iceland’s prices are on par with other ice cave tours in Iceland.  They are 21,450 ISK (about $205.00 USD) per person.  I would gladly pay the $200 bucks for this tour.  It means I don’t have to waste time locating my own ice cave or risk a rental car driving out to the glacier (don’t do that).

Have you ever visited an Iceland Ice Cave?

Disclaimer: Guide to Iceland provided the Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier Tour free of charge for my review.  All opinions are my own.

24 thoughts on “Ice Caves by Vatnajokull Glacier – An Iceland Ice Cave Tour Review

  1. Nicole Jackson

    Loved your post! Cool Photos!!
    This is first time I am visiting your website and I find this post very very useful thanks for giving such a great information..
    Keep up the good work…I will love to visit your site again and again….

    Reply
  2. Jenna

    I’ve always wanted to explore the ice caves in Iceland! This looks like such a wonderful experience. We went hiking on Vatnajokull Glacier, but the timing wasn’t right for us to check out the ice caves unfortunately. Sounds like you had a really great experience—I would love to do this tour next time we are in Iceland! I like how you saw an ‘Ice Cave with a sunroof’ lol! Have to enjoy that sense of humor! 🙂 Love the photos and they really make me want to go back!
    Jenna’s current road . . . Brewery Hopping Along the Ale Trail in ColumbusMy Profile

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  3. Candiss

    Taking a tour definitely sounds like the way to see the ice caves. I couldn’t imagine driving on the glaciers! It is too bad that the best ice cave was flooded but it still looks like an incredible adventure anyway!

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  4. Kim-Ling Richardson

    Iceland sounds so amazing! It is definitely on our bucket list, and I would love to visit an Ice Cave! It sounds like a tour is definitely the way to go, and it’s great they were able to take you to a number of caves. Your photos are incredible and they make me want to go so much (albeit, with lots of jumpers and jackets!).
    Kim-Ling Richardson’s current road . . . MariCar – The Craziest Way to See TokyoMy Profile

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  5. Megan Jerrard

    I love Iceland – one of my favorite countries by far, though I didn’t have the chance to visit an ice cave – would love to though it sounds astounding. Crazy to think that Skaftafell ice cave which you had visited year earlier has now collapsed – goes to show that these structures truly are at the mercy of mother nature.

    The blue ice cave is so stunning – and even thought the roof had collapsed from the other cave, still very cool to be able to see and walk through what would have been the chambers, and imagine. Awesome tour – will have to take this on our next trip.

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  6. Jose Harvey

    The glacier bay is just breathtaking and the ice cave adventure definitely seems worth the 200$ price tag. It seems like you experience was pretty awesome albeit cold. But as you say “that’s Iceland for ya.” I hope to make my way to Iceland someday. I also think it would be cool to kayak a glacial melt river in Canada. Have you done anything like that?

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  7. carla

    You are right about saying nothing in Iceland is cheap. I guess its the same for other countries in Scandinavia too. I find that my trips to Copenhagen and Kiruna were the most expensive trips that I’ve taken. Love your ice cave photos, wish to see it soon when I visit Iceland. I plan to visit next year for another sighting of the beautiful aurora.

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  8. Nicola Holland

    Ive bookmarked this page as I’m planning a trip to Iceland soon. There are a set of caves actually in our town, by the beach. they are full of viking drawings but these ice caves are amazing!

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  9. Kate Rebel

    I reeeeeally want to go to Iceland soon! I’ve heard so much about it but haven’t been so far. The tour sounds really great even though it’s a bummer that you couldn’t go into the best cave. I never thought about that this is such a weather sensitive activity but of course it makes sense. It still looks like you had an amazing experience because the pictures look amazing. And given that it might be really dangerous to try and find ice caves on your own I would definitely pay the 200 bucks as well!

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