Ice Caves in Iceland – all you need to know

Blue Ice Cave Adventure -

Blue Ice Cave Adventure – Season 2018

At Glacier Adventure, we offer some wonderful ice cave tours. But if this is an activity you’ve not done before you might have some questions.

Here are our most common questions and answers for our Ice Caves tours. From when to book, how to stay safe and what to wear.

1. Can you explore the ice cave all year?

The Ice Cave Tours with Glacier Adventure are from October to March, but because we are in the hands of Mother Nature this can sometimes be earlier or later. The caves we visit are all-natural.

Ice caves are formed when meltwater runs under or through a glacier, melting the ice and leaving behind a cave or passageway within the glacier. During the summer months, warmer temperatures and sunlight will melt the ice at the surface of the glacier. This meltwater drains downwards through crevasses in the ice or into sinkholes and moulins. These shafts are often almost vertical, allowing water to descend to lower sections of the glacier. The channels are far larger than most people who have never seen a glacier would imagine.

This process happens all year to some extent, but is most pronounced in the summer months, when the mercury rises. Because change is not something we cannot predict on a glacial level, new cave features are being found as fast as they are disappearing.

Ice Cave Adventure tour – Northern Light Cave 2014/2015

We would never do anything that would risk our life, not to talk about our client’s lives. Safety is our number one priority and all of our guides are highly educated in that department.

Blue Ice Cave Adventure – Waterfall Ice Cave 2015/2016

 

2. Should I book a tour in advance?

Exploring an ice cave is a unique experience. This does mean it is very popular with tourists visiting Iceland in winter.

Crystal Ice Cave Adventure Iceland Travel

Ice Cave Adventure Tour – Photo by Ladislav Skala

We would recommend booking your place in advance. To ensure you are able to book the time that suits you best. However, we do sometimes have last-minute spots. So please contact us and we will endeavor to book you a place.

 

3. Which ice cave tour should I book?

We offer two options:
Ice Cave Adventure
Blue Ice Cave Adventure

The main differences are:

4. How many people are in the cave?

The Ice cave tour we have up to 12 people per group. Whereas the Blue Ice Cave Adventure, our group sizes are much smaller, up to 8 people.

Please note we can’t guarantee to be the only group visiting the ice cave. This has become an incredibly popular winter activity in Iceland.  Other tour companies bring guests to visit the cave which can cause it to be crowded. Please expect to share the cave with additional groups.

Crystal Ice Cave 2016/2017

If you book on the Blue Ice Cave tour, we tend to have this to ourselves. But again, we are unable to guarantee it will just be our group visiting.

5. How long are you in the ice cave?

Your time in the ice cave can last around 30 minutes on the Ice Cave Adventure tour, and slightly longer in the Blue Ice Cave Adventure. Times can vary due to the conditions. We aim to ensure you have enough time to take photographs and enjoy the experience.

6. How much time should I allow for the tour?

We would love to give you an accurate time for how long your tour will last. However, due to weather and driving conditions, our tours can vary in length.

Below are our average times to give you a rough idea.

Ice Cave Adventure

This can tour last between 3 to 4 hours.

Blue Ice Cave Adventure

This tour can last from 5 to 6 hours.

The tours include transportation to and from the ice cave. We kindly ask that you arrive at our meeting point for at least 20 minutes beforehand. We like to ensure we have a prompt start and allow you as much time in the cave as possible.

Our meeting point at Hali also has a restaurant and museum. If you arrive early there’s plenty to do and see before your tour begins.

7. How do I stay safe in the ice cave?

Safety is very important at Glacier Adventure. We have a license provided by the Icelandic Tourist Board to function as a tour operator. We are also members of VAKINN. This is an independent quality and environmental system run by the Icelandic Tourist Board.

Blue Ice Cave Adventure Iceland Travel

 

Our tour guides are all certified by AIMG (Association of Icelandic Mountain Guides). They are local to the area and very experienced in taking tour groups into the ice caves. A lot of our team are also active members of the ‘Icelandic Search and Rescue team’.

We want you to have an amazing time in the ice cave. But please remember ice caves can be unpredictable. It’s important to listen to your guide at all times. And that way we can ensure you have a fantastic time and stay safe.

8. What safety equipment is included?

You will all be given your own helmet. These are adjustable so don’t worry we can fit them to your size. Most of our guests have woolly hats for them to fit over too.

We also provide all our guests with some stylish new footwear. Yes, you’ve guessed it, crampons!

For the Ice Cave Adventure tour, you will be provided with our ‘Slide on’ crampons. These are really easy to put on over your shoes or boots and will allow you to be more comfortable exploring the cave.

For the Blue Ice Cave Adventure tour, you will most likely need the traditional hard ice crampons. Our guides will teach you to step by step how to put them on. In some cases we use the ‘Slide on’ crampons but only when conditions allow us to.

Sometimes you may need a headlamp in the cave. We will also provide these for your tour.

And for those who book on the Blue Ice Cave Adventure. You will be provided with a safety harness. Only to be used in the event of an emergency.

 

9. What should I wear?

Iceland in the winter months can get very cold. And exploring an ice cave means you do have some shelter from the wind but it’s still pretty cold.

We recommend that you wear several thin layers in order to trap the air between them. Instead of one big jacket.

 

Here’s what we suggest:
Wind/Waterproof jacket
Warm jacket
Fleece/light sweater/jumper
Thermal base layers – top and bottoms
Warm hiking trousers/pants (ideally waterproof)
Gloves (thick pair)
Thin hat (one that you can wear under your helmet)
Thick hiking socks
Hiking/walking boots*

*Remember you need to be able to fit your crampons to whatever boots/walking shoes you are wearing. We recommend hiking boots.

 

10. What if I don’t have waterproofs or suitable boots?

We are able to rent out both rain gear and mountain boots for the tour. Please request when you make your booking.

Costs:
Rain gear – 1,000 ISK
Mountain boots – 1,000 ISK

 

11. What other items do we recommend you take?

*Please note these are all options items you may wish to consider bringing with you on the tour.
-Small backpack – for any personal belongings/medication.
-Camera (and tripod) – optional. We do recommend for the Blue Ice Cave Adventure tour.
-Snacks (in case you’re a bit hungry!)
-Water bottle

 

12. Do the tours ever get canceled?

Unfortunately, we do sometimes make the decision to cancel tours.

The weather in Iceland is ever-changing. So if we have had heavy rain we may decide that it’s too dangerous to do the tour. As the ice becomes too unstable to walk on.

We appreciate that this can be disappointing. But again, safety is the most important factor for us.

We will try to offer an alternative tour,  however, this is also weather permitting so please understand if this is not possible.

If no alternatives are available or if you prefer your money back. We will offer you a 100% refund.

 

Any more questions?

We hope that has answered most of your questions about the ice cave tours with Glacier Adventure. However, if there’s still something you’re not sure about please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help.

Book now!

Exploring an ice cave in Iceland is truly memorable experience. We would love for you to join us on one of our ice cave tours. If you would like to book now simply click here:

Ice Cave Adventure 

Blue Ice Cave Adventure

 

Glacier Adventure looks forward to welcoming you on our tour.