Vatnajökull ice cave tour with glacier hike – FAQ in 2023

Ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull 2018
Ice cave in Breiðamerkurjökull 2018 the ice cave was called Treasure Island Ice cave

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We get many questions about ice caves every year, people are very curious about the glacier, ice caves, and everything about Iceland. In this article, we are going to answer frequently asked questions we get when people are asking us about ice cave tours in the Vatnajökull glacier. We would love to hear from you if you have some other questions you think would fit well in this writing. Doing our best to inform people is something we love to do.

Ice cave tour at Fláajökul glacier 2017

Can you go to the ice cave without a tour?

In Iceland, you have very high rights to travel and see the whole island with almost no restrictions. Of course, it does not mean you can do everything that you want for example you can not do anything that ruins nature like driving offroad. This does also apply to the glacier, you can travel on the glacier yourself or go into an ice cave.

However, we can never recommend you to do it without a guide except if you are experienced in glaciers. Even if you are experienced in some glaciers elsewhere the weather and conditions could be different in Iceland so we would always recommend a local guide or a local company, it could also be more fun and a better experience to go with a guide that knows the area very well and could show you the best spots 🙂

The Crystal ice cave in early 2017. Was the Last year it was big.
The famous Crystal Ice cave 2017

When is the best time to visit an ice cave in Iceland?

In our opinion this is very crucial, choosing the best months and even the best time of departure. If you are okay with being in big groups and the ice cave when it is crowded then this question is easily answered.  You can go almost on any tour at any time and on any date when the tours are available.

Ice cave tour in vatnajökull is very popular now and it can be really hard to control the crowd, there are big companies that have many departures and it depends often on them when it is crowded. The good things though are that we can try to be in between their tours and that is something we always try to do or at least try our best to do so.

Our recommendation

The best dates to go are from November to December 10th and January 10th to 25th. These are the dates when the ice cave conditions are usually very good and not so many travelers in Iceland.

The best departure time is between 11:00 and 12:00. this is because we can try to be in between the bigger groups and usually have the ice cave by ourselves or with a few others.

Treasure Island Ice cave in 2018

What is the best ice cave to visit in Iceland?

This is hard to answer cause this all depends on what you are looking for, the time you have, location and money. If you are planning on basing in Reykjavík and only take ice cave day tours from there I would say you don’t have many options. At least one option is to take a tour at Langjökull where there is a man-made ice cave. That ice cave is beautiful, but it will not show you the natural blue ice that I am sure you are looking for. Most of the time people want to see blue ice and we can understand it very well, there is something about the colors that is just “WOW” even if you have seen it many times it just feels something like seeing the northern lights there is always something that happens inside of us.

Natural blue ice cave in Vatnajökull

If you want to see this natural ice cave with the blue color it is most likely you will find your tours around Jökulsárlón. This will always be our recommendation cause we know this area very well and it is beautiful. If you have seen a very blue ice cave photo from Iceland it is very likely it was taken on Breiðamerkurjökull.

This is a map of the biggest glaciers in Iceland and shows in wich glaciers ice cave tours are.
Map of largest glaciers in Iceland and Ice cave tours locations in 2022

Where are the ice cave tours in Iceland?

About 10% of Iceland is covered with glaciers. There are many individual glaciers the largest one is Vatnajökull. Therefore we assume that ice caves in Iceland are many but most of them are located where it is very hard to take people to them and are not accessible.

We know of four locations you can go on ice cave tours at Langjökull, Myrdallsjökull, and two areas in Vatnajökull (Falljökull and Breiðarmerkurjökull). For the past years, Breiðarmerkurjökull has been known for many beautiful blue ice caves and it is also known for the amazing Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon) where the glacier carves into the lake and you can see floating icebergs on that lake.

Show melting of Breiðamerkurjökull
Link here

Why do Iceland’s Ice Caves Constantly Change?

This is one of the parts why it is so amazing to see an ice cave because it is almost always unique. We have to find a new cave every year because of the melting of the glacier so it is also very sad cause you know that the glacier is melting very fast.

We all know it is getting warmer on the planet due to climate change. Research has shown that it affects glaciers a lot and they have been melting faster than ever.

You should watch the documentary “After Ice” by Kieran Baxter, Þorvarður Árnason, and M Jacksons they are all known in our home town Höfn the town of Lobster and Glaciers for their research around Vatnajhökull glaciers and we have had the privilege to help a little with their researches.

You can also find more about projects from Kieran Baxter on his website

Are Ice Cave Tours operational during Christmas time?

The answer is easy it is YES.
Christmas time is the busiest time. There can be over 1200 people a day that wants to see the ice caves at Christmas. So if you want to stay away from the crowd or if you are a photographer we would always recommend to chose a different date to visit the ice caves. You can follow the guidelines written above “When is the best time to visit an ice cave in Iceland?”

But if it is your only chance for you to visit Iceland and see the ice caves we would recommend choosing the best time of departure it could help.

Glacier walk on the east part of Fláajökkulr 2017
Glacier Walk on Fláajökull 2017

Is a glacier hike included in the ice cave tours?

Vatnajökull ice cave tour with glacier hike is something we would recommend. With most companies, the groups’ size is smaller, and you would be able to explore that glacier and ice cave what can go wrong there?

The glacier walk in the winter can be very beautiful, and it is very different than in the summer. The summer glacier has crunchy ice but in the winter it is more glassy and clearer. Often we can go into some blue water paths/tunnels and when I say blue then I mean very blue :). Many of our participants liked that more than the ice caves.

This is from the Blue Rose in Breiðamerkurjökull in winter 2021.
The Bluewater path on that glacier is called “The Blue Rose” 2021

You can book an ice cave and glacier walk with us at “Adventures Dream”