The ice caves under Iceland’s glacier are the real deal. These are caves sculpted by melt water during the Summer months. The walls and ceiling are carved by glacier rivers. There is no human involvement. These are not machine built tunnels.
These blue ice palaces are generally found near glaciers and conveniently they are usually at the edges of glaciers which means that if you have a Jeep with big tyres it can be possible to drive close to them. They are notoriously dangerous and have claimed the lives of many people who have made the wrong decision to enter them. For this reason, our tours always use Highly experienced Glacier Guides who spend many hours accessing the safety of a cave before entering.
On the right you can see a glacier guide asking a group to wait while we finish our photography. These caves have become very popular and it is common to have over 30 people at a time.
Seasons & locations
It might be possible to access the Kverkfjöll Ice Caves on the North edge of Vatnjokull Glacier. These caves are formed by volcanic hot water springs. It is easier to access the area in the Summer. These caves have claimed some lives in recent years. Please ask staff at the Sigurðarskáli mountain hut if access is safe.
The Katla ice cave can be access throughout the year and is great for a day tour from Reykjavik. There is an admission fee to access the cave. Superjeep offer a tour including this admission fee as well as a South Coast Superjeep tour (see below).
Vatnjökull South East
The caves we visit on our Photo workshops and Jökulsarlon Tours are on the Southern Edge of Vatnjökull Glacier in South East Iceland. The Vatnjökull Ice caves are forged by glacier rivers and sometimes the rivers can fill the entire cave if there is enough melt water in warmer weather. It is the movement of the river that carve the beautiful scalloped walls in the cave. In the Winter months the glacier river will recede allowing access. These are only safe in mid Winter and often have morning sunlight entering the caves.
Take a tripod because some images require long exposures in areas deep in the cave without much light. A wide angle lens is best because there is limited space inside but the ceiling can be massive. Think up-side-down in terms of composition and look for the foreground in the walls or ceiling. Polariser filters can have interesting results. Try to include a well placed human to show the scale. Read More…
This Winter photo was taken on the ice beach at Jokulsarlon on a photo tour at Sunrise. The blue of the glacier ice works well against the black sand and glowing sky. Winter Sunrise occurs out to sea in South Iceland, so we are often greeted with a colourful back drop to the Glacier ice.