Crystal Ice Cave also known as Blue Ice Cave is a glacier ice cave located on Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Iceland. Ice caves are rare phenomena that form naturally. The ice caves are a long time in the making, when the meltwater of spring begin to freeze, local guides from the area hunt for new ice caves. This is why the location of the caves change every year and every ice cave is unique and newly formed. Some of the ice caves are completely hidden due to the changes in weather and the guides go in search of them and provide safe & easy access for tourists to explore. The Crystal ice cave displays the purest crystal ice instilling your curiosity and imaginations when you see the wavy icy walls so shining and beautiful that leaves you completely awe struck. We had the chance to see one of the blue ice cave that was not very large like the Anaconda Ice Caves and it totally depends on the weather conditions too. The weather was slightly rough on the day of our travel that we had to switch our plans to see the Blue Ice Cave on Day-1 of our South Coast tour as we were expecting more windy conditions on the second day. This is where the local travel guides come really handy to assess the conditions and plan alternate arrangements for tourists.
Getting to Blue Ice Cave?
Ice Caves are found on the south side of Vatnajokull glacier,to reach there you will pass the scenic South Coast of Iceland. It is around 6 hours of drive from Reykjavik city through the Ring Road and you will pass through key attractions like Skogafoss, Black sand beach. When you do the south coast tours, the meeting point for all of Vatnajokull tour activities is Glacier Lagoon parking location. You will be transferred to take the adventurous super jeep ride from the parking area to explore the Blue Ice Cave. The vastness of Vatnajokull glacier can be experienced as you ride through the rugged path, so many beautiful views for photography lovers and you definitely need to put down your camera at some point to enjoy the glacier 🙂
There is always that excitement to enter the cave the moment you arrive to the stop. With heavy winds gushing upon you across all directions, we wore our crampons and walked towards the entrance. As we climbed down the cave, you start seeing the blue color across the walls and everyone is now busy clicking photos :-). A long tunnel of ice boasting many different shades of translucent blue, white, and inky black stretches out before us. Thousands of years of snowfall compressed into frozen sculpted waves over our heads. This densely packed glacial ice glows blue due to a lack of air bubbles which normally scatter colors of the spectrum as sunlight filters down from above. You can capture some amazing shots of the deep blue frozen water surrounded by black ash trapped inside the cave.We spent around 30 minutes exploring the cave, tried out different angles for the perfect shot. Our guides suggested some cool shots for the group, especially standing near the entrance to get some amazing pictures.
Things to be aware when you visit Ice Cave
Visiting Ice Caves is one such of an extraordinary experience that you will remember for many years. If you have booked your tours with professional guides, all safety equipment and winter gears are provided by them. We went with Guide to Iceland who offered us safety helmets and crampons. If you are not going with a professional guide, please plan to bring the necessary gears to access the caves.
- Good hiking boots is a must to visit ice caves – There are rental options available but I would recommend to bring your own as you would be needing this for quite a lot of winter attractions in Iceland
- Waterproof pants & windbreaker jackets is also recommended – As you go up the altitude, the wind can get adverse, so be well prepared for this.Read my post on Winter Essentials guidelines for additional info.
- Weather is so unpredictable in Iceland – we have to adjust our tours & timings due to heavy winds. Keep some buffer time in your travel to consider weather impact conditions.
- Meeting point in Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon – The parking area will be covered in ice sheets making it very difficult to walk without crampons. Most travel companies offer you the crampons when you get inside the Blue Ice Caves. I would highly recommend to have your own as well to access the hiking trails near the parking area. The glacier lagoon is easily accessible from the parking spot and can be very slippery if you do not have crampons
Exploring and photographing Iceland’s crystal ice caves was an incredible experience for all of us. If you’re traveling to Iceland in the winter, you really should’t miss this attraction.