The North of Iceland is an incredible place. From giant volcanic craters to huge majestic waterfalls there is a myriad of natural phenomena for the intrepid traveller to choose from. However, none can be said to be as beautiful and mysterious as Lofthellir, a 3500 year old ice cave that is the most spectacular in Iceland.
Lofthellir has the most incredible ice structures and lava formations. To be able to see it you have to go on a tour with a professional guide as the cave is on private grounds and is closed to visitors who do not have permission.
You will be provided with all the necessary gear, including good quality rubber boots and a helmet with a flashlight. The cave system is cold and damp, so make sure you wear warm clothes. Entrance to the cave is by a sturdy metal ladder. The surface of the first smaller chamber is dotted with all kinds of weird and wonderful ice sculptures.
To reach the larger and even more spectacular larger chamber you have to negotiate an ice ramp with the aid of a rope. However the challenge is well worth it as the larger chamber is without doubt the most spectacular part of the cave.
At some point I recommend that everyone switches their flashlights off and sit in the dark – the silence punctuated only by the water dropping off the ice crystals. You will feel an overwhelming sensation of calmness and serenity, until you realise you now have to negotiate your way out!
The way out is the same as the way in only in reverse. Those of a childlike disposition can slide back down the ice ramp (whilst holding the rope of course!) before heading back up the ladder.
Lofthellir is not recommended for young children, people with claustrophobia or who are not in reasonable physical condition. Bear in mind that there is ice and water on the surface of the cave and the temperature is pretty much a constant 0 ° C.
A tour operator called Visit Askja offers tours to Lofthellir. You can find out more by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. The cave can be visited from May to November and the tour takes around 4 or 5 hours. (including travel to and from Myvatn). Tours depart from Mývatn at around 9:30 am and the cost is about € 115 per person (children get a 50% discount ). It is also possible to commence this tour from Akureyri.
Travel Guide Iceland – Reykjavík