Snuggled beneath the Hallmundarhraun Lava Field in west Iceland, Viðgelmir is Iceland’s beloved child. Being the largest lava cave in the world, Vidgelmir is 15.8 m high and 16.5 m wide. Going underground in the world of the largest lava cave offers tourists a chance to be a spectacle to nature’s glory in the form of crystalized lava and rock formations.
Did you know the divine lava tube cave of Víðgelmir Cave was formed after a ferocious volcanic eruption in 930 CE? The eruption persisted for several years, spreading the resultant lava over a 78 sq-mi (200 sq-km) area.
No wonder the Vidgelmir Cave is the largest lava tube in Iceland and has a volume of more than 5 million cubic feet (150,000 cubic meters)!
Vidgelmir is situated in Borgarfjorour in West Iceland. It is almost 136 km from Reykjavik and 345 km from Akureyri. Some interesting attractions near the attraction are Langjokull Glacier, Snorralaug Hot Spring, and Snaefellsnes National Park.
Tucked away in a quaint corner of Iceland, Vidgelmir is only accessible by car. It is almost 136 km from Reykjavik and takes around 2 hours to reach.
From Reykjavik, stay to the north along the Ring Road till you reach Borgarnes. While heading inland, you’ll come across Deildartunguhver Hot Spring, Hraunfossar (The Lava Falls) and Husafell before you reach Vidgelmir.
The formation of Víðgelmir Lava Cave is fascinating in itself but is equally puzzling to some. As soon as the outer layer of a lava river cools down, a lava tube cave emerges, creating a solid shell over the molten lava. This liquid lava then drains out of the solid shell, thereby creating a tube-shaped cave. Even though Iceland has more than 500 lava tube caves, Vidgelmir is just one of a kind.
The lava stalactites and stalagmites are the exclusive features of Víðgelmir Cave. Stalagmites are formed from the lava build-up on the floor, while stalactites are crystallized lava, formed when lava cools on the ceiling and trickles down to the ground, much like lava icicles. Both these formations bring hundreds of tourists to Víðgelmir Lava Cave.
Icelanders have often recited the tale of outlaws dwelling in caves. Even though the lore was always conceived as a figment of imagination, Víðgelmir Lava Cave has provided testimony to this and made this old wives’ tale actually believable!
In fact, historians have come across human artifacts belonging to the Viking Age in the cave. Exiling the outcast was the prominent form of the penalty imposed back then, thereby forcing outlaws to take cover in the caves. Tourists can see these artifacts in the National Museum of Iceland alongside other interesting items obtained from Viðgelmir and the rest of Iceland.
To be closer to Vidgelmir, plan a stay in Reykholt and Husafell. Both of these towns have a great variety of hotels, guesthouses and campsites.
There are several food therapy stations installed in and around the Viðgelmir area, so your growling stomach can be assured of a happy binge!
There are several good restaurants in and around the Viðgelmir area.
Vidgelmir immerses travelers in a smooth and leisurely walk. Hence, its popularity as the easiest cave in Iceland is truly justified. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any rules. Just follow them, and you’ll have smooth sailing.
Vidgelmir happens to be the favorite among first-timers and most travelers, who like an effortless exploration. With the installation of a paved and lightened walkway, Vidgelmir is also suitable for everyone, and you won’t have to do too much hunching down!
Stalagmites and stalactites are the most prized possession of Vidgelmir. So, messing with them wouldn’t be a great idea. Adhering to the rules will keep you from getting in trouble and receiving a large fine.
Iceland’s one-of-a-kind topography is blessed with several caves. Hence, it is a top-rated destination for caving excursions. One of its popular attractions, topping this list is Vidgelmir. Insanely popular for the contrasting ruby, turquoise, amber and magenta hues of the walls, the caves of Vidgelmir are a must-visit during winters. With the stalagmites and stalactites hanging and ice sculptures appearing on the surface of the walls, winters are truly a magical time in Iceland.
While cavemen didn’t have access to a safe walkway, travelers for sure are in safe hands while exploring the entirety of Vidgelmir. Well, we didn’t want to ruin the surprise, but the caving experience is not complete without an all-dark walk!
Víðgelmir Cave is also a top pick among holidaymakers because of its close proximity to other fanciful wonders in Iceland. Some of which are mentioned below.