The World’s Largest Man-Made Ice Cave & Hidden Gems of Iceland
Into the Glacier is the largest man-made ice tunnel in the world. Located inside Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull, it’s been one of Iceland’s top attractions since its inception in 2012. Go Into the Glacier for an awe-inspiring opportunity to explore a glacier from the inside.
Known as the “Long Glacier,” Langjökull stretches out 366 mi² (950 km²) and rests on a massif of hyaloclastite mountains. On a clear day, the view from atop Langjökull is one for the books!
The southwestern tip of the ice cap is known as Geitlandsjökull, with an elevation of 1400 meters. To the south lies the smaller ice cap of Þórisjökull, named after the troll Þórir who was said to dwell in the valley between the two glaciers.
Until recently, what lay beneath the surface of the Langjokull Glacier has been a mystery. The huge strip of ice is layered with tons of compacted granular snow, making it difficult to explore. If there are any natural ice caves within Langjokull, the topography is such that it makes it impossible to find them.
Two Icelandic entrepreneurs with a vision of unlocking the secrets of the glaciers asked top engineers and geophysicists to shape the first and biggest man-made ice cap glacier ice cave the world had ever known. Over 14 months, the construction team carved out the ice tunnel, excavating around 5500 m3 of decades-old ice with the help of drum cutters and bulldozers.
The end result was a 500-meter long tunnel that stands 3 meters tall and about 3.5 meters wide. The ice cave within the tunnel measures 7 meters high and 10 meters wide. Nothing of this scale and magnitude had been attempted before in the history of the world!
Our guides will lead you through the tunnel, and into the Langjökull ice cave. The ice above your head is about 25 meters thick, and 200 meters below your feet!
Because all glaciers shift with natural movement, the tunnel also moves with it. Regular maintenance is required to protect the integrity of the structure. As you move through the halls, take a few moments to breathe in the might of this awesome glacier and the manpower it took to create the chambers.
If you’re Meeting us on location to our Into the Glacier Tour, it’s important to be aware of your route and road conditions.
The meeting point for the tour is dependent on the season. Meet us at Húsafell Center in winter (16th of October – 31st of May) or Klaki base camp in summer (1st of June – 15th of October).
Please note that there is another Húsafell in South of Iceland, make sure you are driving to the correct Húsafell. If you have a GPS or equivalent App, you can use the coordinates for Husafell: N64°41.958 W20°51.120. Please study the road map carefully, in case you lose internet connection.
Road 550: If you’re driving on Road 550, be aware that this road is only suitable for 4×4 vehicles in the summer. Road 550 is closed to all traffic from October to mid-June.
Road 1: When driving from Reykjavik to Husafell, take Road #1 North towards Borgarnes. On the way, you’ll go through a tunnel under Hvalfjordur Fjord.
Just before you reach the bridge to Borgarnes, turn right onto Road #50. You continue on Road #50 for 33km (20.5 miles), driving through the village of Kleppjárnsreykir.
The road will change to #518 when you pass the intersection for Deildartunguhver Hot Spring. If you choose to stop at Deildartunguhver, give yourself around 15 minutes to visit this site. Then continue for another 29 km (18 mi) before you arrive to Húsafell.
On the way, you will pass Reykholt, once the homestead of Iceland’s most famous scholar, Snorri Sturluson. Ten minutes before Húsafell are the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss Waterfalls. You should give yourself at least 30 minutes to visit and photographic the waterfalls.
Soon after you’ve passed Hraunfossar, make a left turn from road #518 to arrive at Húsafell Center. You’re sure not to miss the enormous Into the Glacier vehicles parked at the parking lot.
When you arrive at Húsafell, check-in for the tour at the Húsafell information center, next to Húsafell Bistro and the gas station.
If you are driving to Klaki Base camp (only between 1st of June – 15th of October), then continue driving on road #518 and make a right turn to road #550 at the intersection right after driving out of the small forest.
Please Note: Road 550 is a rough gravel road only suitable for 4×4 vehicles. If you don’t have a 4×4 vehicle, then please book the shuttle from Húsafell when making your reservations.
Drive on Road #550 for about 20 minutes, then make a left turn towards Klaki base camp.
After about a 10-minute drive you will reach Klaki base camp. Please check in at Klaki base camp at least 15 minutes before your tour.
Please make sure that your vehicle is in good condition and you have your seat belt fastened while driving. The speed limit in Iceland is 90 km/h maximum. Please respect the speed limit as Icelandic roads are often narrow and not designed for high speeds.
No, it’s not possible to drive normal vehicles directly to the tunnel due to its location on the glacial ice cap. Please book one of our tours from Reykjavik or Meet us on Location at the Husafell Center or Klaki Base Camp.
The day tours from Reykjavik take about 8-11 hours depending on the tour and weather conditions.
The Meet on Location tour varies depending on where you meet the tour guide. From Husafell, the tour is approximately 3.5-4 hours, whereas from Klaki base camp it takes around 2-3 hours.
It is about 0°C / 32°F, not affected by seasons or outside conditions. Please dress accordingly!
Yes, there are no age restrictions. However, be aware that the ride to the glacier can be bumpy. Inside, guests will walk around for about one hour. The ground, which is made of ice, can be uneven and slippery. We will provide crampons, but for infants and toddlers, we recommend a baby carrier.
It can get quite freezing in the glacier, even in the height of summer. Make sure you dress warmly and in layers. We always recommend thermal underclothes, water-repellent footwear and windproof outerwear. We will provide crampons for use inside the tunnel.
On sunny days, you may wish to bring sunscreen or a hat to protect against sunburn. As the sunlight can get severe reflected on the snow and ice, be sure to wear sunglasses also!
We also recommend that you bring a snack and, of course, your camera to capture the memory!
You need to be fit enough to walk approx 500m on snow and ice, and have no problem standing up for approximately an hour.
I have mobility issues. Can I go Into the glacier?
The engineers who designed the ice tunnel aimed to make it as accessible as possible. However, if you have mobility issues, there are a few things to keep in mind. The walk inside the tunnel is 1 hour with a few stops.
Our transport trucks are quite high, and you must ascend 5 steps that are around 40 cm high. Inside them there little space to store a full size wheelchair so a fold-able chair is required.
Inside the tunnel, the ground is uneven and the floor is always covered in slushy snow. Pushing a wheelchair through this slush is like pushing it through sand. The chair often has to be carried through the most difficult parts.
We have looked into the possibility of installing scaffolding which would make the tour much easier for those that require a wheelchair but that has proved to be very difficult due to the movement of the tunnel. The glacier is constantly moving under its own weight so any installations would sink into the glacier itself over time.
Please keep in mind that even though our staff is very willing to assist you they cannot carry any passengers due to liability reasons. They are also responsible for the group as a whole and therefore cannot assist any single passengers in a way that would reduce their service to the group in its entirety.
We would always recommend people with reduced mobility to bring along a person that can help them overcome these challenges if they wish to participate in the tour.
We recommend walking/hiking boots, snow boots, rain boots, or other footwear designed for outdoor use, as it can be slippery, cold and wet inside the ice cave. Crampons will be provided to guests while inside.
There are toilets at some of the places visited during the day tours from Reykjavík, including good facilities in Húsafell and dry toilets at Klaki Base Camp. There is a portable toilet at the ice cave, but it is intended for emergency use only, so please use the facilities before departing from the base camp.
There are no food and drinks served inside the glacier tunnel. You can, however, buy food and drink in Húsafell. We recommend bringing your own snacks and reusable water bottle on the tour.
There is sometimes a mobile phone signal at the ice cave entrance, but it depends on your network provider. You should thus not rely on having a mobile phone signal.
The primary difference between the Into the Glacier ice tunnel and other ice caves in Iceland is the location. Natural ice caves are typically found on the edges of glaciers, carved by glacial rivers, geothermal water, or volcanic activity. The Into the Glacier tunnel, on the other hand, has been man-made high up on the glacial cap, the most stable (and safest) part of the glacier.