Cave exploring is fascinating and fun but hazardous at the same time. PIC Diana K

Cave exploring is fascinating and fun but hazardous at the same time. PIC Diana K

Of the hundreds of thousands of people visiting Iceland each year a small percentage is solely interested in geology and the lay of the land. They spend weeks traveling around places the ordinary tourist has little idea about. Like around caves of which there are quite a few in Iceland.

As is natural in a young country still being shaped by mother nature Iceland has caves all over the place of various types. Most fascinating for most are probably lava caves made by and shaped by molten rock centuries ago. These vary in size and length and some are only accessible by professionals using sophisticated equipment.[blockquote type=”blockquote_line” align=”right”]you will need a knowledgeable guide[/blockquote]

Two such caves worth visiting and open for visits without guides are pretty close to Reykjavik the capital. However, it should be noted a guide is a much better choice as cave exploring is hazardous in any regard.

One of these is Raufarholshellir cave about 30 minutes away. This is a long and narrow cave and sadly, in some places, the roof has collapsed which is always a danger in any cave. It measures 1360 meters and in most places the height is ten meters allowing for easy access through. Some bottlenecks are tight but the difficulty is mainly in how uneven the floor is. Large chunks of rocks litter the floor making it a slow process. This cave and area is featured in the Hollywood movie Noah starring Russell Crowe among others. Fun factor: 5

Another is Surtshellir lava cave deep in Borgarfjordur valley about an hour and half away from Reykjavik city. This cave is probably the most famous one in Iceland and the longest too at little over a mile in length. This too is pretty damaged and again a part of the roof has  collapsed. While it is easy to take a look you will need a knowledgeable guide to seriously explore it as equipment is needed. Extra care should be taken as there is a long way to the nearest hospital is something happens. Fun factor: 8

The third cave of interest close to the city is Gjabakkahellir cave not far from Thingvellir National Park. In this area one will find quite a lot of caves but most are very small. Gjabakkahellir however can be walked all the way through all 360 meters. Found close to Gjabakkaveg road on the way from Thingvellir to Laugarvatn lake or the same route as is often referred to as the Golden Circle. For good exploring you will need a guide and equipment. Fun factor: 6


View Three great caves close to Reykjavik Iceland in a larger map

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