Which Ice Cave tour is right for you?

Which Ice Cave tour is right for you?

In 2009, we started Katlatrack with the goal of showing off the hidden secrets around Vík, our hometown. These secrets include the magical Þakgil canyon, the iconic black sand beaches of the south coast and, last but not least, the magical Katla ice caves. We are extremely proud of having been the first company to offer adventure tours to these ice caves, and we hold very tightly to our traditions when it comes to these tours.

Since you’ve found yourself on this page, we can assume that you are interested in exploring some of the magnificient Katla ice caves, located in the south of Iceland. And you should be! The Katla Ice Caves are unique for a couple of reasons.

 

  • They are currently the only natural ice caves that can be explored all 12 months of the year. Most natural ice caves become unsafe during the summertime, but not the Katla ice caves.
  • For travelers who only have a short limited time to explore Iceland, they are the closest natural ice caves to Reykjavík and to the Keflavík international airport. That means that adventurers can very easily go on a day tour to visit the caves without having to spend most of their day in a car or a bus.

Visiting the Katla ice caves is an experience no up-and-coming adventurer should miss. We truly believe it’s one of the finest tours in Iceland and we proudly offer two variations of the tour, each coming with their own unique twist. But how do you decide what is the best way for you to experience the ice caves? 

The FastTrack Ice Cave tour

Our best selling ice cave tour, and for good reason! This is hands down the fastest way to experience the Katla ice cave! If your ideal ice cave tour involves getting to the glacier as quickly as possible, maximising the time you get to spend exploring the cave itself, this is the perfect tour for you!

You start off in Vík, where you meet our guide and get your first look at our modified super jeep, specially designed to get you safely and comfortably to the glacier. Then you go on a roughly 45 minute drive (depending on the weather and conditions) before arriving at the edge of the massive Katla glacier.

When you arrive at the glacier, we put on our helmets and crampons before hiking a short distance to the caves. Once there, your guide will lead you through the incredible passageways of the natural ice caves, while explaining how they are formed, why they are so supernaturally blue and why they have these seemingly random streaks of black running through them.

After a good while in the caves, we leave through the hidden back door of the caves, hike back to the superjeep and drive back to Vík with a camera full of pictures and enough memories to last a lifetime!

Book your FastTrack Ice Cave tour here! 

The Katla Ice Cave tour

This one is the first ever tour operated to the Katla glacier, and it’s also our first ever tour. It holds a very special place in our hearts and even though the FastTrack tour has somewhat stolen its thunder we still believe there’s room for both types of glacier exploration tours!

It starts off the exact same way as the FastTrack tour, but we take a longer walk to the caves, exploring the Katla glacier itself more thouroughly. After a similar amount of time in the caves, we once again head to the glacier – This time on the lookout for more caves. This detour gives a much better insight into how natural ice caves are formed, and how they grow in size before becoming explorable like the main cave system.

On the way back to Vík, we take a slightly longer drive to explore a black sand beach that is much less visited than its more famous counterpart, Reynisfjara.

Book your Katla Cave tour here! 

Off road adventures in our Super Jeep Volcano Tour

Whether you want to maximise your time in an ice cave, or take a more explorative approach, we have the Ice cave tour for you!

And don’t forget to grab some lunch at our partners at Black Crust Pizzeria while you’re in Vík. You even get a 10% discount by showing them your Katlatrack ticket!

Your Adventure Awaits,

The KatlaTrack Team

Everything You Need to Know About Katla Glacier | Katlatrack

Everything You Need to Know About Katla Glacier | Katlatrack

Katla Glacier (Katlajökull) is a subglacial volcano found within Southern Iceland. The direct translation for Katla means “kettle.” But it is one of the prettiest female names we have in Icelandic too. Further, this area is a sub outlet of the fourth largest glacier in Iceland named, Mýrdalsjökull. But no one actually knows exactly how many sub outlets the ice cap has either because many of its points have yet to be explored. Especially the ones deep into the Icelandic highlands. However, our Katlatrack Adventure Tours team is proud to call Katlajökull our glacier base. So come along with us today as we tell you everything you need to know about Katla Glacier!

History of Katla Glacier:

Did you know, that the glacier above and slightly west of Vik actually covers Katla Volcano? Subglacial volcanos are often the most feared in Iceland. Why? Because it is not a typical lava flow type of eruption.

Rather it would consist of violent explosions, and meltwater rushing down and causing a huge flood. As a matter of fact, there is fear in the town of Vik that it could create a tsunami and destroy the village. Although we are hopeful it will not and it will keep to the outlying areas!

The eruption history of Katla begins in 930 to 1918 shows that this elusive volcano erupts every 40-80 years. So it’s fair to say she is overdue! The size of the Katla caldera is massive being a diameter of over 6 miles (10km). History says that the amount of floodwater that could come down is between 200,000–400,000 m3/s (7.1–14.1 million cu ft/sec).

Totally crazy to think about the actual scale of that. However, one thing is for sure and that is you do not want to be in the way of this flood when it comes down! Don’t stress though about the volcano being overdue and coming on a tour with us, because there will be a warning to get back to the town safely. There is a very specific plan of action the town has ready to activate if and when this happens.

Folklore Surrounding Katla:

Our area base of Vik runs deep with folklore… But you’ll have to join one of our Katla Glacier tours to experience it firsthand! Why? It’s super important you experience the Katla Glacier folklore story firsthand from one of our local guides! For instance, they go above and beyond to ensure you know the entire story and all of the happenings surrounding Katla glacier.

Movies or Television Shows Filmed at Katla:

For over a decade, our Katlatrack team has shared the glacier with countless film projects. To illustrate, ask one of our Vik local guides about the infamous story about Russel Crow and the movie Noah. Or about the time the Netflix series Katla took over our ice caves.

Furthermore, other films such as the recent, The Witcher (Season 2), Transformers the Last Knight, Star Wars Rogue One, etc have all called Katla Glacier home for a specific time period. Imagine being a part of movie history by visiting our iconic glacier just outside of Vik Iceland.

How to Get to Katla:

Finding your way to Katla Glacier is more tricky than you may initially anticipate. After all the road goes through different private properties, has a river crossing, and believe it or not quicksand is a real-life breathing thing in case you haven’t yet experienced it!

Firstly, you’ll meet at our Katlatrack Meeting Center in the heart of Vik Iceland. Secondly, we will meet, greet you, and gear up while you jump into our super jeep! Thirdly, you’ll go from the tiny town of Vik to the infamous Katla Glacier. Along the way, your Katlatrack driver-guide will explain why the area is unique and educate you on many other items. Fourthly, you’ll put on crampons, a helmet, and a headlamp and begin your once in a lifetime discovery of Katla Glacier!

Katla Glacier Area Features:

When you explore a glacier there are many different types of unique features you may come across. Why? The glacier is alive, that simple. Unfortunately, no one controls nature. Therefore, in booking an adventure to a glacier in Iceland you may have the opportunity to see some or all of the following types of landscapes:

• Glacier Waterfalls
• Ice Caves (varying in types and sizes)
• Arches
• Ice Valley’s
• Interesting Ice Formations
• Black, White, and Blue Ice textures
• Crevasses
• Quick Sand
• Glacier Walls (with white, black and blue ice)

Katla Ice Caves:

Furthermore, did you know there are different types of ice caves? Therefore, our Katla ice cave tours can never promise a specific type… Because remember, nature is in charge, not us! But know we have a commitment to our current and upcoming clients that we do scout weekly and keep track of potential upcoming caves as well. Meanwhile, please be aware the area is ever-changing with the weather in Iceland and temperatures rising and falling.

Life and Death of an Ice Cave:

With Katla Glacier area being alive, the area enters into phases. For example, you may book a tour at the beginning of the life of an ice cave when it is a sweet little tunnel bit enough for 1-4 people. Next, the tunnel may combine with another glacial element (IE. Waterfall, Mulan, etc) which may make it larger, who knows. Then add in the Icelandic weather and the area could widen or disintegrate, who knows. What you may be left with is an ever-changing ice valley… Picture stunning blue ice boulders, unforgettable formations, and so much more.

Therefore, this evolution is exactly why we cannot promise any specific type of ice cave when you book a Vik ice cave tour to Katla Glacier. On the other hand, we have been the trailblazing team who has been the ones that have taken the time to scout, make the paths safe, and provide an unforgettable way to the ice caves near the town of Vik.

Over more than a decade, our Katlatrack team has been witness to 15+ ice caves. But all have varied in size opening, length, color, and dynamics. However, the beautiful experience overall to remember is that it changes every single day. Therefore, your experience will be different from others before and after. Enjoy that simple fact!

Vík

Glacier Tours:

Are you leaving curious and maybe even inspired to book your very own adventure tour to Katla Glacier? If so, we would love to see you on a future tour… Feel free to book your adventure with us! Out local Vik Iceland guides await to craft your unforgettable experience!

Katla Glacier
Special Ice Cave Tour in Iceland

Special Ice Cave Tour in Iceland

Did you know that ice caves are the final stage in the life of a glacier?  As the glacier starts melting a river forms and carves out one of nature’s most beautiful sculptures.  Iceland has 13 glaciers throughout the country full of ice caves just waiting to be explored.  In Iceland typically our ice cave season is between December-March (in hopes of extending into April and even into summer depends on conditions).

 

What can you expect booking an Ice Cave Tour with Katlatrack?

 

  • Seasoned professional local Icelandic guides.
  • Capable 4×4 super jeeps.
  • Safe and reliable environment.
  • Certified safety equipment.
  • Small Groups (never get lost in the crowd).

 

Who is best suited for the Special Katlatrack Iceland Ice Cave Tour?

 

  • Guests over 12 years old.
  • Guests who have a 2 out of 5 adventure level (physically able to hike up mild inclines for ~20 minutes)

 

During the Tour…

 

You will set out for a day adventure to discover Iceland’s fourth largest glacier in a Katlatrack super jeep.  Excitement will ensue as you pass by inspiring mountains and approach the mass of ice with its wild shapes.  Our guides will provide you with a safety brief, crampons, helmet and you’ll be on your way!  After a 10-15 minute, hilly walk you will marveled by the ice cave’s glimmer.  You’ll have plenty of time to savor the moment, explore and time to take photos so enjoy it!

 

What to Bring:

 

  • Dress in winter layers.
  • Hat + Gloves
  • Bring rain gear
  • Hiking Boots and/or Snow Boots
  • Camera
  • Personal Snacks / Water bottle

 

We invite you to our glacier to experience an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity of exploring this years ice cave that will never be seen again!  Please visit our Iceland Ice Cave Tour booking page HERE for more information on remaining available dates.

Your Adventure Awaits You,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team

The Best Glacier Tour in Southern Iceland: Katlatrack

The Best Glacier Tour in Southern Iceland: Katlatrack

Did you know Iceland has 13 glaciers?  Seriously, there are that many to explore!

 

  1. Vatnajökull
  2. Langjökull
  3. Hofsjökull
  4. Mýrdalsjökull
  5. Drangajökull
  6. Eyjafjallajökull
  7. Tungnafellsjökull
  8. Þórisjökull
  9. Eiríksjökull
  10. Þrándarjökull
  11. Tindfjallajökull
  12. Torfajökull
  13. Snæfellsjökull

 

…and the best part is that within those glaciers there are Ice Caves!  Wouldn’t you like to spend a day on the hunt for ice caves?  We’d love to take you to our super-secret spots and help you safely explore them!

The glaciers are constantly changing and so are the routes to the base so it is very important to hire someone who knows the glacier area well and is out on them every day (like we are).  No joke folks, ever hear of glacier quick sand?  It’s a real thing and our team is aware of the signs and ensure you always have safe routes to and from the glaciers.  Once near the glacier, we equip you with the right gear and pave the way for you to safely go near and/or inside the ice caves.

Let yourself be marveled by the textures and tones of the subglacial volcano that lurks beneath!  You’ll notice the mesh of colors go from being black (mix of black sand and ask) to icy white to the unforgettable blue!  Along the way of the tour, our team will entertain with you with the rich Icelandic folklore stories that also accompany the glacier areas.  Please contact us for more information on booking an impressive Ice Cave Glacier Tour!

Your Adventure Awaits You,

Guðjon + Katlatrack Team

 

8 Types of Ice Caves in Iceland

8 Types of Ice Caves in Iceland

Taking a trip to Iceland during wintertime (or really anytime), many have exploring ice caves on their token “to do” list.  So as you plan your adventurous trip throughout the dynamic landscape, you might be curious as to where in Iceland may be the very best areas for seeing ice caves.  Southern Iceland is hands down the answer.  There are countless glacier outlets and secret areas that are home to many different types of ice caves.  We are extremely lucky that one very beautiful area is in our backyard of Vik Iceland.  So come along with us as we share with you the Top 8 Types of Ice Caves in Iceland!

 

Vik Iceland Ice Cave Guides:

Our Katlatrack Vik Iceland based team has been proud to offer year-round ice caves for the past 2 years.  Previously, it was thought that ice caves in Iceland were only stable to go into during the months of late November to March (official ice cave season).  This is when the temperatures in Iceland allow for safe exploration.  The good news is because of the growth in tourism and our little town of Vik, our super jeep team and guides have become more creative on the areas they have scouted and developed.

Our professional ice cave tour guides take time to educate you before heading to the glacier area on what to expect, he creates steps, fastens ladders and lights inside the cave, creates handrails (via ropes and ice screws (as needed), and equips you with the top of the line gear to explore it.  This will make your experience the best, most enjoyable, and safest possible!  See our reviews HERE to see firsthand how our team and tours work.

Please Note: Due to the nature of how the glaciers in Iceland are changing daily and constantly receding, we can never guarantee what type of ice cave you will see on an ice cave tour booked with us, but you’ll see one!  This is especially true if coming in summer (May-September).  We are one of the only ones offering summer ice cave tours in the entire country of Iceland.

1- Waterfall Ice Cave:

Waterfall ice caves are typically the most interesting to explore because they keep evolving each day.  They grow in height and recede back because of the glacier river running through it.  Typically inside you will find many different textures and tones from white ice, to black and the famed blue ice.  Many times this type of ice cave will require you to be fearless (IE, Not scared of heights or claustrophobic) as it will likely require you to wear crampons and crouch down (not standing tall) in order to explore.

2- Tunnel Ice Cave:

More often than not, the ice cave that survives the longest throughout the summer months (and most often found) is a tunnel ice cave.  Our Vik Iceland glacier guides constantly ensure safety while exploring them as they can be challenging.  If you tend to be claustrophobic this may not be a easy experience for you, but may be an excellent opportunity to conquer that fear! Entrance heights and overall ice cave tunnel heights can vary from 3 feet to 6 feet and can grow bigger as the cave recedes.  The caves offer incredible textures though once inside.  As you will see the grooves and divots of the walls and likely witness blue, black, and white ice.

3- Sinkhole Ice Caves in Iceland:

Last year and this year’s sinkhole ice cave in Vik Iceland had a longevity of 8 months with our glacier guide team.  A sinkhole ice cave is created by a moulin which in geo terms means that water powerfully ran over that surface spot until it had enough pressure to “sink in.”  As the glacier begins to break part and recede back the area merges into one massive ice cave!

 

4- Arch Ice Cave:

As big caves (all types) begin to recede and break apart, they often leave fantastic and almost artistic ice arch caves!  Although, they are stable enough to be photographed under, you can often stand in front!  Glacier cave wedding photo, compliments of our friends at Iceland Wedding Planner.

5- Crevasse:

A crevasse ice cave happens when the glacier begins to move.  It forms a deep crack or can be views as a break in the ice that starts to open.  They are very exciting to visit because you feel like you are part of history, witnessing all of the layers of different types of ice.  Photo compliments of our friends at Iceland Wedding Planner.

6- Ponded Water Ice Cave:

The most photographed type of ice cave worldwide is the traditional “ponded water” ice cave.  It is the clearest, pure, and creates the illusion of a crystal look many seek.  This is not a super common type of ice cave to witness at our offbeat / non-touristy side of the glacier, but it does happen.  The conditions at the glacier area have to be right…

The creation of a ponded water ice cave in Vik Iceland begins with partly how the sinkhole ice cave is created with that water melting a hole into the glacier.  Once it has done that the water redirects itself to drain to the lowest point of the glacier where the glacier “spring water” begins to freeze and grow out.  These type of ice caves are only viewable during the formal ice cave season of December – March and are dependent upon freezing temperatures to remain stable.

7- Accumulated Snow Ice Cave:

Winter is a really exciting time in Iceland because with the large amounts of snow at the glaciers and freezing temperatures it often allows for new and unique ice caves to be born.  Crazy snow and ice storms overnight can often create an accumulated snow ice cave at our glacier, Katla.

8- Blue or Black Ice Caves in Iceland:

Light overall creates the effect of blue or black ice so this can actually happen in any type of ice cave in Iceland.  But it begins with snow falling onto the glacier, being compressed, as the ice crystals and divots enlarge over time, they squeeze out air bubbles.  This can make the ice appear colorless (clear / crystal), blue when lots of light is coming in or black on our glacier mainly because of the black volcanic sand.  The size of the blue or black ice caves can vary depending on the glacier and season.

Word of Warning about Glacier Ice Caves in Iceland:

Please remember that it is never safe to enter into an ice cave by yourself.  You need proper gear, local knowledge of how the area shifts, and skill going in and out.  It is always best to hire a local guide who is both capable in driving a super jeep to get you there and also competent on the glacier itself.  Quicksand is very real and dangerous along with ice falling or not knowing how to use crampons correctly.  Please look to booking one of our ice cave tours in Vik Iceland, before considering an adventure on your own.

Love this Top 10 Types of Ice Caves in Iceland blog post?  Our Katlatrack super jeep team would love to take you out on an offbeat ice cave adventure!  Feel free to checkout our awesome ice cave tour offerings HERE.

Stay tuned next time to have a better understanding on how our team maintains the ice caves and keeps them safe for you year round!

Until your next adventure,

Katlatrack Team