Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

The Langjökull glacier is a sight that needs to be seen to be believed, and in June 2015, tourists will get the opportunity see the blue ice from below in Icecave Iceland.

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

It is the scenery in the country that is a major draw, with geysers, glaciers, and the Blue Lagoon among the top attractions. If you are in the Reykjavik area, you need to take the trip to the Langjökull glacier so that you can access the tunnel that runs below it.

Icecave Iceland will allow visitors to see the glacier in a way that was never possible before. Seeing it from below gives an idea of how the natural wonder formed in the first place.

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

The Langjökull glacier sits to the north east of Reykjavik, and is the second largest ice cap in Iceland at a staggering 953 km2. The ice that you will see on the glacier has been formed by snow that has compacted over a period of thousands of years. The shades of blue in the thick ice are subtly different, with each hue representing a different snowfall period.

Ice experts are able to carefully analyze each of the layers to get data about the snowfall and weather conditions in each period. The layers that are closer to white in color indicate periods of extreme cold. The whiter shade is caused by air crystals trapped in the ice.

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

The layers that are a darker blue are those which were created when the snow fell while the weather was wetter and warmer, and where only a small amount of air became trapped. All the weight and trapped air from above compresses down and creates a brilliant blue color at the very heart of the glacier.

When Icecave Iceland opens in the spring, visitors will get the opportunity to explore Langjökull glacier inside and out. Finally, that brilliant blue color that lies at the heart of the glacier will be exposed for all to see.

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

Tour groups will travel up to the glacier via 8-wheel super drive trucks that are designed to tackle the hostile terrain. Exclusive groups will have the opportunity to take a thrilling ride below the glacier, where they will be treated to a host of interesting facts on the way down. When they hit the bottom, they will be in the blue heart of the glacier.

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

Weather permitting, the tours will be open to visitors between June and October. There are a number of glacier caves dotted throughout Iceland, but they are all seasonal, forming during the warmer months of the year.

The Tours

Ice Cave 1
Trip Duration: 2.5-3.5 hours
Departure: 11:00 and 13:00 from the glacier edge

Even if you have visited a glacier in the past, we can guarantee that it was nothing like this. You don’t just get to walk on top of the ice, you get to take a once in a lifetime trip below the surface. You will be in awe when you see the stunning array of colors that lie beneath the surface of the Langjökull glacier.

Price : 17900 ISK

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

Ice Cave 2
Trip Duration: 9 hours
Departure: 09:00 (hotel pickup 8:30)

You are essentially getting three distinct ice tours with this package, as it encompasses every aspect of the glacier. You get to explore around, on, and inside the massive 953 km2 glacier. There are also a couple of great stops on the way: the Deildartunguhver geo-thermal hot spring and the incredible Hraunfossar waterfall. On the return trip, you will make stops at the highland track of Kaldidalur, and Þingvellir national park. This is a day trip that touches on all the things that make Iceland so special.

Price : 29900 ISK

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

Ice Cave 3
Trip Duration: 14 hours
Departure: 09:00 (hotel pickup 8:30)

Essentially the same trip as outlined above, but with an additional stop in Gullfoss to see the iconic Geysir.

Price : 38900 ISK

Icecave Iceland - Ice Caves & Tunnels in Langjökull - Iceland Ice Cave Tour

Mike, Iceland24
© 2015 Iceland24

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

We went to Iceland in the early part of November, so I want to get this out now while all the details are still fresh. I also hope that the information I provide will help others looking to explore Iceland in the same way.

Traveling independently is important to us, so I like to take care of all the details – car, hotels, etc. – before we set off. A big part of the fun comes in the planning stages.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

Day 1 We left Gatwick Airport on the first of the month, landing in Iceland at about 6 PM. The Kia Ceed we rented from Cars Iceland was waiting for us, and we were out and on the road in no time at all. There was some concerns about driving into Reykjavik in the dark and without a navigation system, especially while driving on the opposite side of the road from what we are used to. The traffic was light, though, and the roads were well sign-posted and easy to drive. We took the road that led to our accommodation, the Hilton Reykjavik Nordica. It was a nondescript hotel, but it did have all the amenities you expect from a Hilton.

Our next stop was down by the Reykjavik harbor so that we could try the legendary Icelandic fish and chips, which very much lived up to the hype. We took a short, albeit cold, stroll afterwards before getting back to our car and hotel.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

Day 2 involved a pretty log drive from Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon Glacier. The day started at about 8.30 AM, but we did take time to make a few photo stops along the way, including a brief stop at Skogafoss. We were at Jokulsarlon by 4 PM, and have to say that the drive was well worth it. It was quite the sight to watch the glaciers drift out to sea.

We stopped at Fosshotel Nupar for the night on the way back. The shipping containers out from were a little off putting, but once inside the hotel, we were treated to amazing views. Were it not for the cloudy skies, we may even have caught a glimpse of the northern lights.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

Day 3 We left our hotel at about 9.30 AM, heading back the way we had come the day before. It was a beautiful clear day, so we stopped at a few places we had missed the day before. These included Dyrholaey, Seljalandsfoss, and the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, whose last eruption was back in 2010. Our next 3 nights were to be spent at a lovely little cabin at Gljufur, near Hveragerdi. Our initial goal was to find a place with a private hot tub, but the costs were a little steep for our budget at the major hotels. The cabins were a much more affordable alternative, and each one had a private hot tub, that we used regularly over the 3 days. We also made use of the kitchen, as we discovered at eating out in Iceland can be expensive.

The cabins comfortably sleep 6-8 people, and are a perfect family spot.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

On the 4th day, we took a drive up the east side of Lake Thingvallatn. The views are stunning, but they were made even more so by the snowfall we experienced. We left our car in the lower car park and made our way up through the rift, which took us by the stunning Oxarafoss waterfall. Our trip took us to the Interpretive Centre, where we were afforded amazing views over the Almannagja rift. We started to feel the chill, and headed back to have some of the soup that we had brought in Thermos (a must have item when exploring in the cold).

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

Our last stop of the afternoon was a few hours visiting the Laugarvatn Fontana Spa which is built over a natural steam vent. The spa has a number of pools heated to different temperatures, as well as a geothermal heated lake. My wife took a dip and discovered that the water had warm spots among the cold water. It ended up being what we thought was a perfect day.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

On day 5, we headed off to the golden circle, with a stop at the Kerid crater along the way. One thing that came as a surprise here was the 2 Euro entry fee. It wasn’t a large amount, and was on that we were happy to pay, but every other attraction to that point had been free to enter. We had seen photos of the Gullfoss waterfall, and it was as amazing as the images showed. Our next stop, Geysir, was also incredible. It was such a pleasant experience at the geothermal pools yesterday that we decided to do another on this day.

We made a stop at the Secret Lagoon- Gamla Laughin, which is more of a natural setting. In fact, we were the only people there. Making the spot even more special is a little poolside geyser that erupts every 5-10 minutes. The spot was amazing, and we were left wondering why the Blue Lagoon is the spot that everyone goes to rather than these amazing little places.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

The 6th day was a sad one, as we had to pack up and leave the cabin we had grown to love. We stopped at Reykjavik on the way and spent a few hours really exploring the streets of this wonderful city, as well as grabbing a very delicious hot dog.

We decided to stop by the Blue Lagoon to see what all the fuss was about, but it was packed, and the parking lot full. It made us all the more pleased that we had found our little hidden spa. Beyond the Blue Lagoon, we went into the Reykjanes peninsula, where we stopped off for 10 minutes at the Gunnuhver Geothermal area, which was amazing and well worth the stop. We had one final surprise on the way to the airport, which was the spot were two continents crossed. The bridge where we stood was at the post where the European and American tectonic plates have separated. Once that was done, we returned the car and took our flight home.

Self-drive Iceland Trip Report 6 Days - Nov 2014

The 6 days we spent in Iceland was wonderful, and we really do recommend self-driving. It is easy to get around the country, and you get to see a whole lot more than you would if you went on a bus tour. If we had one small disappointment on our trip, it was that we didn’t get to see the northern lights. We would sit in the hot tub and gaze up into the night sky, but cloud cover made it impossible to see anything.

One last thing that we should mention is that we never bought currency before we traveled. Our goal was to do so when we arrived, but what we found was that everything from parking meters to food stands took our card, which meant having currency was not really necessary.

Mike, Iceland24
© 2015 Iceland24