As a volcanic island, it’s no surprise that a network of lava tunnels and tubes has developed below the surface. Many of these areas are undiscovered or explored, but there are several options that allow you to explore the hidden beauty of lava caves in Iceland. Below, you will find a list of the best lava caves in Iceland, giving you a glimpse into this subterranean world.


Raufarholshellir, also known as The Lava Tunnel, is found in the southwest and is one of the most recognized lava caves in Iceland. It is thought the cave was formed during the Leitahraun eruption about 5200 years ago. The cave is over 1,360 meters long, up to 30 meters wide, and up to 10 meters tall. It is Iceland’s most expansive lava tunnel.

Visitors who take a tour of Raufarholshellir begin their journey with a view of a skylight that allows light and precipitation to enter the tunnel. Visitors can choose from a short 30-minute walk into the cave or a longer adventure tour that goes beyond the short tour and requires a higher fitness level. Evening tours are also available.



Víðgelmir is found in the Hallmundarhraun lava field in Borgarfjörður. It is recognized as the best-preserved of the lava caves in Iceland. This cave is located on private property, and tours are operated by the owners.The tour is family-friendly, making it a great option for individuals looking for easy access.

When Víðgelmir was discovered and explored, human remains and other artifacts were found inside, along with the usual lava cave formations. Some of these findings can be viewed in the National Museum in Reykjavík.

Víðgelmir lava cave


Þríhnjúkagígur, or Three Peaks Crater, is your chance to explore the heart of a dormant volcano in the Blue Mountain range, Bláfjöll. In fact, it’s the only accessible lava chamber anywhere in the world. Visitors can book a tour called Into the Volcano, where they will descend into the magma chamber on a special elevator. 

The tour of Þríhnjúkagígur starts with a three km hike one way, followed by a descent into the crater. It’s a unique experience unlike anything else you will experience, taking in the beautiful colors inside the heart of a volcano.


Gjabakkahellir is found in Þingvellir National Park and was formed around 9,000 years ago. It was discovered by workers in 1907 who were tasked with building a road between Þingvellir and Geysir. Dozens of other caves have been found in the area, but this one is the most accessible with a clear entry and exit.

Gjabakkahellir is 50 meters from the road and showcases all the features of a lava tube, including shark tooth stalactites and lava falls. The tunnel itself is about 360 meters long. Crawling may be required in some parts of the cave, and visitors should have good shoes, a helmet, and lights for safety.


If your trip will take you to Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Vatnshellir, meaning water cave, is well-worth a tour. One of the features that distinguishes this cave from other lava caves in Iceland is the winding staircase visitors take into the depths. Visitors will get a glimpse of various lava features, including stalactites and other delicate formations.

The tour of Vatnshellir takes visitors to the depths of the cave where all the lights are turned off to experience true darkness that can’t be found on the surface. The explorable cave is about 200 meters long and takes visitors 35 meters below the surface.

Vatnshellir Cave


Maríuhellar is not just one cave, but three: Draugahellir, Vífilsstaðahellir, and Urriðakotshellir. It is found close to Reykjavik and is found in the Svínahraun lava field, which was sourced from Búrfell near Hafnarfjörður. With the lush green mountains, it’s surprising to find lava caves in this area. 

Vífilsstaðahellir and Urriðakotshellir were previously used to house sheep. Visitors can see into Urriðakotshellir through a gap in the grassy surface. Maríuhellar is part of the Heiðmörk Nature Reserve which provides numerous hiking options to explore.


Lofthellir was formed over 3,500 years ago in the Laxardalshraun lava field near Lake Mývatn. The feature that makes Lofthellir stand out from the other lava caves in Iceland is the presence of ice within the cave. The cave maintains a temperature around freezing and the water that seeps through the porous rock freezes.

Lofthellir is best viewed with a tour. Visitors can explore this outstanding cave, which features beautiful ice sculptures against a colorful backdrop created by lava flows thousands of years ago. It’s one of the most unique lava cave experiences in the country.

Lofthellir Lava cave


Leiðarendi is another of the lava caves in Iceland close to Reykjavik, created from lava flows from Bláfjöll. This cave is comprised of two caves created in two explosive Reykjanes eruptions that happened over a thousand years ago. The cave offers diverse, colorful scenery with numerous colors, including yellow, red, and green. 

Leiðarendi is about 900 meters long with the two caves creating a circular path. This lava cave offers numerous cave feature types, making it one of the most diverse options to see cave formations. It’s vital to note that this cave does include some tight spaces that may be challenging for individuals with a fear of enclosed spaces.

Búri Lava Cave

Búri is another of the lava caves in Iceland found in the Leitarhraun lava field. It’s one of the longest lava caves in Iceland, extending over a kilometer in length. It’s up to 10 meters high, and at the heart of the cave, visitors can find the 17-meter vertical pit created by a lava waterfall. It’s an impressive lava tube that dates back around 5,000 years.

Búri is one of the most recently discovered lava caves. It was discovered in 2005 by Björn Hróarsson, a volcanologist who found the cave while clearing falling rocks. This cave is still being actively explored and researched. 


Sönghellir is one of the lesser-known lava caves in Iceland. It can be found on Snæfellsnes Peninsula close to Arnarstapi. This small cave is best known for its echoes and fantastic acoustic resonance, earning it the name The Cave of Songs. Visitors can even see names carved into the stone that date back to the end of the 18th century.

Legends state that Sönghellir once sheltered the family of Bárður Snæfellsás in the 9th century. He was a half-man and half-giant who could use magic and became the guardian spirit of the peninsula.

Sönghellir Cave


Surtshellir can be found in the Hallmundarhraun lava field in the western part of Iceland. It measures about 1,970 meters long and forms the longest cave structure in Iceland with its neighbor, Stefánshellir. The furthest point in the cave has earned the nickname The Ice Cave due to the numerous ice formations found there. The cave has five openings.

Surtshellir is named after the fire giant in Norse mythology, Surt. He is believed to have created this cave and lived in it. The cave also housed outlaws in the past, and many believe it is haunted. From a scientific standpoint, this lava cave is recognized as the first known lava tube.


Exploring the lava caves in Iceland allows you to get a glimpse of the depths of the earth with features that can’t be found on the surface. Each one offers unique features and is well worth a visit.

When you’re ready to experience the best lava caves in Iceland, consider find the best campervans to give you the flexibility you want to explore the country.