Looking for a unique experience close to Reykjavik to see to the inner workings of a volcanic eruption? Then this is the tour of The Lava Tunnel is for you!
Have you ever been inside a lava tunnel?
To be honest, before I went to Iceland I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a lava tunnel. I always thought the lava burst up out of the ground and not flow underground like a huge fire breathing river. The things you can learn whilst you are travelling!
There are so many geological experiences to enjoy in Iceland and I must say this was one of my favourite activities that we did whilst we were there. Actually walking where lava once flowed! Not many people can say they have done that!
We came across the Lava Tunnel a little by accident (or luck you may say) and even luckier still got there with a minute to spare before the next tour. We thought we might just get to see an opening of the tunnel but no we quickly discovered they did two tours. One standard and one extreme. We opted for the standard as it was an hour tour and touted that it was easy walking. The Extreme tour is 5 to 6 hours long and for the more adventurous and go further into the tunnel. Maybe one for the next trip.
The tunnel is 1.4k meters long and was formed due to the path of the lava from the Leitahraun eruption over 5,000 years ago. This lava tunnel is considered one of the longest lava tubes in Europe. They have restored it well especially as it was only opened officially in Summer 2017. Initially, you could make your own way in however over time it was becoming more unstable and ended up being a bit of dumping ground with lots of rubbish being left in the tunnel. It was then strengthened with footbridges and lights and added knowledgeable guides that can talk you through the history of the tunnel. We had a really insightful guide who gave us so much information about the rock formations, how you can see what temperature the lava got to in places and also answered lots of questions about the geological makeup of Iceland and just Iceland in general.
At the beginning of the tunnel, there are skylights where the cave has collapsed had let the snow in so formed huge big snow dunes. They allow the light to shine in and show just how expansive the tunnel is. Leading into the chamber you are also treated to a huge display of Icicles. There were so many and they were the tallest I had ever seen. We were told that in winter they are even taller and larger. They looked so magical and it just shows even further that Iceland really is the land of fire and ice.
At the end of the standard tour, there is a part of the tunnel where they turn off the lights and you can see how dark it is as there is no light from anywhere coming in. It really plays with your eyes. You truly feel underground and so close to the centre of the earth. It’s an unnerving experience in a way as it’s not often we ever get to experience true darkness.
The Lava Tunnel is located 30 mins from Reykjavik and is open from 10 am – 5 pm daily all year round. With your ticket for the standard tour, you get free hire of a helmet and helmet light. It does get chilly in there so make sure you are dressed warmly and definitely have sturdy footwear (it can be a little slippy in places). As with anything in Iceland, it’s not cheap but it is worth the expense for a truly interesting experience. The standard tour without transport is 6,400 ISK per person (as of June 2018) with the Extreme tour it is 19.900 ISK per person.
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