Exploring the Depths of Raufarhólshellir: A Comprehensive Guide

Uncover the mysteries of this mesmerizing Icelandic cavern, where ancient tales meet awe-inspiring geological formations. Discover why Raufarhólshellir is a must-see destination for those craving adventure beneath Iceland's surface.


blog author By Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

Dive into the captivating world of Raufarhólshellir, Iceland's geological masterpiece! This extraordinary lava tube cave boasts incredible formations and a sense of adventure like no other. Perfect for thrill-seekers and nature lovers, it's an exploration you won't want to miss. Ready to discover its wonders? Let's go!

What Is Raufarhólshellir?

Raufarhólshellir isn't just a tongue-twisting Icelandic name; it's one of the largest and most extraordinary lava tunnels in Iceland. As the fourth-longest lava tube in the country, it stretches an impressive 1,360 meters (4,460 ft) in length. The dimensions of this geological marvel are equally astounding, with the cave extending 10–30 meters (33–98 ft) in width and reaching up to 10 meters (33 ft) in height.

Where Is Raufarhólshellir Located?

Nestled in the heart of Iceland's stunning landscapes, the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel is conveniently located approximately 40 minutes southeast of Reykjavík. Its proximity to popular landmarks and easy accessibility make it an irresistible detour for tourists exploring the country's scenic routes.


How To Get to Raufarhólshellir 

Reaching the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel from Reykjavík is a breeze with the right planning. The best way to get to this remarkable lava tunnel is to rent a car in Iceland. Driving from Reykjavík, cruise southeast on the Ring Road and then turn onto Route 39. This scenic journey takes you through some of Iceland's most breathtaking landscapes, making the trip as memorable as the destination itself.

When Is the Best Time To Visit Raufarhólshellir?

Iceland's lava tube tours to Raufarhólshellir operate all year, making it an evergreen destination. Summer presents an advantage with its longer days, providing ample time for exploration. On the other hand, the Icelandic winter turns the surrounding cliffs and mountain ranges into a snowy paradise, offering a unique spectacle.

What To See and Do at Raufarhólshellir

Visiting the Raufarhólshellir lava cave is a treat for the senses. Here's what you can expect:

  • Lava Formations: Marvel at the intricate lava structures, shaped by molten rock cooling and hardening over centuries. These formations truly showcase nature's artistic prowess.
  • Ice Stalagmites: In winter, the cave is adorned with glistening ice stalagmites. Their sparkling beauty under the dim light is a sight to behold!
  • Skylights: The cave's three skylights allow natural light to seep in, casting ethereal patterns and highlighting the cave's dynamic interior.
  • Other Geological Features: Be amazed by fascinating rock formations and the cave's vibrant color palette, ranging from fiery reds to cool grays, a testament to the cave's volcanic origins.

raufarholshellir cave

How To Plan a Visit to Raufarhólshellir

Planning a visit to the breathtaking Raufarhólshellir lava tube cave requires some thought for the best possible experience. Here's a quick guide:

  • Guided Tours: Venturing into Raufarhólshellir unaccompanied is not allowed. Taking a guided tour ensures not only your safety but also provides an educational experience. Knowledgeable guides will explain the fascinating geological features and history of the cave, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of this natural wonder.
  • What To Wear and Bring: Dress warmly and wear sturdy, waterproof shoes. The cave can be damp, and the terrain uneven. Consider bringing a hat and gloves, especially in colder months. Don't forget a good camera—Raufarhólshellir's unique geological features make for stunning photos.

raufarhólshellir lava tube

Frequently Asked Questions About Raufarhólshellir

Is Raufarhólshellir safe to visit?

Yes, Raufarhólshellir is safe to visit, with guided tours ensuring safety.

What are the different lava formations found in Raufarhólshellir? 

Raufarhólshellir features stunning lava stalactites, stalagmites, and unique lava flow patterns.

How was Raufarhólshellir formed? 

Raufarhólshellir was formed by cooling lava after a volcanic eruption.

lava tube iceland

What is the best time of day to visit Raufarhólshellir? 

Midday is optimal for the natural light through the skylights.

What should I wear and bring when visiting Raufarhólshellir? 

Wear warm clothing, a backpack with snacks, sturdy shoes, and layered clothing. Also, bring a good camera.

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