Into The Glacier – Húsafell, Iceland - Atlas Obscura

Into The Glacier

Travel deep inside of Europe's second largest glacier in the world's largest man-made ice cave. 


As if Iceland weren’t already an amazing country, as of June 2015, they’ve added another once in a lifetime experience with Into The Glacier, an ice cave attraction that lets anyone trek deep inside a massive glacier.

The long, winding path into the glacier was the brainchild of Baldvin Einarsson and Hallgrimur Örn Arngrímsson, who set out to give people a chance to explore inside a glacier. It took just five years from their initial idea for the sprawling ice cave to its completion in 2015, thanks to a number of eager investors that dropped more than two million dollars into the project.

Burrowing into the western end of Langjokull, one of Iceland’s largest glaciers, and the second largest in Europe, the tunnel stretches over 1,800 feet into the heart of the ice, extending almost 100 feet below the surface. The tunnels are atmospherically lit to bring out the natural colors of the ice which shifts the deeper one gets. Once inside the glacier, the tunnels are reminiscent of the Hoth base from The Empire Strikes Back, but infinitely cooler because they are real. 

Once deep enough, the snowy white walls eventually shift to steely blue, which is a result of the ultra-dense glacial ice absorbing almost every color other than blue. Usually, this “blue ice” (not to be confused with mythological ice chunks that might fall from a plane), is hidden well away from normal view within the looser upper levels of glaciers. Here, the tunnels seem to be made of the stuff.

Getting to the ice cave’s entrance requires a pick up by one of Into The Glacier’s eight-wheeled trucks that make stops in a selection of major towns before heading out to the cave mouth. The operators offer a number of different tour package options, but really anytime you get to explore the bowels of an ancient glacier is probably the right choice. 

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