Ice cave express tour with Goecco Iceland

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We decided to take some time out this November and jet over to Iceland for a long weekend away. I say time out, but everyone knows Iceland is the place for adventure. A country full of natural beauty, great people and for many, a destination to witness the beautiful the Northern lights (if you are lucky enough to see them!).

Goecco tours kindly invited us to join them for a day of intense winter adventure on their Ice Cave and Glacier Lagoon Express Tour.

GoEcco Tours

Whether you go on one of our  hikes, day-tours, or private tours we’ll show you the real Iceland: the serene, the thunderous, the quaint, and the surreal. Goecco is about experiencing Iceland off the beaten track on our down-to-earth tours, guided by real men and women.

As we are huge fans of the peaceful, beautiful Iceland we often follow the winding road to the places others don’t go. And when we do go the popular spots, we make an effort to be there during ‘quiet’ times. As we go along we throw in a bit of good music, local food and just enjoy real people talking to real people!

We are known for finding new places and inventing new tours. We don’t work with big corporations, agents or booking engines. We work with local people, finding new places to sleep, eat and experience Iceland.

We make an effort to work with likeminded people, who love and respect nature and other human beings. We don’t choose our guides from their guide school certificate but from their life experience and personality.

So if you want a big, fancy tour bus going from sterile photo opportunity to photo opportunity, we are not for you – but if you are looking for a road trip with good friends – come along with an open heart and a generous spirit!

As Goecco describes it – “this tour is an intense winter adventure chasing both ice and arctic light to get to our destination of the day the grand Blue Ice Cave of Vatnajokull also known as the Crystal Ice Cave. ”

The Ice cave express tour experience

This is an intense experience starting at 7am and ending at around 11pm-midnight.

The meeting place is the viking statue in front of Hallgrims Church (hallgrimskirkja) – the main church in Iceland and also a monument that you will definitely want to visit. It is advised to bring as much food and water on this trip as there are not many stops along the way. And when they say not a lot of places, they really mean it! There is a 24/7 shop on top of one of the roads in front of the church, so it is worth stocking up.

The Ice cave express journey

The reason the day starts so early is because you need to race towards the grand finale of the day, Ice Caving, where you need natural light! At the very start of the day the coach does run through the town of Hveragerði where there is one of the most amazing bakeries I have ever been in and the pictures do really tell below. So definitely get something from here as the food is great, not that expensive, (for Iceland) and the owner was lovely.

After we stocked up on baked good it was on our way to the first stop, Skógafoss waterfall. Along the way we witness the sun rise and at this time of the year as the sun is low, the colours are just stunning. As you journey along you will just keep looking out of the window at the beautiful white wilderness. There is definitely a magical feeling. As you arrive at Skógafoss in the morning, it is a perfect time to spend taking photos before it gets too busy. It’s around a 20 minute stop here.

Next we moved onto Reinisfjara Black Beach, which from Skógafoss is around a 40 minute drive. This is the famous beach, made from volcanic sand and it’s truly a great sight, especially in winter. The sea can be very dangerous. People have actually lost their lives being caught out by freak waves, so please do be careful – you are at the mercy of nature. But as long as you’re careful, it is a special, intriguing place unlike any other. Again it is only around a 20 minute stop here.

The journey continues to Jökulsarlon, also known as the Glacier Lagoon and Crystal Beach. On the way you pass the famous Laki Lava field, which will just leave you speechless at how large and destructive this volcanic eruption would’ve been. It’s known as being Iceland’s largest ever volcanic eruption and is even taught in schools. The black beach was littered with huge pieces of perfect glacial ice, which made for such a contrast in colour. When you think of a beach you definitely don’t think of cold ice!

Being that  you’re on the edge of the Vatnajökull Glacier it’s only about 10 minutes down the road from the main event, Ice Caving! As you would imagine it gets extremely cold and windy on the glacier, so we suggest you layer up as much as possible. You will be provided with safety helmets and crampons for your expedition.

The Ice cave

While you don your crampons over your boots and scramble into the super jeeps, you know you’re ready for the Ice Caves. The drive across the Glacier is a bumpy one, but that is to be expected for a road made of solid ice. For us to see a glacier of this size was absolutely stunning. Once you’re stopped on the glacier and out the jeep you quickly realise how inhospitable a place it is. Blowing winds and freezing temperatures are what greet you, and thats if the weather is good! After a safety briefing it’s a short walk across the ice towards the cave.

Once inside you get to appreciate the bluish tones of the ice, and depending on the time of year you visit, delve deeper into the cave and watch the glacial melt water that formed the cave receding. Your Ice Cave guides will give you some facts about the glacier and caves, but they are also happy to answer any questions you might have. They are very knowledgeable and friendly. You finally get to spend some time appreciating the Ice Cave and taking some photos as you walk around. But the cold and lack of daylight means its soon time to leave the glacier and head back to Reykjavik.

The journey back

Now in complete darkness it is a very long way back to Reykjavik our final stop was the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. At night it is beautifully lit up and makes for a perfect photo opportunity to round off the tour. If you’re lucky and have the right conditions you might get to see the Northern lights. We were blessed on this day and did manage to see them and it is definitely a very unusual and out of this world experience that I cannot explain, you need to see it to understand.

We finally arrived back in Reykjavik around 11.30pm, feeling pretty tired, but happy with such an amazing experience.

The Goecco guides

For the day we had Kristina as our guide. She was super happy and enthusiastic, (Even at 7am!) very informative and happy to answer any questions. She even added that little bit extra by playing lots of Icelandic music on our journey. This really did make the journey extra special and made you feel more in touch with the landscape. The coach was comfortable and warm, which was great after being out in the icy cold. Our ice cave guides were also super happy and informative while keeping us safe on the glacier.

Conclusion

As the name suggests, this tour is definitely express, as you are chasing light to get to your final destination in time. Each place along the way you only spend around 20 minutes, which is a great for a taster, but you would definitely want to return and spend more time in some of the places as there is a lot more to explore! You do spend a lot of time on the coach as the Vatnajökull Glacier is very far away from Reykjavik. We think it’s a good plan to spend some of this time either sleeping or just looking outside, taking in some of the most stunning scenery you will have ever set your eyes upon. If you’re up for an intense adventure and want a taster of Iceland then the Ice Cave Express Tour is the one for you!

Mountain and Co