Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland We followed our exhilarating glacier walk in Solheimajokul with yet any another amazing Icelandic adventure – exploring the amazing subterranean wonder world of lava tubes!

Being a volcanic island, about 11% of Iceland’s surface is covered with lava fields.  Lying underneath these fields are lava tubes, the natural phenomena that were formed when surface lava solidified while flowing magma continues to move underneath.   We explored the lava tube cave of Leidarendi located under the lava field near a volcanic crater in the Blue Mountain area. It is only about half an hour drive from Reykjavik.

Walking on the lava field that leads to Leidarendi Lava Tube Cave, Iceland Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland

Keith and I were joined in this adventure by my long time travel buddies, Carol and Paul. Geared with helmets and flashlights, our guide from Extreme Iceland led us on a walk through a lava field to the narrow entrance of Leidarendi lava tube. Descending into the pit entailed some rock scrambling. 

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland No lights were installed around the cave. We had to rely solely on the flashlights we carried for illumination. 

04-Lave Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Icelnd

The map of the 900-meter long Leidarendi Cave. It was first mapped in 1992.

 Carcass of sheep, Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland Leidarendi means “End of the Journey”.  It was so named after this skeletal remain of a sheep, which reached its “End of Journey,” was discovered in the cave. It was  thought to have fallen from a shakehole and was never able to climb out. 

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, IcelandThe cave opened into wide and high hallways with even floor surface in some places….

Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland ….and turned into low and narrow tunnel with uneven floor in some areas where we had to bend down and even crawled. 

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, IcelandLeidarendi cave features fascinating and colorful variety of lava formations. We didn’t expect to see such colorful landscape underground.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland Lava flakes that have fallen from wall and ceiling due to frost and erosion were strewn throughout the cave.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland The many colorful layers of lava flakes indicate the many different lava streams that have flowed in this tube throughout the ages.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland We found many newly forming stalagmites throughout the cave.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland These amazing lava walls and ceilings were formed and polished by lava streams.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland There are about 500 lava tube caves in iceland and it is believed that there are more that are not yet discovered. 

Crawl Space in Leiderendi Lava Tube Cave, Iceland

Passing through more crawl space.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland

Delighted to be standing up again.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland

Carol and I scrambling up to the cave exit.

Lava Tube Caving in Leidarendi, Iceland

Keith made it out of the cave.

Exploring the lava tube cave was a unique adventure that we thoroughly enjoyed. We recommend the experience if you visit Iceland.  Although this cave is considered to be one of the more accessible in Iceland and is rated “easy”, it can be difficult in some places. We don’t recommend it to those who are not comfortable in confined spaces and to those who have a hard time bending and walking in uneven ground. 

Travel Notes:
  • We booked this trip with Extreme Iceland. We found it a very reputable company with very seasoned guides.
  • The trip cost included caving gear (helmet and flashlight), transportation, seafood dinner and northern light hunting.
  • This activity can be done all year round. 
  • Warm clothes and hiking shoes with good ankle support are recommended.


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Linking to Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery and Nancie McKinnon’s Travel Photo Thursday.

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42 responses to “Iceland: Exploring the Lava Tube Cave of Leidarendi

  1. Kira S.

    Hey guys, another incredible adventure! I have never heard about lava cave tubes before. It’s very fascinating to see and learn the different kind of things and places that nature has formed. Iceland seem to have a lot of them. Please tell me you had some relaxing time in Iceland. Did you go to the Blue Lagoon?

    • Marisol

      Hi Kirs, thanks! Yes, we did on our last day. I was hesistant because it was supposed to be so touristy. But I was glad we did. It was not crowded at that time and was very relaxing

  2. I am so glad you two do these things and then tell us about them! I have such an aversion to small spaces that even small elevators give me the willies so I am sure I’d never see the lava tubes first hand. Beautiful photos as always!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..A Taste of the WorldMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jackie, thanks! I’m glad that we were at least able to take you virtually inside the cave.

  3. Fascinating experience. Must be too much for a tad claustrophobic like moi.

    Happy New Year!!!! Glad I discovered your fab site this year.
    Photo Cache recently posted..The After ChristmasMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Maria, it was truly fascinating. It was glad to meet you on the blogosphere as well.

    • Marisol

      Hi Noel, it was cold but not freezing. Actually, much less colder than we anticipated. I’m sure you will enjoy it. Happy 2014 to you, too!

  4. ladyfi

    What a fabulous experience!

  5. Mike

    I’m definitely not a fan of the cold (especially with it being right in the middle of winter) but I would absolutely love to explore a lava tube, Marisol! I went spelunking in mines many times with my Dad and Uncle as a kid and loved it. But, in some regards, this is an entire different adventure! The stalagmites and all of the different colors you captured are amazing. And to think lava once flowed through the tubes really gives you pause for thought. Great post and fantastic pictures! :)
    Mike recently posted..My Top 10 Favorite Movie Theme Songs Part IIIMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Mike! If you loved the spelunking you’d done before, you will surely enjoy this one. It was truly amazing.

  6. you guys really do take us to some amazing locations and on some amazing adventures. Virtual travel at it’s best!
    Thanks for taking us along, and also for stopping by my blog this past year and for your comments. I really appreciate them. Safe and happy travels in 2014. I look forward to travelling along with you through your blog.

    • Marisol

      Hi Jill, I’m glad you have enjoyed the virtual travels with us. It was nice meeting you on the blogsphere this year and thanks also for always stopping by.

  7. Iceland is such a fascinating destination – it seems to have a bit of everything. The ceilings in the cave are incredible. Not sure if I could brave this tour though because I tend to be a bit claustrophobic, but glad to experience it through your pictures. Happy 2014!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..Where We’re Going in 2014My Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Dana, Iceland has amazingly so much to offer for such a small country. I’m glad you were ble to enjoy the cave through our photos. It’s definitely not for the claustrophobic. Happy 2014 to you, too.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Molly, it really was!

  8. You captured the cave wonderfully. I loved the photo taken of bending down to squish through the tunnel. 13th from the end :)
    budget jan recently posted..The Ruins of AniMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Jan! Glad you enjoyed that photo. It took a lot of bending down to capture that bending down shot:)

  9. Bama

    This place is such a paradise for geologists. Seeing those formations really gives a good perspective on how the island was formed by nature’s forces. What an incredible place to visit in one of the most intriguing countries on earth!
    Bama recently posted..Sights from Asia’s Lusophonic CornerMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama, it truly is a great playground for geology enthusiast – not only this cave but the whole country as well. The whole country is strewn with geological wonder. I hope you get to visit it soon.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Nancy. It really was a fun adventure.

  10. Everything about this makes me want to sign up to explore the lava tubes, except “confined spaces”. I’ve been in a few caves, but this looks like it’s on a different level. What an awesome experience and great photos!
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Our 2013 Christmas Markets TourMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Cathy, thanks! You know there are other caves in Iceland that are much more open and are easier for people who are not comfortabe in confined spaces. You may want to check those when you visit Iceland:)

  11. This looks so fascinating. I’ve only known about the lava tube at Volcanoes NP in Hawaii but didn’t even know about the ones in Iceland. We’d love to do this on a return trip. Love all the close-ups and details you captured of the tube. Love that picture of you gals scrambling out of the cave. :)
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Viewing the 2014 Rose Parade Float DecoratingMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mary, you should definitely check it out when you return. I’m sure this will be a very fascinating activity for the kids.

  12. Freya

    What a great excursion. There are more than 500 lava tube caves in Iceland? I managed to visit .. zero .. well I guess it’s a good excuse to return to Iceland one day, looks definitely worth it.
    Freya recently posted..Top 5 things to do in Cusco PeruMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Freya, there are so many many good excuses to return to Iceland. There are actually more interesting lava caves that are futher from the capital that you can visit. I’d love to visit more when I return. It itruly is interesting and worth it.

  13. Marisol, Do you remember if you can just go to the lava tube and pay an entrance fee or do you have to go with an organized tour? Thanks!
    Corinne recently posted..Instagramming CroatiaMy Profile

    • Hi Corinne, a certified guide is required for most of the lava tubes.. For one thing, the opening of the tubes are not marked and will be hard to find if you’re not with a guide. It’s also for safety reason. There are part of the caves that are not safe to venture into so its important to have someone with you who knows which areas are safe to visit. I read somewhere that there’s one cave much further away from Rejkyavik that is safe to venture into on your own. Not sure where I saw it; I’ll look it up and will forward the link to you if I find it.

  14. Hi Corinne, a certified guide is required for most of the lava tubes.. For one thing, the opening of the tubes are not marked and will be hard to find if you’re not with a guide. It’s also for safety reason. There are part of the caves that are not safe to venture into so its important to have someone with you who knows which areas are safe to visit. I read somewhere that there’s one cave much further away from Rejkyavik that is safe to venture into on your own. Not sure where I saw it; I’ll look it up and will forward the link to you if I find it.
    Marisol recently posted..Cape Peninsula: A Stunning Road TripMy Profile

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