Raufarhólshellir

Raufarhólshellir, Olfuss: Hours, Address, Raufarhólshellir Reviews: 4.5/5

Raufarhólshellir
4.5
Caverns & Caves
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10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Best nearby
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Attractions
5 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
163 reviews
Excellent
91
Very good
53
Average
11
Poor
2
Terrible
6

Yvette F
Buckingham, UK241 contributions
Couples
We did the one hour standard tour here. You are provided with a helmet and crampons that pull over your footwear for grip, and there is the option to use walking sticks if you feel it necessary. We were a small group of eight and the guide. They did start the tour through the tunnel, walking quite quickly and i was worried i wouldnt keep up, but the guide stops regularly to give you chance to catch up or take photos. She was very informative and friendly with a good sense of humour built into her talk. She also held back on the return journey through the tunnel to go at my pace which was very nice. It is a fascinating piece of nature that i think most people would enjoy.
Written January 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sharon Q
Kralendijk, Bonaire378 contributions
Very impressive and interesting tour.
The staff is very friendly and our tour guide, she loved to make jokes.
She gave lots of information but in a very nice way which kept it interesting.
Beautiful to see how the lava made these tunnels and to hear (better say not hear) what these tunnels do to sound compared to other caves and tunnels.
Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Guðrún J
1 contribution
Family
We really enjoyed our visit to Raufarhólshellir. We were doubting if visiting was worth it, especially with young children. We decided to give it a try and absolutely loved it, so did all of the kids. This is a unique experience being able to go down to the earth and see inside a lava tunnel. We highly recommend it 👏
Written August 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura W
42 contributions
Family
This was a great tour! I went with my husband and 12 year old son. Our guide was absolutely fantastic (VERY funny and knowledgeable), and it was very cool to see the lava tube. Know that the ground is often uneven, and there are stairs - a consideration if mobility is a concern or if you're planning to bring small children.
Written July 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John
Manchester, UK103 contributions
We had a brilliant guide who shown us around the Lava Tube. There was a mixture of geology, general Iceland chat and information about lava tubes across Iceland. The tube has some uneven surfaces but it wasn't a challenging walk. As it was winter we were given some snow chain crampons and a hardhat with torch. The skylights within the tube allowed huge ice and snow accumulations to provide an interesting environment. The wind was blowing at this point and it was a little cold but once you move into the tube the "warmer" it gets. It's worth wearing a waterproof jacket as lava (basalt) is a porous rock and does allow ground water through therefore isn't a "dry attraction." Enjoy!
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark W
7 contributions
We did the one hour tour of Raufarholshellir today and it was a great experience. Not only was it a really cool cave, but we had a funny and knowledgeable tour guide, Theo, who put the experience over the top. Would definitely recommend!
Written July 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kasejason
Chicago, IL364 contributions
Friends
Raufarholshellir Cave has something to offer everyone and is worth the short detour from the ring road. The best parts of the cave can be visited by anyone with a small amount of mobility. If you are up for more adventure and you have the right gear, you can even push further into the tube and reach its end. Regardless of your motivations, you are sure to enjoy this cave and come away with a "wow" feeling.

The cave is located about 16 miles southwest of Hveragerði on route 39. The parking area is signposted with a small sign indicating the correct location. Once you have parked your car, a very short walk will take you to the entrance of the lava tube. You will be immediately greeted by a series of three skylights. Each of these has a corresponding cone of snow that has fallen and become trapped in the cave. You will need to walk around these mounds of snow, but this isn't too difficult if you stick to the rocks or places where the snow has been well trampled.

Because of the skylights, this part of the cave is bright enough that you won't need any flashlights. When you pass the third opening, you will come to the best part of the cave - a field of ice stalagmites. At this entrance to the dark parts of the cave, water has dripped from the ceiling causing hundreds of ice stalagmites to form on the ground. If you did not bring caving equipment with you, then this is where you will need to stop. You can climb down to the ice and explore the part visible in the daylight. Be careful as the footing is very slippery. Whenever possible, stick to rock as it is far less slippery.

If you have come prepared and have the right gear (hardhat, at least two sources of light, hiking shoes, gloves, food and water, and preferably a few other people) then you can push on into the lava tube itself. There are no barriers to your entry and anyone can just wander into the cave. If you are looking to go deep into the cave, you should take a picture of the map at the entrance or at least study it well before you enter. This will help you when you reach the deepest part of the cave and things get a little confusing.

When hiking deeper into the cave, the ice will quickly and mercifully give way to only rock. From here, the way will consist of ascending and descending countless rock falls. There is almost no level ground along the way. Even though the cave is only 1.3 kilometers long, it will take you at least an hour to reach the back of the cave due to the slow going. Most of this path features tall ceilings and a wide cave, so you aren't likely to feel too claustrophobic along the way.

When you reach the back of the cave, you will come across a few decision points where the tube will go in different directions. This is where it is important to have understood the map. Because of the rock falls, it would be very easy to become lost in the cave. The map makes it appear that navigation would be easy given the relatively few number of branches, but the rock falls obstruct views and make it very easy to miss turns. It is a very good idea to turn around every now and then and make sure that you will be able to recognize the exit path on your way out.

It would appear that some people have had trouble in this back part of the cave, as we saw a few different signs on the cave walls. Some people have drawn arrows that point towards the cave exit. In other places, people have written on the walls indicating where each branch leads. If you do happen to become lost in the cave, look for these aids to help you get out. Another technique you could use would be to pick one of the walls (either left or right) and just walk along that wall nonstop until you reach the exit. While this might not be the most efficient path out of the cave, it will eventually get you through all of the passages.

We explored all of the passages and can comment that there isn't too much to see at the end. One of the chutes has a lava drip on the floor that looks like someone dripped batter onto the floor, forming an interesting circular radiating pattern. Another chute features a lava fall that you can climb into. The ceiling here is only a meter or so tall and the going is very rough since the rock will cut you easily.

All in all, this cave lives up to whatever expectations you may have. For the noncaver, it offers a glimpse into some interesting geology and even rewards you with the ice stalagmites. For the avid caver, it provides you with 1.3 kilometers worth of tube to explore and a little bit of navigation challenge. I would only recommend the long hike to those who truly enjoy caving. There isn't a whole lot to see along the way. The rocks are a nice spectrum of reds and browns, but they become quite repetitive after a short while.

If there is one thing I should stress about this caving experience, it is that you will need gloves. The lava rock is very sharp and will cut you easily. With gloves, you will be able to use your hands and feet to negotiate the rocks more comfortably. It would also be a good idea to let others know that you will be in the cave. This hopefully won't happen, but if part of the cave were to collapse with you inside, you could become trapped. If no one knows where you are, then you'd be in a bad spot. Aside from this unlikely scenario, if you come prepared you should enjoy your visit immensely.
Written June 23, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jack C
3 contributions
Friends
This cave is now closed to the public and is a commercial venture called 'The Lava Tunnel'.

Absolutely horrible in my opinion. I live in Reykjavik and love caving in Iceland. This cave was the most accessible, safe cave for new starters in caving and should have remained for use by the public. Very sad to see it be destroyed with fake lighting, steel boardwalks, elecrtical cables and drilling. Also ridiculous they only let you into the first 400m. It doesn't even really begin until then.

Aweful.
Written May 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Jack Sorry you feel this way. Due to the rise in tourism in Iceland many of our delicate pearls of nature are being damaged, especially where tour operators bring people en mass. Caves have been hit hard due to their defalcate nature especially those with good access and proximity to Reykjavik. Due to this it was decided to close the access and provide a controlled experienced on raised removable platforms to not do any more harm. We invested massively to do this experience as good as possible with removable platforms and natural lighting. We have received awards for the lights! We also believe a 50 Euro admission price is a fair price for the once in a life time experience. We have in only one year since reopening become one of the hottest destinations in Iceland. As you might know by now there is an optional extreme tour that takes our guests to the end of the lava tube but that tour is only for the very fit and able. We know every one does not share our vision but we believe this is the right way to protect and preserve Icelandic nature. Bardur
Written July 3, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

bigmombee
Germany39 contributions
Couples
We went there in december but found the cave closed to public access, as it was already mentioned by other recent reports. It seems that the cave is now only accessible with guided tours. A pity
Written December 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura P
Brighton, UK33 contributions
Couples
We had read the good reviews for this cave and were excited to explore it ourselves. It was ok to find, however once we walked to the entrance, it had been boarded up and padlocked shut. Presumably you can now only enter if you have paid for a guided tour. Very disappointing. Food and hotels are already very expensive, if everything else needs to be paid for with a tour, this holiday would be unaffordable.
Written November 9, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Laura Sorry about this, we were in construction mode, we are now reopen for business. Due to the rise in tourism in Iceland many of our delicate pearls of nature are being damaged, especially where tour operators bring people en mass. Caves have been hit hard due to their defalcate nature especially those with good access and proximity to Reykjavik. Due to this it was decided to close the access and provide a controlled experienced on raised removable platforms to not do any more harm. We invested massively to do this experience as good as possible with removable platforms and natural lighting. Hope to see you next time around, Bardur
Written July 3, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Raufarhólshellir is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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