With its tunnels of multi-hued lava tubes, dripping with stalactites and dotted with peculiar rock formations, the Leidarendi Lava Caves are a subterranean fantasyland. The Leidarendi caves take their name—which translates as “the end of the journey”—from the carcass of a dead sheep that is found at the end of a tunnel (you can still see the bones), but intrepid travelers needn’t worry as seasoned guides keep everyone safe.
Exploring the Leidarendi Lava Caves is a popular adventure day trip from Reykjavik, with its rugged terrain requiring visitors to scramble, clamber, and crawl through the narrow passageways, using flashlights to light the way. The cave itself can only be accessed with a certified tour guide, and many full-day tours combine a lava caving adventure with activities such as snorkelling at the Silfra fissure, a swim in the Reykjadalur hot springs, or a Jeep or ATV tour of the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Things to Know Before You Go
Cave tours include helmets, safety equipment, and full instruction, but bring warm clothes, hiking boots, a waterproof jacket, and plenty of water.
Follow the rules and avoid touching or disturbing any of the cave’s natural structures in order to preserve the fragile rock formations.
There is no cell phone coverage or WiFi at the Leidarendi Lava Caves.
Due to the natural terrain, the Leidarendi lava tube is not wheelchair accessible and is not suitable for children under 5.
How to Get There
The Leidarendi Lava Caves are located just southeast of Hafnarfjordur, about a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik, and close to the Blue Mountains in southwest Iceland. There is no public transport to the caves, and most guided tours include round-trip transfers from Reykjavik.
When to Get There
The Leidarendi Lava Caves are open year-round, but the most popular time to visit is summer. Plan an early morning tour if you want to avoid the crowds and always book ahead to avoid disappointment. Visiting in winter means you will be at the mercy of the weather, although cancellations are rare.
Discovering the Land of Fire and Ice
The Leidarendi caves are one of the most accessible lava tubes in Iceland. The natural phenomenon was formed more than 2,000 years ago when hot magma flowed over already petrified lava. The network of caves run beneath the Stora-Holuhraun lava field for more than half a mile and are renowned for their spectacular lava formations, including solid lava streams, lava flakes, stalagmites, and stalactites, as well as natural ice sculptures, which form in winter.