Discovering the Lava Tunnel – Raufarholshellir

Last updated: Jun 4th, 2024

Richard Howcroft

Tour Co-ordinator

The Lava Tunnel – Raufarholshellir

There was a slight feeling of sadness on this morning as it dawned on us it was our last day exploring the wonders of Iceland! However this subsided to curiosity and excitement as we left our base in Selfoss for the short drive to reach Raufarholshellir.

The location of this lava tube, formed by the lava flows of an eruption that happened over 5000 years ago, is ideal for groups visiting the south of Iceland as it can be reached in around 30 minutes from both Selfoss and Reykjavik, as well as being ideally located close to the Reykjanes Peninsula and Hveragerði geothermal area.

We met our guide, Anna, who set us up with hard hats and head torches and she then lead us underground and into this breath-taking lava tube. Raufarholshellir is one of the most accessible of its kind in Iceland, meaning there is plenty of space either side of the walkway and the ceiling is well above head height so there are no fears for those who don’t like enclosed spaces.

Our tour lasted approximately 60 minutes (there is an “extreme tour” option that allows visitors to explore the entire length of the tube lasting approximately 3 hours!) and during that time we learned a huge amount about the flow of lava from volcanic eruptions and how it affects the landscape. Anna explained the geographical and geological significance of the sights we were seeing together with the fascinating history of the tunnel itself; from the clean-up operation that made it presentable to the public, to film and television crews that have visited and even the occasional celebrity that she has guided!

There is so much to be learned from a visit to the Raufarholshellir lava tube, it’s a great visit for those looking for a new exciting activity and a great addition to any Iceland itinerary.