Surtshellir is a cave located in Hallmundarhraun lava field in West Iceland about 1 hour drive from the town Borgarnes. It is the longest lava tube in Iceland about 1970 meters long and 8-10 meters high. It is possible to explore the cave but make sure to bring appropriate equipment. The cave is mainly composed of layers of magma and basalt and deep inside the cave ice formation, ice candles and columns can be found. The cave forms a complex with another cave called Stefánshellir and together they are the longest cave system in Iceland, about 3500 meters long.
Surtshellir is the best known cave in Iceland and is named after the fire giant Surtr, a person from the Norse mythology. The cave is also mentioned in the book of Eggert Ólafsson, Landnámabók. Back in the days outlaws and sheep rustlers used to hide in the cave and steal the livestocks from the farmers in the area. Evidence of their existence in the cave have been found including, bones and signs of human habitation.
Surtshellir is located about 2 hour (138 km) drive from Reykjavík. Take Ring Road nr. 1 towards the town Borgarnes. Before the bridge that leads to the town take road nr 50. and from there it's approximately 1 hour drive to the cave.
It is a nice detour from the Ring Road or a day trip from Reykjavík to visit the cave and if you can’t get enough of caves the Víðgelmir cave is located close by. Hraunfoss and Barnafoss waterfalls are also located close by.
Read more about Driving in Iceland.
We recommend bringing appropriate gear if visiting the cave including helmet and lights or book a guided tour.