Lonely Planet Writer

Photographer ventures into Iceland’s magical ice caves

A thrill-seeking travel photographer and explorer has captured some mesmerising shots of Iceland’s colourful underground caves. Matej Kriz travelled to the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s second largest national park, which incredibly makes up 14% of Iceland’s land mass.

The caves let photographers play with light, shape and colours. Image by Matej Kriz

Unsurprisingly, the region boasts some absolutely otherworldly glacial landscapes, including volcanoes, soaring ice-capped mountains, and – as you can see from Matej’s images – magical ice caves.

As you can see, Vatnajökull is a photographer’s dream. Image by Matej Kriz

Though many of Vatnajökull’s underground chambers are safe to explore, visitors should only venture in under the supervision of an experienced, professional guide. Since glaciers are constantly shifting, the caves formed beneath them aren’t permanent. “Some of them are quite easily accessible when you know the area”, says Matej. “But at the same time, the ceiling can crack due to an earthquake – or for no reason at all!” Matej actually ventured into a very precarious cave for this series. “These photos were taken in Flaajokull glacier tongue in Vatnajökull”, he explains. “The cave actually doesn’t exist anymore; it was accessible for just a few days before it collapsed.”

Vatnajökull National Park is home to some stunning glacial caves. Image by Matej Kriz

As you can see from these images though, Vatnajökull is a photographer’s dream. “Capturing photos of ice caves is a magnificent experience”, says Matej. “You have an unlimited source of opportunities to play with light, colours and shapes.” When it comes to the challenges around ice cave photography, Matej says it really just comes down to the universal challenges facing any photographer in search of the perfect shot. “It’s an opportunity to capture a scene in that exact moment”, he reflects. “Everything is changing every second; no-one will be able to see it anymore if you don’t capture it on camera.”

Matej loves to “capture a scene in that exact moment”. Image by Matej Kriz

Intrigued? You can find more information on the park’s website, while companies like Mountain Guides offer a variety of guided tours and hikes through this challenging but beautiful terrain. Check out Matej’s Facebook page for more great imagery.