Nigardsbreen Ice Cave

Bla Is Grotta - Blue Ice Cave - Blue Ice Caves - Ice Cathedral


Useful Information

Location: Jostedal Glacier National Park, near Luster, Sognfjord
Open: DEC to APR weather depending.
Reserve at least 3 days in advance.
Breeheim Centeret:
MAY to 20-JUN daily 10-17.
21-JUN to 25-AUG daily 9-18.
26-AUG to SEP daily 10-17.
[2020]
Fee: Ice Caves Tour: Minimum (1-3) NOK 3,300, Additional Person NOK 1100.
Breeheim Centeret:
Adults NOK 85, Children (10-16) NOK 55, Children (0-9) free, Seniors NOK 55, Students NOK 55.
Groups (): Adults NOK 55.
[2010]
Classification: SpeleologyGlacier cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension:  
Guided tours: Ice Caves Tour: L=14-22 km, D=4-6 h.
Depending on conditions and group size.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Breheimsenteret, Brevegen 8, 6871 Jostedal, Tel: +47-57-68-32-50. E-mail:
Ice Cave, 6871 Jostedal, Tel: +47-9945-0921, Tel: +47-959-23-689. E-mail:
Jostedal Hotell, Jostedalsvegen 3055, 6871 Jostedal, Tel: +47-57-68-31-19, Mobile: +47-992-25-049. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1993 Breheim Center opened to the public.
2007 ice cave discovered by scientists.
2011 Breheim Center burned to the ground.
2013 new building was opened.

Description

Nigardsbreen Ice Cave is accessible only during winter, and not every year. It depends on the rapidly changing situation at the glacier and if it is safe to enter the cave. The cave is visited on guided tours which include a half day trekking to the glacier.

The glacier cave is located inside Nigardsbreen (Nigardsglacier). This is a part of Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in mainland Europe. The cave is known under various names like Blue Ice Cave, and Ice Cathedral. It is described as as a huge cavern which is 30 m long, 20 m wide and 8 m high, but actually that's complete bullshit. Things change quickly at glaciers, and the cave looks differently every year because it is destroyed every summer. Every year they explore the front of the glacier to find a safe cave to visit, every season a different one. Sometimes it's a big cave, sometimes its small. If they do not find one there will be no glacier cave tours this winter.

The glacier tours are offered by operators at Jostedal, you best ask at the Breheimsenteret (Breheim Center), the visitor center for Breheimen and Jostedalsbreen national parks. The two national parks contain 9 of the 30 largest glaciers in Norway. Jostedalsbreen is the largest with its 474 km². Breheimsenteret also houses the Glacier Museum, as it is called by foreigners. The museum has an interactive exhibition, a cinema, and the Isgrotte, an artificial glacier cave. The building of the Breheim Center was erected in 1993 after the plans of Rolf Sande of the Arkitektkontoret A38. The building is quite impressive and has a fantastic view on Jostedals glacier. It is built of wood and burned down once, but was immediately re-erected.

Beneath the center the road to the glacier starts. It ends at a parking lot at the glacier lake Nigardsbreenvatnet. Here was once the tongue of the Jostedals glacier, only 20 years ago. Unfortunately, like all other glaciers, it retreats, and now you have to make an easy one hour walk (1.5 km one way) to reach the end of the ice. If you stay off the glacier you can actually do this walk self guided.

They offer walks on the glacier all year, the glacier is there all year after all. But the ice cave is only visited if it is fairly safe to enter, which it is normally not during summer. They say the tour is rather easy, but their scale is the average ability of any Norwegian. This just means you must be physically fit, able to walk for four hours without sweating and to ski and walk with snow shoes. Its a viking thing. We would recommend sufficient provisions for a day tour including some snacks, enough water, and probably dry clothes to change so you will not get cold inside the cave. Your climbing helmet is also sufficient for the cave, but a headlamp is a good idea. Though, the main sight is the blue light filtering through the ice, and for this you must turn off your light.

If you stay at the Jostedal Hotell, which is likely as it is the only hotel in the area, you can book the tours at the hotel. There is even a combi available with the tour and a full board afterwards, at a rather good price.