“Ice Church” Iskjørkja – Secret Ice Cave in Norway You Have To See

Iskjørkja in Fåvang in Tromsa valley, Norway, is a spectacular ice cave formation, you need to visit.

I’m fascinated with ice. Ever since I moved to Scandinavia, I travelled all over Norway in winter, looking out for ice formations, glaciers, ice skating rinks, and frozen lakes, as well as trying Rjukan ice climbing in Norway. Ice has something magical in it. And inside the Iskjørkja ice church, you can feel this magic.

Iskjørkja – “The Ice Church”

Iskjørkja (from Norwegian: “Ice church”) is a spectacular natural ice formation located in southern Norway, in Tromsa valley. The magical cave, straight from Frozen, exists only for a few weeks, up to a few months of the year, between January to March. 

The Iskjørkja “Ice church” formation is created by the water trickling down the rocks. The water creates a small waterfall that then freezes at night, making a curtain of ice. Thanks to the shape of the ice and the cave, you have a feeling of being inside a real ice cave, when you enter Iskjørkja.

The shades of blue, turquoise, green and white create a symphony of colours, enhanced by the sun entering from the outside. It’s a place worth visiting. When you enter it, you feel like in Iceland or Svalbard, not just a three-hour drive from Oslo.

There is a lot of wildlife in the area, including deer and moose, as well as the dippers, Norway’s national birds.

 

Iskjørkja, Fåvang, Norway, inside the ice church

Icicles in Iskjørkja, Fåvang, Norway, the ice church

 

Iskjørkja Vlog

Make sure to check out my full video Iskjørkja Ice Church vlog on Youtube HERE, to see more details about the cave and the path to it. 

When to visit Iskjørkja

The best time to see Iskjørkja Ice Church is during early spring when temperatures during the day are mild, and at night they drop below freezing. Usually, the ice church can only be seen from January till mid-March, depending on the temperatures during winter in Norway this year.

Iskjørkja is not well known among non-Norwegians. I learnt about it by chance. It seems to be quite popular amongst locals, though. Therefore, if you plan to visit it during the weekend, I recommend being there either early morning or late afternoon (it works for visiting any type of place, even popular tourist attractions such as Kjeragbolten or Trolltunga).

Outside of Ice Church Iskjørkja in Fåvang, Norway
Outside of Ice Church Iskjørkja in Fåvang, Norway

Where is Iskjørkja

Iskjørkja Ice Church is located in Tromsa valley, which is one of the biggest side valleys to Gudbrandsdalen.

You can find Iskjørkja in Fåvang, a small town, 40 min north from Lillehammer. There are several signs in the town city centre, pointing you towards the car park. At the edge of town, there is a designated car park.

Location of car park of Ice Church Iskjørkja in Fåvang, Norway. Map data 2021 Norway Google maps.
Location of car park of Ice Church Iskjørkja in Fåvang, Norway. Map data 2021 Norway Google maps.

How to get to Iskjørkja

After you park your car in the designated car park, there is only 20 min walk to get to Iskjørkja. The path is marked and it starts near the big house. The walk is mainly flat, but it crosses a few small hills – you notice them more when it’s slippery and people around you start sliding.

The path leads through the forest and then opens onto the river.

Ice formation on Tromsa river near Iskjørkja Ice Church, Fåvang, Norway
Ice formation on Tromsa river near Iskjørkja Ice Church, Fåvang, Norway

What to take to Iskjørkja

Since you will be making the trip to Iskjørkja Ice Church in winter or early spring (this is the only time when it’s visible), there is a high chance that the path will be covered in ice. During our walk there, the whole trail was full of ice and it was really hard to walk on it if someone didn’t have crampons. I’ve seen several people ending on up their bottoms.

I would recommend taking:

  • spikes – there can be the simple walking crampons, or, if you have them, ice climbing crampons are good too (I had mine there and it let me walk on the ice in the cave without any problems)
  • camera with bright lense – it is still a bit dark inside the cave, so it’s good to have a lens that can be open wide for better photos. Alternatively, you can take a tripod, but with a lot of people coming in and going out of the cave, it might be hard to manage it on the ice.
  • proper Norway winter clothing – you can find a full list of what clothes to take to Norway in winter here.
  • helmet if you are planning to go under the icicles. 
Ice on the path to Iskjørkja Ice Church, Fåvang, Norway
Ice on the path to Iskjørkja Ice Church, Fåvang, Norway

Iskjørkja Ice Church and Safety

There are a few safety concerns you need to watch out for when you visit Iskjørkja. The first one is the slippery path and frozen ground in the cave. That’s why crampons or spikes are important, so you don’t slip and injure yourself.

Another one is safety inside the cave. Falling icicles can seriously injure you or even kill you. Therefore, be very careful when going inside the cave and around it. Do not stand under icicles or go under them to take photos. To be extra safe, you can take a helmet with you. Inside the cave, stand under the solid rock and not under icicles. Entrance to the cave is at your own risk. No photo is worth losing your health or life.


Would you like to visit the Ice Church in Fåvang? Have you been to the ice cave before? Let me know in the comments!


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