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Iceland’s volcanoes

  • Iceland

  • Bucket List Experience

Last updated: 23 April, 2024

Nowhere on earth is it possible to see quite as many active volcanoes as Iceland. Often, they’re literally under your feet.

At the junction of two tectonic plates, Iceland is one of the most volcanically active places on the planet. Evidence of the geothermal activity bubbling just beneath the surface is plentiful, from gushing geysers to hot water pools – but if you want to see a volcano up close, you’ll probably need to lace on your hiking boots.

Several of the island’s volcanoes can be visited on foot, while others are best seen from the air or by snowmobile. But don’t expect big spews of lava and smoking craters: while volcanic eruptions happen all the time in Iceland (most recently at Fagradalsfjall), volcanic eruptions here tend to be so violent that the most active sites generally aren’t safe to visit.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Fagradalsfjall volcano

  • Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland

Fagradalsfjall volcano

Experience

This volcano erupted dramatically in 2021 and 2022, and released large magma fountains and lava flows. The main flows have now slowed, but you can still see the leftover lava fields. There is a large car park near the site, from where it’s a hike of about 2.5km to the viewpoint.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 night

Freq: monthly

Eyjafjallajokull volcano

  • Iceland

Eyjafjallajokull volcano

Experience

This notorious volcano brought Iceland’s air traffic to an abrupt halt when it blew its top in 2010, sending huge age clouds up into the atmosphere. The volcano is concealed beneath a huge ice cap that’s clearly visible as you drive along the south coast towards Skaftafell. If you want to get closer, you’ll need to arrange a guided snowmobile tour.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 night

Freq: monthly

Hekla volcano

  • Iceland

Hekla volcano

Experience

One of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, this snow-topped, photogenic monster is Iceland’s answer to Mount Fuji. A 4×4 can get you to the base, then you follow a trail that leads right up onto the crater’s rim. It’s currently considered dangerous due to the probability of an imminent eruption, so only go with a local guide. A 90-minute drive from Reykjavik.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 night

Freq: monthly

Hike to the Viti volcano

  • Myvatn Lake, Iceland

Hike to the Viti volcano

Experience

A hiking trail leads along the rim of this 300m-wide volcanic crater (whose name means ‘hell’ in Icelandic), created in 1724 by a powerful eruption, and now filled by a china-blue pool.

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 1 hour

Freq: monthly

Askja volcano

  • Central Highlands, Iceland

Askja volcano

Experience

Way off the beaten track in the central Highlands, Askja makes for an adventurous trip via 4×4, and is only accessible between May and September due to snowfall. It’s a long, bumpy detour of more than 80km from the Ring Road, followed by a strenuous hike. Guided tours can be arranged from Arnarnes.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 1 night

Freq: monthly

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

In general, the best way to visit Iceland’s volcanoes is with a guide or on an organised tour. Many sites are difficult to find and can only be reached on foot or by 4×4. Tours can be readily arranged from Reykjavik and other main towns.

If you prefer to explore on your own, the area around Myvatn is the most practical to visit (although this also means it’s the busiest). Several of the area’s volcanic craters, including mighty Viti, can be visited on foot.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Golden Circle, Volcano Crater & Blue Lagoon Small Group Tour

  • Reykjavik

Experience the best of Iceland's natural wonders on this one day mini bus tour. Join us for this magnificent combination of of Iceland, we will take you to the Golden Circle pearls and finish the day off in the Blue Lagoon. Book now to begin your journey!

Price $211

Min age 14

Rating 4.68 / 5 [952 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Puffin and Volcano Tour in Vestmannaeyjar - Guided by Ebbi

  • Heimaey Island

Hop on a minibus and explore the stunning nature of the island with unique history, friendly locals, vikings and see the biggest Puffin colony in the world. This tour is guided by Ebbi and have the same, consistent high quality guiding that people rave about. And since you are always dealing with the owner of the company everything is simple, direct and personal. Just like we believe it should be. Our tour includes a Viking adventure at the Viking Wax Museum, located in a breathtaking valley surrounded by mountains. You can pose with Vikings inside a turf house and taste traditional Icelandic delicacies. This Puffin and Volcano minibus tour is not a typical bus tour were you are sitting the entire time on the bus, we are always getting in and out of the bus and exploring each stop. Our Puffin and Volcano Tour is the most popular tour in Vestmannaeyjar and Highly recommended by Rick Steves.

Price €85

Min age 3

Rating 4.92 / 5 [426 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Iceland Volcano Tour from Reykjavik with a Local Guide - No Group

  • Reykjavik

Your Exclusive Private Tour Awaits! Visit the remarkable Fagradalsfjall Volcano on a tour that's reserved only for you and your family. This is a private tour (only for you), and no other participants will be on the tour – you won't be part of a larger group, ensuring an intimate and personal journey to the 2021 eruption site (not the active volcano). Enjoy the luxury of having the tour all to yourselves, with no other guests to share it with. Book now for an unforgettable, exclusive adventure! This adventure has earned us a 5-Star rating and a place among Europe's Top 10 adrenaline experiences. Choose your convenience - opt for pickup from your accommodation or self-drive to our designated meeting point. Be prepared to witness the remnants of the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption - warmth that still clings to the earth, billowing smoke, and visible fumaroles around the crater. ‼️ Please note that this is not a tour of an active eruption.

Price $197

Min age 0

Rating 4.97 / 5 [237 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Volcano Hike and Blue Lagoon Including Admission Small Group Tour

  • Reykjavik

Experience the best of Iceland in this ultimate day tour where you enjoy the spectacular view from Lake Kleifarvatn, hike past lava moss-covered fields to the eruption sites at Meradalir and Fagradalsfjall volcanoes and end the day with a soothing soak at the world renowned Blue Lagoons geothermal spa. Join us for this combination of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit a vast volcano eruption site and bathe in naturally warm waters just a few minutes away. Please note that this tour involves a hike of around 2 hours each way . The route we takes varies day to day and is rated as challenging. Book now to begin your journey! Please note that suitable waterproof or resistant outer layers are highly recommended. Jeans are not a good idea on this tour either. Please wear suitable hiking/walking shoes.

Price $200

Min age 12

Rating 4.41 / 5 [90 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Volcano Eruption Site Hike & Reykjanes Tour from Reykjavik

  • Reykjavik

Hike to Fagradalsfjall eruption sites, see newly formed landscapes. We also visit the highlights of the Reykjanes Peninsula including the Bridge Between Continents, the majestic Reykjanesviti Lighthouse, the beauty of Lake Kleifarvatn, and Gunnuhver Hot Springs on this once-in-a-lifetime tour from Reykjavík. Our expert tour guide will make your experience in Iceland even more magical and makes sure you get the best views during the day. Please note that if the volcano hike runs takes than expected, we may have to cut some of the others stops listed above.

Price $101

Min age 12

Rating 4.64 / 5 [71 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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