See red hot lava flowing from an active volcano or explore the aftermath of an eruption with a Volcano Tour. Here, you’ll find trips to the erupting volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula, as well as excursions visiting lava caves and dormant volcanoes. Check out our volcanic wonder tours below.
About Volcano Tours in Iceland
Iceland is known as ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’, and that’s not without reason. Around 11% of the country is covered by glaciers, and it is considered one of the most volcanically active regions in the world.
A Volcanic Tour is the perfect way to learn more about the powers lurking underneath the Earth’s surface. Depending on the tour, you could visit an active volcano where you can watch the lava flow and consume everything in its path. Other excursions will take you to dormant volcanoes or caves created in a past volcanic eruption, where you can see the beauty that this destructive force has created.
Those more interested in the “Ice” part of the Land of Fire and Ice should check out our Glacier Activities.
What’s Included in a Volcano Tour
What’s included in a Volcano tour depends on which volcano you are visiting. All safety equipment is always included, but what you need depends on whether you are visiting an active volcano or a dormant one.
For lava caves and dormant volcanoes, you will be provided with a helmet and a headlamp. Some tours also require you to wear a safety harness as well. If you plan to visit the active volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula, you will be provided with crampons for the hike to the volcano.
Some tours that require a long hike to the volcano provide guests with a small snack. It will be stated in the individual tour description under the section “Included” if it is included. You can always bring a packed lunch if you are unsure. If transfer to and from Reykjavík is included, it will also be listed in that section.
What to Wear on a Volcano Tour
When visiting a volcano in Iceland, be it active or dormant, always wear warm and waterproof clothes. If a long hike is needed to get to the volcano, make sure your clothes are also wind resistant. Bring a hat, scarf, and gloves or mittens.
Good hiking boots are also essential, especially if you plan on visiting the erupting volcano in Geldingadalur Valley. Preferably, your shoes should cover your ankle. That way, the crampons can fit on nicer, and you’ll have a better time hiking towards the red hot lava flow.
The boots will also come in handy if you plan on visiting a lava cave or a dormant volcano, as it is often wet and slippery underground. Your shoes will undoubtedly be useful on other occasions during your holiday. They are, for example, essential for Glacier Activities such as Ice Caving and Glacier Hiking.
Safety Precautions for Visiting a Volcano
The new Iceland volcano currently erupting is in Geldingadalur Valley on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It is too far away from any human habitation to cause any concern. It is also too far away from the road leading from Keflavík International Airport to Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.
Even before the eruption began, the area was monitored heavily by scientists. They measure the size of the eruption, the flow of the lava, any gasses emitted etc. Onsite are members of the Icelandic Search and Rescue team (ICESAR). They are there to oversee the region and assist people when needed.
If the area is considered unsafe by the scientists or the weather is deemed too extreme by ICESAR, the volcano route will be closed. If you’ve booked a volcano tour, your tour will be rescheduled, or you’ll be refunded.
The trail to the eruption site is marked with rods in the ground. The route is rocky, on uneven ground and can take up to 2 hours one way.
Certain areas near the eruption zone might be marked off by either scientists or ICESAR members if they are considered unsafe. If you are travelling with a guide, they will make sure to lead you to the best sites around the eruption while still maintaining a safe distance.
Volcanic eruptions are a natural phenomenon and cannot be controlled. New fissures can open up without warning, so make sure to stay away from the hazard zone. Gasses can gather in valleys and lowland, so try to keep to hills as much as possible. If you feel unwell, leave immediately and let your guide or member of ICESAR know.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Iceland has about 130 volcanoes, both active and dormant. It also has around 32 active volcanic systems. An active volcano doesn’t necessarily mean that it is erupting. It just means that it has the potential to erupt. Scientists monitor each volcano in Iceland closely, paying particular attention to any seismic activity found near them. You can read more about volcanoes in Iceland here. Currently, there is an erupting volcano in Iceland on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
The best way to see the erupting volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula is with a Guided Volcano Tour. Included in the tour is transport to and from the volcano. A professional guide will lead you on the hike to the eruption site and provide you with crampons if needed. They will then show you the best spots around the flowing lava for you to take amazing photos while still being safe.
There are other active but not erupting volcanoes in Iceland. Most located under glaciers or in the Highlands. The best way to explore these is also on a guided tour.
The volcano currently erupting in Iceland is in Geldingadalur Valley on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the country’s Southwest corner. It is only a short drive from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. To get to the volcano, you need to park your car in or near the town of Grindavík and then hike to the eruption site.
You do not need a guide to go and see the erupting volcano in Iceland. However, it is recommended that you do so. Volcanoes are unpredictable, and the land nearby them can be unstable. Guides work with the Icelandic Search and Rescue Team and pay attention to news reports from scientists regarding gas emission and other things that might affect the area. They know the area pretty well and will show you the best spots so you can safely enjoy this natural phenomenon.
Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a mostly underwater mountain range. This ridge is a meeting point for two tectonic plates (You can see the boundary between them at Þingvellir National Park). When these plates move, magma from the Earth’s mantle rises to the surface, sometimes in the form of a volcanic eruption. Furthermore, Iceland is also located on what scientists call a ‘hot spot’, a location where magma is very close to the surface.
Scientists monitor all active volcanoes in Iceland, especially those that are erupting. They measure seismic activity, volcanic gases, and lava flow. When all of these start to decrease, the volcano is likely about to stop erupting. At a point, there will be no signs of an active magma chamber beneath the volcano. When the magma chamber has been empty for a long time (thousands of years), you can even visit inside that volcano. Kerið Crater Lake is considered to be a former volcano that collapsed after its magma chamber was depleted.
Scientists in Iceland monitor all volcanoes here. They measure seismic activity, such as the frequency and intensity of earthquakes. They also look at the swelling of the ground, changes in heat, and an increase in the volcano’s gases. Suppose a volcano begins to show signs of eruption. In that case, scientists will warn all those nearby, asking them to stay away from the area. Note that volcanoes can show some of these signs without actually erupting.
It is hard to say how long a volcanic eruption will last. Some only last a few days, while others can go on for years.
The most active volcano in Iceland is Mt. Hekla. Its first recorded eruption was in 1104, and since then, it has erupted 18 times; the last time was in 2000. Other active volcanoes are Grímsvötn, Katla, Askja, and Krafla. Hekla and Grímsvötn have both been showing signs of unrest recently, so we might see an eruption there soon. Both volcanoes are too far away from human habitation to cause any alarm. Surprisingly, the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano (which stopped air traffic a decade ago) and Fagradalsfjall (which is currently erupting) are not one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland.