When talking about active volcano Iceland most of us think about Fagradalsfjall as the most active volcano on the island.
But this is not the truth; Fagradalsfjall is the volcano that erupted on March 19 2021 after more than 800 years of inactivity.
There are other volcanoes spread across the island which have recorded an impressive number of eruptions in the last 1000 years: Katla, Hekla, Krafta, and Askja.
Some of these active volcanoes are considered to be dormant at the moment but they had powerful and damaging eruptions across the years.
But the attraction of the moment is, of course, Fagradalsfjall mountain located close to Reykjavik in the Reykjanes Peninsula.
In this article I will tell you not only which are the most active volcanoes from Iceland but also some very interesting facts about each of them, secrets very well kept by scientists and locals.
In the first quarter of 2021, all the news on volcano in Iceland presented the hottest subject of the moment, the eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano, a dormant volcano located on the Mid Atlantic Ridge.
Everything started in March 2021 when lava erupted from a fissure opened located on the mountain and since then it flows continuously and reshapes the landscape.
The last major eruption of this volcano is believed to be during the ice cave when the volcano erupted under the thick ice cap.
Fagradalsfjall volcano is formed from multiple fissures from where the lava comes out to the surface.
Experts had been warned about the eruption by the increased number of earthquakes recorded in the area starting with February 2021.
At the moment Fagradalsfjall is considered the most active volcano Iceland has and river lava continues to flow down from the mountain for more than 6 months.
Interestingly, this volcano is that it is one of the very few volcanoes in the world considered safe for visiting during the eruption cycle.
So, if you want to see the power of Mother Nature then you definitely have to book your trip to this magnificent volcano.
Secure your seat at Reykjavík: Half-Day Guided Hike of Fagradalsfjall Volcano and explore the volcano with an experienced guide that will provide you with all the useful information about volcanoes in Iceland.
On this trip, you will find interesting and unique facts about Iceland volcanoes, and a lot of useful information so that you better understand everything related to volcanoes in Iceland news you saw on TV and the internet.
This guided tour also includes transportation from Reykjavik to the volcano and lasts for about 5 hours.
You will see the volcano erupting and how the rivers of lava changed the landscape, and you will hike through Geldingadalur Valley, a beautiful valley from Iceland, and discover new and interesting facts about Reykjanes Peninsula.
In the tour price you don’t have any meal included, so bring with you some snacks and water to recover your forces after the hike.
Unfortunately, nobody can tell exactly how long the volcanic eruption will last, so you’d better hurry up if you want to see the volcano in action.
Some experts consider that the eruption might continue for decades but actually, all these are suppositions, and no one knows for sure for how long the eruption will last.
As I told you earlier, Fagradalsfjall is not a volcano that erupted many times in the near past, but there are plenty of other volcanoes that recorded many eruptions in recent history.
Let’s take it one by one and find out some interesting facts about how these volcanoes remodeled the face of Iceland and influenced history and how bad the air travelers were affected by these eruptions.
Hekla, the most active volcano Iceland has
Located in the southern part of Iceland, Hekla is one of the most active volcanoes from Iceland with more than 20 eruptions since 874 AD.
The volcano is part of the volcanic ridge, the place where North American tectonic plates and Eurasian plates meet, and the most active part of the area is known as Heklugja and is about 5.5 kilometers long eruption site.
The most powerful and devastating eruption was recorded in 1104 AD when without any warning the volcano started to spit lava, ash, and gases in the atmosphere, destroying crops and killing animals.
Only in the 20th century, the volcano erupts 4 times, with the last major eruption dating from 2000.
Most scientists from the University of Iceland consider that the time for a new eruption is here so the volcano is well monitored for any sign of reactivation.
When the volcano erupted in 2000, the signs of an intense volcanic activity appeared only 30 minutes prior to the eruption.
This active volcano Iceland has is quite easy to access, as it is located about a 1 and a half hours drive from Reykjavik.
From the parking lot where you can park your car, there are about 4 hours. We recommend taking a 4×4 vehicle for another 16 kilometers as the road is quite bumpy and full of steep slopes.
From the bottom of the volcano to the crater, there is a 3 to 4 hours hike, depending on weather and your physical condition.
Pack with you a sandwich, some water, warm clothes, and good hiking boots as the hike will consume most of your energy.
It might not appear on the first pages on the volcano in Iceland news, but for sure Katla volcano is the largest volcano from southern Iceland.
Katla is famous for its powerful eruption; on a scale from 0 to 8, most Katla eruptions ranked between 4 to 6.
This volcano is also the main volcanic source of carbon dioxide from the entire planet, spreading in the atmosphere about 4% of the total carbon dioxide emissions on earth.
The volcano is located in the southern part, close to Vik I Myrdal and really close to the smaller Eyjafjallajökull glacier.
Based on the written evidence, it appears that the volcano generally erupts every 40 to 80 years and generally it causes massive flooding caused by the melting of the nearby glaciers.
The most powerful and devastating eruptions happened in 934, 1580, 1612, 1625, 1660, 1721, 1755, 1823, 1860, and 1918.
All these eruptions in Iceland caused glacial floods and scientists believe that the eruption from 934 was the most powerful eruption on earth recorded in the last 10,000 years.
So, based on these figures, it looks like it is time for a new and powerful eruption anytime soon.
Recent activity of Katla, the largest active volcano Iceland has
There were two smaller eruptions in the last period, one in 1999 and another in 2011.
The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull glacier from 2010, the volcano located in the vicinity of Katla caused panic among scientists, as many believed that the earthquakes and the nearby lava explosions would awaken Hekla.
Fortunately, this was not the case, even though some previous eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull have triggered the eruptions of the Katla volcano.
Actually, the president of Iceland stated that “the time for Katla to erupt is coming close … we [Iceland] have prepared … it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption”.
You can get to the volcano and even enter one of the many beautiful ice caves located in the glaciers around it.
Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep from Vik is the best tour for a unique experience inside of one of the most amazing ice caves from this part of Iceland.
The tour lasts for about 3 hours and starts in Vik at the Icelandic Lava Show, about 2 and a half hours away from Reykjavik.
A super jeep will get you very close to the ice cave located in Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, one of the best experiences you can try when in Iceland.
You will receive all the necessary equipment for your ice cave tour, but pack with you warm clothes, rainproof equipment, and hiking shoes and let the adventure begin.
Inside the cave, you will discover a new world that is constantly changing with unique and interesting ice figures and unique combinations of blue, black, and gray, the colors that dominate the ice cave.
Krafta, the countries most explosive volcano
If Katla is considered by experts the most active volcano Iceland has, Krafta is the most explosive one.
It is located in the northern part of the country and is actually a caldera, part of a super large volcanic system near Myvatn Lake.
The crater of Katla is about 10 kilometers wide and the fissure zone has more than 90 kilometers.
This volcano has a strong reputation of being very unpredictable and dangerous and evidence showed that there were almost 30 eruptions in the last 2,000 years.
The most devastating ones were between 1724 and 1729 when the volcano erupted with such an incredible force that the lava flows could be seen in the air from the southern part of Iceland.
There were no victims recorded during this eruption but it is hard to say if there were no indirect deaths as the quantity of smoke and ash evacuated by the volcano were significant.
Another important eruption was the one recorded between 1975 and 1984 which changed the face of Iceland.
Today the area around Krafta is incredibly beautiful and diverse: you have the Myvatn Lake that hosts an impressive number of birds, flora, and fauna.
In the nearby area there are also some of the most interesting geological formations, Dimmuborgir lava fortress and within a few dozens of kilometers away is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Askja the remote volcano
Another active volcano Iceland has is Askja located in the remote part of central highlights of Iceland.
It is a huge caldera with the highest point located at 1520 meters above sea level, quite far from any human settlement.
The volcano is accessible to tourists from all over the world interested in nature and looking to discover new things everywhere they go.
With From Lake Mývatn: Askja and Holuhraun Full-Day Jeep Tour you can get closer to this magnificent volcano.
The tour lasts for about 12 hours and starts at Lake Myvatn Information Centre and has hotel pick up and drop off included if you need it.
You will climb the rocky terrain with a Super Jeep, an exciting experience itself, not to mention the rare opportunity to climb a volcano and be in the middle of nature.
The tour has multiple stops, besides the hike to Askja volcano out of which the most interesting ones are: the beautiful lava fields around Herðubreiðarlindir volcano, the hot springs of the Viti crater, and the newest lava field, Holuhraun.
The most devastating eruption of Askja was recorded in 1875 and the quantity of ash from the air poisoned most of the Icelandic rivers, killed many animals, and destroyed crops.
It is believed that the ash cloud reached Norway, Germany, and Poland and nobody knows for sure the number of damages caused by this eruption.
Scientists closely monitor the volcano and in 2010 they noticed a slight increase in the seismic activity.
Everybody expected an eruption of Askja, but actually, Eyjafjallajökull was responsible for the increased seismic activity.
In April 2012, the scientists observed that the lake from Askja caldera was completely iceless, something that usually happens in June or July, so the area was restricted, and no tourist was allowed to get close to the volcano.
In September 2021, the level of alert was increased from Green to Yellow as the scientists recorded a 5 cm increase of water in the caldera which might be because of the increase in Askja activity.
Sleeping close to the most active volcanoes in Iceland
Most of the active volcanoes from Iceland are located on the southern part of the country, inside Vatnajokull National Park, the largest park from Iceland.
If you plan to visit the most active volcano at the moment, which is Fagradalsfjall volcano you can book a night in Reykjavik and from there take a day trip to the volcano.
There is about 30 minutes drive from Reykjavik to the volcano, so the destination is perfect for a day trip.
We chose to sleep at Midgardur By Center Hotels and from there take day trips to the nearby attractions, including this magnificent volcano.
After a few days spend in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, we head to the southern part of the country and sleep right at the entrance of Vatnajokull National Park.
We spent the following 3 nights at Seljavellir Guesthouse Hofn and explore the whole area as it has the highest density of attractions from Iceland.
We then continued our journey to the northeastern part of the country and spend our nights at Vogafjos Farm Resort Myvatn, a beautiful hotel located right near Myvatn Lake.
Here we spend another 3 wonderful nights and explore the whole area including the Askja crater.
Iceland, also known as The Land of Fire and Ice is home to many active volcanoes in the world and each eruption reshapes the face of the country and continues to attract thousands of tourists each time.
It is quite hard to say which is the most active volcano Iceland has, as volcanoes that haven’t erupted for millennia got back to life and unexpected eruptions occur quite often.
A major tourist attraction of the moment is definitely the eruption of Fagradalsfjall and I strongly encourage you to get on the next plane to see this magnificent show!
For sure there would be many more eruptions in the future, but each eruption is unique and Fagradalsfjall eruption is one of the very few that allows tourists to get close to an active volcano!
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
Book your accommodation
We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.
You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.
Don't forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.
We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.
Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.
We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.
Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.
We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.
Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.
Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.