Volcano in Iceland tour is extremely popular among visitors from all over the world, especially nowadays when Fagradalsfjall volcano offers such a magnificent show displaying the powerful forces of nature.
The Land of Fire and Ice as this country is also called is home to more than 130 volcanoes, spread all across the country, especially on the southern coast.
Some of these volcanoes are active and erupted in the last centuries, while others are considered to be dormant but are still closely monitored for any signs of reactivation.
Iceland is a very interesting country, full of glaciers and volcanoes and its volcanoes are among the most active in the world.
Based on the scientific evidence there is an Icelandic eruption every 5 years or even more often if we include the submarine eruptions too.
Why are volcanoes in Iceland so active?
Volcanoes of Iceland are so active mainly because of the location of this country, right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
This small but beautiful country is located right where the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate meet.
Because these tectonic plates are in constant motion, the magma from the earth is constantly moving and it rises to the surface causing volcanic eruptions.
Scientists estimated that more than a third of the lava that has flown on the earth’s surface since the Middle Ages came from volcanoes from Iceland- just to have a clue about how active the Icelandic volcanoes are.
Types of volcanoes in Iceland
There are multiple types of volcanoes all across the world, but the most common for Iceland around which volcano in Iceland tour are organized are:
- Stratovolcanoes– the ones that are hidden beneath a thick ice cap and that have a cone shape peak whose eruption forms a crater
- The dormant volcanoes– are the ones that did not record any recent eruption and are generally surrounded by massive lava fields (e.g.Thrihnukagigur volcano)
- Eruptions from fissure vents that are cracks in the Earth’s surface and from there magma comes to the surface during an eruption
Devastating eruptions in Iceland
The most powerful and devastating eruptions ever recorded in Iceland are the ones between 1784 to 1896.
These years were marked by powerful earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and intense geothermal activity.
The most active volcano of all is by far Hekla which erupted 18 times between 1104 and 2000.
A powerful eruption was recorded in 1963 when a submarine eruption occurred and a new island was born: the island called Surtsey that is today part of the Heimaey archipelago.
The new island measured 2.8 square kilometers but because of the wind and water erosion today it has only 1.5 square kilometers.
Another devastating eruption was recorded in the summer of 1783 as was caused by the volcano known as Laki.
During this eruption, it was recorded the largest lava flow in the world when 25 kilometers of craters brought to the surface more than 15 cubic kilometers of lava.
The effects of this eruption were huge: the ash cloud passed Europe and reached Egypt and more than 10,000 people died because of famine.
Many livestock died and a significant area cultivated by people was destroyed.
There were plenty of eruptions across the years, some of them stopping the air traffic, like the one from 2010, while others had a really low impact on people.
The last volcano that erupted in Iceland was Fagradalsfjall volcano, a volcano that last erupted 800 years ago.
It is located far from any human settlement, but close enough to Reykjavik, making for it the best day trip when in Iceland.
Now you have an idea about how powerful and dangerous Mother Nature is and the good news is that you can go and see with your own eyes how volcanoes reshaped and remodeled the Icelandic territory.
I drop below a list of the most interesting and unique tours that you can join for some memorable moments when in Iceland.
Volcano in Iceland tour – which one to pick?
1.Reykjavik: Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike
If you are looking for the most popular tour volcano Iceland at this moment then you definitely have to book your seat in advance at the Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike tour.
Fagradalsfjall is the name of the volcano that erupted on March 19 2021 and which continues to spit lava even after 6 months from the first eruption.
The last known eruption of this volcano was recorded 800 years ago and it was a surprise for everyone when the volcano erupted in the first quarter of 2021.
The good thing about this eruption is that it did not cause any material damages, as the volcano is located quite far from any human settlement.
This is one of the very few active volcanoes that are not dangerous to visit during the eruption so people from all over the world rush to see this spectacle with their own eyes.
The volcano that continues to spit lava and gases is located in Reykjanes Peninsula, extremely close to the capital city of Iceland, the city of Reykjavik.
Reykjavik: Fagradalsfjall Volcano Hike is the best tour you can book that gives you the opportunity to get close to an active volcano.
The tour starts in Reykjavik with pick up from your hotel quite early in the morning and when the group is complete the vehicle heads to the volcano.
In less than one hour you will arrive at the base of the molten lava field and after a short training, the group accompanied by an experienced guide will start the guided hike to the volcano, to get as close as possible to where all the action happens.
You will see the lava rivers coming from the volcano and experience the intense hit of the magma that destroyed everything on its way down from the mountain.
The guide is like an open book so you can ask him a lot of questions about Iceland and volcanoes as he has all the answers and you will learn a lot of new things about this country.
Safety is the first priority for your guide, so you will get as close as possible to the volcano without being exposed to any danger.
When you will find the best location for observing the volcanic activity, you will camp for a while so you will have enough time to enjoy the view, take some memorable shots, and feel the power of Mother Nature.
In the tour price, you have included the pickup and drop-off services from your hotel in Reykjavik, the guide, and also an Icelandic Chocolate Lava drink to help you warm after the long hike.
Don’t forget to take with you some water and also some snacks as the food is not included in the tour price and you won’t stop at any restaurant for lunch.
The tour lasts for about 6 hours and usually starts at 9 o’clock in the morning, so you will have enough time to eat breakfast and prepare for the adventure of your life!
What others say about this Iceland volcano tour
Jamie from the United Kingdom
Enjoyed the trip overall. The guide led the group of 17 people and waited when the group separated due to slower hikers. But when slow people caught up, he started hiking again so slower walkers did not get a break. Luckily that was only a few people. Loved the treat when we got to the top!!!
Kate from the United States
Excellent value for money and choice of activities, great hike up to see cater and modern comfortable transport -very good way to spend a day!
2. Reykjavik: Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater
Kerid crater is located in the southern part of Iceland right on the Golden Circle route, one of the most beautiful and popular routes from Iceland.
The crater from Grimsnes contains a turquoise lake and has a total depth of 55 meters and a diameter of 275 meters.
It is an extremely old caldera, more than 3,000 years old, and is one of the emblematic places of Iceland.
Scientists initially believed that the Kerid crater was born after a massive volcanic eruption but they could not find any evidence to sustain this theory.
Based on recent studies and analysis, it appears that the Kerid crater has nothing but a cone volcano that spits out all its lava reserves during several eruptions.
So, when the cone was empty it collapsed into the magma chamber that was empty; over years the cone filled with water, and today is one of the most beautiful turquoise crater lakes from Iceland.
In order to see this beautiful lake, you have to book a seat at Reykjavik: Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater, one of the best tours that include not just the world-famous Golden Circle tour and hot springs but also a stop to this magnificent crater.
The tour lasts for about 8 hours, so yes, it is a full-day tour and you’d better book your seat in advance as this is one of the best seller tours from Iceland.
It starts with a hotel pick up from Reykjavik and after about 45 minutes drive you will reach the first attraction: Hveragerdi photo point, so prepare your camera for some wonderful shots.
The next stop is, of course, the Kerid crater, followed by Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir area, and to world-famous Thingvellir National Park.
You will visit the beautiful and fascinating geothermal area from the southern coast known as the Geysir area, home to two of the most famous Geysers in the world, that spit boiling water every 6 to 10 minutes.
Then you will stop at Gullfoss, one of the most powerful and large waterfalls from Iceland, and will continue with a stop at Thingvellir National Park, the place where two tectonic plates meet.
Thingvellir is the best place to be if you want to be in two places simultaneously because only here you can touch with both hands at the same time the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian plate.
Here, inside the park, you can dive at Silfra fissure, one of the world most popular diving places where you can snorkel between two tectonic plates ( we were so thrilled about the idea that we bought another tour Silfra Fissure Snorkeling Tour with Underwater Photos on the following day and had the best diving in our lives).
Thingvellir is also considered as being the place where democracy was born so don’t forget to pay a visit to the Rock of Law, the place where the first Parliament in the world was founded.
What others say about this tour
Amanda from Iceland
Our excursion was one of the best tour-led trips we have ever experienced. Our guide was extremely friendly, extremely helpful as he is a practiced photographer and continuously pointed out the best place for pictures or for exceptional viewpoints which enhanced our experience and the timing of the trip was planned and executed perfectly so that we had ample time to take in the views but also got to see everything as planned – and even a bonus waterfall.
Andrea from the United Kingdom
Would recommend this tour 200%. The sights are amazing. You also have time to have lunch and use the restrooms. Omar(sorry for my spelling, not sure if it’s correct) our tour guide was brilliant!! very nice guy, and very knowledgeable, explained everything from history facts to science, to lore. 10 out of 10
3. From Reykjavik: Snæfellsnes Peninsula Full-Day Tour
This is a full-day tour that lasts for 11 hours and leads you to one of the most beautiful peninsulas from Iceland: Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
This volcano in Iceland tour starts with a 2 hours drive from Reykjavik to this amazing peninsula.
Once you get close to the peninsula a new and beautiful landscape appears in front of your eyes: charming villages, amazing landforms, and the cold but beautiful Atlantic Ocean in the background.
You will stop and visit the most charming fishermen villages from Iceland: Arnarstapi, Grundarfjordur, and Hellnar.
Prepare your camera for some amazing shots of the spectacular mountains and volcanic craters like Ljosufjoll and Kirkjufell on your Snaefellsnes Peninsula full-day tour.
Kirkjufell or the Church Mountain is believed to be the most photographed landmark from Iceland because of its isolated position and impressive height ( 460 meters above sea level).
Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the area around Kirkjufell is also a place where most tourists go to see the Northern Lights when traveling to Iceland.
This is the place where Games of Thrones (season 6 and 7) was filmed and it is made from volcanic rock.
On the bottom of the Kirkjufell, there is a lake that perfectly mirrors the peak on a clear and calm day.
This is definitely one of the most photographed places from the whole of Iceland so prepare your camera to get some really amazing shots of the area.
Besides these beautiful landmarks from the peninsula, you will have a stop at Djupalonssandur beach, the most interesting beach from the peninsula, a black sand beach extremely popular among tourists.
The magnificent scenery of this peninsula inspired Jules Verne when he wrote his book “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, so read it before you go and try to match the places described in the book with what you see in this area.
The return drive will last for about 3 hours and is a great opportunity to make new friends and chat with other members of the group about the beauty of this country.
What others say about this tour
Carmel from the United States
Omar was an excellent driver guide who made this 11-hour tour interesting throughout. There were only 8 of us in a small van and excellent weather conditions, so I was able to take advantage of taking lots of photos from the vehicle windows. Omar made lots of stops along the way, in addition to the official stop. My favorites were stopping to say hello to some Icelandic horses and going behind a waterfall and tasting the freshwater. Omar helped me through some slippery parts on the path to get behind the waterfall. Our lunch spot in Olafsvik was the best meal in Iceland I had to date–pan-seared cod (fish of the day). We saw black sand beaches, a freshwater lagoon, glaciers, and Mt. Kirkjufell. Our day ended with a walk along the coastline in Arnarstapi. Thank you, Omar, for showing us the highlights of your beautiful Western Iceland.
Androniki from Germany
This part of Iceland is extremely amazing and I recommend it 100% to all. If you are a “Game of Thrones” fan you will see some of the most famous places where the series was shot. Other than that, volcanos, black sand beaches, amazing mountains, lava fields.. This place has it all..
4. Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep from Vik
Katla volcano is one of the largest volcanoes located in the southern part of Iceland, a very active one with more than 20 eruptions documented in the period 930 to 1918.
The name of the volcano comes from the word “Ketill” which means “kettle” and refers mainly to the shape of the volcano.
As a rule, it erupts twice per century, but the last major eruption dated from 1918, so yes, it is time to go active anytime in the future.
There had been multiple small eruptions that did not manage to break the thick ice cap that covers it, like the ones from 1955, 1999, and even in 2011.
Starting with 1999 the seismic activity around the volcano increased and geologists believe that small subglacial eruptions had taken place many times in recent years, some of them without causing any ice melting.
That is why the volcano is considered to be unsafe for tourists and any hike volcano Iceland in the area is forbidden.
Even if you cannot get closer to the volcano, you can go beneath the ice cap and see the magnificent ice caves that formed in the glaciers around the area.
Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep from Vik lasts for 3 hours and starts in the town of Vik, located in the southern part of Iceland.
From Vik, you will be transferred close to the ice cave with a special car, a Super Jeep that can run on rough terrain, mud, and ice.
Before you get into the supercar you will receive your equipment, like a helmet and crampons, and a short training about how to act and what you can do inside the cave.
Once you get inside the cave you will be fascinated by the colors of the ice, an interesting and unique combination of gray, black, and blue.
The guide with extensive experience and a lot of knowledge about the ice caves, glaciers, and volcanoes will tell you a lot of interesting things about this whole ecosystem.
The Super Jeep ride is itself a very interesting experience, not to mention the beautiful ice caves hidden beneath the millennia-old ice cap.
Pack with you warm clothes, including a scarf, gloves, a hat, and a raincoat, as you will need them inside the cave.
It is also very important to have comfortable and warm hiking shoes as you will stay inside the cave for about 40 minutes and the temperature is around 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
And there is something else I would like to tell you before I will move on to the last volcano in Iceland tour I want to recommend to you.
Because of its complexity, children under 8 years old are not allowed to go on this tour and if you are afraid of the dark or you suffer from claustrophobia don’t book this tour as inside the cave is dark and the tunnel might be very narrow in some places.
What others say about this tour
Dave from United Kingdom
Our tour guide Sven was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We took a super jeep ride to the foot of the glacier, taking in some amazing scenery that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see. We had a short trek across the glacier and arrived at the ice cave
Sarah from Canada
Amazing guides, very friendly and comfortable journey to the glacier.
5. Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel: Underground Expedition
Raufarholshellir is not just the most popular, but also the 4th largest lava cave from Iceland with a total length of 1360 meters.
The lava tunnel is located about a 30 minutes drive from Reykjavik to the southwestern part of the country and impresses with its magnificent colors and unique rock formations.
The cave has a total length of 1360 meters, with 10-28 meters wide and about 10 meters in height.
This is definitely one of the best lava caves you can visit when in Iceland as the lava is more than 10 meters thick.
Here are some really interesting facts about this lava cave:
- Part of the cave goes under the road to Thorlakshofn so when walking around the cave there will be cars passing above you
- There is an interesting story about a cinerary urn and an epitaph stolen from the cave but the guide will tell you the whole story during your visit here
Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel: Underground Expedition is the tour that we bought for visiting this cave and here we heard the story mentioned above.
The tour lasts for about 1 hour and includes a full tour of Iceland’s 4th largest lava cave, a place also known as a lava tube.
This is not a man-made cave, so everything you will see inside is modeled and shaped by the force of nature.
You will be fascinated by the geological formations and landscape inside the cave not to mention the changing colors of the rocks.
You will spend one hour inside and listen to the information provided by the guide to find new things about this unique and rare landform.
In the tour price, you have included the necessary equipment for exploring the cave: helmets and headlamps, gloves and crampons in winter.
What others say about this volcano in Iceland tour
Kathryn from Iceland
The lava tunnel was very interesting – various colors and types of stone and formations, etc. The guide was quite informative, personable, and humorous. The tour was worth the money. The guide even took everyone’s pictures at the end (with their own phone or camera). Dress warmly – it was about 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) inside the tunnel.
Francesca from United States
Very safe, accessible experience. Tour guide was friendly with some hilarious “dad” jokes along the way. Would definitely recommend it to anyone in the area!
It is very clear for everybody that the Iceland tourism volcano is important, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world.
The number of visitors increases considerably when an eruption occurs and people rush to see the power of nature reshaping the face of our planet.
These 5 tours will get you to new and unique territories and will help you discover the beautiful face of Iceland.
Pick the guide you like most and let the adventure begin! Don’t forget to share with us your memories from your Icelandic adventure because I am sure you have plenty of beautiful moments to share!
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.