Iceland is the land of fire and ice and these days, it’s showing its fiery side! On March 19, a volcanic eruption started on the Reykjanes peninsula, and (at the time of writing, at least) it is still spewing lava. This is what you need to know if you want to visit the Reykjanes eruption site.
Where is the Reykjanes eruption?
Fagradalsfjall volcanic system is around 40km from Reykjavík. It is so close to Reykjavík, the glare from the eruption is visible from the city. It’s also less than a 30-minutes’ drive from the Keflavík International Airport. Designated parking lots are located next to road 427, approximately a 10-minutes’ drive east of the town of Grindavík. It is forbidden to park along this road. It is expected that lava will flow over road 427 in the coming weeks and this article will be updated when this happens.
Hiking to the Reykjanes eruption
If you want to hike to the eruption site, you currently have two options: route B and route C. Visit Safe Travel for an overview of these trails and the latest information on the conditions at the eruption site. Both trails start at the parking lots next to road 427.
Hiking route B takes about three to four hours round trip and is considered a difficult hike. There is a steep hill you must climb with a rope that you can hold onto. There is little activity in the crater at the moment and route B offers you a view from behind, so it is possible that there is not much to see. This might change, though, as this volcano has proven to show different kinds of behaviour on a weekly basis.
Route C is a short one-hour walk both ways to where the lava is flowing into Nátthagi valley. At the moment, this is the recommended path to see the lava and the eruption site if you decide to go hiking. Though you will not be able to see the crater, the impressive experience of seeing flowing lava and feeling the heat is one you will not forget!
Going by helicopter to the Reykjanes eruption
The most convenient way to view the eruption site is by helicopter. Helicopter tours leave from Reykjavík Domestic Airport and take about 50 minutes, including a 15-minute stop at the eruption site. Helicopters will have five or six guests on board, ensuring amazing views and ample opportunity to ask questions. A knowledgeable guide will tell you all about the geology of the Reykjanes peninsula and the eruption, and you can enjoy the best views along the way, not only of the eruption, but also of Reykjavík and the area in between.
The helicopter ride is weather dependent, so check the weather forecast before your head out to make sure your tour is departing that day.
Good to know if you are visiting the Reykjanes eruption site
- Bring warm wind- and rainproof clothing, good hiking boots, water, and food with you.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and consider bringing a portable power bank.
- Gas may build-up in low-lying areas, so stay on hills and ridges and keep away from valleys.
- Gas pollution is not visible and cannot be detected by scent. If you feel any discomfort, leave the area immediately to prevent gas poisoning.
- New eruption fissures can open up without much notice.
- The area is not safe for young children.
- Do not take dogs to the eruption site. Fluorine is not safe for them and they are more sensitive to gases.
- Do not hesitate to talk to rescue team members on the site for information.
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