The Volcanoes of Iceland
Many of the volcanoes in Iceland are active but the chances of you witnessing an eruption are quite low. Being near an exploding volcano is not safe anyway. But volcanic activity is evident in almost every corner of Iceland. During your visit, you will come across black sand beaches created from volcanic rocks, basalt rock formations, massive lava fields, and lava caves. You will also see volcanic craters that have turned into clear water lakes. Visiting every volcano in Iceland is not possible. But you can go around exploring the most popular situated across the country. Take a look at the list of main Icelandic volcanoes below.
The main volcanoes of Iceland are -
Eyjafjallajokull - Eyjafjallajokull is one of the most famous Icelandic volcanoes, and much of its fame has to do with the infamous 2010 eruption. It is located in southern Iceland, close to the Skógar waterfall. Standing at a height of 1651 meters, the volcano cuts an impressive figure jutting out of the land. Eyjafjallajokull is a stratovolcano topped off by an ice cap and one of the most active volcanoes on the island.
Katla - Katla is another famous active volcano in Iceland, situated at a short distance from Eyjafjallajokull. This volcano is widely regarded as the most dangerous volcano on the island as it erupts quite frequently. Katla has erupted violently 20 times between 930 and 1918. Getting really close to this volcano is not possible but there are some helicopter and hiking options. You can get a good view of Katla from its neighbor Eyjafjallajokull. Katla sits underneath the Mýrdalsjökull, creating a unique combination of a volcano and glacier
Krafla - Krafla is a scenic volcanic crater situated in the Mývatn area of northern Iceland. It is an active volcano that has had 29 eruptions since the first human settlement in Iceland. Nine of those eruptions have happened in the period between 1975-1984. A beautiful emerald blue lake named Víti sits in the crater and adds to the location’s appeal as a tourist attraction. Most people visiting Mývatn make a stop at Krafla.
Askja - The Askja volcanic system of northern Iceland was discovered following a gigantic eruption in the year 1875. During that eruption, ash from the volcano destroyed livestock and prompted people to leave Iceland. Situated in the Dyngjufjoll mountains, It comprises of various volcanic calderas. One of the calderas has a hot spring named Víti, which has become a popular place for tourists to take a dip. You can reach this picturesque volcano by availing tours from the northern part of the island.
Snæfellsjökull - Snæfellsjökull is one of the most famous Icelandic volcanoes and quite popular with tourists. It is yet another volcano with a glacier on top. This snow-capped volcano is situated in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula of western Iceland, near to many more attractions of the region. Snæfellsjökull has been made famous by its mention in the novel 'A Journey to the Centre of the Earth' by Jules Verne. It is now part of the Snæfellsjökull National Park and there are various tour options.
Hekla - Hekla volcano is a popular Icelandic volcano also known as the Gateway to Hell due to its intense and frequent eruptions. It is situated at a short distance from Reykjavik and can be reached via car. Hekla is considered as one of the most unpredictable Icelandic volcanoes.
The Glaciers of Iceland
Visit Iceland if you want to travel to some of the most amazing glaciers in the world, as the island has quite a few. Tourists are unaware that as much as 10% of Iceland’s land area is covered by glaciers. Some of Iceland’s major rivers, waterfalls and springs have their origins in the country's huge glaciers. No tour of Iceland is complete without exploring its renowned glaciers. As a tourist, you will also find options for guided glacial hiking and glacial walks. This natural feature stands out prominently as an integral part of the Icelandic landscape.
The top glaciers of Iceland are -
Vatnajokull - Vatnajokull is the largest and most popular glacier in Iceland, and also the largest in Europe. It is one glacier you must visit during your Iceland trip, even if you are there for a very brief time. Vatnajokull is also home to the outlet glacier named Svínafellsjökull, which has been used as a filming location for prominent Hollywood movies. The vastness and scenic beauty of Vatnajokull will leave you spellbound right from the moment you arrive. The glacier also has amazing attractions like the glacial lakes, ice caves, and the world-famous Diamond Beach.
Hofsjokull - Hofsjokull or the Temple Glacier is the third-largest glacier in Iceland. It has a 925 square kilometer ice cap and covers the caldera of a volcano named the Hofsjokull. The þjórsá, which is the longest river of Iceland originates from the Hofsjokull glacier. Travel to Iceland during the summer months if you want to visit Hofsjokull, as it is quite inaccessible during the colder seasons. There are available options for glacier trekking and glacial walks on the surface, and options to explore its ice caves.
Langjokull - Langjokull or ‘long glacier’ is the second-biggest glacier in Iceland and a popular tourist destination. It is an attraction covered by the Golden Circle tour circuit and a great place for winter sports activities. At Langjokull, you can explore ice caves, avail a snowmobiling tour, and put on your skiing gear to experience the time of your life. This famous glacier can be visited all year round but it gets smaller during the warmest months. Langjokull has a varied landscape with many interesting geological features.
Myrdalsjokull - Myrdalsjokull is a glacier located in the south coast of Iceland, and the country’s fourth-largest by area. It is home to the most dangerous active volcano in Iceland named Katla. You can choose to explore Myrdalsjokull on snowmobile or avail 4x4 vehicle tours. There is also a designated hiking trail to the upper reaches of the glacier if you are the adventurous kind. A pass called the Fimmvörðuháls can take you to the nearby Eyjafjallajökull glacier, the location of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland anytime soon consider visiting the glaciers and volcanoes mentioned above. These are some of the most impressive natural features that bring in countless tourists, adventure seekers, and photography enthusiasts. Get ready for a unique tourism experience on this island.