Eyjafjallajökull: surely you’ll remember it’s eruption in 2010, when it disrupted air traffic in Europe for a long time. But the volcanoes in Iceland have far more to offer than smoke, uneasiness and tongue-twister names. Today, I would like to introduce you to three volcanic tours in Iceland, which will bring you much closer to the sleeping giants.

Geysers, waterfalls and the Northern Lights. Word of Iceland’s incredible beauty has now got out. However Iceland not only scores points for its landscape, but also for the unique activities, which you can experience here. Land on an active volcano, crawl through lava tubes, or abseil down a volcanic crater. Adventure simply belongs to Iceland! I’ll now introduce you to three action packed excursions in Iceland.

Explore Icelandic Volcanoes

Leiðarendi Cave | Thrihnukagigur | Helicopter Tour | Experience Iceland

Leiðarendi Cave – the end of the road

We start at Leiðarendi Cave, which is about 25-30 minutes away from Reykjavik. It is located on one of the many lava fields in Iceland. Leiðarendi translates to ‘the end of the road’. The lava tube was formed as a result of an eruption of one of the volcanoes. Lava solidified on the floor, while the magma below continued to flow, thus forming corridors and chambers. The small column through which you can descend into the earth is inconspicuous and can be easily overlooked.

Basic information about the tour:

  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Availability: all year round

Just before the entrance at the start of the tour, you will be given a helmet, as well as a torch, which will give you a small ray of light. So despite the darkness, you can always see where you are, where you are walking, and how unbelievable the cave looks, with its shadow puppetry. In an area which is cordoned off, you can still see the skeleton of a lamented lamb, who obviously got lost in the cave a long time ago, and did not find its way out. To make the whole thing even more dramatic, each participant is asked to turn off their touch, and remain completely silent – you’re put in the previous situation of the lamb. Suddenly it’s as quiet as a mouse and any sense of direction you had disappears.

My tip: It’s best to wear sturdy shoes and warm clothing, which you are not afraid of getting dirty. For the most part, you walk upright through the cave, but every now and then, there are narrow passages, which you can only fit through on all fours. The duration of such a tour is around 3.5 hours, and about half of this time is spent inside the cave. This tour gets a clear thumbs up from me – this adventure is even suitable for families, as children from the age of 6 are allowed to participate.

Thrihnukagigur – the centre of the earth

If the previous tour was not action-packed enough for you, the next tour might be more to your liking. On this tour, you have the opportunity to abseil down a real volcanic crater. Thrihnukagigur (Icelandic: Þríhnúkagígur) has been dormant for 4,000 years and is a small natural wonder. Generally, after an eruption, the lava of the volcano cools directly in the crater. However, in the case of Thrihnukagigur, the lava has drained away and a real spectacle of nature has been created.

Basic information about the tour:

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Availability: July-October
  • Temperature: 5-6°C

Your tour starts in Reykjavik and after a 40-minute drive, you will reach your first stopover. Since you cannot drive directly to the volcano, you will face your first challenge right at the beginning of the tour: a 3.2 km hike, which leads through a rugged lava field to Thrihnukagigur. Once you arrive at the volcano, you will receive the necessary equipment, such as your helmet and harness. Now the most exciting part of the tour can start. After you climb into a gondola and get strapped in, the descent (120-metres) begins. For a good six minutes, you will be steeply descending. During this time, you can observe the walls of the burnt-out magma chamber and can enjoy the bizarre solidified rock, which shines in all its colours. After that, you have about half an hour to explore the naturally formed chamber, before heading back up in the gondola.

My tip: As the tour is relatively challenging, you have to be at least 12 years old and physically fit. Trainers and jeans are particularly discouraged for this tour. It’s best to wear robust hiking boots and a warm jacket.

Helicopter tour – volcanoes and glaciers from above

You don’t fancy enduring a hike or squeezing through any gaps? No problem, in this next tour you’ll have the opportunity to view the incredible volcanic landscape of Iceland from above. You start at the airport in Reykjavik and you can look forward to a 2 hour round trip over Iceland. As soon as your helicopter starts up, the first highlight awaits you. You have the opportunity to see Reykjavik from above. Once you have taken in the first impressions, the helicopter will take you over the deserted black sandy beaches, the glaciers and the characteristic barren environment of Iceland. You will also be able to admire the active volcanoes, Katla and Hekla, which are housed in the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Basic information about the tour:

  • Duration: 2-2.5 hours
  • Availability: all year round

But that’s not it – depending on weather conditions, this tour also includes a landing on top of one of the volcanoes: either Eyjafjallajökull or Fimmvörðuháls. Take the beautiful nature in, and pause for a moment. Feel how the wind blows through your hair, and admire the beauty that stretches before you. Afterwards, you will be back on your way back and will you once again have the opportunity to admire the diversity of the Icelandic nature.

My tip: The tour takes about 2 – 2.5 hours and takes place all year round, depending on the weather. Make sure you are well informed beforehand, about if and when the tour starts. I particularly like the fact, that everyone can participate in this flight. It also offers physically restricted persons the opportunity to experience the beauty and uniqueness of Iceland.

Experience Iceland

Would you like to explore the diversity of the volcanoes on Iceland? Whether it’s hiking, abseiling or flying, there is something for everyone here. Is this all too daring for you? Perhaps a relaxing dip in the famous Blue Lagoon or admiring the Northern Lights, would be more up your street? No matter what you decide, Iceland is always worth a visit.

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