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Nestled within the Reykjanes UNESCO Geopark, Fagradalsfjall stands as an emblem of Iceland's volcanic might. Having erupted three times between 2021 and 2023, it promises more future eruptions. Scientists assert that this type of volcano can remain active for decades, displaying a series of eruptions with intermittent pauses. Remarkably, Fagradalsfjall is non-explosive, producing slow-moving lava flows. This makes the eruptions relatively safe to observe, enabling nature enthusiasts to experience the spectacle. Given its recent eruptions and its accessibility, Fagradalsfjall's fame is on track to surpass that of Eyjafjallajökull.
People trekking on a well-defined path towards Fagradalsfjall amidst a rugged rocky terrain.
Best time to visit
All year round
Coordinates
63.89032, -22.26936
Distance from Reykjavík
57km (35mi)

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Aerial view of Fagradalsfjall. Volcanic caldera on the foreground.
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Why visit Fagradalsfjall volcano?

Fagradalfsfjall’s eruption and Iceland’s volcanoes

In March, 2021, in southwest Iceland, Fagradalsfjall started erupting. Having lain dormant for 6,000 years, when scientists believe the volcano last erupted, Fagradalsfjall suddenly burst into life, spurting hot lava high into the sky. It was the first eruption in the whole area for nearly 900 years.

After six months of continuous eruption, the volcano settled down in September. Then, in 2022 Fagradalsfjall started erupting all over again. After months of tiny earthquakes sensed by scientists monitoring the site, August saw the volcano kick off once more. But this time, the eruption lasted only three weeks. Less than a year later, after a series of earthquakes, a fissure opened again and produced lava flows for three weeks.

Fagradalsfjall is only the most recent of Iceland’s volcanoes to erupt. With over 100 volcanic systems in Iceland—and over 30 that are active—there’s an eruption in Iceland on average every 4 to 5 years. In fact, it’s one of the most volcanically active countries on the planet.

If you want to experience a world of raw volcanic power and energy, Iceland is the place for you. And there are few other places in the country where the effects can be seen so clearly.

A person taking a picture of the lava field near the Fagradalsfjall area

How to visit Fagradalfsjall

Apart from its awesome terrain and the fascinating impacts of volcanic activity, Fagradalsfjall has one added bonus: it’s really easy to access from Reykjavík.

Fagradalsfjall is on the Reykjanes peninsula and is less than an hour by car from the city centre. If you want a day out to see a recently erupted volcano for yourself, then Fagradalsfjall is the best opportunity.

If you’re travelling by car, take the route 41 towards Keflavík. Take the junction for route 43 towards Grindavík where you can join the 427. The car park for Fagradalsfjall is only a short distance along this road. Expect to pay a 1,000 ISK charge for parking.

Due to its popularity and the presence of multiple lava fields and eruption sites, Fagradalsfjall offers numerous hiking trails. The accessibility of the volcano and its trails can vary after each eruption and might even change daily during active phases. Therefore, it's essential to seek up-to-date information about any hiking trail in this area. Check the safetravel.is website or join our Facebook group to inquire with locals about current conditions.

For the safest, most entertaining, and informative experience, consider joining a Reykjanes/Fagradalsfjall volcano tour. Expert local guides will collect you from downtown Reykjavík and take you on a guided tour around this fascinating UNESCO Global Geopark, ensuring you reach the eruption area safely. It's an excellent opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the volcano while eliminating the challenges of gathering information, planning, and driving!

Aerial view of a geothermal area in the Reykjanes Pensinsula

What to see around Fagradalfsjall

Set in the centre of a UNESCO Geopark, there are many more things to see and do around Fagradalsfjall. From hiking trails to iconic sights and volcanic wonders, you’ll find plenty to keep you inspired, no matter how you like to travel.

Visit Gunnuhver, a captivating geothermal area where the earth's warmth manifests as steam billowing from springs and bubbling mud pools. According to local lore, this mysterious place is haunted by the ghost of a woman named Gunna, whose tragic tale has left her spirit wandering the grounds for centuries.

Nearby is the renowned Bridge Between the Continents. As its name implies, this bridge symbolically connects the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can walk across this bridge, experiencing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge above sea level, which is the boundary between these two major plates. This tectonic activity plays a significant role in Reykjanes' geothermal and volcanic characteristics.

While you’re here, visit the coast of the Reykjanes peninsula. It’s an impressive world of high cliffs, seabirds, and complex rock formations. For example, you can see Brimketill, a small pool carved by water erosion that was once thought to be occupied by a local giantess, Oddný.

Reykjanestá is a rugged, dramatic coastline located at the southwestern tip of the Reykjanes Peninsula. Its sheer cliffs and unique rock formations, carved by the relentless power of the North Atlantic Ocean, offer a stark contrast to the geothermal activity found inland on the peninsula.

Nearby is the Reykjanesviti, Iceland's oldest lighthouse. Overlooking the turbulent waves of the North Atlantic, this iconic beacon has been guiding ships since 1878 and stands as a testament to the maritime heritage of the region.

Just a few kilometers from Fagradalsfjall is the famous Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland's most renowned geothermal spas. Known for its milky blue waters rich in minerals, it offers a therapeutic experience amidst a surreal lava landscape. Visitors can indulge in rejuvenating treatments, making it a must-visit for relaxation and wellness.

The lagoon's warm waters, which are naturally heated by volcanic activity, draw tourists from all over the world. Its unique setting and healing properties have solidified its status as a top Icelandic attraction.

During an active eruption at Fagradalsfjall, the radiant glow of red lava lights up the sky, with volcanic plumes ascending into the atmosphere. After a day of witnessing such spectacular volcanic displays, what could be more perfect than unwinding in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, nestled amidst a moss-covered lava field?

Don’t worry about navigating between these different sights all by yourself. Instead, on a tour of the Reykjanes peninsula, you can see the best of the region and meet like-minded travellers along the way.

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