Skip to main content

Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula is one of the most geothermally active areas on the planet. With regular eruptions, lava fields, steam vents, and other volcanic sights, the peninsula makes for a thrilling day out.
Overhead drone shot of the Reykjanes Peninsula, capturing the vibrant red landscape with plumes of steam rising.

Related tours

Aerial view of Fagradalsfjall. Volcanic caldera on the foreground.
11.5 hours

Volcanic Wonders & the Sky Lagoon

Discover Iceland's geothermal heart in the UNESCO recognized Reykjanes Geopark, a land that way created where continents drift apart. Journey through the awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes and explore the freshly-formed lava fields of Fagradalsfjall Volcano. Complete your day with a relaxing and rejuvenating spa experience at Reykjavík’s newest luxury bath, the Sky Lagoon.

From €158/person

Visit the Reykjanes peninsula, Iceland’s most volcanically active region

What makes the Reykjanes peninsula special?

The Reykjanes peninsula is one of the most volcanically active regions on the planet. This makes Reykjanes a dynamic and fascinating place to visit. You’ll see volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs, and huge clouds of geothermal steam, as well as one of Iceland’s most famous destinations, the Blue Lagoon.

What makes the Reykjanes peninsula so special is that it sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is a tectonic plate boundary that stretches through the centre of the Atlantic Ocean, separating the two continents, Europe and North America. These two continents—or tectonic plates—are moving apart, and the Ridge is the area in between.

It’s this tectonic movement that causes the volcanic activity on the Reykjanes peninsula. As these continents move, the ground of the peninsula fractures and lava shoots up onto the surface. These are known as fissure volcanoes, and it’s these you’ll see at Reykjanes.

The most active volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula right now is at Fagradalsfjall. This erupted in 2021, 2022, and started once more in July 2023. It’s one of the safest places in the world to see a volcanic eruption, because the lava doesn’t erupt explosively, but instead gently bubbles up onto the surface.

Some experts have said that these eruptions are likely the start of many more eruptions in the area. So, if you haven’t had the chance to see the eruption this time, there may be another opportunity in future.

This continuous volcanic activity is why Reykjanes is known as one of the youngest areas on the planet. As the tectonic plates move apart and lava emerges, new land is continually being formed.

What to see in Reykjanes

All this volcanic activity means that there’s an incredible variety of things to see and do on the Reykjanes peninsula. That’s why it’s been designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark.

One of the most famous sights in Reykjanes is of course the Fagradalsfjall volcano. With streams of lava that glow as they flow down the mountainside, it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience. If you missed the eruptions in 2021 or 2022, don’t worry. In July 2023, Fagradalsfjall erupted once more—and it’s likely to erupt again in future.

Even if it’s not erupting when you visit, you can still hike up to the viewpoint to see a breathtaking volcanic landscape. It’s an unforgettable scene. And you can make it even more compelling by joining a guided tour, led by a knowledgeable local expert.

For a different sort of volcanic experience, tour Reykjanes’s western coast. Here, the whole coast is made from solid lava, and some of the forms and shapes you’ll see are amazing.

For example, you’ll find the Brimketill rock pool, eroded by the waves. Additionally, you can visit Hafnarberg sea cliffs, a line of dramatic cliffs that are often populated by seabirds. For some of the most dramatic rock formations in the area, visit the coastline between Reykjanestá and Valahnúkamöl, on the peninsula’s south-western tip.

Close by is Reykjanesviti, the oldest lighthouse in Iceland, as well as Gunnuhver, an area of hot springs featuring steam vents and smoking mud pools. Not far from the coastline, it’s a magical spot, named after a ghost who was trapped in one of the pools.

Don’t miss the Bridge Between Continents either. It’s precisely as its name suggests—a bridge that crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between continents. Where else can you say you’ve walked between Europe and America?

In this fascinating area, there’s also Seltún, a geothermal area, as well as the impressive Kleifarvatn lake.

One of Iceland’s best-known and most luxurious destinations is on the Reykjanes peninsula too. That’s the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal pool where you can bathe in warm therapeutic waters. Not only is it simply a deeply relaxing experience, but it’s powered by the same forces that cause the area’s volcanoes. It’s a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

How to get there

There’s so much to see and do on the Reykjanes peninsula. All you need to do now is get there.

Luckily, Reykjanes is really conveniently located for international travellers. When you fly in, you’ll likely land at Keflavík airport, which is itself on the Reykjanes peninsula. The peninsula is only a short drive away from the centre of Reykjavík too.

At Reykjanes’s southern extreme, you’ll be 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the capital, but most of the sights are much closer than that. If you’re driving, you can leave the city and be on the peninsula within an hour. With a car, you’ll also have the benefit of going at your own pace, to explore anything that takes your interest.

What you won’t have if you drive yourself though is any local knowledge. That’s why many visitors to Reykjanes instead choose to take a guided group tour. This way, you’ll learn much more about the area through which you’re travelling, including about the processes that are so radically transforming this part of the world.

Some tours also included guided hikes to the eruption sites, offering the most compelling and safest way to witness an eruption. If the volcanoes aren’t erupting when you visit, you can still see the new rock that’s been formed.

Joining a tour with Icelandia also means that you don’t have to worry about driving. You can sit back and enjoy the view on the way to the top sights in the area. And you’ll have the chance to get to know your fellow travellers along the way.

Explore our tours to discover more.

Frequently asked questions

Sign up for our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive tips, personalized travel advice, and early-bird offers on unique experiences!

  • Exclusive Insights
  • Tailored Travel Tips
  • Early Access to Offers