Why Take a Lava Tour in Iceland? Discover Iceland a Living Canvas of Lava
Iceland invites you to a realm sculpted by the fiery dance of lava. With its history of powerful eruptions, the country pulsates with the rhythm of volcanic activity.
Lava, molten rock birthed from the Earth's depths, is a paradoxical marvel. It's fiercely hot, reshaping everything in its path. Yet, as it cools, it crafts new terrains, creating hauntingly beautiful landscapes like expansive lava fields and mystic black-sand deserts. Iceland's reputation as one of the most volcanically vibrant spots on the globe makes it the premiere stage to witness lava's drama.
Embark on our expertly crafted lava tours for a front-row seat. Our seasoned guides ensure not just a riveting journey but also the safest way to navigate these dynamic landscapes.
The iconic Fagradalsfjall volcano, nestled in the heart of the Reykjanes UNESCO Geopark, has erupted thrice in recent years - 2021, 2022, and 2023. Though its eruptions are currently on pause, it's anticipated to awaken frequently over the coming decades. The freshly sculpted terrain around Fagradalsfjall offers an unparalleled opportunity to walk beside brand-new lava fields.
Dive deeper into the wonders of volcanic artistry by exploring one of the country's many lava tunnels. These awe-inspiring caverns, hollowed out by lava, showcase a mesmerising palette of colours and bewitching geological formations.
But the list of options for amazing lava adventures doesn't end there:
- Witness molten magic at the Lava Show, where fresh lava is artfully created, letting you experience its raw essence.
- Delve into the interactive Lava Center. Here, Iceland's tumultuous geological tapestry unfurls, narrated engagingly for all.
- For thrill-seekers, join us during active eruptions for guided hikes straight to the heart of the spectacle. When eruptions take a brief reprieve, we traverse the young lava fields, walking over history in the making.
- For a global accolade, trek the Fimmvörðuháls trail, a path etched by the 2010 eruption and celebrated by National Geographic as one of the world's premier trails.
Eager for more? Peruse our diverse lava tours and find the perfect volcanic voyage that calls to you.
Iceland is a land sculpted by volcanic activity, peppered with solidified lava fields that speak to its fiery past. Particularly on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the aftermath of the recent eruptions can be palpably felt.
Fagradalsfjall, a significant contributor to this volcanic history, erupted in 2021, 2022, and 2023. Experts anticipate that it will undergo multiple eruptions in the upcoming decades. This dynamic setting provides visitors with a unique opportunity: during active eruption phases, they can witness the mesmerising sight of flowing red lava.
Conversely, during its dormant periods, adventurers can traverse still-warm, solidified lava fields that release residual heat, steam, and occasional wafts of smoke, offering a firsthand experience of the island's ever-changing landscape.
Yes, you can see lava at Fagradalsfjall. The volcano erupted in 2021, 2022, and 2023, with each eruption lasting for a few weeks or months. Experts predict that Fagradalsfjall will continue its pattern of erupting on and off for the coming decades. Depending on the timing of your visit, you might encounter an active eruption with flowing lava, or you might see recently solidified lava from past eruptions. While witnessing active lava flows is undoubtedly mesmerizing, exploring the freshly solidified lava fields is also a unique and awe-inspiring experience. There are guided tours available that specifically take visitors to these new and transforming landscapes.
Yes, you can walk to a lava flow in Iceland at various locations.
The most renowned spot in recent years is Fagradalsfjall, located in the Reykjanes UNESCO Geopark. This volcano has notably erupted in 2021, 2022, and 2023, making it a significant contributor to Iceland's volcanic history. Experts believe that Fagradalsfjall will continue to erupt sporadically in the upcoming decades. During these active eruption phases, visitors might be treated to the mesmerising spectacle of flowing red lava. However, during dormant periods, the scene changes; adventurers can approach and walk on the still-warm, solidified lava fields. These areas emit residual heat, steam, and occasional smoke, offering an immersive experience of Iceland's dynamic geological wonders.
For those interested in exploring older lava fields, the Fimmvörðuháls trail leads to areas created over a decade ago. Located in the heart of the highlands, this trail promises a memorable journey through Iceland's fiery past.
While the volcano known as Fagradalsfjall is no longer erupting, it’s still a thrilling place to visit. It’s one of the best places in Iceland for a lava flow tour, in which you can see where the recent eruption has spat hot rock into the surrounding area.
The effects of lava are all around you in Iceland, from black-sand beaches and plains to the fumaroles that you see in the Golden Circle.
Lava is very hot. While the precise temperature varies, lava can reach temperatures between 800°C (1,470°F) and 1,200°C (2,190°F). When it cools below about 1,000°C (1,600°F), it typically starts to solidify. However, it’s likely still very hot inside.
The volcano of Fagradalsfjall began erupting in 2021 and quickly became one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. In fact, it was one of the most remarkable places to see active lava in the world, as you could get very close to the lava completely safely.
Since 2022, Fagradalsfjall is no longer erupting and you won’t be able to see active lava there. That said, it’s still an incredible sight, with freshly dried lava flows.
If you want to see fresh lava for yourself, don’t miss the Lava Show in the village of Vík, on Iceland’s south coast and in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavík. It’s the only live lava show in the world, where you can see real lava in a museum showroom.
What’s more, this is Iceland, so there’s likely to be another eruption somewhere soon. On average, they happen every four or five years, thanks to over 30 active volcano systems across the country.
In recent years, Iceland has become a magnet for travellers eager to witness the Fagradalsfjall volcano's eruptions. This site offers the rare opportunity to safely observe an active volcano in real-time.
Fagradalsfjall had eruptions in 2021, 2022, and 2023, with each event spanning several weeks or months. Forecasts suggest that this pattern of intermittent eruptions will persist for decades.
The nature of your experience will vary based on your visit's timing: you might see molten lava during an active phase or explore terrains shaped by prior eruptions. In between active eruptions, the Lava Show provides an immersive experience, allowing visitors to safely observe lava in a managed setting.
The Eldhraun lava field is on the south coast of Iceland, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) east of the village of Vík. If you are travelling from Reykjavík, you’ll need to drive east along Iceland’s Route 1, until you reach the sign for Eldhraun. The drive is just over 3 hours in total.
Alternatively, you can visit Eldhraun on a tour of the south coast. Explore our Iceland lava tours to find out more.
There are lava fields to be seen all across Iceland, but you might be a little surprised by their size.
For example, Eldhraun in the south of Iceland is the largest lava field in the world. Created during the eruption of the volcano Laki in the late 1700s, it spans over 500 square kilometres. Visit Eldhraun on a tour of the south coast.
Alternatively, visit lava fields on a hike across the highlands.
“Leave only footprints, take only memories.” We ask that all visitors to Iceland abide by the spirit of this saying. So, please do not take lava or other rocks with you when you leave Iceland. If every visitor took a rock with them, there wouldn’t be any left here!
Hiking on lava in Iceland requires careful consideration and an understanding of the risks involved.
First and foremost, you should never approach or touch lava that is flowing, red, or visibly glowing. These are clear indications of extreme heat and imminent danger. Near recent eruption sites, even lava that seems solidified on the surface may still retain intense heat underneath, making it hazardous to walk on.
In the case of the younger lava fields around Fagradalsfjall, caution is particularly essential. While the lava might appear solid and dormant, the volcano's active nature means eruptions can happen unexpectedly. There's also the danger of misleadingly thin crusts that conceal hot lava lakes or flows underneath. This poses a significant risk to anyone who ventures on them.
However, if you're interested in exploring older, well-established lava fields like Eldhraun, it's generally safe. But, and this is crucial, you must stick to designated paths. Not only does this ensure your safety, but it's also an act of respect for Iceland's fragile ecosystem. Moss-covered lava fields might seem inviting, but even a single footstep can damage the moss, and the impact lasts for decades. When one person ventures off the path and others follow, the cumulative damage can be extensive and irreparable.
In essence, while it's possible to experience the beauty of Iceland's lava fields, it's imperative to do so responsibly. Always follow designated paths and never stray from them. This ensures not only your safety but also the preservation of Iceland's unique and delicate landscapes.
Once it cools, lava turns back into rock and becomes perfectly solid—and perfectly safe to walk on.
You can walk on lava fields such as Eldhraun. Just be careful, because it’s not like walking down the street. Lava solidifies into strange forms and will be a little uneven. What’s more, mosses and other plants typically cover these rocks, making the lava field a little slippy.
Sturdy shoes are a must!