Are you looking for off the beaten path adventures in Iceland – that involve volcanoes?
The first time I went to Iceland I was determined to see a volcano. And I saw two – by going inside one – and flying above another.
Iceland’s Inside the Volcano tour takes you into the depths of the dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano – located about 20km from the capital Reykjavik. The volcano last erupted 4000 years ago, creating a crater which didn’t collapse on itself and provided an open entrance.
The journey starts by hiking 3km to the volcano. It’s a fairly easy 45 minute hike past lava fields and lava tubes with an informative guide telling you all about Iceland’s volcanic history along the way.
The landscape out to the site features kilometres of lava fields and volcanoes. Iceland is certainly unique.
Once you reach the volcano, you’ll be provided with gloves, a harness and a helmet. The harness is just a safety measure for when you’re lowered in and out of the volcano.
Then you get into a contraption similar to what you see high rise window washers use, and are lowered down 120 metres to the bottom of the crater.
You’re then free to roam around the crater – navigating your way along the volcanic rock to the sides of the crater. It was a pretty cool experience. How many people can say they’ve gone inside a volcano?
The tour operates from May to October with several tours daily. Cost of the tour is $360 USD. Yes, it’s ridiculously expensive (get used to it in Iceland) but it’s a unique experience that I’m certainly glad I did.
A bird’s eye view of volcanoes
Another bucket list activity is flying over Icelandic volcanoes with Reykjavik Helicopters.
There were so many times I said ‘wow’ during the hour long flight and almost couldn’t believe the beauty of what I was seeing below me.
I flew out of Reyjkavik over the lava fields, and then headed past the Seljandafoss waterfall, across the black sand beaches near Vik and then over the Eyjafjallajökull volcano – infamous for the 2010 eruption that grounded flights across Europe due to its volcanic ash cloud.
Even at the height of summer, the volcano is covered in a thick blanket of snow while the mountains around it are bright green.
It was breathtaking hovering above the snow covered slopes of Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and seeing the volcanic influenced landscapes around it.
During the flight I also saw the Hekla Volcano and got close enough to see some hikers making their way up. Hekla is another of Iceland’s most active volcanoes.
Reykjavik Helicopters can package up a flight for you that will suit your needs. The more people you get to come along with you, the cheaper it gets per person.
The Secret Lagoon
Sure you’ve heard of the Blue Lagoon – but what taking a dip in the Secret Lagoon?
The Secret Lagoon is a thermal pool heated by geothermal energy, and it’s located near the village of Fludir – about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik.
The geothermal waters remain a steady 38-40 degrees year round.
There’s a short trail around the lagoon to see the boiling and spouting hot springs around the Secret Lagoon pool.
The Secret Lagoon has showers and change rooms. Entry is $21 USD.
Things You Should Know
- Wear running shoes and bring a couple of layers with you on the Inside a Volcano tour. Icelandic weather can be unpredictable and the temperature inside the volcano averages about five degrees.
- The main route around Iceland is a ring road and most attractions are very clearly signed.
- If you have your own wheels, make sure you bring your swimmers with you. You never know when you’ll come across a great thermal pool to take a dip.
- Iceland is expensive and it’s guaranteed to hurt your bank balance. Cut down some of your costs by staying in hostels. The hostels in Iceland are a very high standard and have kitchens so you don’t have to eat out all the time.
- If you don’t have the cash to splurge on the larger thermal lagoons, you can head to your local swimming pool in Reykjavik. The swimming pool complexes in Reykjavik are also heated through geothermal energy and cost around $7 USD to enter.