Iceland has over 100 volcanoes strewn across the entire country, meaning you can find volcano experiences in every region of Iceland. Of course, some volcanoes are more popular or accessible than others, but you can easily add a volcanic activity of some form to your trip—and you don't have to be an athlete to enjoy it. Yes, there are some challenging hikes through lava fields and up volcanoes, but there are also options to simply follow wooden paths to a steaming hot river or explore lava caves.
If you're interested in learning more about Iceland's volcanic activity and history, you can explore active zones, including erupting volcanoes, bubbling mud pits, and valleys filled with steam vents.
Visit Geldingadalur Volcano
Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience hiking up an active volcano! The hike up Geldingadalur Volcano is steep and partially over uneven terrain, but the effort is worth it, as you'll reach a viewing area with the famous volcanic scene in front of you. Although it doesn't always erupt with lava, it's possible sometimes to see steam coming from the top. The scenery along the way is equally as impressive, as the trail passes through and by jagged mountain peaks, endless valleys, and colorful lava fields. Read More
Leirhnjúkur Lava Fields
Walk through an active lava field featuring steam vents and otherworldly terrain. While exploring Leirhnjúkur, you may feel like you're on another planet, especially as you walk along wooden paths above the vibrantly colored landscape, bubbling mud pits, and crystal-clear steam pools. In just 10 minutes, you'll reach the first of the steam vents, but if you'd like to see it all, the loop trail takes about one hour to complete. Read More
Reykjadalur "Steam Valley"
Known as "Steam Valley," Reykjadalur Valley is part of the Hengill Volcanic System. Although the last eruption was over 2,000 years ago, the area is still very active with steaming mud pools, fumaroles (the openings in the Earth's crust that release steam), and a hot river flowing down from the mountainside. If you'd like, you can take a dip in the river, but stick to the top portion, as that's where the water is the warmest. Read More
The Story of Lava
In Iceland, lava tells a story, and you can observe this tale with visits to museums and while exploring the country's popular lava caves, tunnels, and tubes.
Lava Center Exhibition
Enjoy a visit to Iceland's LAVA Center, an interactive volcano exhibition. The Center, dedicated to the region's volcanoes, earthquakes, and geology, reveals the epic forces of nature that shaped the planet and created Iceland about 20 million years ago. Learn about past eruptions and lava flows, volcanic and rift systems, faults, and glacial floods, plus how the country tracks earthquakes and volcanic activity. Read More
Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel Tour
After a volcanic eruption some 5,200 years ago, the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel is the largest in Iceland. With three separate sections, it stretches an impressive 4,500 ft (1,360 m). By touring the lava tunnel, you'll learn about the inner workings of a volcanic eruption and understand how lava tubes form under a hard crust. With footbridges and pathways, this popular tunnel walk is more accessible than others in the country. Read More
Vatnshellir Lava Cave Tour
The Vatnshellir Lava Cave is an 8,000-year-old lava tube created by a volcanic eruption from a nearby crater. As the lava rushed downhill, it cooled on the surface and left behind a hollow tube once the rest of the lava drained. Enjoy walking through this 650-foot-long (200-m) tube, which reaches depths of over 100 feet (35 m) and features unique rock formations colored by different natural sources, such as iron and copper. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Volcano Itinerary in Iceland
Because visiting volcanoes and lava fields is popular in Iceland, it's easy to add these experiences into any trip itinerary. Many visitors fly in and out of Reykjavík, and you'll find plenty of Iceland's volcanic highlights in the vicinity, in either the west or south of the country.
When deciding how many days to spend in Iceland, consider how much you want to see and do. To really know the country and discover its volcanic history, try to give yourself at least one week. This way, you can combine Reykjavík with the South Coast or Golden Circle and visit the volcanoes and glaciers that cover them. Plan for a week or two if you'd like to extend your trip to cover more of the Ring Road.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include volcano experiences: