Among Iceland’s most famous peaks, the notoriously difficult-to-pronounce Eyjafjallajökull volcano made headlines when it erupted in 2010, spewing an enormous cloud of volcanic ash that grounded air traffic all across Europe. The imposing, ice-capped volcano has three main peaks, the tallest of which reaches 5,417 feet (1,651 meters).
While a few hardy explorers have managed to summit Eyjafjallajökull, ascending the volcano is considered dangerous, with a deadly crevasse-ridden glacier at the top. Many day tours of the south coast from Reykjavik, whether by car or Jeep, venture to Eyjafjallajökull volcano. These tours typically make stops at other destinations in south Iceland, such as Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skógafoss waterfall, black-sand beaches at Dyrhólaey and Vik, the Thórsmörk valley, and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. For aerial views of the crater, steaming hot springs, and rugged peaks, opt for a helicopter tour over the volcano.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Eyjafjallajökull volcano is a must for nature lovers.
- Eyjafjallajökull is still an active volcano, and as such, is best explored in the company of an experienced guide who can brief you on safety practices.
- Wear comfortable hiking shoes and warm, rainproof clothing.
- Due to uneven surfaces near the volcano, it’s not recommended for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Eyjafjallajökull is situated near Iceland’s south shore, just under two hours’ drive from Reykjavik. To get there, follow the Ring Road (Route 1) until Hvolsvöllur, then take the turnoff for Route 261. This route ends at a parking lot, from which it’s possible to view the volcano.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Eyjafjallajökull is during summer, when warmer temperatures and the midnight sun make exploring and hiking easier. Crowds are thinner during September and October.
Though Eyjafjallajökull volcano may be better known among Europeans following its 2010 eruption, it is but one of many active volcanoes in Iceland. Its larger neighbor, Katla, just east of Eyjafjallajökull, is even more mighty and powerful. Katla, which lasts erupted in 1918, lies under the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap—the fourth-largest glacier in Iceland. It is feared that an eruption of Katla could melt the glacier and cause catastrophic flooding.