In 2021 Fagradalsfjall Volcano burst into life, red hot lava spewing from its crater. As the lava cooled it created a series of black rivers scaring the face of the mountains. In August 2022 it began erupting again. Here’s how to see it.
On Friday, March 19, 2021, at around 8:45 pm, the volcanic area around Fagradalsfjall in southwest Iceland burst into life. Molten lava was thrown spectacularly into the air creating a red-yellow sky that could be seen from Reykjavík, 30 miles away. Iceland’s latest eruption had begun and would continue for 5 months.
The lava was ejected at over 1,300 degrees Celsius and as it cooled, it left behind a volcanic scar; a sweeping river of black, suspended in place as it settled throughout the valley.
On August 3, 2022, at 1:18 pm Fagradalsfjall erupted again. It’s currently not advised to visit the area or attempt to get photos as the situation is potentially very dangerous. Already, 3 tourists have been injured, so avoid the area for now, but save this guide for when it’s safe to visit again.
We visited Fagradalsfjall 4 days before the August 2022 eruption and had a great time exploring the area. Here’s how to see the best of the lava field.
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LIVE WEBCAM OF FAGRADALSFJALL VOLCANO
The latest eruption at Fagradalsfjall Volcano began on 3 August 2022. Stay up to date with the current situation with these two webcams.
Fagradalsfjall Webcam – Langihryggur viewpoint
Fagradalsfjall Webcam – Langhöll viewpoint
GETTING TO FAGRADALSFJALL VOLCANO
Fagradalsfjall Volcano is in the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of Iceland. It is a 45-minute drive from Keflavik airport or 1 hour from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík.
To get views of the volcano you will need to hike between 30 minutes to 2 hours on mountain trails to a series of viewpoints.
There are four different viewpoints over Fagradalsfjall Volcano: Stórhóll viewpoint, Nátthagi viewpoint, Langihryggur viewpoint, and Stóri Hrútur viewpoint.
There are two car parks at Fagradalsfjall and each cost 1,000 ISK for the day. You can pay via the EasyPark App using a credit or debit card. Cash is not accepted.
VIEWPOINTS AT FAGRADALSFJALL VOLCANO
There used to be a series of trails marked A, B or C which circumnavigated the Fagradalsfjall Volcano. However, the authorities have now closed these paths and redirected them to a new series of hiking trails around Fagradalsfall. There are now four different viewpoints, each giving a unique view of the crater and/or lava flow.
Stórhóll viewpoint gets closest to the black volcanic crater scarred in sulphurous yellow colours. The trail to the viewpoint passes right next to the cooled black lava flow that was left there from the eruption in 2021. The viewpoint is less than 100 metres above the steaming black lava field that surrounds the crater. (We are not sure if the 2022 eruption can be seen from here. Once it’s safe to visit again, please let us know in the comments at the end of this article.)
Closest Park – Car Park 1 | Walking Distance – 2.6 kilometres | Time – 1 hour one way | Difficulty – Easy to medium with 150 metres of ascent.
Nátthagi viewpoint is right at the end of the lava flow that was created in the 2021 eruption. Here you can get up close to the rounded glob of solid black lava at the point where it stopped flowing towards the bottom of the valley. It gives the best impression of how the lava flow solidified and came to a stop. Although the lava is within touching distance, you are not allowed on the lava as sulphurous gases can still escape.
Closest Park – Car Park 2 | Distance – 800 metres | Time – 15 minutes one way | Difficulty – Easy with 30 metres of ascent
Langihryggur viewpoint is at the summit of Langihryggur mountain; a dramatic 296-meter-high ridge. It is higher than the previous two viewpoints and offers a tremendous overview of the entire area. From here you get the best overall impression of the whole site including the path the lava took from the 2021 eruption as it swept over the mountains and down through the valleys.
The 2022 eruption can be seen from the end of the ridge at the Langihryggur viewpoint. Check the live webcam to see the latest situation.
Closest Park – Car Park 2 | Distance – 2.5 kilometres | Time – 1 hour one way | Difficulty – Medium with 250 metres of ascent
STÓRI HRÚTUR VIEWPOINT
Stóri Hrútur viewpoint is on top of Stóri Hrútur mountain (353 metres) and just over 1 kilometre further along the ridge from the webcam on Langihryggur. Higher and with steeper sides, Stóri Hrútur juts out more into the lava flow offering great views.
The eruption that started in August 2022 is about 1.5 kilometres north of the viewpoint but getting here is not easy. There is a very steep and often slippery zig-zag path heading up its precipitous slope. An easier path heads around the base of the mountain and closer to the lava flow. You can see both trails from the summit of Langihryggur, so assess the safety of the situation for yourself.
Closest Park – Car Park 2 | Distance – 4 kilometres | Time – 1 hour 40 minutes one way | Difficulty – Challenging with 370 metres of ascent
MAP OF FAGRADALSFJALL VOLCANO
Below is a map of the different viewpoints in the Fagradalsfjall area and how to hike to them. The Stórhóll viewpoint is in red, the Nátthagi viewpoint is in black and the Langihryggur viewpoint (and Stóri Hrútur extension) in green.
BEST FAGRADALSFJALL VIEWPOINTS IN ONE HIKE
Hiking to all the different viewpoints would take 4 to 6 hours, however if you want to see the highlights, this route takes around 2 to 3 hours.
Park car park 2 and start by hiking to Nátthagi viewpoint to get close to the solid lava flow. Then turn around and head up to Langihryggur viewpoint to get an overview of the entire area and perhaps see the 2022 eruption if it’s safe to do so. From there you can decide whether to continue to Stóri Hrútur or head back.
With a live eruption occurring the situation could change quickly, so if you have visited recently and have any additional information, please let us know in the comments below.
PLANNING YOUR ICELAND TRIP
Iceland is an excellent destination for semi-adventurous travellers who like to get off the beaten track and immerse themselves in stunning scenery. Here’s some more reading from us to help plan your journey to the land of fire and ice.
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GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
EXPLORING THE HIGHLANDS
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