What You Need To Know About Iceland Volcanoes

Iceland is a place where the boiling heart of the earth collides with the freezing force of majestic glaciers. Some of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders are created from the volcanic force that lays beneath the surface. Natural hot springs with incredible geysers, mystic lava caves, and cliffs are all aftermath of past eruptions.

It’s no wonder thousands of tourists rush to Iceland every year to witness the volcanoes and all the beauties they continuously create. We’ve prepared a quick guide to Iceland volcanoes to help you get all the necessary information you need about these incredible forces.

How Many Volcanoes Are In Iceland?

The question isn’t, “does Iceland have volcanoes” but rather how many volcanoes in Iceland you can expect. There are around 30 active volcanic systems under the island, and an estimated 130 volcanoes in the country, active and inactive.

The only part of Iceland that doesn’t have any active volcanoes is Westfjords. It’s the oldest part of the land that has been formed 16 million years ago and separated from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge over the years. Westfjords is the only part of Iceland that uses electricity to heat water instead of using geothermally heated water.

Famous Iceland Volcanoes

With over 130 known volcanoes, you’d need a comprehensive Iceland volcano map to visit a fraction of the powerful forces. We’ve prepared a list of top 3 major volcanoes in Iceland that are famous worldwide for good reasons.


Eyjafjallajökull is the most famous Iceland volcano that became one of the country’s most popular attractions since its eruption in 2010. Thousands of people came to Iceland to witness the eruption during its early days, many of them using planes and helicopters to catch the perfect view.

Even though it’s incredibly popular, Eyjafjallajökull isn’t even close to being Iceland’s most active volcano. Compared to some eruptions from the past, the one from 2010 was a minor event.


Thrihnukagigur is the only volcano in the world that has an accessible magma chamber. It’s the most interesting Iceland volcano on the map for many tourists because of its mesmerizing 150,000 cubic meter auditorium.

Aside from its impressive scale, the most remarkable thing about the chamber is its vibrant coloration. The lava has brought up various elements from the heart of the earth, and you can see their vibrant shades in full display.

Hekla Volcano, a.k.a. The Gateway To Hell

The darkest Iceland volcano name must be Hekla Volcano, also known as The Gateway To Hell. It got that name during the Middle Ages because it used to erupt regularly and explosively throughout the period.

Hekla is one of the most unpredictable Iceland volcanoes, with intervals between eruptions going anywhere from nine to 112 years. It has caused chaos on many occasions, spewing out incredible amounts of tephra at a time. Its most powerful eruption was in 1104, and the most recent one happened in 2000, but it was minor.

Are Volcanic Eruptions Common?

Volcanic eruptions are regular on Iceland, and they are also unpredictable. From the beginning of the 19th century, there hasn’t been a decade without an eruption. On average, there is a major volcanic event in Iceland every five years. One-third of all the lava on earth’s surface comes from volcanic eruptions in Iceland. Whether the eruptions go off spaced apart or in quick succession is completely random.

The most recent known eruption was in Holuhraun in 2014.

Historic Volcano Eruptions

Volcanos have brought disaster to Iceland on many occasions. The most massive lava flow in world history happened in Iceland in 1783, when Lakagigar spewed out 14km3 of the greatest amount of lava ever witnessed on our planet – at least during the last millennium.

The 1784 eruption of Laki was the most catastrophic Iceland volcano eruption when it comes to human life losses. It almost wiped off the nation of Iceland from the face of the Earth, but it also had a major impact on the climate and health of the entire globe.

Another historic Iceland volcano eruption happened when a in Heimaey suddenly erupted in 1973, after being thought to be long extinct since it hadn’t been active for over 5000 years.

Iceland Volcano Tours And Experiences

The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull is often credited for the boom in tourism in Iceland. Newscasters around the world showed photos of Iceland, its volcanoes, and its natural wonders to millions of people. After seeing the raw nature, the dramatic contrasts and the brilliant wonders of Iceland volcanoes and the aftermath of their eruptions, tourists got inspired to visit and learn more.

Much of the tourist industry is created around volcano exploring tours, and they come in various forms. Some people go to simple sightseeing tours, and some like to rent an Iceland camper and involve more adventure in their visit.

The Land of Ice and Fire has a unique beauty graced with amazing contrasts and mesmerizing landscapes. None of these natural wonders would exist if it weren’t for active volcanoes in Iceland throughout history. 

They constantly define the nature of Iceland, creating vast craters, endless mass-coated lava fields, hot springs, and other unique natural beauties. Contact us if you want to learn more or if you’re ready to book a camper to take you on an amazing volcanic adventure. We also highly recommend our Iceland travel guide if you’d like to learn more before you go. We look forward to helping you have the trip of a lifetime!

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