Volcano sight seeing tips
A volcanic eruption started in Geldingadalir, Fagradalsfjall at Reykjanes peninsula on the evening of March 19th, 2021. After a thousand small earthquakes and several moderate quakes had shaken the region for more than a year. This was a clear indication an eruption could be expected, as a matter of fact, several geologists had been predicting eruption in the Reykjanes peninsula for the last 5 years or more. Icelanders being the KuKu nation we are felt compelled to run to the eruption site, while most other nationals would run in the opposite direction from flowing hot lava. Since the eruption started tens of thousands of people have made the walk to view the eruption or taken sightseeing helicopter rides to marvel at the volcanic eruption from the ground and the air.
What makes the eruption in Geldingadalir extra special, is the fact that the magma that the volcano is pumping out is no ordinary magma! True it is in the basalt family as most eruptions in Iceland, but the magma in Geldingadalir (according to geologists) originates straight from the Earth's mantle. Which is something that has not happened in a thousand years in the Reykjanes peninsula. The source of the magma from the mantle lies at least 20 km beneath the Earth's surface, so the mantle seems to be running straight from the mantle through a firetube to the surface at Geldingadalir. This kind of eruption is typical of an eruption type called "caldera" which has a small and steady flow of lava and could last years, decades, and even centuries.
The sight is truly stunning, the heat from the magma and the sound of a crackling cooling lava field - truly amazing!! That's why we at KuKu Campers have made a shortlist of how our KuKu customers can drive their campervan to get to the eruption, what to wear, what to be aware of, and where to camp after a day of hiking - enjoy!
How to get to Geldingadalir
Geldingadalir is located between Keflavik and Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.
Get in your KuKu Campervan and take road 41 to the turnoff to Grindavík.
Follow road 43 into the town of Grindavík and drive straight into town, drive straight until you see Nettó supermarket, take the first exit after Netto to the left; road 427 named; Austurvegur - and follow that road until you see the parking area next to the road.
See the exact location of Geldingadalir Volcano on Geldingadalir Volcano map.
There is now only one hiking path option as lava has started to flow over walking path A, walking path B is 4 km one way (8 km back and forth). The path is marked and a bit difficult, on challenging terrain, up a steep slope where there is a rope to hold onto. The path goes over lava fields, gravel, and uneven ground. The elevation gain is approximately 250 m, up steep hills. A return trip takes approximately 3-4 hours for hikers in pretty good shape, adding a stop at the site and a picnic break can easily turn into a 6-8 hour trip.
Map of the hiking trails:
What to be aware of on the hike
First of all, you need to be aware of the weather, the optimum weather is a clear sky, southerly light wind. Check out the daily weather conditions for hiking to the volcano in Safe Travel Iceland.
The volcano emits gases, and the gas pollution is invisible and cannot be detected by smell. Hikers are recommended to hike to the area with the wind in their back, stay on hills and ridges, and keep away from valleys and low-lying areas in the landscape where the gases can collect. Gases and pollution can increase rapidly in the area, and if you feel any discomfort leave the area immediately.
You can check out the daily gas dispersion forecast Iceland weather forecast.
Good hiking shoes, warm clothing, wind, and waterproof outerwear layers, hiking rods, a fully charged mobile phone as well as drinks and snacks to enjoy on the hike.
Campsites close to Geldingadalir
The campsite that is closest to the volcano in Geldingadalir, is located in the town of Grindavík, just at the start of road 427 leading to the eruption site. Close enough for easy access into town but off the main street! They offer restrooms, showers, laundry, a well-equipped kitchen, a dining area, and an excellent playground. As they are located in a geothermal area, they have an unlimited supply of hot water in their showers, which gives campers 24-hour access to showers which is included in the camping price.
Another campsite that is close to the volcano is Vogar campsite, located off-road 41 - between Keflavik and Reykjavik. The campground stands on a green lawn next to the sea and close to the town's swimming pool. The campsite facilities include restrooms, showers and a good kitchen and of course a good place for your campervan.