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Inside a volcano

Inside the Volcano

This tour presents a rare opportunity to descend deep into a volcanic crater and safely explore a magma chamber of a dormant volcano. Inactive for 4,000 years, the volcano is set in a region of sprawling, moss-covered lava fields and desolate craters and is only accessible on foot or by helicopter. Hike in and learn how past eruptions shaped this dramatic landscape before descending into the abyss by cable lift. The tour offers the chance to better understand the volatile nature of the Icelandic landscape, a valuable tool as you travel around the country.

The dormant volcano, Þríhnúkagígur, is located around 20 km (13 miles) southeast of Reykjavík in the Bláfell area. We can arrange for you to be collected in Reykjavík, or you can meet your guide and the small group you will be joining at the base camp.

After a short introduction, join your guide on a 3 km (1.8 mile) hike through the rugged Bláfell landscape to Þríhnúkagígur. The path is well maintained, largely flat and it takes 45 minutes to one hour to reach the volcano.

After a safety briefing, you’ll be equipped with a safety hat, light and harness, and make the six-minute-long descent by open cable lift into Þríhnúkagígur’s caldera. This volcano is extremely unusual in that its caldera remains open. Usually, the caldera closes up as an eruption comes to an end and the rock solidifies, but here, the magma retreated down into smaller, deeper chambers, leaving the caldera open to the elements.

Millennia of inactivity has formed a huge 213 m (700 ft) high chamber with walls that sparkle in vibrant shades of blue, red, orange and yellow. You’ll have around half an hour to explore the magma chamber, before returning to the surface and hiking back to base camp. The whole experience takes four to five hours in total.

Temperatures are cold within the chamber — only around 3°C (37°F) — so we recommend wearing warm, waterproof layers, including a scarf, gloves and sturdy shoes. When you return to the surface, you’ll be greeted with soup and a cup of tea or coffee.

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who's been there
Audley specialist Brittany

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Experience it for yourself

You can enjoy this activity as part of the suggested tours below, or we can weave it into a trip shaped entirely around you.