Lava Lovin’: Chase Iceland’s Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - See the Fire Flow Up Close
Nothing compares to seeing a volcanic eruption up close. The raw power and intensity is both exhilarating and humbling, making you feel incredibly small next to nature's forces. For those bold enough to venture near the Fagradalsfjall volcano's flowing lava, the experience is unforgettable.
Hiking up to one of the crater overlooks allows you to safely watch streaks of orange magma churn and bubble. You'll hear loud rumbling and hissing as the 2,000°F lava oozes out from underneath the crater. The sight is mesmerizing, especially once darkness falls and the vivid lava glows bright against the night. Getting so near the point of eruption lets you truly appreciate the volcano's volatile activity.
Standing on the crater's rim, you can feel the intense heat radiating from below. The red-hot lava lake gurgles as pockets of lava burst and pop. Thick plumes of smoke and steam billow up, showing where the molten rock hits the cool air. Watching the lava light up the smoke from above is an incredible way to experience the raw fury being unleashed.
Don't forget to bring your camera! Photos simply don't do justice to seeing flowing lava in person. But you'll capture some amazing shots to share the experience with friends back home. Try different angles, zoom levels, and exposures to really showcase the eruption. The contrast between the red-hot lava and black volcanic landscape makes for dramatic photos.
Getting up close to the flowing lava requires proper attire and caution. The terrain is steep and rocky. Sturdy hiking boots, long pants, gloves, and walking sticks are essential. Fumes can irritate your eyes and throat, so wear goggles and a mask. Bring plenty of water and snacks too.
While viewing spots change with the direction of lava flow, guided hikes and bus tours are available. These will safely lead you to the best vantage points. Just be sure to follow all instructions from your guide. Don't stray from marked paths or get too close. The lava and ground underfoot can be deceptively hot.
What else is in this post?
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - See the Fire Flow Up Close
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Hike the Fagradalsfjall Trail for Stunning Views
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Catch a Glimpse from Reykjavik's Observation Deck
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Feel the Heat at the Lava Field's Edge
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Watch Nature's Fireworks at Night
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Experience Iceland's Raw Natural Power
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Photograph a Landscape in Flux
- Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Camp Under the Volcanic Night Sky
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Hike the Fagradalsfjall Trail for Stunning Views
For those seeking a safe yet dramatic glimpse of the eruption, hiking the Fagradalsfjall trail is a must. The designated path provides access to some of the best overlooks, letting you take in the volcano’s raw spectacle from a distance. While tour buses zip you straight to the viewpoints, hiking the trail immerses you in Iceland’s rugged landscapes. The contrast between the surrounding moon-like terrain and the flowing lava makes for an unforgettable experience.
The trailhead starts about 6 miles from the eruption site. As you begin the ascent up the dusty volcanic ridge, you’ll already see plumes of smoke rising in the distance. The landscape is almost alien, with craters and lava fields spread out before you. The trail zigzags steadily uphill before reaching the first overlook.
Here you can take a break on the cliffside benches, perched right above the spot where the lava emerges. From your bird’s eye perspective, you’ll be enthralled watching the bright orange magma churn and bubble. Billowing clouds of steam drift skyward, raining down ash on the crater floor below you. The raw fury unleashed before your eyes is humbling yet exhilarating.
Continuing along the ridgetop path, more incredible views await around each bend. One vantage point provides a glimpse of the distant Blue Lagoon’s steam against the horizon. The trail eventually descends down switchbacks etched into the craggy terrain. Velvety green moss covers the trailside rocks, contrasting beautifully with the blackened lava fields ahead.
Reaching the trail’s end by the lava field’s edge is the ultimate reward. Here you can really feel the volcano’s power, as the molten rock hisses and crackles just feet away. The scale of the lava field stretching to the horizon highlights nature’s dominance. Jumbled blocks of fresh basalt testify to the lava’s ceaseless motion.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Catch a Glimpse from Reykjavik's Observation Deck
For those looking to catch a glimpse of Iceland’s mesmerizing Fagradalsfjall eruption without venturing near the lava flows, Reykjavik's observation deck offers a prime vantage point. The recently opened viewpoint provides a unique perspective of the dramatic volcano from the safety and comfort of Iceland’s capital city.
Positioned atop the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church, the observation deck stands nearly 750 feet above sea level. This lofty perspective peers far over Reykjavik’s colorful tin roofs, allowing unobstructed views to the horizon. On clear days, you can see the distant glacier-capped peaks that make Iceland’s landscape so iconic. To the west, the azure waters of Faxaflói Bay extend to the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Yet it’s to the south that the real show lies. In the distance, plumes of smoke and steam billow up from the active Fagradalsfjall crater. While the lava flows themselves remain out of sight, witnessing the volcano’s emissions is dramatic enough. Standing so far from the eruption site provides perspective on the sheer scale and power of this geological wonder.
As evening approaches, the observation deck becomes even more spectacular. Once the sun sinks low, the distant volcanic fumes get lit in hues of orange and pink by the midnight sun’s low rays. The contrast makes for phenomenal photo opportunities not found elsewhere. Tripod mounted cameras can capture long exposure shots full of color.
While entry to the church is free, accessing the observation deck costs a reasonable 1500 ISK per adult. Your elevated ticket gains you access to the deck anytime between 9am and 9pm in June and July (shorter hours rest of year). Audio guides included with admission provide commentary about the landscape and volcano. Large telescopes let you zero in on details.
Tourists and locals alike flock to the deck to admire Iceland’s natural beauty juxtaposed with Reykjavik’s urban energy. The unique perspective links Iceland's untamed wilderness with the vibrant capital city. Visitors recommend coming near sunset on clear evenings for the best volcanic views. While often crowded during peak times, the wrap-around terrace offers ample space and photo ops.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Feel the Heat at the Lava Field's Edge
Venturing to the edge of the lava field is undoubtedly the most exhilarating way to experience the raw fury being unleashed before your eyes at the Fagradalsfjall volcano. Getting so close to the molten rock provides a visceral encounter with the primordial forces of nature. The scorching heat radiating from the slowly advancing lava flood gives you a true sense of its intense temperature. Yet with proper precautions, standing at the lava field’s edge allows you to safely witness nature’s beautiful destruction up close.
Many visitors highlight the stark contrast between the black hardened lava plain and the slow-moving orange magma breaking through its crust. Hikers are amazed by the lava field’s immense scale, stretching for miles to the horizon. Photographers rave about capturing dramatic shots of the lava oozing forward, slowly enveloping all in its path. The lava’s hypnotic movement transfixes observers, as it bubbles, spurts and spills out from the main flow.
Despite the safety provided by distance, the intense heat from the lava still radiates outward. Standing on the lava plain just yards from the molten river, you’ll feel the scorching air wash over you. The waves of dry heat reinforce the immense temperature of the languid lava. Many describe the otherworldly experience of seeing steam rise straight from the ground as the lava boils away puddles in its path.
Guides strongly caution against going beyond the marked safe viewing areas to get closer to the lava’s edge. The risk of a volcanic bomb or unexpected lava flow burst is too great. They also urge bringing proper protective gear, as the volcanic gases and ash can quickly irritate your eyes and lungs. Staying hydrated and avoiding overexertion is also critical in the harsh volcanic environment.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Watch Nature's Fireworks at Night
After the sun slips below the horizon, the mesmerizing lava flows of Fagradalsfjall become even more spellbinding. Under cover of darkness, the molten rock glows with intensity, putting on an entrancing display of natural fireworks. Witnessing the vivid lava at night allows you to truly appreciate its fiery radiance and heat.
As the blue twilight fades to black, headlamps switch on and a hush falls over the crowds. All eyes fixate on the lava pouring from the crater, its angry red illumination now the only light around. The inky night sky provides the perfect backdrop, letting the bright lava take center stage. The hypnotic movement seems to slow, each bubble appearing to hang suspended for a heartbeat.
Photographers rave about capturing the lava at night, when longer exposures really accentuate its snake-like flow. The striking color contrast between the black volcanic landscape and the lava's vivid luminance makes for dramatic photos. Shooting the glowing flow from higher vantage points provides unique perspective, with the lava carving a fiery path through sheer darkness.
Inky plumes of smoke take on a beautiful luminance of their own after dark. Catch the smoke backlit by the molten lava for stunning images. As pockets of lava burst below, they illuminate the overhead haze in hues of amber and orange. These fire-lit clouds create an ethereal scene, as if the sky itself glows.
Stargazers visiting in winter relish the views when clear nights allow both cosmic and volcanic fireworks. Basking in geothermal warmth emanating from the lava plain, they crane necks upward to admire the northern lights' dance across the sky. The neon green aurora borealis forms rippling curtains overhead. For a time, the nightly lunar eclipse even saw the moon's blood-red face hovering above the raging volcano.
While spellbinding, the hazardous terrain demands additional caution after dark. Guides strictly prohibit venturing off marked paths onto the unstable crust of the lava field. With only flickering headlamps to light the way, walking onto the uneven basalt risks falls or becoming trapped. Visitors also point out the risk of becoming mesmerized by the lava's movement and losing track of time and distance.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Experience Iceland's Raw Natural Power
Witnessing an active volcanic eruption allows you to experience some of nature's most potent and primordial forces up close. Standing before the intense heat, billowing smoke, and flowing lava of the Fagradalsfjall volcano provides a visceral encounter with the Earth's raw geologic power. This humbling experience sticks with you, emphasizing humanity's smallness and nature's dominance.
Visitors describe feeling the sheer ferocity of the Fagradalsfjall eruption deep in their chests, as the volcanic thunder resonates through their bodies. Hikers on the trail talk of tasting the sulfur on their tongues as plumes of hot smoke blast skyward. The acrid smell reinforces the volatile gases unleashed during this powerful process of creation and destruction. Lava tour guides highlight the existential awe that comes from watching new earth emerge while the old landscape gets resurfaced under molten rock.
Photographers share their amazement at capturing the speed and intricacy of lava flows. They speak of the challenge of conveying the fluid lava's hypnotic movement in a still frame, as it changes course in an instant. One photographer recounts witnessing a bursting lava bubble send droplets of molten rock flying high in a fiery arc, reinforcing the need for caution near the crater. Others describe the humbling feeling of watching lava irreversibly envelop all that lies in its path.
Stargazers and northern lights enthusiasts emphasize the incredible perspective gained by witnessing raw natural spectacles from the volcano's lava fields. Laying on the warm basalt plain under Iceland's dark skies provides an astounding vantage point. Watching the neon green auroras dance overhead as the earth rages below packs an emotional punch. The Fagradalsfjall eruption's vast scale underscores how tiny people are next to the immense forces of nature.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Photograph a Landscape in Flux
Photographing the Fagradalsfjall eruption allows you to document a landscape in rapid transition. As the lava flows expand day by day, the terrain is reshaped. Each photo captures a fleeting moment in this emergence of new earth. For photographers, the chance to immortalize the volcano's raw fury and beauty is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Eruption chasers describe the exhilaration of photographing Fagradalsfjall’s lava in action, knowing the resulting images freeze moments that will never reoccur. Shooting at different times of day reveals the lava’s dramatically shifting nature. One photographer highlights the challenge of conveying texture, from the crusty rubble to the lava's smooth, plastic flow. Others focus on capturing the nuances of motion and speed as lava hurtles past or slows to an ooze.
The most stunning photos leverage light, aspect, and color to showcase the volatility. Shooting the vivid lava at twilight lets it pop against the muted landscape. A telephoto lens compresses the view, so that lava and smoke appear to erupt within arm's reach. One photographer framed the eruption against the silhouette of distant Reykjavík’s mountains. The composition reveals the strange juxtaposition of raw wilderness and modern city that typifies Iceland.
Leveraging elevation provides unique aerial-like perspective. An elevated camera can gaze directly down upon the lava lake, revealing its roiling motion. Alternatively, a drone-mounted camera can hover right up to the crater's brink, above where hikers stand watch. While legally tricky, one photographer deployed a drone to float just feet above the invading lava flood. The resulting video conveys the lava's ENCROACHMENT and destructive transformation of the landscape.
Many photographers focus on capturing ephemeral moments that highlight the eruption's capriciousness. One favorite subject is the short-lived volcanic lightning that accompanies big eruptions. A quick shutter speed froze for eternity the electrical bolts arcing through billowing ash. Others document the rare lava 'firehose' events, where lava shoots dozens of feet into the air. These photos underscore the risks and surprises.
Lava Lovin': Chase Iceland's Dramatic Fagradalsfjall Volcano Eruption - Camp Under the Volcanic Night Sky
For the bold, camping on the Fagradalsfjall volcano’s lava plain provides an unforgettable night under the stars, surrounded by the volcano’s primal forces. As dusk falls, witnessing the eruption amplifies a sense of nature’s power and humanity’s insignificance. Laying your head mere miles from the flowing lava invokes an exhilarating mix of awe and vulnerability. Come dawn, you’ll awake to fresh perspectives as the new lava landscapes come into view.
Eruption seekers describe unrolling their sleeping bags atop the previous year’s hardened lava flow, the ground still radiating geothermal warmth. Despite the physical comfort, rest often proves elusive as excitement and natural spectacle prevent sleep. The mesmerizing movement of the distant lava holds the gaze, while ears tune into the volcano’s endless rumblings.
When asked of their motivations for camping so near the eruption point, many describe the irresistible allure of experiencing the volcano’s fury during the quiet solitude of night. Free from crowds, hikers relish having the lava’s hypnotic dance all to themselves. They speak of feeling insignificant against the ancient forces surrounding them in darkness. For these travelers, the raw and unpredictable power boosts feelings of being alive.
Come nightfall, Iceland’s long summer twilights provide further magic at the campsite. Photographers capture the lava glowing vividly as the sky transitions to a dusky blue. Stars peek out and the distant lights of Reykjavik twinkle on the horizon. When early August brings clear skies, lucky campers watch the celestial showcase as the northern lights appear above. Laying snug in a tent or out under the open sky, the neon auroras shimmer overhead, mirroring the earth’s own light show ahead.