Hiking The Volcanic Fimmvorduhals Pass
Put on your mountain boots and join this exciting hike through the Fimmvörðuháls pass and you too can experience the glaciers, waterfalls and lava craters that make this area so special.
The Fimmvörðuháls pass stretches all the way from the small village of Skógar to the mighty Þórsmörk mountain ridge. The pass is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland, renowned for its breathtaking viewpoints and interesting geological features, namely the newly formed lava craters, Magni and Móði.
You will be picked up at your designated pickup location and then whisked away south. You begin your hike at Skógar, following your friendly guide’s lead down the Skógá River. The beginning of the trail is truly beautiful; you will enjoy the meditative sound of the rushing water; you will feast your eyes on the numerous waterfalls cascading from the cliffs around you; you will breathe in that fresh mountain air!
Eventually, you will pass between two awe-inspiring glaciers, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, two of Iceland’s most famous ice caps! This is not the time to have forgotten your camera; make sure to snap some beautiful photographs of this incredible area.
Next, you will head on up to the lava craters, Magni and Móði, named after the ‘brave’ and ‘strong’ sons of the hammer-wielding God, Thor. Lava stills seeps and bubbles from the open vents here, and the ground beneath you has a decidedly warm touch!
Finally, you will descend from the craters into the stunning Thórsmörk glacial valley below. This area offers unbelievable panoramas of the surrounding area, and also offers other geological features that your guide will be quick to point out.
When the hike is completed, you will eat dinner amongst the fantastical nature - undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful picnics you’ll ever have - before heading back to Reykjavik by bus.
Secure your chance to hike the Fimmvörðuháls pass, a must see destination for any traveller in South Iceland! Check booking availability by choosing a date.
- Duration: 16 hours
- Activities: Hiking, Sightseeing
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 16 years old
- Languages: English
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
What to See & Do in Reykjavik
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.
The glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull (1651 m) is located at the borders of the South Icelandic highlands. It featured prominently in world news in 2010 when ash from its eruption halted air traffic in Europe.
An ice cap of about 100 km with several outlet glaciers covers the caldera of Eyjafjallajökull that stands at the height of 1651 meters. The diamaeter of its highest crater is around 3-4 km2 wide and the rim has several peaks.
Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano lies north of Skogar, and to the west of Myrdalsjokull glacier and the massive volcano there; Katla.
Eyjafjallajokull is thought to be related geologically to Katla in Myrdalsjokull and eruptions in the former have often been followed by eruptions in the latter.
The 2010 eruptions
The end of 2010 saw some small seismic activity that gradually increased and resulted in a small eruption in March of 2010, characterized by a flow of alkani-olivine basalt lava.
This first stage lasted until April 12th and created the volcanic craters Magni and Modi at the Fimmvorduhals trail. They are so far Iceland's newest vocanic craters, and still eminate steam with lava glowing under the surface.
However it was the second phase of the eruption that started on April 14th that created the huge ash cloud that rose about 9 km into the skies.
This eruption halted air traffic in Europe for days, and its estimated that as many as 107.000 flights may have been cancelled during the week it lasted.
The ejected tephra measured around 250 million cubic meters. This ash cloud lasted for six days and some more localized disruption continued into May. The eruption was officially declared to be over in October 2010, as the snow on the glacier had ceased to melt.
Future volcanic developments?
Eyjafjallajokull erupted in years 920, 1612 and again 1821-1823.
Its latest eruptions were the two that occurred in 2010.
Future volcanic developments remain unclear. The area is still highly active and can be quite unpredictable. It continues, however, to be closely monitored by The Icelandic Meterological Office.
Myrdalsjokull is a glacier in the south of the Icelandic highlands. It is the country's fourth largest glacier, covering nearly 600 km2. It's highest peak reaches around 1500 meters. Under the icecap is the volcano Katla.
Katla is active and has had at least 16 eruptions since the year 936, usually erupting every 40-80 years. It's latest eruption was in 1918. Myrdalsjokull is to the north of the village Vik and east of the famous Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano. The popular Fimmvorduhals trail lies between the two glaciers. Due to Eyjafjallajokull's eruption in 2010 the area is closely monitored.
Fimmvorduhals is one of Iceland's most popular hiking trails. It made the world news when the Eyjafjallajokull eruption started there in 2010.
The trail is located between glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull and lies from Skogar to Thorsmork valley. It is about 22 km long, reaching a height of 1000 m.
The trail offers breathtaking and highly varied scenery, the view down to Thorsmork and of the many waterfalls of the river Fossa being particularly beautiful. Part of the trail is snowy, as the glaciers meet at the trail. The weather can be unpredictable in these parts so caution is advised. The craters Modi and Magni at Fimmvorduhals were formed by the 2010 eruption and are as of yet Iceland's youngest craters. They eminate steam since the hardened lava is still warm and melts the snow in the area.
Magni is one of the two youngest craters in Iceland, along with Modi.
The craters are situated between glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull and were both formed in the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption in 2010. They still steam with lava glowing under the surface. From the top you'll have an excellent view of the glaciers and the beautiful Thorsmork valley.
Modi is one of the two youngest craters in Iceland, along with Magni.
These two craters are situated between glaciers Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull and were both formed in the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption in 2010. They still emanate steam with lava glowing under the surface. From the top you'll have a great view of the glaciers and the beautiful Thorsmork valley.
Hiking gear & safety equipment.
Pick up is up to 30 minutes before departure
Meals and beverages
What to bring:
Lunch / Dinner
Drinks / Energy Bars
Good to know:
Pick up is up to 30 minutes before departure