Raw Beauty Deep Inside Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur Volcano


If you head to Iceland, a must do for your agenda is going deep into a volcano and there are a couple of options to do this. In the south, there’s a tour called “Inside the Volcano” which is operated by a local tour company and they’ll actually send a driver to pick you up at your hotel and return you at the end of the day. They explore the Thrihnukagigur Volcano and the tour is a part of an ongoing environmental, geological and marketing research project on the volcano itself.

You start off by hiking through beautiful and lush landscape less than an hour from Reykjavik.

Some of the mountaineer teamsters who bring people out on tour include Bjorn Olafsson, Einar Stefansson and Olafur Thor Juliusson – ask for any of them as they’re all seasoned and have plenty of local stories to share which will be sure to keep you captivated. If you’d rather not hike and want to spend a little more, they’ll bring you to the entrance of the volcano by helicopter.

Frankly, I’d recommend the hike since you pass through interesting vegetation along the way, including a rich burnt sienna red and neon green moss coating on the ground.

The rocks are stunningly beautiful as well. There’s no shortage of rich and vibrant colors in Iceland’s soil.

And, the views at every turn will have you at hello.

At this point, you are minutes from entering the volcano itself, which you do through a contraption loaded with cables which slowly brings you deep into earth.

Essentially it’s an open cable lift which descends you 120 meters (400 feet) to the bottom of the crater.

As you descend, the colors of the earth around you and the lava rock from the volcano itself start to emerge.

As you get to the bottom, the lights bring the volcano’s colors alive!

You are given a helmut with an active light so you can hone in specific areas of the crater as you walk around.

Thrihnukagigur volcano is dormant and has been since its last eruption over 4,000 years ago. There are no indications of it erupting again in the near future. The volcano’s name, mostly unpronounceable for anyone other than locals, would be directly translated as ‘Three Peaks Crater’. The name comes from Árni B. Stefánsson, who was the first to explore the vault and who has pleaded the case for making it accessible for years.

There are three craters, one of which you descend into on the tour, are prominent landmarks. The craters are located against the sky on the highland edge, about 20 km (13 miles) southeast of the capital area, within the protected area of Bláfjöll Country Park.

The most north-easterly of the three peaks is a small cinder cone, standing about 35 m/100 ft higher than its surroundings. At the top of this cone is a funnel-shaped opening, about 4×4 m/12×12 ft wide, the entrance of a huge 120 m/400 ft deep, bottle-shaped volcanic vault, measuring 50×70 m/160×220 ft at the bottom. Volcanic passages continue down to the southwest, to a total depth of about 200 m/700 ft.

The beauty of the crater mostly consists in the various colorations found inside it and its enormous – and to some extent intimidating – size. To put it in context, the ground space is equivalent to almost three full-sized basketball courts planted next to each other and the height is such that it would easily fit full sized Statue of Liberty into the chamber.

It’s a must do if you head to Iceland and we’d strongly recommend putting it on your agenda. While I was hosted on the tour, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not asked to write a post or share anything other than my personal experience.

For more on Iceland, check out Iceland section / Travel to Iceland / Traveling to Iceland. All photos Renee Blodgett.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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