The dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano is a truly unique natural phenomenon. With the necessary gear and equipment, this tour opens the gates to an almost surreal volcanic realm. All you need is the willingness to do a moderate 45–50 minute hike (in order to get to the crater) and the guts to descend 120 metres (400 feet) to the bottom of the volcano's magma chamber in an open cable lift.
#7 on CNN Travel's "Must-See Places in the World"!
Duration: 5-6 hours
Pick-up: 30 min before departure
Available: May - Oct
Age limit: 12 years
- Descend 120m into a volcano
- Open elevator into the crater
- Thrihnukagigur dormant volcano
- A short hike in a lava field
- Learn about volcanoes and volcanic activity
- Delicious traditional Icelandic meat soup
- Walk around in the volcano
Pickup in Reykjavik: Pick up starts 40 min before departure. See booking system for available departure times. Please be ready at your selected pickup location when pickup begins.
Included: Pick up & drop off in Reykjavik, meat or vegetable soup, guided caving tour, flash light, gloves and helmet.
Bring with you: Warm waterproof clothes, sturdy shoes (sneakers and jeans are unsuitable and will NOT do you any good!), water.
Difficulty: Moderate. The walk to the cave is around 3 km / 2 miles. Takes around 45-50 minutes each way. You will have a guide with you.
Reviews on TripAdvisor
"The walls are multicoloured rock , you can see dribbles of frozen lava near the top . The floor is covered with red & yellow boulders , which have fallen from above . there are lights but you have to stay near the centre , there are steep drops at the ends . It's amazing looking at the black fissures either end , where the magma drained away."
* Important note regarding pick-up:
The best option to join the tour is simply to take advantage of our complimentary hotel pick up service by selecting your hotel or guest house from the drop down list when booking your tour. We urge you to be ready outside the lobby 30 minutes before the tour departure time.
Alternatively you can make your own way to the Gray Line Bus Terminal in Holtagarðar, 104 Reykjavik. Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the tour departure time stated on voucher and introduce yourself at the Sales Desk for check in.
Fitness level: Moderate (the difficulty is 2–3 out of 5). No knowledge of hiking or climbing is required. The hike is on slightly hilly and uneven ground. This is NOT a tour for those in limited physical shape.
Distance walked: 3 km (2 miles) each way for some 45–50 minutes, with a guide
Don’t worry, expert guides will be with you at all times and you can rest assured extreme safety precautions are taken every step of the way.
We ask all visitors to behave responsibly during the tour. This environment is extremely sensitive and we expect all visitors to leave no footprint behind. Whatever you carry in with you, you must also carry out.
Simply put, Iceland is one giant geological hotspot. The country is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, with eruptions occurring every 3–4 years on average. But why is Iceland so active? It is mostly due to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American plates are moving apart – and therefore literally opening the earth’s crust. The Thrihnukagigur volcano sits in the center of this ridge.
The volcano Thrihnukagigur
The Thrihnukagigur volcano is dormant. It last erupted over 4,000 years ago. There are no indications of it erupting again in the near future. The volcano’s name, quite unpronounceable for anyone other than locals, would be directly translated as "Three Peaks Crater".
The three craters (one of which you will be descending into) are prominent landmarks, standing against the sky on the highland edge, about 20 km (13 miles) southeast of the capital area, and within the protected area of Blafjoll 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, this is 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 of the various coloration found inside 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 sited next to each other and the height is such that the full sized Statue of Liberty would easily fit into the chamber. So make no mistake – this chamber is colossal!
The magma chamber
This magma chamber is one of a kind of magma chamber and is often referred to as the heart of a volcano. It’s there that the liquid rock waits to find a way through to the surface, causing a volcanic eruption. In most cases, the crater is usually closed after the eruption by cold, hard lava.
Thrihnukagigur volcano is a rare exception to this, because the magma in the chamber seems to have disappeared. It’s believed that the magma solidified in the walls or quite simply retreated to the depths of the earth, just as if someone had pulled out the plug, letting all the magma run down out of the chamber.
Inside the volcano
You will spend up to an hour inside the volcano (or less if you prefer), and there is plenty of time to take as many photos as you wish. However, you are not allowed to take away rocks and stones from the crater. Expert guides will be with you at all times, in the cable lift and on the ground in the magma chamber.
While waiting for everyone in the group to complete the volcano visit, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a traditional Icelandic meat soup, hot coffee / tea / chocolate and perhaps some sweets. Don´t be surprised when we ask for your email – we would like to send you a quick survey to complete after the tour.
Finally, accompanied by a guide who is with you at all times, you walk back over the lava field. The coach will be waiting for you in the parking lot, ready to drive you back to Reykjavik.
Outdoor clothing to wear
The weather in the mountains can be very different to the city. A warm sweater and jacket are very useful, not least because it’s always the same temperature inside the crater – about 5–6°C (42–43°F). That’s cold! This is a trip to be remembered. Don't forget your camera! Yes, you can take as many pictures as you want! Most of all have fun!
Map - (click to enlarge)
Disclaimer: All our tours are undertaken on the responsibility of its participants. Extreme Iceland does not assume any responsibility for accidents that are caused by its customers or can be traced to their own actions.