Herjólfsdalur is intimidatingly beautiful, whichever angle you look at it. It looks like a giant natural amphitheatre, with stupendous rocks rising up on all sides as you enter the valley. The walk along the top ridge is one not to be missed. The distraction rate is very high, and there’s a great density of spectacular sights and features along the way. Herjólfsdalur is also the setting for the yearly Þjóðhátíð festival in August. On the last evening, the mountainside is set alight with a row of flames along the entire length of the valley – a magnificent sight to see!
Helfgafell offers sweeping surround views of brooding volcanoes and a heart-shaped crater. For a long time, Helgafell was the ruling volcano on Heimaey. The one that merged the chain of rocks to the north and Stórhöfði to the south into the present island, its classic volcano-shaped silhouette dominating the interior. Hike to the top and you may have Helgafell with its beautiful views virtually for yourself.
The hike to the top of Eldfell is the one every visitor to Heimaey wants to do. It’s the famous volcano that erupted out of nowhere in January 1973. Eldfell is very colourful, the track is easily accessible, and the views are absolutely stunning in all directions. From the top you can gawk onto the impressive lava flow that was furiously roiling & boiling only a few decades ago, and single-handedly enlarged the island by several square kilometers. It’s incredible to think it didn’t even exist just over 50 years ago.
Heimaklettur is the iconic Home Rock of Vestmannaeyjar. It may look a bit inaccessible at first sight, but there are ladders and chains to help you up the path to the top. I made a detailed description of the Heimaklettur hike, including lots of pictures of what the track is like. In the darker days of the year, people like to light candles on Heimaklettur. And around Christmas and New Year they get totally out of control, with a multitude of candles all over the upper slopes. It’s an incredibly beautiful sight.
What is it with this spell that Iceland does to you? My first visit was a sponttaneous short trip to see a concert of Sigur Rós in Reykjavík. Little did I expect to be blown away in more ways than one… I got lost in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. It was full of steaming fields and craggy mountains with countless waterfalls tumbling from their hallucinating green edges. The overwhelming beauty of Iceland just keeps you coming back for more.
Opal fever is real. It will draw you in and take hold of you if you venture into the opal fields of Lightning Ridge and The Grawin. The only place in the world where the elusive black opal is found. It’s like northern lights and a volcanic eruption simultaneously frozen into iridescent stone, forged from the ancient depths of Gondwana. And it’s difficult not to get enchanted by its beauty.
Explore the awe-inspiring beauty and majesty of these epic mountains and volcanoes. Some being both simultaneously. You just never lose your sense of wonder. And there’s nothing quite like having a Wilderness Coffee with a view! Find your mountain and see how to get there.
Eyjafjallajökull, the unpronounceable one, silently looming in the background. Nobody knew its name, or could even pronounce it. Until that day in April 2010, when it literally erupted into world fame, and stopped the whole of Europe in their tracks. Eyjafjallajökull rules them all. This beautiful volcano is surrounded by hiking tracks in Thórsmörk around the back and Fimmvörðuháls over the top.
Ngauruhoe featured as the terrifying Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s one of the many cones of the vast Tongariro complex. You can explore Ngauruhoe and its surrounding area on the Tongariro Crossing, a beautiful walking track along 20 kilometres of steaming and colourful volcanic terrain from Mangatepopo to Ketetahi in New Zealand.
Mount Etna is Europe’s most active volcano, and it’s in a constant state of excitement. There’s always something going on around the slopes of Etna. Often it’s just quietly steaming away, and you can do many beautiful hikes in the summit area. But when it erupts it can cough up large rivers of lava, fissure fountains, strombolian fireworks, fuming ash clouds and everything inbetween from its various craters.