Eldfell erupting a rainbow

Eldfell erupting a rainbow

Last update: 3 July 2020

Eldfell volcano suddenly arrived in spectacular fashion on the island of Heimaey (Vestmannaeyjar) on 23 January 1973, and caused quite some upheaval. After it finished its business on July 3 of that same year, it now lies dormant and watches over the island peacefully.

But occasionally Eldfell still erupts a rainbow

(and some northern lights too!) ❤️

Eldfell erupting a rainbow, Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar
The ‘twin’ volcanoes of Eldfell and Helgafell on Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar.

Heimaey eruption 1973

In the middle of the night people in Vestmannaeya town looked out their window, and saw the field in their back yard had just started erupting. Huge fountains of liquid fire came straight from the ground and roared up to 150 meters in the air. The Eldfell eruption almost devastated the island, causing the entire population to evacuate overnight. Without knowing if they would be able to return, or if their beautiful island would ever be habitable again…

Read more about the Heimaey eruption and the walking track to Eldfell.

Rainbow extravaganza

Autumn brings some unstable & stormy weather, but it also creates stunning natural light effects like these. You can often see rainbows of extravagant shapes and sizes all over the island.

Rainbow over Heimaey harbour, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Rainbow over Heimaey harbour and the huge Eldfell lava fields.

End of Eldfell eruption festival

At the start of the Goslok festival 2017, a cheerful rainbow also appeared over Eldfell and Vestmannaeyja town. Goslok is the yearly celebration of the end of the eruption. Timing couldn’t have been better 😉

Eldfell goslok rainbow, Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Goslok rainbow over Eldfell.

Where is Vestmannaeyjar?

Vestmannaeyjar is a volcanic chain of islands just off the south coast of Iceland, directly across from Eyjafjallajökull. They are also known as the Westman Islands. Heimaey may look tiny on the map, but there’s a lot of spectacular scenery densely compressed into its 13,4 square kilometres. The ferry to Heimaey departs from Landeyjahöfn and takes 35 minutes. You’ll see the turn-off to the harbour near Seljalandsfoss on the Ring Road.

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(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High

Want to see more of this beautiful island? Explore the numerous Vestmannaeyjar walking tracks in this article.

Rainbow over Herjólfsdalur, Bjarnarey and Eldfell, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
Rainbow over Herjólfsdalur, with the island of Bjarnarey and Eldfell in the background.


More stories & inspiration

Dalalæða – Spectacular waterfalls of fog

Solar eclipse – A mind-blowing experience

El Hierro – A volcanic hotspot underneath the sea

Haleakala – The House of the Rising Sun

Natural Art – Abstract painting & contrasts

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