Last update: 25 January 2022
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. It sits next to its older ‘twin volcano’ Helgafell.
But occasionally Eldfell still erupts a rainbow
(and some northern lights too!) ❤️
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.
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 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 😉
Want to see more of this beautiful island? Explore the numerous Vestmannaeyjar walking tracks in this article.
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.
(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High
Rainbow over Herjólfsdalur, with the island of Bjarnarey and Eldfell in the background.
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Covid travel restrictions Iceland
In these uncertain times, things can change quickly. Procedures are constantly evaluated and updated. For the current situation regarding Covid-19 related travel advice and restrictions in Iceland, see Covid.is (in English).
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More to explore & discover
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