Eyjafjallajökull – The one that rules them all

Eyjafjallajökull – The one that rules them all

Eyjafjallajökull, the unpronounceable one, quietly looming in the background. Always in the shadow of its bigger sisters and brothers – Katla, Hekla, Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn. Nobody knew its name, or could even pronounce it. Well, except of course Icelanders…

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! 😉

Ring Road near Eyjafjallajökull and Skógafoss, south coast, Iceland.
The Ring Road near Skógafoss, with flowering fields of lupines. The water vapour from the Skógafoss waterfall is rising up in the distance.

Where is the Eyjafjallajökull volcano located?

You’ll see this beautiful volcano looming from the Ring Road, the main road around Iceland, near Skógar on the south coast. From Skógafoss you can explore its lower slopes if you walk up the stairway beside the waterfall.

Sometimes the track above Skógafoss is temporarily closed for the fragile vegetation to regenerate. This happens especially in spring, when the path get muddy due to melting of snow. Check beforehand.

Skógafoss tumbling down from Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.
Skógafoss tumbling down from the green slopes of Eyjafjallajökull.

Thórsmörk, the back garden of Eyjafjallajökull

Even more spectacular views await when you venture into the fabled valley of Thórsmörk on the other side. Skógafoss is also the starting point (or finish) of the famous 25 kilometre Fimmvörðuháls hiking route across Eyjafjallajökull and down into Thórsmörk.

Midnight sunset on Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.
Epic midnight sunset on Eyjafjallajökull on the Fimmvörðuháls hiking route.

Magni crater, Fimmvörðuháls, Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.
Magni crater and Fimmvörðuháls lava flow, still steaming at their edges, four years after the eruption.

Descent into Thórsmörk on the Fimmvörðuháls hiking route, Iceland.
You do need bits & pieces of rope in some places to get down the mountain on the Thórsmörk side,… 😉

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano

On my first short visit to Iceland I went on a spontaneous road trip along the south coast to Vík. And got lost in some of the most overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen, full of steaming fields and surreal rugged mountains with countless waterfalls tumbling from their hallucinating green edges. It was beyond anything I could have imagined beforehand.

It was probably the sight of the incredible craggyness of that obscure mountain that did it. I saw a brilliant sunset on its shimmering glacier looming in the distance, and was well & truly blown away. At that time, I didn’t even know its name, yet I felt a strong connection.

I also experienced this with Mount Taranaki in New Zealand.

Seljalandsfoss tumbling down from Eyjafjallajökull, south coast, Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss tumbling down from the green slopes of Eyjafjallajökull.

Eyjafjallajökull and Icelandic horses.
Icelandic horses with Eyjafjallajökull quietly looming in the background.

How to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull?

So how do you pronounce the name of this infamous ‘unpronounceable’ volcano? Eyjafjallajökull is easy to pronounce! You can listen to it in this video, where an Icelander explains how to say it.

More tongue-twisting place names in Iceland

Still not convinced that Eyjafjallajökull is actually not that difficult? Try pronouncing one of these! 😉

  • Útigönguhöfði (a ridiculously steep mountain in Thórsmörk)
  • Fjaðrárgljúfur (a beautiful canyon on the south coast of Iceland)
  • Fljótsdalshérað (the region around Egilsstaðir in East Iceland)
  • Landeyjahöfn (the ferry harbour for Vestmannaeyjar)
  • Thríhnúkagígur (an extinct volcano in southwest Iceland, where you can descent into its colourful magma chamber)

Or check out this map for some more hardcore tongue twisting challenges!

Winter moonrise above Eyjafjallajökull, seen from Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland.
Winter moonrise above Eyjafjallajökull, seen from Vestmannaeyjar.

Eyjafjallajökull area map

This handy interactive map shows the locations in the pictures above and around the area. You can also zoom in for more details, and click on the icons to reveal pictures of stunning views.

Mountains & Volcanoes – Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland

This article was originally published as a NaturePic Challenge: pictures of epic nature with a specific theme, and places that will trigger a natural high.

(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High

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Last update: 13 April 2023
First published: 26 February 2017

Northern lights erupting from Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland.
A giant column of northern lights erupting from Eyjafjallajökull. Photo by Ruth Zohlen.

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Video – Eyjafjallajökull and Fimmvörðuháls

View over the Fimmvörðuháls lava fields from the top of Magni crater.

Fimmvörðuháls lava fountains

Spectacular video of the Fimmvörðuháls fissure eruption on Eyjafjallajökull in April 2010. The second half of the video also shows cascading lava falls into Hrunagil canyon on the Thórsmörk side of the track.

More to explore & discover

Fagradalsfjall – The spectacular Iceland volcano

La Palma – Cumbre Vieja Volcano Route

Stromboli – The ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean

Kerlingarfjöll – Steaming valleys and surreal landscapes

Vestmannaeyjar walking tracks – The best hikes on Heimaey

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