Eldvörp row of craters

  • Eldvörp row of craters at Reykjanes Peninsula

The row of craters at Reykjanes Peninsula called Eldvörp formed in an eruption in the early 13th century is a spectacular site to visit.  A lava field from the eruption covers a large area west of the small mountains Svartsengi and Þorbjörn. The lava field stretches from the northernmost crater all the way to the south shore. The craters are similar to the famous Lakagigar in the Icelandic highland although everything is on a smaller scale. The row of craters is about 10 kilometers long and consists of many craters, and some are even still warm with steam evaporating from the ground, indicating that the craters are still active and the magma still lurking beneath. From the top of some of the crates, you get a good view around the Reykjanes Peninsula west of the mountain ridge Vesturháls. More or less a flat lowland covered with lava fields, the top of the crater gives it an excellent view of the nature of the Reykjanes Peninsula. A landform of leaky lava with almost no possibility of a soil to harvest. A geothermal and volcanic wonderland.

The advantage of geothermal power

The crater row Eldvörp is part of the geothermal area that provides hot water for the Svartsengi Power Plant and the famous Reykjanes Peninsula landmark and tourist attraction Blue Lagoon. In the old days some decades and centuries ago people at the Reykjanes Peninsula used the heat to bake bread. This was during the time of shortage of firewood and coals. So there are examples of Icelanders taking advantage of the geothermal heat long before power plants and heating houses. Currently, there are plans to drill more deep holes in the area near and around Eldvörp.  Although considered by many a positive step in developing renewable energy it also raises questions about messing with nature.  There is an ongoing dispute from preservationists and by visiting Eldvörp you can actually judge for yourself as some of the projects are obviously damaging the natural wonders beyond repair.

Finding your way to Eldvörp

Driving to Eldvörp is relatively easy and suitable for every kind of car. During winter caution is needed and visit the weather site recommended.  From Reykjavík, you drive to the road Reykjanesbraut Nr. 41 which is the same road most visitors drive when they arrive through the International Airport at Keflavík. After driving approximately 30 kilometers you turn south on Grindavíkurvegur Nr. 43 and turn west when you reach the intersection to the Blue Lagoon. You drive past the intersection to the Blue Lagoon parking lot about a mile or 1.6 kilometers.  Here you drive to the west about 3 kilometers or two miles on a gravel road to reach Eldvörp.