#reykjanes

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.
 

Eldvörp row of craters at Reykjanes Peninsula

The name Eldborg is, in essence, a geological term that means crater.  In Iceland, about seven places are bearing this name. Usually, the name has been given to a rather large and spectacular crater that doesn't go unnoticed in the landform. This applies to Eldborg by Geitahlíð located at the Reykjanes Peninsula. Equally impressive is the crater Eldborg at the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The advantage here at Reykjanes is the easy access. Eldborg by Geitahlíð is a beautiful example of a crater that was formed in an eruption and as the outbreak stopped, and magma discontinued to flow this spectacular round form was created and molded farther by weather and winds. The height of the crater is 50 meters above sea level. When you get to the top, the inner depth is about 30 meters.  Eldborg í Geitahlíð is an excellent example of a crater, and you can walk on the rim, but caution is required.

Eldborg Reykjanes Peninsula

The small effort is worth it

When you walk up to the top, you will notice that there are a few smaller craters around Eldborg. Since this is an active volcanic area even though it has not erupted for hundreds or thousands of years, there are even a few craters nearby called small Eldborg.  When on top you will also see the lava fields that flooded from the crater and although not a very large hill the view is quite spectacular.  You have a good view of the Sveifluháls mountain ridge to the west and the shore at Reykjanes Peninsula to the south.  It is a great place to get an overview of the forces that form the land and how they interact.  The crater is also a spectacular creation and an excellent spot to take interesting photos although you might need a wide angle to capture the inside of the crater when on top. 

Finding your way to Eldborg í Geitahlíð

The best way to find Eldborg í Geitahlíð is to drive to Kleifarvatn lake on Road Krýsuvíkurleið Nr. 42 from Reykjavík towards the main road by the south shore. When you are almost at the intersection of Road 42 and Road Strandarvegur Nr. 427 you take a turn to Eldborg.  It might be best to park the car by the asphalt road as the gravel road is a tough 4X4 road. The distance to Eldborg from the asphalt road is quite short.

Below is the location of Eldborgir / Eldborg on the map of Iceland

Eldborg crater Reykjanes Peninsular

Reykjanes Peninsula is a great place to stay when in Iceland. It is the home of the International Airport, The Blue Lagoon and many natural wonders.  This part of Iceland offers a great Road Trip where you can see hot springs, magnificent cliffs, beautiful lakes and old historic settlements.  It is a great place with a large variety of accommodation and hotels in all of the six towns and villages located on the shore. 

 

Booking.com

Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland for accommodation and hotels

If you are planning a vacation, a trip or a tour in Iceland, accommodation is of course of great importance. In recent years Booking.com has built a good relationship with hundreds of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, farms and lodges around Iceland to search for and offer the largest selection and variety for you to find the most suitable accommodation for your plans. In the search engine above hiticeland.com has partnered with booking.com to find a good variety of accommodation and prices that will fit your schedule and budget. The search engine finds accommodation in Garður and also near Garður, if you prefer to stay in the countryside.

Reykjanes Peninsula is the place in Iceland where most visitors arrive, it is the home of the International Airport in Keflavík.  Apart from the Blue Lagoon many of the most popular attraction in Iceland are in other Regions.  Reykjanes peninsula, on the other hand, has many exciting attractions and fascinating natural wonders.  Landscape attractions accessible by car less than hours drive from Reykjavík. There are also many interesting hiking trails and moutains in Reykjanes Peninsula.

Spákonuvatn a small shallow lake

The beautiful small lake, Spákonuvatn (The Fortunetellers lake), is south of the mountain Trölladyngja; a mountain everyone who arrives via the airport in Keflavík will see when driving to Reykjavík. The small lake is surrounded by geological wonders like Sogið. Although a short distance for Reykjavík and Reykjanesbær town it is place few people visit, so you can expcet a quite and peacful time visiting Spákonuvant. There are also interesting spots to visit nearby like Lambafellsgjá fissure, Keilir mountain and Djúpavatn lake. It is part of the backland and "wilderness" at Reykjanes Peninsula.

Finding Spákonuvatn

The road to Trölladyngja and Spákonuvatn is midways between Keflavík and Reykjavík marked Keilir.  It is a perfect place for comfortable hiking in wonderful colorful surroundings, not far away from the city.  Many of these places you can visit are covered on our web page like Lambafellsgjá and Trölladyngja.

 

Below is the location of Spákonuvatn on the map of Iceland

If you only have a day to drive around the countryside in Iceland and are interested in some of the spectacular sites and natural wonders Iceland has to offer, the Reykjanes Peninsula Drive is a great option. This is especially true if you are staying in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland, or near the International airport at Reykjanesbær or the small fishing town of Grindavík.

The many reasons Reykjanes Peninsula day tour is a perfect road trip for stopover and short stay passengers who visit Iceland

For anyone slightly interested in geology the Reykjanes peninsula is like a candy store or a wonderland.  This small area is packed with samples of how the planet behaves over time, i.e. over a period of tens of thousands of years.  Here you will find volcanoes, mountains and mountain rigs, a variety of lava, hot springs, craters, boiling clays, ravines, rhyolites, fissures, geothermal activity, high-temperature geothermal system and the list goes on.

A bridge where North America and Europe drift apart

The Reykjanes peninsula is not only a spectacular place to see and a great place to understand the ongoing, and everlasting struggle between surfacing magma and the many forces of nature, but also a home of a small part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  It is the only place where this longest mountain ridge on the planet that stretches from the Arctic to Antarctica is not under sea level. The ridge is where two tectonic plates meet and seem to be in agreement to drift apart.  And here you can walk between the two tectonic plates on a bridge where North America and Europe drift apart.

A place to remember if you visit the Geopark

The canyon was formed by this movement and this geological agreement and drifts two centimeters per. year. If you walk the 18 meters long bridge, you are practically walking from one tectonic plate to another. The drifting is so slow that you will probably not feel the drift unless of course the plates decided to take a fight and send us an earthquake.  In September of 2015, the Reykjanes Geopark became the 66th Geopark in the world and is a part of the UNESCO program. 

 

 

A bridge where North America and Europe drift apart

 

Just a few kilometers south of the Geothermal area Seltún at Krísuvík is a small lake, Grænavatn (Greenlake). The lake is a volcanic crater that got its name from its unusual green color. The color is due to a high level of sulphur in the water and its depth.  The lake is only about few hundred meters in diameter and offers a perfect trail for a refreshing walk, as it only takes about 20 minutes to walk around the lake.  For a small lake it is quite deep, though, or 45 meters.  This is visible as you stand by the brim, and you can see how the color changes by the shoreline where the lake gets deeper. Grænavatn is considered by geologists to be one of the most noteworthy geological phenomena of its kind in Iceland.

A failed venture that almost destroyed the lake

Many visitors wonder what the deal is with the two silage towers and the decaying cowhouse right by the lake.  This is one of those unfortunate projects initiated at a time when understanding of nature was limited, and respect for natural wonders easily gave way for economic ventures. Although this was not such a long time ago, in the fifties, the whole project almost ruined the lake as some of its surroundings were altered in the process.  Needless to say, the whole venture failed, and the people and the Hafnarfjörður municipality behind it have not yet had the decency to remove this horrible building and heal the area around the lake.

Grænavatn and folklore

Due to its unusual nature and color, the lake has been a source of folklore stories throughout the centuries.  Only as recently as the middle of the 16th century an odd creature was spotted coming from the lake.  The lake is almost on the main road Krísuvíkurvegur (42) and can be seen as you pass by it only a few hundred meters from Seltún the geothermal area. 

 

 

Just a few kilometers south of the Geothermal area Seltún at Krísuvík is a small lake, Grænavatn (Greenlake).

 

From the road on the south shore leading to Grindavík (427) east of the large lava Ögmundarhraun that surfaced some 300 years after the years of settlement in Iceland, about 800 years ago. The landscape seems like a flat land with classical vegetation. A kind of a flat morse ending by the seashore.  But if you take the turn on the rather difficult track to Krísuvíkurberg, you will see dramatic changes.  Krísuvíkurberg is a 6-kilometer wide cliff south on the coastline of Reykjanes Peninsula.  Although not particularly high, around 50 to 70 meters, it is an impressive sight as it stretches along the coastline. The cliff is a home to tens of thousands of birds and is a spectacular geological phenomenon. 

Krísuvíkurberg seen from Húshólmi and Ögmundarhraun lava field

Krísuvíkurberg seen from Húshólmi and Ögmundarhraun lava field

Krísuvíkurberg has interesting layers of lava molded by the ocean

The cliff is a wall that the mighty Atlantic Ocean has molded with its enduring force for thousands of years. The cliff was originally formed by blankets of layers of lava that accumulated on top of each other thousands of years ago in many different eruptions. Contrary to the lava Ögmundarhraun these eruptions surfaced long before historical times.  A process that can only be explained on a geological timeline. The layers are visible on the wall with different colors as they represent a different time and different kind of magma and lava. There are up to 10 different layers on the east part of Krísuvíkurbjarg and around five on the west side. It is a monument of Natures ability to form various patters in thousands of years for us to enjoy and photograph.

Krísuvíkurberg also has its part in the Icelandic folklore

There are not many places where boats can land to access the land. But in the early 17th century, the Turks invaded Iceland and abducted hundreds of people and sold them to slavery.  One of the landing places was at Krísuvíkurberg, and the steps where they came up was called Ræningjastígur, or Bandits path. Fortunately, they only managed to kill one woman before they got into a fight between themselves with fatal consequences. According to Icelandic folklore, their disagreement was a spell from a priest who saw them approaching, and thus saved his people. 

 

Below is the location of Grindavík on the map of Iceland

Krísuvíkurberg is a cliff is a wall that the mighty Atlantic Ocean has molded with its never enduring force for thousands of years.

Vigdísarvellir has always been a popular camping site in Iceland, especially amongst the people living on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It used to be a smallholding from the Þórkötlustaðir farm in Grindavík inhabited until 1900. Explaining why Vigdísarvellir is the only spot in the Peninsula's lava fields where you'll find large green pastures. Also, you will still find the ruins of the old crofts in situ.

Vigdísarvellir, along with Lake Djúpavatn, is part of the high-temperature geothermal area on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The low and flat lands are predominantly covered by Holocene lava flows covering the older hyaloclastite formation.

From Vigdísarvellir, you will find hiking trails in all directions. It is a great location to camp for a few days while you inspect the hiking trails crisscrossing the Peninsula. The Reykjanes Peninsula being one of the most geologically interesting areas in Iceland, you will most certainly find palagonite, basalt and obsidian. The lava formations are quite spectacular with their deep valleys and rugged hills, beautiful rare moss species and delicate flora. Here is most certainly the place where you can practically merge with nature. And, after a day of robust hiking, lying down in the grass at Vigdísavellir to listen to the silence, is simply ethereal.

 

Below is the location of Vigdísarvellir on the map of Iceland

A great camping ground for those who want privacy

The mountain Trölladyngja (Troll Mountain) is quite curious. This dwarf of a mountain (only 275 meters high) consists of palagonite like most mountains in the area. Trölladyngja and its surroundings is part of the Krísuvík Geothermal Area, but only recently so. Until 1975, there was no geothermal activity around the mountain, but a few years later things started to shift and change. Today Trölladyngja is geothermally very active. It is quite apparent in the colorful south side of the mountain and its surroundings.

Next to Trölladyngja is another mountain, Grænadyngja (Green Mountain) that is a bit higher (393 meters). The two mountains are commonly referred to as "The Sisters." Both mountains are geothermally very active, and also very popular amongst hikers. Both mountains are easy to mound, even for the inexperienced hiker. Indeed, one of the most popular and beautiful hiking routes in the Reykjanes Peninsula is the hike from Trölladyngja onto Grænadyngja, through the beautiful valley running between them.

"The Sisters" rise high above the lava field surrounding them, and are easily discernible from a long distance away, i.e. from the Capital area. Close by, you will find some of the most popular attractions in the Reykjanes Peninsula, such as the Blue Lagoon, the Bridge Between Two Continents, Reykjanesviti Lighthouse, Seltún and Gunnuhver.
 

 

Below is the location of Trölladyngja mountain on the map of Iceland

The mountain Trölladyngja and her sister Grænadyngja

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