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The Volcanic Way is a new travel route, so it is understandable that at first, you might have trouble finding information about it. Please contact us if you are planning your trip and have trouble finding the information you need. That being said, here are some classic questions and answers for anyone traveling The Volcanic Way.

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What is The Volcanic Way?

The Volcanic Way is a new travel route covering Reykjanes and South Iceland in detail. It is designed by locals for people who want to visit Iceland in a socially conscious, eco-friendly way. It is all about volcanic activity and us, the people who live amongst the volcanoes.

Q: What are the eight stages of The Volcanic Way?

To make it easier for you to plan and experience a journey along The Volcanic Way, we divided the route into eight stages. Each stage has its own volcano, which has shaped the surrounding landscapes and communities at some point in history.

These are the stages of The Volcanic Way:

  1. Fagradalsfjall. This stage covers the Reykjanes peninsula, starting in the town Reykjanesbær.
  2. Hengill. From Þorlákshöfn and Hellisheiði in the west, to the river Þjórsá.
  3. Hekla. From Þjórsá river to Hella village on Road 1. This may at first seem like a short way, but this stage includes Þjórsárdalur valley, bringing you close to the roots of Hekla volcano.
  4. Eyjafjallajökull. From Hvolsvöllur village to Skógar. 
  5. Eldfell. Board a ferry to The Westman islands to enjoy this stage of The Volcanic Way.
  6. Katla. From Sólheimajökull to Hjörleifshöfði and Katla Ice cave.
  7. Laki. From Múlakvísl river to Lómagnúpur mountain.
  8. Öræfajökull. From Skaftafell to Höfn.

 

Q: How long is The Volcanic Way?

The Volcanic Way is approximately 700 kilometers one way. However, backtracking the shortest way from Höfn to Reykjanesbær only adds 500 km to the route.

 

Q: Why is The Volcanic Way shorter on the way back?

 A: The Volcanic Way is a pleasant route, taking in exciting detours off Ring Road 1. On your way back, you may opt to redo the detours, but the quickest way is only 500 km.

 

Q: What should I expect from The Volcanic Way?

Expect volcanic landscapes, peaceful places, good food, friendly people, fascinating history, and unforgettable outdoor activities. Most importantly, expect to be surprised!

 

When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

The Volcanic Way is essentially accessible year-round. To find the perfect time of year for you personally, please adhere to the following sub-questions.

Q: I want to self-drive, but I am inexperienced with driving in storms or on icy roads. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: May-September.

 

Q: I want to see the northern lights. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

A: September-March

 

Q: I want to see puffins. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: May-August.

 

Q: I like to travel when there are fewer tourists around. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

A: January-April or October-November.

 

Q: I‘m not too fond of the cold. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: June-August are the warmest months in Iceland. Icelanders say „There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing“. Wear suitable clothes, and you will stay warm. Moreover, most buildings in Iceland are kept warm and comfy with renewable energy year-round.

 

Q: I love snow! When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: Year-round. Glaciers are snowy all year round. Book a glacier activity to experience ice and snow. Icelandic weather is unpredictable, but December-January is your best chance to experience snow outside the mountains.

 

Q: I want to see reindeer. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: November-April. Although not guaranteed, wild reindeer can sometimes be spotted in the Vatnajökull region in winter.

 

Q: I want to enter an ice cave. When should I travel The Volcanic Way?

 A: Ice caves near Vík may be accessible year-round. However, the best time of year to see ice caves in Vatnajökull glacier are from November to March. Check out cave exploring options and start planning.

 

Planning your trip along The Volcanic Way

Planning a trip can be exciting as well as exhausting. Our aim is to make it easy for you.

Q: How much time do I need?

A: Our advice is to plan at least one day for each of the eight stages of The Voclanic Way. This route is a slow-travel approach to a region filled with popular tourist attractions. Please, do not rush it.

 

Q: How are the roads on The Volcanic Way?

The Volcanic Way is mostly on paved lowland roads. Parts of the way leading up to natural attractions or country-side hotels are gravel. During winter, you can expect icy road conditions. Make sure to evaluate whether you are fit for driving in winter conditions. If not, you can visit in the summer or look for a guided tour.

 

Q: What kind of car will I need on The Volcanic Way?

A: Any type of rental car will work to drive The Volcanic Way. An SUV or larger vehicle will give you more freedom to explore in the summer and increase your security in the winter.

 

Q: As I reach Höfn, should I continue to drive the entire Ring Road, or is the route worth back-tracking?

The Ring Road: If time is not an issue, and the season allows, then continuing on the Ring Road is an excellent way to continue your journey. However, in winter, weather and road conditions will likely be more difficult as you make your way north. The ideal season for a Ring-road trip is from April to October.

Back-tracking: The upside to back-tracking is that you will immediately have a second chance to experience your favorite destinations, perhaps in different weather or time of day. It will also give your journey more flexibility as you can catch up on missed sites or activities you want to try out. In the winter, weather and road conditions are generally more accessible in the south of Iceland.

One-way options: Flying domestically between Höfn and Reykjavík is an option. Make sure to look into timetables and book your flight in advance. You will also want to look into whether your car rental agency allows for you to leave the car in a different location from where you picked it up. Other options include arriving via ferry from Seyðisfjörður in the east and driving The Volcanic Way from east to west.

 

I want to be a responsible tourist. What can I do?

You are so kind! More people should be like you. Here are some things you can do to contribute to regenerative tourism:

Q: How can I be a responsible tourist?

Did you know there is a thing called The Icelandic Pledge? It involves the key elements of responsible travel in Iceland. Take the Icelandic Pledge and encourage your travel buddies to do the same.

Here is what the pledge involves

    • I pledge to be a responsible tourist.
    • When I explore new places, I will leave them as I found them.
    • I will take photos to die for, without dying for them.
    • I will follow the road into the unknown but never venture off-road.
    • And I will only park where I am supposed to.
    • When I sleep out under the stars, I'll stay within a campsite.
    • And when nature calls, I won't answer the call on nature.
    • I will be prepared for all weathers, all possibilities and all adventures.

Take me to The Icelandic Pledge

 

Q: How can I give back?

Regenerative tourism is all about leaving a place better than it was before you were there. 

  • Shop Local
  • Learn and share stories
  • Support a local cause
  • Clean the environment
  • Lend a hand
  • Give smiles
  • Seek out local advice

 

Should I worry about my safety on The Volcanic Way?

Short answer: No. Iceland is a safe country for travelers. Find the following answers to ease your mind and help prepare for a carefree vacation.

Q: Are all destinations on The Volcanic Way safe to visit?

Yes, the destinations we recommend are safe to visit. However, there are some things you need to be aware of:

Beaches: Reynisfjara black sand beach is known for its perilous waves. Stay away from the water and follow safety advice on location. As a rule of thumb, you should never play with waves on beaches along the south coast of Iceland unless a trusted local has confirmed it is safe.

Cliff edges: Do not go close to the edge of cliffs, canyons, and mountains. You could slip, or the wind might sweep you off your feet.

Ice and icebergs: Lakes, rivers, and even parts of the sea may seem frozen over on cold winter days but you should never go onto the ice unless  a trusted local can confirm it is safe. Moreover, do not climb onto icebergs. You only see 10% of it above the water, and you never know when the Iceberg may decide to flip or break.

Glaciers: Never go on glaciers or into Ice caves without a certified guide.

Lava fields: There are many reasons why you should not walk on lava fields unless there is a marked path. If it is newly formed lava, you may fall through the hard top layer into the scorching hot lava underneath. If the lava is old, you may fall through hidden cracks or damage the vegetation. Instead, stay on marked paths, stay safe and enjoy the views.

Geothermal areas: Stay on marked paths. The sulfuric ground may be fragile and hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.

Get travel advice from SafeTravel.is, the official source for safe adventure in Iceland.

 

Q: How is road safety on The Volcanic Way?

The top speed limit on most roads is 90 km/h. There are no large highways, but you will find yourself on some rougher gravel roads, for example leading up to natural attractions or country hotels.

In Winter, which is roughly from October until the end of April, there may be ice or snow on the roads. Winter storms may cause difficult driving conditions and temporary road closures. When planning a winter trip of The Volcanic Way, make sure your schedule is not too tight,  and have an open mind to changes in your travel plans. 

No matter the season you visit, we highly recommend SafeTravel.is, the official source for safe adventure in Iceland.

 

Q: What happens if one of the volcanoes erupts? Should I be afraid?

Don't worry, the scientists are on it. You can safely travel The Volcanic Way and trust that you will be notified and guided on the off chance a volcanic eruption is imminent. 

To ease your mind, check out SafeTravel.is, the official source for safe adventure in Iceland.

 

Q: How can people live so close to volcanoes?

Icelanders have been doing it for over 1200 years. Although a few major eruptions of the past caused famines or forced people to leave their homes forever, most eruptions have only caused a temporary disruption to daily life.The ever-present forces of nature have undoubtedly shaped the nation throughout the centuries, teaching resilience in difficult times and humility towards forces that are indisputably bigger than us. Today, we have little to worry about, as scientists monitor every movement of the land; and practiced protocols are in place. You can safely travel The Volcanic Way and trust that you will be notified and guided on the off chance a volcanic eruption is imminent.

 

The stages of The Volcanic Way

1. Fagradalsfjall
Located in Reykjanes Peninsula, a captivating geological wonderland where the raw power of nature is on full display.
2. Hengill
As you reach the vicinity of Hengill, you will start noticing steam rising from hills, mountains, and even within the town of Hveragerði.
3. Hekla
Hekla has been dubbed the Queen of Iceland’s volcanoes. The one that has erupted most frequently in recent years;
4. Eyjafjallajökull
Eyjafjallajökull is an ice-capped volcano that famously erupted in 2010, its ash cloud affecting air traffic widely in Europe.
5. Eldfell
One fateful night in 1973, the people of Westman islands woke up to a volcanic eruption at the edge of the town.
6. Katla
The vicinity of Katla is recognized by its vast black sands. While the volcano itself is hiding under thick layers of ice, its surrounding glacier, Mýrdalsjökull, is a majestic sight.
7. Laki
The vast lava fields of the Laki region can seem otherworldly. Two significant volcanic eruptions produced these mystical landscapes:
8. Öræfajökull
Vatnajökull glacier is everpresent as you explore the easternmost part of The Volcanic Way. Its highest peak is Öræfajökull, a stratovolcano at Vatnajökull's southern edge
Frequently asked questions
Questions and answers for anyone traveling The Volcanic Way