Hekla is one of the most famous and most active volcanoes in Iceland and has more than 20 documented eruptions since settlement in Iceland, last one in the year 2000.
Hekla is a stratovolcano located in the south of Iceland and is about 1,491 meters (4,892ft) high. Because of its frequents eruptions Hekla has produced one of the largest volumes of lava in the world in the last thousand years, around 8 km3 and 10% of the tephra created in Iceland has come from Hekla.
In the middle ages Hekla was considered to be the gateway to Hell. People believed they heard whining from the deceased coming from the mountain and some said they even saw the souls, of the people who didn't deserve to go to heaven, being brought to Hekla by black birds.
Eruptions in Hekla
Eruptions in Hekla are extremely varied and difficult to predict. In the eruption in 2000 it was announced on the radio about 25 minutes before it started that Hekla was about to erupt. Hekla is monitored by scientists but even so it is hard to predict when and how much time before it happens. About 110 million cubic meters of lava came from the eruption in 2000 and covered about 18 square kilometers of Iceland. About 20 million cubic meters of ash blew up with the wind.
Hekla is a popular hiking place and on a sunny day it offers stunning views over south Iceland from the top. One should always keep in mind though that Hekla is a very active volcano and is expected to erupt any time now. It is very important to be informed about the danger of the eruptions and read the information sign by Hekla’s main walking path before hiking the mountain. We recommend not to hike Hekla without a experienced guide.
The drive from Reykjavik is about 1 hour and 40 minutes (150km). Take Ring Road nr. 1 and then turn on road nr. 26.
Read more about Driving in Iceland.