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You are here: Home > Iceland Travel Guide > Southern Iceland > Hekla

Discover The Hekla Volcano

Photo of the Hekla Volcano

In southern Iceland, in the middle of the Fjallabak mountain range, the Hekla region is one of the country's top destinations for a reason! Go off on a hike across this fiery and lunar landscape. In the middle of its sandy expanses and lava fields, bushes and flowers pop up in unexpected places.

Hikes around Hekla

The Helka volcano is known for being Iceland's most active! The word "hekla" means "hood", and the volcano was named this way because its peak is usually covered by a dense cloud of fog. Towering over the region with its 1491m, it was feared for centuries as locals believe it hid the "gates to hell".

Even if the ascent is relatively easy, we recommend you not veer off the marked path. Climbing the volcano is not recommended because it can erupt suddenly without betraying any of the usual tell-tale signs. However, if you have a burning desire to hike to the top we can recommend some excellent guides for you. Experts when it comes the region and volcanism, they can lead you safely off the beaten path!

From the village of Leirubakki, a 4WD is highly recommended to get to the volcano (steep slopes, many ruts); otherwise, it would be best to walk the remaining 16 km by foot (3h10).

Hekla and its Surroundings

- North of the Fjaballak mountain range, discover the Thjorsardalur valley! It hides Gjain, a verdant gorge abounding with fascinating basaltic rock formations, and also the waterfalls of Rauda, Hjalparfoss and Gjarfoss. Not far from here you can visit the vestiges of the Viking farm Stong. Archaeological digs have brought the ruins to light as they were buried under Hekla's 1104 eruption.

-30 km east of Hekla, is Landmannalaugar, by far Iceland's most prized hiking destination. Full of geothermal and geological manifestations, the region's natural park is stunning and colourful! Check out our trips to Landmannalaugar: Travel to Landmannalaugar

- We also offer a week long equestrian circuit around Hekla and the Fjallabak natural reserve, where you will be hosted by Jon et Nicole, who have been breeding Icelandic Horses since 1980. Around Hekla on Horseback

Practical Information

- About 150km from Reykjavik, you can reach the Hekla volcano by taking route 26 and then the Gunnarsholt trail. It will take a bit over 1 hour and 40 minutes to drive there.
- You'll also be able to board a bus for Hekla from Reykjavik. Take the line 11 towards Landmannalaugar getting off at Leirubakki where you can stay in a guesthouse (room or camping), or at the Skaro farmhouse.

To get started organizing your trip to Hekla, contact us! Contact

Read more about Southern Iceland:  
Landmannalaugar | Hekla | The Westman Islands | Vatnajokull | Jokulsarlon | Thorsmork | Skaftafell | Skogar | Vik |

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