Inside the Þríhnúkagígur volcano
Þríhnúkagígur (Thríhnúkagígur or Thrihnukagigur) is a dormant volcano in Iceland. There are many volcanos in Iceland, but this is the only one in the world where visitors can go inside the magma chamber.
Getting to the volcano
Tours are very popular. A steady stream of small group tours leave Reykjavík throughout the day.
Visitors are picked up from their hotel and brought to a central bus station. The group assembles into a larger bus, which drives them 30kms south-east to the meeting point at Breiðabliksskálinn. There you put on waterproof clothing and boots (the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable) for the 3km walk to the volcano. The walk is mostly flat, but the path is rocky and uneven.
At the volcano is a small hut to rest and wait for your group’s turn to descend into the volcano.
The opening to the volcano is on top of a small hill.
In Icelandic, Þríhnúkagígur means “three peaks crater”. The other peaks can be seen nearby.
A window washer elevator has been errected over the opening of the volcano.
During the slow 6 minutes descend into the volcano, the vast size of the magma chamber can be appreciated. The elevator travels 120 meters to the bottom, but parts of the magma chamber is even deeper.
Inside the volcano
The walls are made up of different types of rocks, giving rise to the differnt colours.
No one is really sure why the magma chamber is empty. Probably because something else opened up and the molten lava drained away before it could solidify.
The size of the groups and time inside are limited by the window washer elevator. It operates contineuously throughout the day, bringing new groups as it descends and taking out groups as it ascends. It is an impressive operation—both logistically and financially.
360°x180° Spherical Panorama
Look up to see the entrance and the elevator descending from it.
After visiting the chamber, you return to the hut for some hot soup, before the 3 km walk back to the bus.