Not only is Skaftafell a spectacular Icelandic destination in its own right, it is also the starting point for one of the best day trips in Iceland – a bus tour to Laki.
The Laki eruption was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. During 1783/1784 billions of tons of lava and gases erupted from a 25 km fissure. This resulted in the deaths of around a quarter of the population and half of the livestock, and almost made Iceland uninhabitable. The effects of the eruption on air quality and crop production were widely felt throughout western Europe.
The site of the Laki eruption is only accessible by 4×4 vehicles. I knew before taking the trip that the road is not suitable for ordinary road vehicles, but I was amazed at how rough and extreme it actually is. Getting there is definitely a big part of the adventure! (Timetable and further information).
Laki now is a vast area of lava covered with green moss, and a series of around 100 craters along the line of the fissure. The trip is fantastic. There are several stops, including a viewpoint from which you can see the vast extent of the lava fields.
We also visited the gorgeous Fjadrargljufur Canyon.
We were able to walk to a beautiful waterfall and appreciate the impressive views.
The best part of the trip was when we reached the craters. The driver stopped and let everyone out. We were then able to walk along a fantastic footpath that followed part of the line of craters. We were able to climb one of the craters and explore inside, before continuing on the path. The driver picked up again further along.
If you get a chance to do the bus tour to Laki, don’t miss it. Make sure you take warm clothes and good footwear, be prepared for a rough ride, and take food and drinks.
And if you want to splash out on a more adventurous tour see these options at Viator.
Being at Laki and exploring the bizarre landscape, knowing what had happened there, was a very special experience that I will never forget.