On the way back to the capital a short detour up to Mt. Hekla comes highly recommended. This dignified and scenic 40 km long stratovolcano is one of Iceland’s most famous landmarks, towering above the Þjórsárdalur valley.
Hekla is among the world’s most active volcanoes. Over the past 1000 years Hekla has had about 15 major eruptions and more than 150 smaller ones. The volcano has erupted five times in the 20th century, most recently in February 2000. Early settlers in Iceland understandably feared this frightening fire-spouting mountain and believed Hekla to be the gateway to Hell.
On May 5 a new geo-historical museum, the Hekla Centre, will be opened at the farm Leirubakki, situated at the foot of the mountain. By using the latest technology, the permanent exhibition centres on the volcano’s history and the effects it has had on the country’s inhabitants for more than 1000 years and will undoubtedly be extremely educational to those interested in volcanism.
The Hekla Centre will also feature art exhibitions, host conferences and meetings and house a nice restaurant with an incredible view. With the star attraction nestling in the background, a better location for such a centre would be hard to find.