Lonely Planet Writer

New in Travel: Iceland's Lava Centre will bring volcanoes and earthquakes to life


A new interactive experience will teach visitors about the epic natural forces that shape one of the world’s most incredible countries; Iceland.

Eruption with lava and ash of the Eyjafjallajkull volcano in Iceland.
Eruption with lava and ash of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. Image by Eric Meola

Lava, the Iceland Volcano & Earthquake Centre is due to open in spring 2017 and promises to bring visitors into the ‘fiery heart’ of Iceland. Located in the town of Hvolsvöllur, it’s connected by the country’s famous Ring Road and is just one hour from Reykjavik.

The attraction’s prime selling point is a 360-degree viewing platform that overlooks the three great volcanoes of Eyjafjallajökull, Katla and Hekla. Eyjafjallajökull, in particular, is famous for causing the ash cloud which disrupted air travel around Europe for a period in April 2010.

Inside, visitors will be able to learn about the powerful forces that regularly interrupt the lives of the locals and will even get to experience the feeling of the country’s largest earthquake to date. They’ll also get the chance to get up close and personal with fiery volcano simulations.

An artist rendering of a simulation at the upcoming Lava Centre.
An artist’s rendering of a volcano simulation at the upcoming Lava Centre. Image by Basalt Architects

In addition to the exhibition, the centre will consist of souvenirs shops, a restaurant and a coffee shop. If you simply can’t wait to satisfy your desire to see Iceland’s volcanoes, the centre also has also set up a live webcam from Bárðarbunga Volcano on their website.

Volcanoes and earthquakes are very common in Iceland and are partially responsible for the otherworldly quality of the country’s famous landscape. The island lies on the tectonic plate boundaries, making disruptive activity another fact of life for the locals. However, it’s not all negative; an ambitious project is currently in the works to harness the energy of volcanoes to provide low-carbon energy to power UK homes by 2022.