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Eldborg crater Snæfellsnes

Updated: Jan 4


Hiking to Eldborg crater
Hiking to Eldborg crater

The crater Eldborg, at Mýrar, is extraordinary for many reasons. It has a beautiful shape and is quite noticeable as it stands alone 100 meters above sea level majestically over its surroundings. It is a place where you can see and understand what a crater is. You can't miss it when driving on the Road NR 54, at Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

Map of West Region in Iceland
Map of West Region in Iceland

The crater has a regular oval form with a diameter of 200 meters and a depth of 50 meters. The sides are quite thin and steep, on the inside and outside, making it difficult to walk the rim; but, it has adequate space to stand on, when you climb all the way up. It is an amazing natural structure, like a fortress or a castle, built for the protection of the 32 square kilometers of lava that the magma delivered at times of eruption. And that is really what a crater is: a hole in the ground that delivers lava when a magma surfaces in an eruption and builds this great natural wonder.

Eruption in historical times

Eldborg the crater at Mýrar Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Eldborg the crater at Mýrar Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The crater erupted in historical times, right about when people were first coming to settle on this challenging island, around twelve hundred years ago. The eruption is even mentioned in our Book of Settlement telling a story of a farm that the fire consumed right where the crater stands today. And then the lava started cooling and began to foster all kinds of plants moss and small trees.


A moderate hike

Climbing up to the brim of Eldborg crater is a bit steep
Climbing up to the brim is a bit steep

This natural wonder is a great place to visit; but it requires a hike. When you walk to the crater through the lava, it is interesting to keep the recent Geldingadalir eruption, at Reykjanes Peninsula, in mind. When you stand on the rim and view the surrounding area, you can only imagine the large farmland the eruption and the lava ruined. After people left the glowing lava field, the lava started to cool and began to foster all kinds of plants, moss, small trees, and vegetation. By comparing the tow and the lava surrounding the craters, you can visually perceive how nature changes over the course of time, how vegetation develops, and how the lava rocks change. It is one of the reasons why it is so interesting and educational for children traveling in Iceland, who come on family tours to see the craters and go hiking in the area.


Eruption in historical times or much earlier


Hiking up to the top of Eldborg crater
Hiking up to the top of Eldborg crater

The crater erupted in historical times, right about when people first started arriving to settle on this challenging island; this was around twelve hundred years ago, according to the sagas. The eruption is even mentioned in the Book of Settlement, which tells a story of a farm that the fire consumed, right where the crater stands today. And then, we have the geologists and the scientists. According to geological research, the eruption in Eldborg was probably around four thousand years ago, long before the settlers arrived. For the purpose of enjoying Eldborg, both explanations are interesting and contribute to the mystique of Eldborg. When you stand at the top, you visually take in the crater, the lava, and the extended view, all the way to the end of Snæfellsnes Peninsula¾with the beautiful Snæfellsjökull glacier standing tall at the end of the horizon.


How to find and go to Eldborg

Eldborg is easily accessible; although; it takes a bit of effort. You take a left turn if you are driving from Reykjavík and coming from Borgarnes toward the farm Snorrastadir, Road 5610. There is a parking lot, by the farm, which offers accommodation as part of the Icelandic Farm Holidays. Here, the walk to the edge of the crater is around three kilometers, which is approximately a 40-minute walk. So, if you decide to take this excellent walk, through the beautiful lava landscape up to the crater, expect to spend about two hours and a half or more, depending on the time you take to click photos.


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