Volcano-loving tourists are spoiled for choice in Iceland, a country with over 100 volcanic mountains to admire, but few would relish the opportunity climb inside — until now that is.
This week, tour company Discover the World launched a new tour which will take visitors to the country inside a volcano for the first time, all the way to the ground floor of the magma chamber.
It should be noted that the volcano in question, Thrihnukagigur, has been dormant for 4,000 years and so the trip isn’t quite as daring as it sounds, but the “Up Close and Personal Volcano Adventure” is likely to attract plenty of fans nonetheless.
Using a specially-constructed cable car, visitors descend past the bright walls of the inside of the volcano and into the magma chamber, spending an hour on the bottom before being winched back up again.
The rest of the tour involves a hike over the lava fields to get to the volcano itself, along with a volcano safari on board four-wheel-drive vehicles.
Discover the World has made something of a name for itself when it comes to volcano tourism — it has even set up a “Volcano Hotline” that allows volcano tourists to register their interest and receive a call with a proposed travel package whenever one of Iceland’s volcanoes blows its top.
It may be a niche service, but it’s earned Discover the World plenty of customers and a call sheet of over 200 people, desperate for a slice of the volcano action.
“Volcano Tourism has really taken off in the last few years and we have seen a huge increase in demand, especially for visits to Iceland following the news exposure the destination received after the 2010 eruptions,” Discover the World’s Georgina Hancock said.
Other agencies, including Icelandic airlines, reported a similar boost in business following the global exposure afforded the country by Eyjaffjollajokull — perhaps because it awakened some dormant knowledge that most of us have but had hitherto forgotten.
“I believe that part of the fascination of volcanoes harks back to our school days, where they were a major feature in our geography syllabus and still hold an almost ‘mystical’ interest to many of us,” said Hancock.
“So, when Iceland hit the news it spurred many on to visit and find out more firsthand.”