After being dormant for about 5000 years, Helgafell volcano woke up and began to erupt on January 23rd, 1973. The scale of the eruption was enormous. That night, a 1600-metre-long fissure opened up from north to south, with as many as 60 active craters. After a few days, the craters closed - except for one, where a new volcano, Eldfell, began to take shape. Today, Eldfell ("Fire Mountain") is a 200-meter-high mountain with a peak that still has not completely cooled off.
See the dramatic consequences of an eruption
More than 400 houses were destroyed by eruption. New ones have now been built on the west coast of the island. Before the eruption, the harbour was unprotected from the eastern winds and the entrance was 800 metres wide. Today it is just 160 metres wide and is considered one of the safest harbours in Iceland. In 2004, the islanders began to dig out the houses that had been buried under ash during the eruption. The ruins of these buildings are among the sights to be seen during this tour.
Remeberance at Eldheimar museum
The tour ends at the Eldheimar volcano museum, which has an exhibition focusing on the 1973 volcanic eruption. Here you will get a glimpse into peoples lives on Heimaey, before and after the eruption that would change their lives forever. The entrance ticket is included in the tour, and you can stay as long as you wish, to explore the exhibitions at your own pace.