The Eldborg Crater, literally the “fortress of fire,” is a volcanic crater located just at the entrance to the Snaefellsness Peninsula in western Iceland. Specifically, it is in the Mýrar region, some 25 km north of Borgarnes. The crater is the real attraction, but the hiking trail that leads to the summit is the best way to discover it.
Getting to Eldborg is pretty easy. Just take Road 54 north of Borgarnes and just before arriving at the Snaefellsness peninsula, exit onto Road S610 that leads to the Snorrastaðir farm. The small dirt road is in fairly good condition and accessible to any type of vehicle.
The crater is part of the very large, very active volcanic system named Ljósufjöll. This is one of the largest in the country, extending over 50 km.
This volcanic system also links to the Grábrók crater about thirty kilometers away near Bifröst, famous for its fantastic lupin fields.
The crater itself is oval with 60 meter high flanks, stretching 200 meters long. The crater itself is about 50 meters deep. It is by far the largest crater in the Ljósufjöll network.
The flanks of Eldborg are relatively steep, the structure impregnable in appearance, hence its name “fortress of fire”.
It can be seen from afar on Road 54, rising completely isolated in the middle of a 32 square kilometers lava field carpeted with thick moss. This field dates back to an eruption dated about 5000 to 6000 years ago. The Eldborg crater was the result of what is known as a “projection” cone, which means that the cap erupted explosively, ejecting lava that fell back to the ground in a semi-solid state.
The Snorrastadir farm is home to a small car park which serves as the departure point for the hike to the crater. The trail basically takes you through the middle of the cow fields, and keep in mind that if you love this rustic farm life, they actually have a B&B offer for visitors!
The trail is clearly marked, and the trail has very little elevation, until you get to the crater of course... It's a 3-kilometer walk to the crater from the farm for about 40 minutes through relatively dense vegetation.
After crossing a small bridge, follow the small stream and keep going through the woods and dense vegetation. The local birds will accompany you on the way to the foot of the crater.
The trail takes you over the Eldborghraun, the famed moss-covered Eldborg lava field, before ascending the crater, which takes only 10 minutes but does get a bit steep. There is a chain as a hand-rail to help with the ascent, because it can get a bit difficult in places.
As you ascend this volcano, you will be in the company of many crows, who are often found perched on the rim of the crater.
From above, the view of the crater interior is very impressive, but don't try and climb down there as the flanks are even steeper than those outside, and it would be difficult to climb back up!
It is not easy from above to have sufficient enough distance to photograph the entire crater, unless you have a very wide angle lens. From the summit, the view of the lava fields covered with moss is simply superb.
The return takes the same trail, and it will take just over 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete the return hike for a total of about 6.2 kilometers.