Lava flows in Reykjavík for the first time in almost 5000 years

Lava flows in Reykjavík for the first time in almost 5000 years

For the first time in almost 5000 years, lava is flowing in the city centre of Reykjavik. Reykjavik has not experienced lava flows since the Elliðaárdalur lava field was formed some 4800 years ago, a historic landmark that offers beautiful hiking trails and quiet fishing spots amid the hustle and bustle of the city. As of now, however, visitors of all ages can enjoy red-hot molten lava in a safe environment by visiting Lava Show’s new experience at Fiskislóð 73 in the Grandi Harbour District in downtown Reykjavík. 

Lava Show opened its doors in Reykjavík on the 10th of November of this year. This unique Lava Show, the first of its kind in the world, has been extremely popular since its original opening in Vík on the South Coast of Iceland in 2018. The show recreates a volcanic eruption by superheating real lava up to 1100 degrees Celsius (2000° Fahrenheit) and then pouring it into a showroom full of people. It truly is a unique experience that makes it possible for everyone to get up close to real molten lava in a safe and controlled environment and learn a thing or two about Icelandic geology in the process. 

The founders of Lava Show are husband and wife, Júlíus Ingi Jónsson and Ragnhildur Ágústdóttir, who were inspired by the volcanic eruption at Fimmvörðuháls that they witnessed in the spring of 2010 and its incredible 200m (600 feet) high lava fall. 

“Witnessing this eruption was unforgettable, and we immediately started thinking how we could recreate this experience in a safe environment and make it available to as many people as possible. It took us years to figure out how and it wasn’t until 2018, that we finally opened the Lava Show in Vík,” says Júlíus.

Since opening in Vík, it has been a dream for the couple to branch out and open an additional exhibition in Reykjavík. “We now have a showroom in Vík and Reykjavík, two Lava Shows that are independent of each other but work great together as well. We are thrilled to bring this remarkable display of molten lava to the capital city of Iceland,” says Ragnhildur.

In the few years Lava Show has been operational, it has become a must-visit attraction in Iceland. The show has also been acknowledged with local and international awards. In 2016, Lava Show was among the winners in the Golden Egg competition, the largest entrepreneurship contest in Iceland and was picked out of hundreds of applicants to be one of ten participants in the Startup Reykjavik startup accelerator the same year. Since then, Lava Show has received several innovation grants, been awarded the prestigious Travel Industry Entrepreneur Award in Iceland in 2021 and in 2022, the founders received the international Global Wiin Award. 

As one can imagine, no ordinary furnace can handle melting lava. A custom-made furnace is used by Lava Show in its Reykjavík showroom, which was designed by a company known for making rocket components for SpaceX and Blue Origin. The power source for the furnace is also quite interesting. “Sustainability is very important to us and we use environmentally friendly methods to heat up the lava. The energy source is methane gas, produced from organic waste by the local garbage company. We are literally heating up the lava with rotten banana peels,” Júlíus says proudly and Ragnhildur adds: “We also recycle the lava that we use between shows and use the excess heat from the furnace to heat up the entire building. This is very green lava.”

The Lava Show not only offers an epic volcanic display with flowing lava, but also provides extensive knowledge and trivia about Icelandic geology and volcanoes, presented in a fun and understandable way. “We want this to be the most entertaining geology lesson in the world,” says Júlíus, and adds: “I think we’ve nailed it!”

For more information, visit or contact Ragnhildur Ágústsdóttir for further questions: +354 615 1505

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