Hekla, or Hecla, is a stratovolcano in the south of Iceland with a height of 1491m. Hekla is one of Iceland's most active volcanoes; over 20 eruptions have occurred in and around the volcano since 874. During the Middle Ages, Europeans called the volcano the "Gateway to Hell".Hekla is part of a volcanic ridge, 40km long. The most active part of this ridge, a fissure about 5.5km long named Heklugjá, is considered to be within Hekla proper. Hekla looks rather like an overturned boat, with its keel being a series of craters, two of which are generally the most active.The volcano's frequent large eruptions have covered much of Iceland with tephra, and these layers can be used to date eruptions of Iceland's other volcanoes. Approximately 10% of the tephra created in Iceland in the last thousand years has come from Hekla, amounting to 5 km3. Cumulatively, the volcano has produced one of the largest volumes of lava of any in the world in the last millennium, around 8 km3.ReputationIn Icelandic Hekla is the word for a short hooded cloak, which may relate to the frequent cloud cover on the summit. An early Latin source refers to the mountain as Mons Casule. After the eruption of 1104, stories, probably spread deliberately through Europe by Cistercian monks, told that Hekla was the gateway to Hell. The Cistercian monk Herbert of Clairvaux wrote in his De Miraculis (without naming Hekla): A poem by the monk Benedeit from circa 1120 about the voyages of Saint Brendan mentions Hekla as the prison of Judas. In the Flatey Book Annal it was recorded that during the 1341 eruption, people saw large and small birds flying in the mountain's fire which were taken to be souls. In the 16th century Caspar Peucer wrote that the Gates of Hell could be found in "the bottomless abyss of Hekla Fell". The belief that Hekla was the gate to Hell persisted until the 19th century. There is still a legend that witches gather on Hekla during Easter.Hekla is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, South Region Edition.
Tours to Hekla
South Coast Classic Day Trip from Reykjavik with Guide and Touchscreen Audio BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $86
Duration: 11 hours
Super beautiful and amazing volcano. You can see it while driving in South Iceland, you just have to know that this exact mountain actually is Hekla. more »
I visited the volcano hekla in january 2019. It was a must do in iceland! I parked my car at the hekla sign. And started hiking. It was an amazing hike, all day long. Because it was snowing a lot and ... more »
Words couldn't explain the beauty!
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