No need to love geology to be impressed by the well-preserved Grabrok crater, Iceland.
Just off the Ring Road, the site offers nice walks up to the Rim or through the lava field…
Below is my guide to plan your visit to the Grabrok Volcano with tips, map and photos.
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Why visit the Grabrok Crater in Iceland ?
What is Grabrok?
The Grabrok crater and its neighbor Grabrokarfell have been protected as natural monuments since 1962. The area is called Grabrokargigar to preserve the 3 scoria cones that belong to the Snaefellsnes volcanic zone.
- Stora Grabrok (meaning big Grabrok)
- Litla Grabrok (meaning little Grabrok) - it is mostly disappeared due to mining before the area was protected
- Grabrokarfell (meaning montagne de Grabrok)
Is Grabrok worth visiting?
My opinion is yes. But, there are conflicting opinions because It is not the largest or tallest or most impressive crater in Iceland.
However, the craters have beautiful shapes and the walking path makes it very easy to reach compared to other volcanoes.
I enjoyed it, despite the strong wind.
Facts & Geology
- The 3 craters are located in a short volcanic fissure (7km long), but part of a long system called Ljosufjoll (90km long)
- Mt Grabrok is 170m tall and 20m wide
- When did Mt Grabrok erupted - It is supposed to be 3400 years old - it is an explosive volcano
- When it erupted, the lava blocked the path of the Nordura River and deviated it to the East
- The lava filed around is known a Grábrókarhraun
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning tips & Map - Grabrok, Iceland
Where is Grabrokargigar - Map and Location
This location is included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning info) in both my travel guide eBooks that help you easily plan your Iceland road trip:
How to get to Grabrok Crater?
- Easy access by car
- Some organized tours around Iceland do stop along Road 1 but no specific tour
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Local experts - Iceland has a lot of specificities and offerings by local companies are adapted - compare cars and prices of quality local brands on GuidetoIceland.com
- Option 2 - International Brands - compare offers on Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
- If you plan on driving on F-roads in the Central Highlands, a good 4WD is mandatory
Visit tips - craters of Grabrok
- Even if you don’t have much time, I recommend a stop as you do not see many volcanoes so perfectly shaped.
- Most of the path is on sturdy wooden steps and boardwalks
- Entrance is free
- There are railings in the steeper parts
- Time to hike up to the crater: a little bit steep, but good steady path with stairs for the most difficult parts. Plan 40min to go up, walk around the rim and back to the carpark (or Just 20/30min if you don't walk around it)
- Time to the Best view of both cone-shaped volcanoes: Just walk 10 min along the path that goes in between
- No amenities (but gas station not far in the town of Bifrost)
Below is the map of the site and the hiking trail.
You start at the carpark (right of the image) and it allows you to hike up the first cone of Grabrok and then to walk in between the 2 major craters:
Grabrok Parking area
- The carpark is very visible from Road 1, you cannot miss it
- It is not very large but this attraction is not the most popular, so you should be ok at any hours
Where to stay near Grabrok
Located right by Road 1 it is a really great place to stay for the night. The landscapes are enjoyable.
There is a really great country hotel just a bit North on a working Farm: the Hraunsnef Country hotel - Check out photos and availability
Or check out the accommodation around Bifrost.
Where to stay in Iceland?
- Reykjavik - capital city - see best rated accommodations
- Selfoss - between Golden Circle and South Coast - see best rated accommodations
- Vik - near waterfalls and glaciers - see best rated accommodations
- Höfn - gateway to the East fjords - see best rated accommodations
- Egilsstadir - between fjords and North Iceland - see best rated accommodations
- Reykjahlid - for the wonders of Lake Myvatn - see best rated accommodations
- Akureyri - capital of the North - see best rated accommodations
- Grundarfjordur - to explore the Snaefellsnes Peninsula - see best rated accommodations
Grabrok Volcano - Trail, Stairway and Rim Hike
At the beginning of the Grabrok walk, you can climb one of the 2 volcanic main cones. The little one has almost disappeared
The path is well maintained and a staircase helps you on the steep side of the crater.
During this, you get some really nice views of the valley and discover very rugged lava fields.
Rim walk and inside the crater
Once on the rim, I got a very nice view of the inside. Although nothing bubbling. It is not the most impressive crater, but it is a nice walk with good views and easy enough for most people to reach it.
The path allows you to walk all the way round the crater. I started anticlockwise and after a few meters I got blown over by the wind. What a scare! The Icelandic wind can be really strong. I almost fell into the crater. So, I just folded myself up on my knees and waited. The wind did not stop, and I came back down on my bottom until I was protected from the wind. Fun memories!
I wish I had been able to walk around as the views of the other crater and the lava fields are magnificent. Well, I will have to go back...
Stairway on the slope of Grabrok
Because of the wind, I have not taken many good photos. I am sorry.
But below is one I took why sitting down, to give you an idea of who the stairway to Grabrok.
Nice panoramas with both Grabrok volcanoes
As you saw on the map above, there is a path that deviates from the one up to the crater. It goes in between both craters.
I really recommend walking the beginning of the path to admire the beautiful shape of those volcanic cones. Here are 2 panoramas:
Grabrok in Winter
In Winter, the Grabrok crater is covered in snow.
As you can see in the picture below, the trail remains marked. However, make sure you have pikes under your shoes for a comfortable walk.
Personally, I did not stop to do it. The view is flatten by the white of the snow so it is a lot less impressive than in Summer times.
Want to see other highlights of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula?
- The iconic Mountain Kirkjufell and its waterfalls - read article
- Go off the beaten path to see the Berserkjahraun lava field - read article
- Enjoy the charming Glanni waterfalls - read article
- Head inland on the Silver Circle - read article
- Enjoy the lava formation at Arnarstapi, Londrangar and the other volcanic craters...
- Rad my Guide to the best things to do on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
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