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Inside the volcano (Villhelm Gunnarsson)

Icelandic volcano to re-open in 2013

14th January 2013

Intrepid travellers will have a second chance to explore inside an Icelandic magma chamber as the Inside the Volcano experience will re-open from May 2013

The magma chamber of Thrihnukagigur, an extinct volcano 20km from the capital Reykjavik, was first explored in the 1970s but was only opened to visitors last summer. It is currently the only place on Earth where a volcanic magma chamber is accessible and safe to explore. Last year, extra dates were added due to overwhelming demand.

Olafur Thor Juliusson, one of the directors of 3H Travel who operate the tour, said: "The main reason that we are opening again is that we were almost sold out for the whole season last year. We had a lot of happy customers [and] positive comments [...] CNN choose Thrihnukagigur as 1 of 20 places on Earth you need to visit before you die."

In 2012 the majority of visitors came from the USA, UK, Canada and Germany. This year they are hoping to attract increased numbers by extending the season from May until early September. 

Visitors descend 380ft in an open cable lift down to the base of the magma chamber after a 3km hike across a lava field. The volcano is also being used for environmental and geological research; the company eventually hopes to make the chamber more widely accessible to the public via an underground tunnel.

Wanderlust’s editorial assistant Clare Wilson reported from Inside the Volcano for us last summer. “Going into the volcano was an incredible and humbling experience,” she says.

“I loved every second, it gives you a different perspective on Iceland’s natural wonders. And the level of commitment they have to preserving the environment while accommodating and educating visitors was impressive.”

Worldwide tour operator Discover the World hosts trips to Iceland. Marketing Director Georgina Hancock said: "The launch of the Inside the Volcano experience [last year] was very exciting. It’s a unique opportunity to set foot inside one of our planet’s incredible natural phenomena and this coupled with the spectacular scenery and extraordinary experiences of a holiday in Iceland makes for an unforgettable and unique trip.”

The 2013 season will run between 15 May and 10 September; booking is expected to open in mid-January. For more information, visit www.insidethevolcano.com.

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