One of those places that just make you stop in your tracks at the side of the road, Stampar Crater Row caught my eye because of its immensely craggy black landscape; but the steam rising from a nearby chimney acts as a great way-marker from route 425. You might find yourself in this direction if you’re visiting the Blue Lagoon, and I’d definitely recommend taking the 425 as a scenic detour off of the main roads to get there.
Park in the designated pull in, where a sign tells you of the area’s history (the eldest crater formed in a volcanic eruption between 1800 and 2000 years ago), and follow the somewhat-worn trail up the loose black sand to the summit of the crater.
Amazingly, life can still be found in what appears to be an otherwise-barren landscape – alpine flowers grow from the black sand, and also inside the gaps in the volcanic rocks – make sure you watch where you stand!
The lava is fascinating; loose chunks lay strewn beneath your feet – for the black sand is really the weathered down volcanic rock. Incredible to analyse a little closer, not only can you see a million colours within the lava, but you can hold literally thousands of years of history in your hands.
These undulating black hills seem to go on for miles – turn 360 degrees and all you can see is black…broken up only by the aforementioned smoke (don’t mistake it for a giant hot spring), and the coast. If it’s the first time you’ve been struck with such a view, you’ll be left speechless. But just wait until you’ve seen a black beach, then you’re in for a real treat!