Category: North Iceland

Askja Caldera

History

Head into the Dyngjufjöll Mountains, to the north of Vatnajökull glacier, and you will find Askja, a massive caldera and volcano. The bedrock of the caldera sits atop a cavernous magma chamber that is still in the making. This was a volcano that essentially went unnoticed and unexplored until the 19th century. Scientists became interested in Askja after it unleased a number of eruptions between 1874 and 1875, with a particularly huge one coming in March of 1875. When that one hit, Askja spewed out w billion cubic meters of ash and pumice, forming a new caldera inside the old one in the process. In the years that followed, water filled the new caldera, which is where you will now find the 11km² Lake Öskjuvatn. This lake goes down 220m, making it one of the deepest in Iceland. There were a few more eruptions during the 1920’s, but nothing since the fall of 1961.

askja

How to get to Askja

By car (only 4×4):

Take road 1 from Mývatn to mountain road F88 via Herðubreiðarlindir to Drekagil. The mountain road has a few fords to cross on the rivers Grafarlandsá and Lindá, some of which simply cannot be done in small jeeps.

By Bus:

SBA-Norðurleið has tours to Askja that includes accommodation in the price:
http://www.sba.is/en/sightseeing-tours/askja-vatnajokull-glacier

By Super Jeep:

This is a once in a lifetime experience that has to be seen to be believed. You will be riding in a Super Jeep across terrain that NASA once used to train astronauts. In the middle ages, this land was occupied by Icelandic outlaws. This is our favorite way to see Askja.
http://www.visitaskja.com/#!askja-super-jeep/cno2

askja

What to do in Askja

– Hike to the edge of Lake Öskjuvatn and peer down into “Viti,” which translates to “Hell.” The walk takes about 35 minutes.

– Jump into the warm milky-blue geothermal waters inside the Viti crater.

– Take a hike into the canyon “Drekagil.” The canyon name comes from a pair of dragons that “live” there. The shape of the dragons is formed by protruding pillars of a rock. A beautiful waterfall is also waiting to be discovered in the canyon.

– German scientists Walter von Knebel and Max Rudloff visited Askja to study there in the early 1900’s, and now have a monument dedicated to them there.

– The tephra lava flowm from 1961, known here as “Vikrahraun,” can be visited. The lava is so light it floats on water.

There are all kinds of great walking spots in this area, some of which are challenging, while others are good for a leisurely stroll. Be aware that while many of the trails are marked by posts, many more are not. You can gain access to all of them by picking up a trail map from the information center, or from the park rangers’ office. The maps will shows how long the trails are, and how challenging.

askja caldera excursion

Where to sleep in Askja

Huts and campgrounds are available at the Akureyri Touring Club, which can be found in Drekagil and Herðubreiðarlindir on the way to Askja.

The Herðubreðarlidir: Þorsteinsskáli hut is part of the Herðubreiðarlindir oasis, which sits about 4 km east of the stunning Herðubreið table mountain. The huts has been around since the late 1950’s, and is spacious enough to sleep 30. Access to the hut can be found on mountain road F88 from the ring road west of Jökulsá á Fjöllum river to the Askja caldera.
Location: 65°11.544N 16°13.360W

Askja: On the east side of the Dyngjufjöll massif at the mouth of the Drekagil gorge is where you will find the Dreki hut. There are a pair of huts there that can hold a total of 60 people, combined, and they can be accessed reached by mountain road F88 from the ring road east of lakeMyvatnor by mountain road F910. http://www.ffa.is/en Tel. +354 462 272

askja

Iceland Travel Guide, Reykjavík (Iceland)

Most Popular Tours in Iceland

Iceland is filled with natural wonders, with glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, and geysers all on the “must See” list for every visitor. Besides these amazing natural wonders, Iceland is home to a host of other attractions and stunning natural beauty, all of which are just waiting to be explored.

tours in iceland

Let’s take a look at just a few of the attractions that we believe everyone should find time to visit while in Iceland:

Golden Circle

Some of the most amazing sights available in Iceland can be found on the Golden Circle tour. It all begins at the Strokkur geyser in the Geysir geothermal area, where water shoots as high as 30 meters (98 feet) in the air every 4-8 minutes. You barely have time to catch your breath before you visit the Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall. As part of the river Hvítá, the falls cascade into crevice that is 32 m (105 ft.) deep.

golden tour iceland

Also included in the Golden Circle tour is the geological marvel that is Thingvellir National Park. This is where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates are gradually being pulled apart, at a rate of a few centimeters annually.

If you plan on visiting during the winter months, add the Northern Lights tour.

northern lights tour iceland

Landmannalaugar

The Landmannalaugar are geothermal nature baths that are located in the South Highlands of Iceland, and are a definite addition to any travel itinerary. They are a geological wonder that really should not be missed.

One of the greatest ways to get a look at this spot in the winter and summer months is via a Jeep tour. If you are running on a budget, or don’t have a lot of time, we suggest you start this particular tour in Árnes.

landmannalaugar tour
If it’s hiking you are interested in, Landmannalaugar is usually where the 5-day hike known as “Laugavegurinn” begins. Remember to pack a towel!

Whale watching

Húsavík is located right on the edge of Shaky Bay, and is considered to be one of the world’s prime locations for whale watching. If it’s whales you are after, there is no better place in Iceland than Húsavík.

There simply isn’t any other spot in the country where you will have a better shot at seeing whales in their natural habitat. Whale Watching tours in Husavík from only 49€.

whale watching iceland

Horse riding

You don’t have to be a riding enthusiast to get a kick out of taking a ride on an Icelandic horse. These strong little horses are about as cute as it gets, but they are also strong and steady on their feet. Even if you ridden a horse before, you will not have experienced that unique gait called a tölt, of the Icelandic horse. This is the only breed of horse that can run this way, which is faster than a trot, but totally smooth.

horse riding iceland

Volcano experience

The Bárðarbunga volcanic system North of Vatnajökull Glacier is home to Holuhraun, where a volcano has been active since August 2014. The eruption has maintained a steady strength and volume since day one, and shows no sign of slowing down.

You can even get to watch the volcano from the comfort of your own home.

volcano tour iceland

Dive in Silfrá

As mentioned earlier, the North American and Eurasian plates sit on a rift in Iceland, and they are slowly but surely moving apart.

One of the best vantage points of what is going on can be found underwater. The glacier fed lake of Silfra contains water that is about as clear as it gets. Dry suits are an absolute must in the frosty waters of the lake. Amazing tour in Silfrá!

Dive in Silfrá iceland

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Camper Iceland – Camper Rental in Iceland

Tourists love traveling around Iceland in campers. This is because when you travel this way you are able to see a lot more of what Iceland has to offer for a reasonable price and it cuts down on the amount of planning that you have to do.

Camper Iceland

Keep in mind Hotels are usually booked as soon the spring season begins. Therefore, finding an available hotel means you have to book months before your trip.

Below you will find eleven reasons to rent a camper van when in Iceland.

  1. It saves you money from having to rent a car and pay for an overpriced hotel.
  2. Iceland allows tourists to park their camper vans anywhere for one night.
  3. You are able to meet other friendly people.
  4. Iceland’s weather is always changing; therefore, you want to make sure that you are mobile and ready to go at the drop of a hat. Imagine how horrible it would be if it started raining while you were asleep in your tent and had to pack up the tent and remain wet inside of your car.
  5. You can enjoy nature without having to deal with the hassles of having tents.
  6. If you have children, a campervan allows them to be able to experience more activities, so they do not tire out and become fussy during the drives
  7. You can go anywhere you want and sleep wherever you want
  8. Iceland has roads made of asphalt, which is ideal for any type of camper.
  9. You do not have to plan your trip. You can just go wherever your heart desires.
  10. You have great views at all times since Iceland does not have many trees.
  11. You save money by having access to be able to cook instead of eating out every day.

Camper Iceland

Closing Thoughts

Iceland is a beautiful place for you to experience nature at its finest. For some tourists it is an expensive place to visit yet if you rent a camper van (Camper Rental Iceland), even a luxurious one (Campervan Iceland), you will find that you will enjoy your trip to the fullest and you will have saved yourself a lot of money too.

Campervan Iceland

Travel Guide Iceland – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Things You Need to Know About the Kjölur Route

The Kjölur route is also known as F35 and it passes through some of the unique Iceland Highland Roads in the middle of Iceland and leads across the western section of the country.

Kjorlur route F35

The Kjölur region is the area between the Langjökull glacier and the Hofsjökull glacier. It is also between the Hvita glacier river and the Seydisa glacial river. In both the east and the south, you are able to see bits and pieces from the Ice Age period.

When you travel from the south to north or vice versa, you are able to see sandy deserts between the glaciers. Whenever you come across sheltered green valleys, they always provide a pleasant surprise. Once you reach Hveravellir, you are able to take a hot bath under the Midnight Sun.

Langjökull glacier

The approximate distance of the route, from beginning to end, is 200 km. While going along the route you will pass a variety of interesting places.

Kjölur Route

Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjöll is the mountain range located in the Highlands of Iceland, which is near the Kjölur highland road. You will find numerous hot springs and rivulets in this region. In the past, this area was labeled as “Bad Weather Mountains”. People did not visit or explore them, despite the fact that Old Kjölur Road were one of the main connections between the North and South of Iceland.

Kerlingarfjöll

Kerling means “Woman’s Mountains” and is said to have been a troll woman, according to legends. This region was the first and only summer ski resort in the country yet it was shutdown in 2000 when the small glaciers were disappearing rapidly. However, the Kerlingarfjöll were the first of the Highland Mountains to connect to the lowlands via a road, in 1939.

This road is only open during the summer yet the Kjalvegur Highland Route is an interesting road because of the small stream that appears as it connects to Kerlingarfjöll. Once in Kerlingarfjöll you have twenty hiking routes to explore, eight of which are marked, and range from one to fifty kilometers. You can find a description of them on the service center website and you can click here to learn more about the Kerlingarfjöll campsite.

Kerlingarfjöll

Hveravellir

You can find the Hveravellir Nature Reserve in the middle of the Kjölur route. It happens to be one of the last wilderness areas found in Europe. Hveravellir is a hotspot with bubbling water holes and smoking fumaroles, which provides all visitors with a unique experience.

Island-121314-1-von-20

Eyvindarhver gets its name from Fjalla Eyvundur ho resided there with Halla, his wife. There are legends of other outlaws residing their too and it is home of Eyvindur’s Hut, which is a lava crevasse nearby.

During the summer of 1965, the Icelandic Meteorological Office raised a meteorological station north of Hveravellir. People have been able to reside there now since 2004. Öskurhólshver is also located here. One time this hot spring made a noise that was so loud, in 1760, that it could be heard for more than a quarter of a mile. All of the springs are different. For example, Öskurhólshver spouts steam, while Bræðrahverir and Eyvindarhver spout water, and Bláhver and Grænihver just have water sitting still.

Hveravellir

When in Hveravellir you will enjoy relaxing in the natural geothermal pool or you could spend some time doing some like hiking. The entire area is amazing and you get a great view of the Kjalhraun lava field and Langjökull.

While going down the Kjölur route one thing that is for sure is you will never be bored with all of the options that await you. There are numerous things for you to experience from hiking, horse riding, and even the glacier walk. It is truly an experience that you do not want to miss!

Hveravellir Kjolur F35

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)