Askja volcano is absolutely impressive. Its caldera of 50 square kilometres was founded in 1875. The explosion was so incredibly strong that the volcanic dust covered a part of Iceland and even reached Norway and Sveden. In its caldera we can find two lakes.
One is called Oskjuvatn which is the deepest lake in Iceland and the other is Viti which contains warm, sulfuric water of turquoise colour. This is a definitely a must-see in Iceland!
Viti in Icelandic means hell, Icelanders once believed that under the volcanoes are the gates of hell. But the crater of Viti has nothing hellish in it, its interior fills the water with a beautiful, even celestial colour. It is 300 meters wide and was created as a result of the eruption in 1724. You should definitely take a bath in it!
Öskjuvatn is a blue pearl of crystal clear water protected by crater slopes. Although it is one of the deepest and largest lakes in Iceland, it seems to be unpolluted by human activity, originally pure. The location might be the reason and a really hard and long way to get there. We also recommend to visit Holuhraun, a near by new crater formed in 2014.
Askja can only be accessed during few months per year. That is from late June till early October. The road is opened during the summer and always closed during the winter. It is actually a hard place to reach due to its location. That is why you cannot just get there using a normal 2WD vehicle, sturdy large 4×4 cars are required. Please bear in mind that depending on the season, F-Roads can be quite complicated and therefore a highly experienced driver is also required.
In case you still decide to make this adventure on your own, the route would be:
From Akureyri: You can take Road N1 and then F-88. This same route also works if you are departing from Lake Myvatn.
Beware that in this route you may ford rivers. Please check with your car rental company about insurance coverage for such usage.
Before traveling to Askja there is few things you should take care off.
- The vehicle you rent needs to be a four wheel- drive car with an appropriate insurance.
- Check that the F-road you are planning to use is open at that time.
- Check the weather and roads conditions
- Make sure someone knows about your plans, you can simply post it on the Safe Travel website.
- Prepare yourself for each kind of weather as it might change any minute.
- Make sure you have enough petrol as it is impossible to find a gas station in highlands.
- Be aware that the mobile network might not be best in highlands, in any case 112 is the emergency number in Iceland.
Askja is a very popular tourist destination. That is the reason why the number of companies offering guided tours is growing year by year. We insistently recommend you to take a professional tour as companies are perfectly equipped for this kind of circumstances; Their drivers are also used to the terrain making this is a much wiser and safer option than a self-Drive.
Visit Askja offer daily tours to Askja by 4×4 bus and Super Jeep. The prices are from 23.000 ISK per person. Totally recommended!
That is a perfect opportunity for you if you are not quite sure where to start and you are not experienced driver. Thanks to your guide you will be able to enjoy even more the beautiful and breathtaking landscapes of Askja.