Steaming vents and craters wait at Krafla, an active volcanic region 7 km north of the Ring Road. Technically, Krafla is an 818m-high mountain, but the name is now used for the entire area as well as a geothermal power station and the series of eruptions that created Iceland’s most awesome lava field. The so-called Mývatn Fires occurred between 1724–1729 when many of the fissure vents opened up. The Krafla Fires (1975–84) were very similar in nature: fissure eruptions and magma movements that occurred on and off for nine years.
We firmly recommend that you take your time on your way there, as the approach to Krafla is part of the beauty of the area. The gigantic pipes of the Geothermal Power Station, Kröflustöð, flank the road and create a bizarre gateway which welcomes you in this evocative realm, while all around plumes of steam placidly rise from the silver chimney over the desolate ground.
Part of the Krafla area is the crater of “Hell”, Víti. It is a steam crater formed in 1724, which contains a turquoise pool of water. Try to keep yourself from jumping into the bright colored water and take the nice trail that circles the top of the ridge. Looking east you will see the actual Krafla Mountain. Looking west you might be able to have a glimpse over one of the most surreal landscapes you might ever see. Climb down and walk the short distance to Leirhnjúkur lava fields.
Leirhnjúkur lava fields are the remnants of the last eruption dating 1975 to 1984. Don’t make the common mistake of taking few pictures of the boiling mud pots and heading back. Give yourself time to explore all the primordial magnificence of the multi-colored painted fields where magma, moss and lichen sprayed with sulphurous emissions create a striking landscape. Just remember: don’t climb anything and watch out where you step. The light colored soil indicates a very thin portion of earth crust and the ground can be extremely warm.
Nearest town: Mývatn