Krafla Viti Crater Travel Guide: Things to See & Do

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Pseudocrater Isle

Iceland is known as the land of fires and ice. The country has many great features that make it one of the hot spots for tourists. Northern Iceland, in particular, has mysterious craters that might leave you thinking that an asteroid from outer space landed there when no one was watching. But how was that even possible?

Almost every feature in northern Iceland is due to volcanic eruptions. Lakes, craters, lava fields, and a power plant in Iceland are all courtesy of geothermal activity. Krafla Viti Crater Lake was also formed in the same way.

The Krafla Viti Crater Lake offers visitors a good hiking spot and stunning features. There is no way you can visit Iceland and forget about this feature. So, what is it? Is it worth your time and resources? Let’s find out.

Krafla Viti Crater Lake: Everything You Need To Know for Visiting

Krafla Viti Crater

Krafla is located north of the infamous Lake Myvatn in Northern Iceland. It is about 300 miles from Reykjavik and 60 miles from the capital city of the North, Akureyri. Visiting Krafla Viti Crater Lake offers you many surreal features and other attractions.

Visitors often go to Húsavík (of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga fame) for whale watching and Mývatn Nature Baths after about 2 hours of rim hikes around the crater.

Krafla Viti essentially means Hell. Viti was coined as a name following the violent eruptions during its formation. The aftermath left a deep crater filled with present-day Viti Crater Lake water.

Many people often confuse the Krafla Viti Crater Lake with Viti Lake. These are two geothermal features in north Iceland but are different entities. Viti Lake is located near Askaja and has hot springs. Since people cannot bathe in the Krafla Viti Crater Lake often go to Viti Lake instead—their loss.

See Related: Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

Violent Volcanic Eruption at Krafla

Violent Volcanic Eruption at Krafla

Krafla has erupted 29 times since the 9th Century with devastating effects. One of the most historic eruptions happened between 1724 and 1729. People will never forget it because of how high the lava and rocks were thrown from the volcano. The lava flow was visible even from the southern part of the country. The event was even named the Myvatn Fires.

Fortunately, no casualties were reported during the Myvatn Fires. It only destroyed nearby farms that became lava fields for which Iceland is now famous.

Other violent and most recent eruptions took place between 1975 and 1984. During this period, a total of nine magma eruptions were recorded. But once again, there were no casualties reported.

The lava flows damage farmland in North Iceland, rendering it useless for years. Farmers fled the area, as even the surrounding soil composition changed because of the Krafla volcano.

Tourism in Northern Iceland was also severely affected for about seven years. This area is active, and visitors are warned to be cautious of any possible Geothermal activity.

Geothermal Power Plants in Iceland

Geothermal Power Plants in Iceland

Iceland is also considered one of the greenest countries globally because of its ability to generate clean energy from geothermal forces. If you visit, you can have a chance to see one of those power plants. One power plant is just a few miles away.

Geothermal energy harnessed through an active volcano system powers most homes and towns in North Iceland. Iceland’s largest geothermal power plant, the Krafla Power Station, was constructed in 1977. Iceland’s latest geothermal power station was completed in 2006, further cementing the country’s status as a genuinely green nation.

See Related: ​​Where to Stay in Reykjavik, Iceland

Reasons for Visiting Krafla Viti Crater Lake

Reasons for Visiting Krafla Viti Crater Lake

You have all the reasons to include Krafla Caldera on your list of things to do in Iceland. The crater is quite surreal! The blue water, surrounding colorful mountains, and hot streams from the steep walls complete an almost apocalyptic atmosphere of this small geothermal area.

Viti is a large crater that stretches about 300 meters in diameter. The “Viti Caldera” is filled with blue water, but the shades vary depending on when and where you visit. If you stay in the Krafla fissure area for a long time, you will notice color changes.

Also, your position relative to the light can significantly influence the appearance of the water. Even the weather conditions affect what the Krafla crater lake looks like.

Some visitors describe it as aqua blue, turquoise blue, or turquoise green. Regardless, you should agree these colors are all beautiful and satisfying to admire.

You can also spend more days hiking this large geothermal area in Northern Iceland. You can easily access the infamous Lake Myvatn and explore the beautiful surrounding area.

See Related: Best Hotels in Iceland

Things to do when you visit Viti Crater Lake

Things to do when you visit Viti Crater Lake

The beautifully colored water in this explosion crater is ideal for a sightseeing adventure, but that’s not all! If you like hiking, you will have one of the best experiences of a lifetime here.

The hiking starts right at the parking lot where the trailhead begins. And since the crater is circular, you can walk in either direction for a rim hike. It will take about an hour to complete the walk, but you can ascend to the bottom to have the lake all to yourself.

hiking

If you want the best experience, you should get to the caldera’s bottom. You need just a little effort to ascend down and don’t worry about coming back. It may be tiresome, but that’s also part of your unique experience at the Krafla Viti Crater Lake.

After the experience with blue water at the bottom of the Krafla Viti Crater Lake, you can have another short hike to spring to see some hot water.

Your next stop can be the Krafla Power Station. The geothermal power plant is open to visitors to tour. You have the opportunity to learn more about the unrivaled Icelandic system of geothermal power production.

Everything about the power station is heart-melting, from its futuristic architecture to electric blue fumes. At least for a moment, you will feel like a hero in a science fiction movie.

Leirhnjúkur Lava Field

Your last stop should be at Leirhnjúkur Lava Field. It is where you will appreciate the Icelandic geothermal activity as you stare at the world’s largest magma-covered fields and bubbling mud.

It is time to round up your trip, but not before you get the experience Mývatn Nature Baths offers. Drive to Myvatn Lake to take a dip and enjoy other spectacular landscapes the surrounding area has. Other notable attraction features you can explore in the Krafla Geothermal area include:

  • Goðafoss Waterfall
  • Grjotagja Cave
  • Dimmuborgir
  • Húsavík
  • Selfoss
  • Akureyri
  • Dettifoss

See Related: Iceland Road Trip Itinerary

How to Get To Krafla Viti Crater

Blue Lagoon

Unfortunately, there is no public transport to Krafla Viti Crater. Akureyri is the closest you can get to it by bus or a plane. We recommend taking a 45-minute flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri and then connecting to the site in a car, and you can potentially make it in a day trip from Reykjavik. Taking a bus along the same route is also an option, but you will take 7 hours on the journey. We know you don’t want to waste that much time as a traveler.

Once at Akureyri, take a private car and drive clockwise along the Ring Road. It will take less than two hours before you see the sign of Krafla, depending on your driving speed. Make a left turn and drive to your destination.

Once you have had all the fun at the crater, you can proceed to Lake Myvatn. Take the Ring Road until you reach the turnoff and turn left. Lake Mývatn is just an 8-minute drive from that point.

The road can be slippery. So, going there during winter is not a good idea. Also, you may need a 4WD drive and some maneuvering skills to go through. The struggle along the way will be tiresome, but you will get your rewards at Lake Myvatn.

Nearby Cafes and Restaurants

Nearby Cafes and Restaurants

You may be tired when you finish your tour of the mighty crater and need refreshment. Fortunately, there are many excellent eateries near Lake Mývatn. These are best known for the Icelandic and other European cuisines and friendly service. Check them out:

Accommodations Near Krafla

Accommodations Near Krafla, hotel room bed

You may want to take more time exploring Krafla and its surrounding areas. If so, you must know where to stay for the night and plan your activities for the next day. Spending a night in the Krafla region also gives the bonus of seeing a one-of-a-kind phenomenon, the Northern Lights.

Luckily, there are hotels a few-minutes-drive away. You can consider the following options:

Hotel Name Location Highlights
Sel – Hótel Mývatn Skútustaðir On-site restaurant, amazing location
Eldá Guesthouse Helluhraun Remote location, nearby golf course
Mývatn – Berjaya Iceland Hotels Reynihlíð Breakfast buffet, close to Grjótagjá Cave
Dimmuborgir Guesthouse Geiteyjarstrond Great location and hospitality
Skútustadir Guesthouse Skútustadir Homemade treats, great for solo travelers

When Should You Visit Krafla Geothermal Area?

Northern Lights

Krafla is open to visitors all year round. However, we recommend scheduling your trip for the summer. That’s because the roads are easily accessible. They are drier and safer, and you will still enjoy the unique landscapes in the region.

Visiting Krafla in winter is also possible, but not as easy as it is in the winter. It is not a good idea to do so because of the condition of the roads. If you want to know why Iceland has that name, go there in winter. Ice covering the roads may ruin your trip.

However, determined visitors can still make it during winter. You need more time on the road and should be careful when driving. A 4WD will make your life easier, but it can still stretch your driving skills to the limit.

FAQ

Where is the Viti crater located?

The Viti crater and crater rim are along Lake Myvatn in North Iceland.

How do I get to the Viti crater?

If you want to get to the Viti crater from Myvatn, the best way is to drive east on Road 1 for approximately 6 kilometers. You’ll pass a power station and a parking lot, and at the end of the road, you’ll start to see the crater rim.

In which region is Lake Mývatn?

Lake Mývatn is located in North Iceland.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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