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Nestled deep within the desolate and stunningly remote Icelandic Highlands, the Askja Volcano stands as a testament to nature's raw power and beauty. This awe-inspiring stratovolcano is renowned for its dramatic caldera, an enormous cauldron-like depression formed by past volcanic eruptions.
Aerial view of Askja Crater in the Icelandic Highlands. A lake with emerald colors lies at the bottom of the crater.
Best time to visit
65.01370584886001, -16.75083711249345
Distance from Reykjavik
590km (366mi)
Mountain formations around the Askja crater.

Remote Wilderness of the Icelandic Highlands

The journey to Askja is long but promises a unique and unforgettable adventure. As you traverse the rugged landscapes of the Highlands, you'll witness an ever-changing tapestry of black deserts, multicoloured rhyolite mountains, and the hauntingly barren landscape of Dyngjufjöll (the Desert Mountains). These dramatic vistas are a testament to the powerful geological forces that have shaped this region over the centuries.

Close up of the Caldera lake in Askja. Group of people by the shore

The Astonishing Caldera and Víti Crater

The main attraction, of course, is Askja's colossal caldera. The caldera contains Víti, a volcanic crater that has become a geothermal oasis, with a startlingly blue lake that contrasts vividly against the surrounding ash and rocks. The name "Víti" even translates to "Hell," owing to the impression its steaming, sulfurous waters can leave.

Panoramic view of Askja's Caldera

A Journey Through Geological History

Hiking along the rim of Askja's caldera, you'll be treated to panoramic views of this otherworldly landscape. There's a profound sense of isolation and tranquility as you stand amidst the volcanic remnants, surrounded by the immense scale of the caldera.

Lunar landscape around the Askja Caldera in the Icelandic highlands

Scientific Exploration and Space Connection

In addition to its natural splendors, Askja is steeped in history and adventure. The volcano played a part in scientific exploration when astronauts visited in the 1960s to prepare for the lunar missions. It's also known for the infamous eruption in 1875, which led to widespread devastation but also paved the way for the now-renowned Víti crater lake.

Askja: Where Nature Unveils Its True Power

Visiting Askja is an expedition into the heart of Iceland's geological heritage. It's an experience that immerses you in the untamed, primeval beauty of this island nation, reminding you of the earth's relentless capacity to create and transform.

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