Askja Caldera & Viti Crater | East Highlands Day Tour

Askja Caldera & Viti Crater | East Highlands Day Tour
The powerful glacier river Jökulsá á Fjöllum runs wild through the Icelandic Highlands.
The lake by the Askja Caldera is vast and stunning as it nests within the Highlands of Iceland.
Your Icelandic Highlands day tour is ventured in a 4x4 bus with a local guide.
See the mountains, volcanoes and oasis of the Icelandic Highlands in the summer
The milky blue of the crater lake Víti by Askja Volcano in the East Iceland Highlands.
Hikers boarding a snowcat in the Highlands of Iceland.
Based on 5 traveller reviews

Walk in the footsteps of the first men on the moon on the Askja Lunar tour. Leaving from Lake Mývatn, this incredible trip takes you into the desolate, rugged Highlands of Iceland, and incorporates visits to volcanoes, craters, a stunning nature reserve and a geothermally heated lake that you are invited to bask in.

You will be picked up at Reykjahlíð in the Lake Mývatn area in the morning, in a four-wheel-drive bus. Once your group is aboard, you will begin your journey into the Highlands. This wilderness is unimaginably beautiful, and a sight very few are lucky enough to be able to see. It is advised to keep your camera in hand for the duration of your drive, for there will be many striking features en route that you will want to photograph.

On your way to Askja, you will stop in the stretches of lava and black sands where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin prepared for the 1960s moon landing. The appeal of this region to NASA is instantly apparent; its bleak desolation gives you the feeling of walking on a different planet.

The area, however, is not entirely lifeless; you will stop at the nature reserve Herðubreiðarlindir, which is an oasis of plants and birdlife maintained by freshwater springs through the old lava. This beautiful reserve has the incredible backdrop of the subglacial volcano Herðubreið, nicknamed the Queen of Iceland’s Mountains. At 1682 metres (5354 ft) tall, it is Iceland’s fifth tallest peak; covered in the glistening ice of Vatnajökull glacier.

Following your time at the nature reserve, you will head over to the massive Askja Volcano. When it erupted in 1875, the amount of poisonous ash released into the air prompted a large exodus from the country. The force of this eruption blasted a new caldera inside the old one, and after the cooling period, this new basin filled with water. Now, you can see a stunning lake within the crater, 11 km squared and 220 metres (722 ft) deep. 

You will walk right up to its rim, then to another nearby crater lake, called Víti, which translates to ‘hell’, but bathing in its milky blue geothermally heated waters is heaven.

Once you are fully recharged from your refreshing bath, you will head back to the bus to return to Lake Mývatn, aiming to be back ten or eleven hours after departing. The incredible, desolate beauty of this tour promises to stay with you for life; you can return knowing you have seen landscapes and features most visitors to Iceland never have the chance to witness.

So don’t hesitate any longer; immerse yourself in the beauty of the Highlands, and visit the mighty Askja Volcano. Check availability by choosing a date.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Jun. - Sep.
  • Duration: 12 hours
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Hot Spring Bathing
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: East Iceland, Highlands, Mývatn, Askja, Víti by Askja, Herðubreið, Herðubreiðarlindir, Reykjahlíð
Pickup information:
  • Departure time : 08:00.

Reykjahlíð village in Lake Mývatn by the supermarket Samkaup

The tour departs from the information center in Reykjahlíð in Lake Mývatn, at 7:45, with departure at 8:00. Please be at your pickup location in time for your departure. Should you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly.

  • English guide

  • Transportation in a 4x4 vehicle

  • Meals

What to bring:
  • Warm clothes

  • Food and water for the day

  • Swimsuit

  • Camera

Good to know:

It is possible to take a swim in the Víti caldera when conditions prove favourable, so pack your swimsuit just in case such a wonderful opportunity arises. Please also remember to pack food and water, since there are no shops in the Highlands of Iceland.

Verified reviews

Average3.65 reviews
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Perfect day. The activity is really complete. The coach is 4x4 and they do several stops during the way to see different zones of the highlands. Totally recommended. Guide is very nice and she explains a lot of things during the trip.
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Granted...getting to Askja is not without effort. But as with most things in life, the best experiences need to be earned. Driving to Askja is not recommended unless you have a jeep and feel comfortable with river crossings. I'm not, so I choose to join this tour instead and ride to Askja in a banging vintage highland bus. And boy, was it worth it? The Askja Caldera is a true diamond in the rough. It's out of this world.
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Points positifs : le cratère qui est donc l'étape finale de lexcursion est magnifique, et il est possible de s'y baigner (la descente dans le cratère n'est pas très facile et peut se révéler dangereuse). Points négatifs : le trajet, très long et sur une route très chaotique. Je vous déconseille de vous mettre tout au fond du véhicule. C'est probablement la pire place, aussi bien du point de vue du confort que pour entendre les commentaires de la guide. En conclusion : le cratère Viti, qui est l'attraction principale de cette excursion est visuellement très beau à voir, la petite marche de 40min le précédent est également très agréable et facile. Cependant, il faut être sur d'être extrêmement motivé par cet objectif, car le trajet est très long, très inconfortable et les précédents arrêts avant d'arriver au cratère, peu intéressants. Le rapport entre la durée de l'excursion totale environ 12h et le temps passé sur place au cratère, 1h30 environ, nous a semblé disproportionné et pas assez long pour en profiter.
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