Located right in the middle of the Icelandic highlands, the Askja stratovolcano is a massive volcano with a crater more than 4 km wide, which was formed by a huge eruption in 1875. Askja measures 1,516 metres above sea level and attracts visitors to the 11 square kilometres large Öskjuvatn Lake with its turquoise glowing water, as well as a completely desolate landscape with no signs of civilisation.

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Askja volcano is one of Iceland's most powerful volcanoes, with the last eruption recorded in 1961, and owes its formation to the spreading of lithospheric plates at a rate of 2cm per year.

The lunar landscape

The area around Askja is one of the cheesiest and most remote parts of Iceland. The barren, monotonous landscape with only shades of grey, brown and black resembles the landscape on the moon more than any other place. The monotonous yet extremely beautiful landscape takes you to an exotic nature like you won't find on the European continent.

Volcanic deserts are interrupted by numerous glacial rivers and hundreds of smaller and larger mountain peaks or glaciers.

It is no coincidence that the landscape around Askja volcano was chosen by NASA for geological training of astronauts before their journey to the Moon.

How to get there?

Askja is only accessible by 4x4 off-road vehicles with high chassis, and there is only a dirt road with many fords. Directly below Askja is the F910 road, which leads off the F88 road. This then connects to the main Ring Road number 1.

The distance from Reykjavik is 603 km and a detailed map of the route can be found here. The roads are only passable for off-road vehicles for a few months of the year from about early June to mid-September, then they disappear under a layer of snow and ice.

From the car park at the end of the road, a hiking trail about 2.5 km long leads to the crater rim and to Lake Öskjuvatn (see: route map).


Due to the remoteness of Askja, it is difficult to drive here from any major settlement in Iceland. Conditions are rough even in summer, mainly because of the wind, so camping won't be the best option either.

Nearest Grímstunga Guesthouse you'll find at the junction of Route 1 and the F88 in the form of a beautiful country farm. Look for many more guesthouses and hotels in the well-known area around Lake Mývatn, about 140 km from Askja.

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