Krafla and Leirhnjúkur

See aquamarine hot springs and steaming vents in one of Iceland’s most active geothermal areas.

North Iceland
The Krafla crater
Leirhnjúkur lava field with steaming vents.
The Krafla crater on a sunny day
The Krafla crater
Leirhnjúkur lava field with steaming vents.
Best time to visit
Every day
Charging station

Visit the Leirhnjúkur crater inside the Krafla volcano system, and uncover its fiery reputation

Decades after its last eruption, the volcanic system of Krafla and Leirhnjúkur in North Iceland is still active. Here you’ll find bubbling mud pools, hot springs, and fuming lava fields.

Located in the western part of the Krafla caldera, Leirhnjúkur is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 29 times. The region is home to the Víti crater, which formed during the Mývatn Fires, a 5-year-long eruption between 1724 and 1729.

This crater is now filled with a green lake and is surrounded by colorful mountains and volcanic landscapes. That said, the color of the lake can also look turquoise, depending on the weather or the time of day you visit.

Most recently, the Krafla fissure erupted 9 times between 1975 and 1984, sending lava fountains flying into the air. Today, you can see the aftermath for yourself – a volcanic caldera 10 km (6 mi) in diameter along a 90 km (56 mi) long fissure zone. As you explore this otherworldly area, you’ll see the hot lava fields are still fuming.

How to get to Krafla and Leirhnjúkur

You’ll find the Krafla lava fields just 24 km (15 mi) northeast of Lake Myvatn. To get there, take the Ring Road north, then east through Reykjahlíð village, before turning onto road 863. Follow this path past the Krafla power plant, and you’ll soon come to the parking lot.

The Víti crater is about a 20 minute walk from here, while the 5–km (3–mi) loop around the entire Leirhnjúkur lava field takes around 1–2 hours to complete.

As you explore the area, make sure to follow the marked paths. The solidified lava flows are still so hot in some places that they can burn the soles of your shoes!

Other attractions near Krafla and Leirhnjúkur

Lake Mývatn in its autumn colors

Lake Mývatn

Explore otherworldly lava formations and get close to wildlife near this lush lake.

24 km (15 mi)

The harbor in the fishing village of Húsavík


Get up close to gentle giants on a boat tour from Iceland’s whale watching capital.

69 km (43 mi)

The rocky Jökulsárgljúfur canyon


Marvel at one of the deepest canyons in Iceland.

69 km (43 mi)

Trees in the lush Ásbyrgi canyon


Venture to this odd-shaped canyon on the Diamond Circle route and discover its mythological connections.

83 km (52 mi)