One of the best known volcanic areas of Iceland is located on the shores of Lake Myvatn, in an area known as Krafla. Amongst its steaming vents and bubbling mud pools, the Leirhnjúkur crater stands out as a place so inhospitable and yet hypnotic that it could be from another planet.
Following marked paths, it's possible to visit Leirhnjúkur and admire its small lakes spouting boiling water, its smoking fumaroles and its volcanic rocks covered with sulphur and moss.
The Fires of Krafla
It's no joke that Krafla and Leirhnjúkur are one of the most active volcanic regions in Iceland. In fact, in 1975, a series of events known as the Fires of Krafla took place in what is known as the largest volcanic eruption in Iceland's modern history. Eruptions, cracks in the earth and lava flow were the order of the day for nine years. These days, while the fires have stopped, the area is still very much active and this can be felt on every visit to Leirhnjúkur: steaming vents, scorched earth and bubbling mud means it's best not to stray off the marked paths!
How to get to Leirhnjúkur from Reykjahlíð?
The volcanic region of Leirhnjúkur is only 15 km north of Reykjahlid. Renting a car is the easiest way to get there in just 15 minutes: drive along the Ring Road until you turn onto Road 863, which runs alongside a geothermal power station.
For the more adventurous, another way to get to Leirhnjúkur from Reykjahlid is via a hiking route. During the route, which takes approximately three hours, you'll enjoy a gentle climb up to Leirhnjúkur surrounded by the contrasting landscapes of Lake Myvatn.