Hverfjall, Iceland is one of the best preserved circular volcanic craters in the world!
Also known as Hverfell or Myvatn volcano, it is an icon of the Lake Myvatn area.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit and to complete the Hverfjall hike on the rim trail with tips, map and photos.
Before all my photos + tips, here are my favorites to plan your Summer Iceland trip:
My favorite places to stay around Iceland:
- Reykjavik, the capital, of course: Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel
- Vik to explore the South Coast: Hotel Vik i Myrdal
- Lake Myvatn, in the north: Hotel Laxa
- Borgarnes, between Snaefellsnes and Silver Circle: Hotel Hamar
My favorite activity around Iceland (Summer): Whale watching from Husavik (best) or Reykjavik or Akureyri
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Why visit the Hverfjall Crater in Iceland? Top Myvatn attraction
What is Hverfjall?
Hverfjall is a giant circular explosion crater near lake Myvatn in North Iceland.
Climbing it one of the best things to around Lake Myvatn (along with Dimmuborgir and Skutustadagigar)
Some prefer the Krafla Viti crater, with its lake and colors but the scale of Hverfjall is definitively more impressive. And I really enjoyed seeing the bottom of it.
Geology of Hverfjall - How was it formed?
- Hverfjall is thought to be 2500 years old
- The crater is bare, circular and almost symmetrical
- Hverfjall volcano type = tephra cone
- It is an average of about 200 meters in depth and 1km in diameter which makes it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
- It is not perfectly round (probably because of a landslide in the south part during the eruption) but it is still stunning!
- It is part of the 90km long Krafla Fissure area
What does Hverfjall means? Pronunciation
Fjall means mountain and Hver means Hot Spring. Therefore it is the Hot Spring mountain.
It is also called Hverfell.
Its pronunciation is [ˈkʰvɛːrˌfjatl̥] - You can liste to it on this website.
More photos after the planning tips
Planning tips & Map - Volcanic crater of Hverfjall, Iceland
Hverfjall Location - Map
- Hverfjall is sometimes referred to as the Myvatn Volcano as it stands very close to the lake
- Lake Myvatn is in the North part of Iceland (see my North Iceland page)
- On the East shore of the lake
- Below is a map to help you get oriented and locate the crater:
All my favorite locations are included (with GPS coordinates, map of region and planning tips) in my travel guide eBook to help you easily plan your Iceland road trip (for 5 days, 7 days, 10 days, 14 days...)
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How to get to Hverfjall - self-drive & parking area
- Akureyri to Hverfjall = 1h10 drive
- Egilsstadir to Hverfajll = 2h10 drive
- If needed, check out my article about driving in Iceland
- South of Reykjahlíð, you will find a turn away from the lake towards the crater, where Hverfjall is indicated.
- It is just 5 min drive on a gravel road, and you will reach a carpark at its foot (in Summer) - In winter you have to park by the main road
- On the picture below, taken from the climb, you can spot the parking area with the cars and at the end of the gravel road that leads to it (to the left):
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
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Accommodations near Hverfjall
Not far is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, one of my favorite places to stay in Iceland (I booked myself and paid entirely for my stay). Right next to the lake and with the Hverfjall crater in the background... perfect! Check out more photos and book
- you can stay at Egilsstadir before or after your visit to Myvatn (connection with East Fjords) - see best rated accommodations
- or you can stay at Akureyri, the capital of the North to explore the region - see best rated accommodations
Find more tips in my article about Where to stay in Iceland
Tips for the Hverfjall Hike
If you are considering completing the Hverfjall hike on its rim, here are information to consider and tips to facilitate your visit:
- The rim trail is only accessible by two paths. It is strictly forbidden to use other routes in ascent or descent
- From the parking – it is a steady climb on a gravel path, 10 to 20 min depending on your level of fitness
- From Dimmuborgir, it is an even steeper climb (and it requires first an extra 45min flat walk to the base of the crater before starting the climb)
- To tour the crater's rim, it took me 1h30 at a slow pace taking lots of pictures
- If you don’t want to tour it, the best views are (in my opinion) at one fifth counterclockwise from the parking climb
- Don't go up when it is very windy
- Wear good footwear and bring layers to protect yourself of the changing weather. Check out my guide on what to pack for Iceland.
- Walking sticks would be helpful especially in winter.
Climbing the Myvatn Volcano + Rim Trail
For those wondering if they will be able to climb Hverfjall, how difficult it is, here is my input: It is definitely a challenging walk to the top. The path from the parking is the easiest one. I was overweight and not in shape, but I managed to climb it in 15 min. I just took my time, let the others pass me and stopped whenever I needed. The path is wide enough to stop and let others continue. And think of the reward: the incredible scenery at the top and the bonus: less flies!
Here are pictures to show you the path to climb Hverfjall from the foot and on the path.
Below is the view of the hiking path from the parking when looking back:
Inside of the Hverfjall crater in Myvatn
And here is the reward, once you reach the rim and walk around you get incredible views of this crater. I walked slowly all the way around it, and it took me 1h30. Some sections go up and down, but the rim is large and if the wind is not too strong you feel safe.
If you don't want to tour the whole rim, I recommend walking one fifth counterclockwise to one of the highest points (but of course that means more climbing...)
I was amazed by the huge rocks that are still lying around. Rocks that were shot from the inside of the crater 2 500 years ago!
Let's talk proportions.
In photos things often look smaller. So have a look at the picture below and see the size of people compared to the crater.
The views from the rim trail
Seeing the inside of the volcano is not the only reason you should climb on the rim.
From up there, you have nice views of Lake Myvatn and the area.
It is not easy to capture well but here are still a few shots. See the lake behind:
And the colorful mountains:
And if you want to attempt to stop locals laughing at your pronunciation, you can practice by listening how to pronounce Hverfjall here 🙂
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Hverfjall volcanic crater from the distance
Hverfjall can be seen from many roads around Lake Myvatn. From far away it does not look like much of a climb, but it is. And you can see on the pictures below how bare it is.
Here is a view from the lava field of Dimmuborgir:
Plan your trip to Iceland in Summer:
Hverfjall in Winter
The road to the Hverfjall carpark is not cleared in Winter. You can stop along the main road in the distance.
The hike would require expert equipment with big spikes and hiking sticks.
But you can still admire it from the main road and from Dimmuborgir.
The area of Lake Myvatn is quite different in Winter - see my article
Want to see other highlights in the area?
- The crazy lava formations of Dimmuborgir - read article
- The fascinating pseudo-craters of Skutustadir - read article
- The orange geothermal area of Hverir Namafjall - read article
- The lava pillars of Hofdi - read article
- The Myvatn Nature Baths
- And, a bit further away, the Waterfalls of Godafoss, Aldeyjarfoss and Dettifoss
- Or read my complete article about North Iceland
Planning a trip to Iceland?
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Claire – beautiful pics !! Thank you for all the extra details !
Ben and Linda Burgess says
I have been to the area 5 or 6 times and have not found the parking lot. My wife and I are returning to Iceland again this summer and will try again. Hopefully your pics will help. The hike looks more difficult from a distance. Thank you for the info.
Claire, the Travel Planning Geek says
I wish you a wonderful trip!
I just hiked it. I found the parking lot no problem, I was coming from the south though so that might make a difference. On 848 after the entrance to dimmuborgir (which is also fabulous) keep driving north and very shortly you will see a sign for hverfjall. You cannot see the parking area from the road. Follow the packed black silt road around and you’ll find to the parking lot near the base of the crater. There a nice building there with WCs as well. Enjoy!!