The Krafla Viti crater in Iceland is filled with blue water and surrounded by a geothermal area and colorful mountains… What could you want more?
This is another incredible Icelandic landscape near lake Myvatn.
Below is my guide to help you plan your visit to Lake Viti with map, tips and photos.
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Why visit the Krafla Viti Crater in Iceland?
The Myvatn area has many volcanic and geothermal features.
Contrary to the Hverfell crater, which is very dry and dark, the Viti Crater is filled with deep blue water and surrounded by colorful mountains.
Another must stop in North Iceland!
Facts & history
- This Viti is a large crater approximately 300m in diameter.
- Its name means Hell, in reference to the violence of the eruption.
- It was formed during a 5-year long explosive eruption of the west side of Krafla at the beginning of the Myvatn Fires in 1724.
- Inside the crater is a lake. It is present year-round.
- The color of the water is blue. Its shade varies depending on the light. It can be aqua blue. It is due to the bacteria and elements from the geothermal activity in the area.
- Jonas Hallgrimsson' s poetry was strongly influenced by the Icelandic landscapes. He wrote a poem called ‘Víti’ inspired by this crater.
Confusion - The Other Lake Viti
Beware, since Viti means "hell". It is commonly used.
There is another Viti Lake. It is located near Askja and has a hot Spring.
It is also a famous location, but it is only accessible with 4WD (skills required).
To see that one you can book a day trip - See photos and program
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning tips and Map - Krafla Viti, Iceland
Where is the Krafla Viti Crater?
- North Iceland
- Lake Myvatn area
- Reykjahlid (Lake Myvatn) to Leirhnjukur = 20min drive
- Akureyri to Leirhnjukur = 1h30 drive
- Below is a map to help you locate Krafla Viti 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...)
Plan your dream road trip in Iceland
How to get to Krafla Viti Crater
- No public transportation, you need a car
- A few group tours include a stop there, but many not include time to hike all around
- From Myvatn, drive East on Road 1 for 6 km. Then turn left on towards Viti/Krafla and drive past the power plant.
- The various features of the area are not well indicated. You will see other carparks (one goes to Leirhnjukur) that might look like it but continue until the end of the road.
Need to rent a car in Iceland?
- Option 1 - Compare car rental prices on my favorite platform: Discovercars.com - one of the best customer-rated comparison sites!
- Option 2 - compare cars and prices of local brands on GuidetoIceland.com
- If you plan on driving on F-roads in the Central Highlands, you need a good 4WD - otherwise, no.
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles (it is a popular island)
Krafla Viti Crater walk / hike
- The carpark is just next to the rim
- The tour of the rim can be done in one hour
- From the carpark the half on the right side is easier.
- I found the left side slippery and difficult even in dry conditions.
- I think the best views of the crater are on the left side (when facing the lake from the parking) while the best views of the surrounding mountains are on the right.
- Follow the path don’t stay too long on the small geothermal area. Just walk through it. There is a sign that says that the soles of your shoes can melt
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Can you swim in the Krafla Viti Crater?
The swimming is at the hot Spring in the other Viti Crater (Askja).
Krafla Viti in Winter
Krafla Viti can be dangerous in Winter. The rim is already slippery in Summer, but with snow, it can be harder to explore in Winter.
Lake Myvatn, with the town of Reykjahlid, is a great option to visit the area - Check out the Lake Myvatn accommodations
I stayed at the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse (I booked myself and paid entirely for my stay) - it is 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 overnight in Iceland
Krafla Viti Crater Lake - Rim Walk
The area of the Viti crater is quite surreal. The water, colorful mountains and the steam hissing out of vents create a post-apocalyptic atmosphere (except for the cars parked at the end…).
I took a picture of the people across to give you an idea of the depth.
The ground is slippery, so be careful!
Krafla Viti hike - the small geothermal area
In the middle of the rim hike, you walk down toward a small geothermal area between the 2 lakes.
The surreal atmosphere continues… Stay on the path and walk on the lighter brown area to avoid your shoes melting.
See the people on the path going by the second lake:
If you like geothermal areas, don't miss Hverir not far from here - check out my article!
Second lake of Viti Crater Myvatn
There is a small second lake on the side of Viti (at the end of the walk if going clockwise).
As you walk back up after the geothermal area, you can see it entirely, with the pipes of the geothermal plant behind.
Viti Crater Walk - beautiful surrounding mountains
What I loved the most during the tour of the rim, were the views of the areas where you see beautiful and colorful mountains with just one road as sign of civilization:
More things to do in Myvatn and North Iceland
For more information about planning a trip to the Myvatn area, including accommodation and other things to do, head to my North Iceland Travel Guide.
- Very close is Leirhnjukur with its lava still fuming - see article
- Dimmuborgir - and old lava field with huge formations - see article
- Myvatn Nature Baths - see article
- Hverfjall - a beautiful crater where you can walk on the rim - see article
- The Hverir geothermal area - see article
- and more...
Find them in my eBook:
Plan your dream road trip in Iceland
Want to see more of the best Iceland has to offer?
- 45 Most beautiful landscapes in Iceland in pictures - read article
- The best stops on the Ring Road - read article
- The best locations off the beaten path around Iceland - read article
- 21 Most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland - read article
- Top 5 places to see around Myvatn - read article
- The Golden Circle - read article
- The Snaefellsnes peninsula - read article
And keep track of your own trip!
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