ASKJA – 2 DAY-TRIP

The trip started in Fáskrúðsfjörður, where I’m currently based. I had wanted to go to Askja for a long time and, according to the weather forecast, it was going to be a very sunny week.

First stop, filling up the gas tank in Egilsstaðir. Askja is a pretty remote area and can be challenging to find somewhere to fill up the tank, so make sure it is up to the top before leaving town.

I suggest taking the 931 road at the earliest possible time because there are several points of interest on the way that will leave you disappointed if you miss.

Hallormsstaður

About a century ago, grazing was forbidden in these lands giving birth to iceland’s biggest forest. There are multiple hiking possibilities and, along the Lagarfljót shore, the view is just amazing.

More info at https://visitegilsstadir.is/en/things-to-see/hallormsstadur-national-forest/

Skriðuklaustur

This place is super nice! It was an Augustinian Monastery from 1493 to 1552, before Iceland abolished the monasteries due to Reformation. The price is 1100isk per person but totally worth it. Inside you can visit the monastery’s rooms, which are very well kept and even do a Virtual Reality tour back in time. There is a restaurant and a coffee house. On the surrounding area there are some ruins and a Visitor Centre for the Vatnajökull National Park.

More info at https://www.skriduklaustur.is/is/

Hafrahvammagljúfur

Head back towards 910 road until you find the dam. This dam was built to feed the aluminium factory in Reyðarfjörður. The canyon it uncovered is 200m deep and has a fantastic view from the top. It was due to this dam that the Stuðlagil canyon was found and nowadays attracts lots of visitors.  

Laugavallalaug

On the site of this abandoned farm with a tragic end, there is a hot stream that falls into a natural hot tub. The site is usually quiet, with barely any human traffic, since it can only be accessible by 4*4 vehicles, like most of the way to Askja. There are also no facilities except for one toilet all the way to Askja. As you may have noticed in the video, the trip requires river crossings so make sure you have a suitable car, capable of driving in streams of water, the volume and speed of which can suddenly and unnoticeably increase at rapid speed.

Feeling lost?

When it comes to Iceland, GoogleMaps is not very reliable. This is the best map I found of the area. All sites mentioned above can be found through 931, 910, F910 roads and F905 road on the way back. 

Dreki

This incredible campsite is your reward after driving all the way through F910 road, since our last stop. It’s located nearby a very beautiful canyon that offers an easy hike (through-tiraria). I advise you camp here. There is no food/drinks available so make sure you come prepared. After this point it’s only 8 km more to Askja.

More info at https://www.ffa.is/en/huts/dreki

Askja

Our destination is actually the biggest crater of the volcano Dyngjufjöl, standing just 32km of Vatnajökull. The volcano erupted in 1875, that lead to a violent changing of the land, with its blown clouds of ashes reaching as far as Poland.

In the recent year 2010, the volcano spiked seismic activity and, in 2012, the water in the crater was ice free, suggesting an increase of magma movements. Visits were suspended for a while but, for now, no eruption is foreseeably imminent. 

The parking lot before Askja leads to a 30 min hike to Vitti and Öskjuvatn. The hike is very easy to do and pleasant. You should have good hiking shoes, as the descent to Vitti is quite slippery and muddy. Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit for a out of this world dive in the water. It should be up to 28 degrees celsius, not as warm as other natural hot streams but still really nice if the weather presents itself enjoyable. It’s nonetheless a super site full of pyroclasts and nice volcanic formations. The colors will amaze your eyes.

More info at https://visitegilsstadir.is/en/things-to-see/askja-crater/

Sænautasel

Driving north, at the end of F905 road, there’s Möðrudalur, the place of one of the most well kept turf houses in Iceland called Sænautasel. It’s close to a  lake and the scenery is beautiful. The price is 2500isk per person and includes pancakes, coffee and hot chocolate, as well as the entry to the turf houses.

More info at https://visitegilsstadir.is/en/things-to-see/saenautasel/

Fjallakaffi

Wondering where the arctic foxes have been hiding? Look no further. In (name of the place instead of: this place) there are a few of them wandering. They are very much used to the presence of humans and they let you take pictures very close. The restaurant offers a lot of options and is kept inside the turf houses that once belonged to this farm. One of the highest in altitude ever built in Iceland. All this view of the road that you just drove can not be missed!

More info at https://fjalladyrd.is/

Safe travel advice: F-Roads in iceland are only accessed with 4*4 vehicles, some of them even need the very top special ones. They are open in July and August. Sometimes before and sometimes after. Nevertheless, the condition of the road must be checked at Road.is as the weather conditions before any travel plans.

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