The Askja Lunar Tour has for many years been the most popular guided day tour from Lake Mývatn. The tour, which takes 11-12 hours, takes our passengers on 4x4 buses through Iceland's largest wilderness. You will see various geological sites and marvels of nature, such as the spectacular lunar landscape where the American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin trained before they ventured to the moon in 1969. The tour also takes you to the Herđubreiđarlindir nature reserve, where fresh water flows from springs in an old lava flow. The springs sustain beautiful vegetation and form small ponds that provide conditions for flowering plants and birdlife in the otherwise barren volcanic landscape. The sub-glacial volcano (table mountain) Herđubreiđ (1682m), also called 'the Queen of Icelandic mountains', rises above the nature reserve, and forms a breathtaking background to this wilderness oasis.
Askja is an enormous caldera and central volcano in the Dyngjufjöll mountains, north of Vatnajökull glacier. The caldera is a bedrock subsidence located above a massive magma chamber, and is still 'in the making'. Askja was not explored until the nineteenth century, but a series of eruptions in 1874-1875, especially a very powerful explosive eruption in March 1875, caught the attention of the local people as well as scientists. In the massive eruption in 1875, the volcano erupted approximately 2 billion cubic meters of ash and pumice, and a new caldera was formed inside the older one. In the following decades the new caldera was filled with water, and now contains the 11km˛ Lake Öskjuvatn, which is also one of the deepest lakes in Iceland (220m). The Askja volcano erupted a few times in the 1920s, but the latest eruption was in the autumn of 1961.
Our bus stops by one of the craters formed in the 1961-eruption. An easy but long 35 minute walk leads you to the rim of Lake Öskjuvatn and the explosion crater Víti ('Hell'), where travellers seeking unique experience can take a bath in a a milky-blue, warm geothermal lake inside the crater. After enjoying the unearthly quietness and bizarre landscape of Askja our passengers return to the bus and drive back to Lake Mývatn.