Travel Guide to Askja by Icerental4x4
This is the ultimate travel guide to Askja in Iceland. Here we will go over the roads and conditions that is good to know before driving to Askja.
Askja has for a long time been a popular destination to visit during the summertime in Iceland. It is only allowed to drive to Askja on a 4x4 vehicle. The roads that lead to Askja are only open during the summertime as all the F-roads (Mountain roads) are closed during the wintertime due to heavy weather conditions. Here you can find an estimate of opening hours for the roads to Askja :
Sprengisandur, F26 Earliest opening period | Latest opening period
- Hrauneyjar – Nýidalur 06.2020 10.07.2020
- Nýidalur – Bárðardalur 06.2020 10.07.2020
Öskjuleið, F88 Earliest opening period | Latest opening period
- Inn að Herðubreiðulindum 06.2020 26.06.2020
- Herðubreiðalind – Dreki 06.2020 26.06.2020
Arnardalsleið, F905 Earliest opening period | Latest opening period
Austurleið, F910 Earliest opening period | Latest opening period
Öskjuvatnsvegur, F894 Earliest opening period | Latest opening period
You can find more information about F-roads Although it is in Icelandic viewing estimate opening hours is helpful there.
What this tells us is that the roads are estimated to open earliest on the 11 of June and the latest 10th of July. It all depends on the weather conditions as well as the road conditions. The landscape in the highlands are vulnerable and that is why they try to wait longer to let it heal after the winter conditions. The road conditions are updated every day.
Photo by Annelies Geneyn
What is Askja?
Askja is located north of Vatnajökull National Park. It is a 50 sqr kilometre subsidence cauldron that was formed when a lava chamber under the surface of the earth came out in a volcano eruption which caused the ground to collapse. It is known for being used as a training ground for Apollo astronauts because of its unique landscape.
The eruption can be found back in 1875 when it erupted with incredible force where ash that was poisoned over much of the east fjords as well as reaching to some part of Europe. The last time Askja erupted was in 1961 but it has been giving some signs since then without anything happening.
In Askja you will find the Öskjuvatn (Lake Askja) which is about 11 square kilometres as well as having the depth of 217m (237 Yards) making it the second deepest lake in Iceland. There is a story about two scientists from Germany that went to explore the lake on a small boat but disappeared, there has no trace of them was ever been found. Lake Víti will also be found in Askja, Víti is a geothermal crater lake that is around 25 degrees. It is popular to see by travellers going to Askja and some even have a swim in Lake Víti while being surrounded by the breathtaking nature.
The mountain Dyngjufjöll is located in Askja, north of Vatnajökull National Park right by Lake Askja. Dyngjufjöll is a cluster of mountains, it is said that these mountains are the remnant landscape of a large volcanic area from the ice age, that collapsed.
Travelling to Askja is truly a one time experience and should be a part of your trip to Iceland. You can take a tour to Askja and also do a self-drive. If you plan on driving to Askja you will need a 4x4 car rental as it is forbidden to access other vehicles.
How to get to Askja?
Driving to Askja requires a 4x4 vehicle. While driving to Askja there are F-roads (Mountain Roads) where you need to cross rivers. It is forbidden to drive on F-roads in Iceland, not on a 4x4 vehicle. So please do not attempt to drive to Askja on a small vehicle. As river crossing require proper ground clearance from the vehicle. Driving from Route 1 to Askja will take around 3 hours.
- The best way to go to Askja is to go from Route 1 passing Akureyri and Mývatn and turn to road 901. From there you go on F905 driving for about 20 kilometres until you enter road F910 that will take you all the way to Askja. It is important to keep in mind that there are a few rivers that will have to be crossed on F910 and it is very important to take great care while doing so. You will end by the campsite in Askja where you can camp on your camper (camper link) or it is possible to stay in a shelter by paying for it.
- We recommend getting advice from the local rangers that are by the shelter and camping area. They can give you advise for road conditions as well as weather conditions if you plan on hiking or visiting Lake Askja and Lake Víti.
- To go to Lake Víti you will drive from Askja on road F894 until you reach a parking lot where you can park the rental vehicle and start your hike.
- There is also possible to go another way to Askja but we do NOT recommend to go this way. This route is F88 that leads from Route 1 down to Askja. This road has many rivers that need to be crossed that are not passable for normal 4x4 vehicles. Also to go this way you need to be an experienced driver on the Icelandic mountain roads. We express the importance to go only F905/F910
The roads to Askja are only open over the summertime. The highland roads are not paved and road conditions can easily change due to weather, so we recommend to drive a 4x4 rental car.
There are no insurances in Iceland that cover water damages so crossing rivers is the responsibility of the driver. Please read more about our insurances.
What car is best to rent to go to Askja?
When choosing your rental vehicle it is important to keep in mind where you would like to travel and what roads to explore. When driving to Landmannalaugar you must have a 4x4 vehicle, but it is often tricky to choose what 4x4 vehicle is the best for the job.
We at Icerental4x4 specialise in 4x4 vehicles providing a wide range of vehicles in all sizes and ages so all groups can find their fit.
Dacia Duster – Dacia Duster has been one of the most popular rental vehicles in Iceland in the past years. It has 4x4, where you can also lock the differential if necessary. It is suitable for four-person with luggage. It has good ground clearance and is very fuel-efficient for a 4x4 vehicle.
Suzuki Grand Vitara – The Suzuki Grand Vitara is perfect for groups of up to 5 people. It has a large luggage space of almost 750 litres. It has a powerful engine 2,4l and 4WD that can handle all conditions very well. We have it available in three models. Both Automatic and Manual.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – The Cherokee is a great 4x4 vehicle with a large engine making highland travels very easy. It also has a large luggage space and is comfortable for 5 people. What makes our Cherokee special is that we have raised them slightly up and put them on larger tires. These are older models but in great conditions.
Ford Expedition – If you are travelling with larger groups the Ford Expeditions is perfect. They have 8 seats, if 8 people are travelling we recommend taking Roof Box for extra luggage space. The Expedition are automatic transmission and 4WD vehicle. It has a powerful engine and high ground clearance.
Our Camper vehicles – We have a wide range of 4x4 Camper vehicles available during the summertime that is perfect for travelling to Landmannalaugar. All from Suzuki Jimny, Dacia Duster, Suzuki Grand Vitara and also Dodge Durango with XXL Roof tent for 3-4 person. You can read more about our campers and our camping equipment
Hiking at Víti and Lake Öskjuvatn
Going hiking at Víti is not a long hike from the parking lot. It will take around 45 minutes each way. It is a fairly simple hike as it is mostly flat. The landscape while taking this hike is truly breathtaking, it has been used for training for Apollo programs back in the day. At some periods of the year, you might even find some snow while hiking at Víti. It is important to take good care while hiking and take into consideration the weather conditions. It is important to wear proper clothes while you are travelling in Iceland.
While hiking towards Lake Öskjuvatn you will see the amazing views that are simply out of this world. On a good day, you can even see Dyngjufjöll mountains reflect on the lake. If you talk to the rangers before going on these hikes about the weather you can even dip into Lake Víti as the geothermal crater lake is around 25 degrees and can be fun to swim a little in. If you plan on going into the lake, it is important to take good care while hiking down to it as the trail can be tricky and steep.
Camping in Askja
When you are travelling to Askja, you can make it a day trip which will include some long drives and beautiful landscapes. You can also camp in a few places while driving to Askja. But if you want to camp you will either need a tent and equipment, or you can rent a 4x4 camping cars.
The camping area Dreki is found in the end of route F88 where it is possible to camp while you are exploring the wonderers of Askja. Dreki Hut is located at the mouth of the Drekagil gorge east of the Dyngjufjöll mountain. It can be reached by driving F905/F910 from Route 1. There are huts where you can sleep inside, it has sleeping space for 60 persons. It also has a sanitary house with 4 WC and one with wheelchair access. There are also shower facilities during the summertime by the huts.
We have a wide range of 4x4 Rooftop Tent cars that are perfect for going to Askja where you will get the full camping experience. We also have a big variety of camping equipment for rent such as Kitchen Box, Camping Table & Chairs, Wifi and much more.
When Travelling to Askja
It is important to respect nature while driving to Askja. The landscape is very delicate and it needs to be shown full respect. Driving off-road is illegal in Iceland and it can lead to heavy fines.
It is also important to keep in mind while hiking in Askja as well as all mountains to not walk outside of the walking paths and please do not step on the moss. The moss is very vulnerable and takes many years to heal if it is damaged.
We recommend to plan your hiking well, have proper clothes and a GPS device. You can visit Safetravel for further information about Iceland and hiking in Iceland.