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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Hnausapollur or Bláhylur


Hnausapollur is a maar
Hnausapollur is a maar

People have different reasons for visiting a country like Iceland, with such a high selection of natural wonders, stunning landscapes, and a fascinating history. Often, a tour is organized that visits the most popular places that have gained the most attraction: landmarks that have even developed a draw and appeal on a global scale. The good thing about Iceland is the fact that there are also many places that are highly interesting, and few people visit them. Many of these locations are fascinating from a geological perspective as well as being interesting landscapes to experience, with some being famous for their connection to history and folklore. Most of these unique places are fantastic to visit for landscape photographers and people interested in hiking. One such place is Hnausapollur - somtimes also called Bláhylur.


Highland map of Iceland
Highland map of Iceland

Hnausapollur is on the road Sigölduleið to Landmannalaugar


Hnausapollur was formed when lava came into contact with groundwater at the time of the eruption in 871

Like most volcanic craters with small lakes or ponds within their boundaries, Hnausapollur is a maar. It was formed when lava came into contact with groundwater at the time of the eruption in 871, about 1200 years ago, that occurred in both Bárðabunga and Torfajökull calderas simultaneously. It is a famous eruption because it transformed a large part of the Highland and happened at the same time as the beginning of settlement in Iceland. The ash from the outbreaks can be found almost throughout the whole island as it spread over a large area. Usually, the reason for a lake within a crater is the depth that goes down deep enough to reveal subsoil water or groundwater. This combination of water, crater, and vegetated brims is usually a beautiful sight where colors interact fabulously. Similar maar volcanic craters in Iceland are Grænavatn and Víti in Askja. Hnausapollur also has another name, often called Bláhylur, because of the turquoise blue color of the water. It is a Highland lake at an altitude of about 570 meters above sea level. You might think that this is a remote place, but don’t be surprised if you see someone fishing down in the crater. The lake has some life, although catching fish in it is pretty rare as the stream of water entering and flowing from the lake is all underground.


Located on the Icelandic Highland road Fjallabak Nyrðri.

Hnausapollur in autumn
Hnausapollur in autumn

Hnausapollur might not be one of those natural wonders in Iceland worth a particular trip to the Highland, but if you are traveling on the Highland road Fjallabak Nyrðri or visiting Landmannalaugar on F208, it is a must to stop by Hnausapollur. It is the next-door neighbor of its similar brother bearing the awful name 'Ugly Pound’ or Ljótipollur. Both are extraordinary sights and perfect for photographing.


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