• Einar Páll Svavarsson

Tjarnargígur crater at Lakagígar


Tjarnargígur crater at Lakagígar in the Highland in Iceland
Tjarnargígur crater at Lakagígar in the Highland in Iceland

The crater Tjarnargígur (Pond Crater) is one of the many craters created in the infamous 1783–1784 Skaftáreldar eruption in Iceland. These craters form a row stretching over an area of 25 kilometers. Owing to the young geological age of Tjarnargígur, the whole area around the crater is very sensitive, mainly consisting of lava and moss. Although there are many craters at Lakagígar, Tjarnargígur is one of the more impressive ones. One of the reasons is the water that forms a small pond within the crater. The water is pristine, and because of the small diameter and the 12-meter depth, the pond displays a beautiful turquoise color, at least on a clear day. Consequently, Tjarnargígur is quite photogenic and worth visiting if you plan a driving tour to Lakagígar and Laki.


One of the most impressive natural wonders in the Highland:

Highland map of Iceland
Highland map of Iceland

Lakagígar (Laki Craters) is located in the middle of the Icelandic Highland. Like all places in the Highland, it remains open for only part of the year. Usually, the road opens in late June or in the first two weeks of July, depending on how fast the road dries up after the snow melts during spring. Most of the interesting places around Tjarnargígur and other craters were created in the Skaftáreldar eruption. There is a parking lot near Tjarnargígur with excellent facilities to take a halt and have a picnic. By the crater, there are two interesting walking paths: one to the pond and another, a bit longer, in the lava. Both have a mystical atmosphere as the whole surrounding along the way is unusual due to the peace and quiet one experiences while walking through lava covered with thick moss. It is on our list of places that are ideal for families and kids.


Access is not easy and requires a 4x4 vehicle:

Hiking by Tjarnargígur crater
Hiking by Tjarnargígur crater

Tjarnargígur is located approximately six kilometers west of the Laki mountain. The road to Laki and Tjarnargígur is a rugged, difficult one with many rivers to cross and, therefore, fit for only a good 4X4 vehicle. Moreover, it requires a lot of patience to drive the road as your average speed for the whole 40 kilometers is probably under 30 kilometers per hour. The same applies to the drive back. You start your drive by turning north on the Ring Road Nr. 1 on the south shore near the small village of Kirkjubærjarklaustur. Here, you turn to Holtsvegur (Road Nr. 206). After driving just two kilometers, you turn north again to the Lakavegur (Highland Road Nr. F206). When you reach Laki, you turn west on the Highland Road F207 to go to Tjarnargígur.


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