Askja and Víti in the heart of the highland

  • Viti and Askja in the Icelandic highland
    Viti and Askja in the Icelandic highland
  • Some visitors like to skinny-dip in Hell here in Iceland
    Some visitors like to skinny-dip in Hell here in Iceland
  • Öskjuvatn -Lake Askja - and Víti - Hell in Icelnad
    Öskjuvatn -Lake Askja - and Víti - Hell in Icelnad
  • Drekagil is where you go to start your trip to Askja
    Drekagil is where you go to start your trip to Askja
  • The hike to Askja and Víti takes about half an hour and is a rather light walk
    The hike to Askja and Víti takes about half an hour and is a rather light walk
  • On the trail you can see a lot of interesting formations and color
    On the trail you can see a lot of interesting formations and color
  • Ones down in the cradle formations and color seem endless
    Ones down in the cradle formations and color seem endless
  • The view from the top of the cradle is magnificent
    The view from the top of the cradle is magnificent
  • Sometimes the formation and color seem to come from another world
    Sometimes the formation and color seem to come from another world
  • It is also often interesting to point your camera to the smaller things inside the cradle
    It is also often interesting to point your camera to the smaller things inside the cradle
  • The view to the south over the water is magnificent
    The view to the south over the water is magnificent
  • You have to bee there
    You have to bee there

Viti, or Hell, is one of the most interesting natural wonders in Iceland.  It is an explosion crater on the northeast shore of Öskjuvatn in the middle of the Icelandic highland.  The crater is around 150 meters in diameter and contains a geothermal lake of mineral-rich warm water.  Although the name isn’t particularly inviting many visitors and tourists visiting the place like to dip into Víti.  The water is not conveniently hot but enough to strip and take a short swim in the strange water floating on a volcano that erupted not so long ago. When you come home you can at least say that you went “skinny-dipping in Hell”. 
There are also many interesting stories connected to Askja. Probably the most interesting is the story of Walther von Knebel, a German geologist that disappeared in 1907 with his associate in a mysterious unresolved accident or some other mishap.   A year later his fiancé Ina von Grumbkow visit Iceland and Askja trying to get to the bottom of her suspicion that her husband to be, had been killed.
This location in the highland of Iceland is not accessible during the wintertime unless your have one of those so-called Super jeeps on huge tiers that every other Icelander seems to drive as a family car. The most secure and convenient way to visit Askja and Víti is to purchase an organized tour or rent a car during the summer season, between July and October.  The rent car needs to be a four-wheel drive capable of crossing some rather serious rivers.