Somewhere in the highlands of Iceland, north of the Vatnajökull glacier, is a special place where astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, once trained for moon landing. Iceland has a special place where ordinary people can walk in the paths of giants.
The lunar landscape, typical of this region, served as a temporary base for NASA's Apollo space program. When looking for an appropriate place to train their astronauts, Askja was ideal. In a remote mountainous terrain in the middle of Iceland, far from any settlement, lies a place with unique landscapes, like no other in the world.
Askja is a caldera, a huge crater of a volcano that collapsed into the core of a magma beneath. The height of the mountain is 1,510 meters and the area is 50 square kilometers.
Askja is located north of the Vatnajökull glacier and is a true testament of the power of Mother Nature. The eruption that created the original crater took place in 1875, was so intense and powerful, that stones ejected during the eruption reached Europe, a distance of over 1000 km!!!!! Volcanic activity continued for thirty years, culminating in a massive collapse of the upper part of the volcano.
The crater that formed as a result of the eruption, filled with water, sapphire blue in color that became Iceland's deepest lake, 217 meters deep, that is frozen most of the year. The younger crater north of lake Öskjuvatn is located in the small Víti crater and has a thermal lake. Although this area can only be reached during the summer months, it is considered a popular attraction amongst tourists.
Askja can be reached via Route F88 with a 4X4 along a mountain dirt track road that crosses several rivers. Another way to reach the area is to take a 4X4 day trip. The trip takes about 3-4 hours each way and it is important ensure you have a full tank of fuel before you set off.
Kverkfjöll is the name of a mountain ridge in the northern part of the Vatnajökull glacier, 40 km south of Askja. For those who want to spend more than one day in the region, there are additional trips to Kverkfjöll.
Most tours leave from Lake Mývatn and are guided tours with special super jeeps with huge tires or via bus.