Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula close to the geothermal mud pools at Seltún. The lake used to be around 10 km2 but in the aftermath of an earthquake in 2000 the water level it shrunk to around 8 km2. The visible surface drainage exposed a few boxes which were later identified as cold war era spy equipment and Icelandic author Arnaldur Indriðason used this event as inspiration for one of his crime novels. The lake has long been shrouded in some mystery, it is pretty deep, 97m (318 feet) maximum depth and neither the water supply nor the outlet is visible, even after it became known as “the draining lake”.
Close to the lake there is the geothermal area Seltún and since there is a lot of geothermal activity in the area there are numerous hot springs here and mud pots bubbling away. In the many lava fields which stretch out on the Reykjanes Peninsula, although there has not been an eruption here for 700 years, there are various geothermal fields. The Blue Lagoon water supply is geothermal earth-sea which produces silica mud known to have restorative properties for human skin. All visitors to Iceland should consider visiting The Blue Lagoon and Kleifarvatn is only 30 minutes drive from there. Keflavik International Airport is also close to the Bridge Between Continents and out here on the peninsula there are many good spots to wait for the northern lights should they appear on your chosen winter night in Iceland.
Kleifarvatn has arctic char thriving in it which was released in the 60´s and has done quite well making the lake a destination for fishermen. Divers also come here to snorkel in the lake exploring the volcanic bottom.
Kleifarvatn is a short drive from Reykjavík and offers lovely little piece of amazing landscape which despite being so close to the city makes you feel you are somewhere out in the wilderness. With a little bit of imagination it is easy to start your own adventure here and wait for the ripples on the water to become the head of some prehistoric monster rising once again from a deep slumber, or wonder from behind which mountain the orc hordes will come running to attack the monster. Or maybe just take a moment and find yourself stranded on a different planet waiting for the next spaceship to break the clouds wondering whether the alien crew will be friendly enough to give you a ride back to the nearest space station.
The Krýsuvík area has a few geothermal fields which have solfataras and fumaroles scattered around them and these hot springs also have sulphur deposits which were mined in the past. Out on the reykjanes peninsula it is impossible not to be aware you are right on the mid Atlantic ridge since there signs of volcanic activity everywhere. Coming in to Keflavik International Airport the first thing to notice is the barren rugged lava fields drifting into the North Atlantic and the steam rise from the various geothermal areas including the world famous Blue Lagoon. The lava fields are of course the result of numerous eruptions occurring in the past and sometimes you can guess their age by the amount of vegetation growing on them. It takes a hundred years for one inch of moss to grow on lava so it is perhaps no wonder that these fields are quite stripped of vegetation. The fact is that even if there has not been an eruption here for around 700 years there are still plenty of earthquakes, and the fact that Reykjanes peninsula basically stretches out into the North Atlantic makes up for some rather harsh albeit periodical weather conditions.
Next to Krýsuvík is Lake Kleifarvatn which is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula around 8 km2. After an earthquake in 2000 the lake actually shrunk by almost 2 km2 and the theory is that some fissures must have opened up on the bottom absorbing water and causing this drainage. Some equipment was found on the exposed bottom of the lake which was later identified as instruments for spying of probably Soviet origin. This in turn inspired icelandic crime writer Arnaldur Indriðason to write the novel Kleifarvatn (The Draining Lake).
A little further down the road is Grænavatn Lake which formed in one of a few explosion craters formed by volcanic eruptions in the distant past, the lake has a vivid deep green colour. The lakes and the hot springs of Krýsuvík also referred to as Seltún are all within a few minutes drive of each other and are basically between Reykjavík and Keflavik International Airport. This means that going through this area can easily be combined with an airport transfer or a visit to The Blue Lagoon which is less than half an hour from here.
This area is also popular for northern lights tours since it is close to Reykjavík but has no electrical light pollution to speak of, so on a clear night this a good area to wait for aurora activity to appear high in the sky. The area also feels like a different planet so if you are planning to shoot your little sci-fi fantasy in Iceland this would be a definitive location to scout.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is located in the south-western corner of Iceland and is home to Keflavik International Airport and The Blue Lagoon. The peninsula is right on the Mid Atlantic Ridge and in fact The Bridge Between Continents was built out on the edge of it as a symbol of the connection between North America and Europe. This is where the tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart and the area has gone through serious volcanic activity in the past leaving rugged lava fields and steaming hot springs all over. Some of the landscape here looks like straight out of a sci-fi story. When the first astronauts were going to the moon NASA decided to send them here to practice and test equipment . Also some of the films that have been shot in Iceland have used this area as a backdrop for a different planet or some post apocalyptic world.
Keflavik International Airport is situated out on the tip of Reykjanes and was built by the US Air Force during WW2 and the airbase here was operational until 2006 and there is in fact recent talk that it might reopen. The airport has been growing rapidly in the last few years and it is conveniently situated only 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik City. There are quite a few scenic spots here and Lake Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula, only a short drive from Reykjavik, and a few minutes from there is Grænavatn Lake as well as the geothermal area Seltún. The steaming vents of this geothermal field smell strongly of the sulfur deposits found all around and in fact due to the geothermal activity which is of course a result of the volcanic activity underground.
The Blue Lagoon is out on the peninsula and is probably the most visited destination in Iceland and for a good reason. The geothermal spa has an earth sea flowing through filled with white silica mud which has been proven to have restorative and healing properties for human skin. Various treatments are also available at The Blue Lagoon depending on what you are interested in and to which level you want to take your visit. The Lava Restaurant and The Moss restaurant are both top end restaurants and cater to individuals and groups alike. The surroundings of The Blue Lagoon are also amazing as they decided to leave a large portion of the 700 year old lava field around it undisturbed and let it become a part of the award winning design of the place.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is also an area frequently used for Northern Lights Tours. The lights occur around a 100 km above ground so a tour is all about finding a clear sky in a dark place and then wait and hope. There are a few good places out here but in order to be on the safe side it is a good idea to travel with experienced drivers and guides which know the good places and understand both the cloud forecast as well as the activity forecast.
The Keflavik International Airport in Iceland is situated out on Reykjanes peninsula close to The Blue Lagoon and about 45 drive to Reykjavik City. The peninsula is a part of the mid atlantic ridge where Eurasian and North American tectonic plates drift apart. A short drive from the airport lies the bridge between continents a symbolic spot chosen to celebrate the connection between Europe and North America.
Keflavík International Airport has grown fast in the last few years and all major services for passengers can be found here including bus service and car rental, although planning ahead is recommended and for example Private Driver can provide any transport service you might need. Domestic flights leave from Reykjavik Domestic Airport and take just under an hour depending on traffic.
Reykjanes Peninsula on which Keflavik Airport is situated also has a number of attractions including vast lava fields stretching in all directions and hot springs in geothermal areas with steam rising high into the sky. Also, the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula is Kleifarvatn not far from the Seltún high heat area where, due to the geothermal activity, the mud pools smell strongly of sulphur and give an extraterrestrial feel.
Keflavik International Airport was originally built by the US Air Force during World War II and was a part of the US Air Base until 2006. During the Cold War the airport was one of the main NATO airbases in the North Atlantic and thousands of troops were stationed there. Due to Iceland becoming more and more popular as a destination for world travelers the airport has grown significantly in the last few years and there are even plans for further expansion in the near future.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is quite a scenic part of Iceland and coming in on a flight the great lava fields are bound to be the first thing to grab your attention and it is no wonder that many filmmakers have chosen this landscape as background for their films. Not surprisingly perhaps, most of these are either science fiction or post apocalyptic fantasies using Iceland as some other planet ravaged by alien forces and unknown elements, or a post nuclear disaster zone. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the exception to this since Ben Stiller actually used Iceland as itself and even used it as a substitute for both Greenland and the Himalayas. Actually the filmmakers did a great job although they managed to put a volcano literally in the only place in Iceland that has none.
Keflavík International Airport is situated in the middle of a lava field on the Reykjanes peninsula, close to The Blue Lagoon and The Bridge Between Continents. This a recommended Private Driver Stopover for anyone wanting to get the full on Icelandic Experience packaged in a comfortable tour to which The Blue Lagoon can easily be added.
The Private Reykjanes Tour is an ideal tour if you are just doing a stopover in Iceland. The Reykjanes Peninsula is right on the Mid Atlantic Ridge with geothermal hot springs, the beautiful Lake Kleifarvatn and Reykjanes Lighthouse. Private Driver has a personal driver pick you up at the airport and take you on a private tour of this fascinating part of Southwest Iceland. Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula but the aftermath of an earthquake in 2000 around 20% of the lake drained out lowering the water level significantly. A short distance from Kleifarvatn is the Seltún geothermal area hot springs with its mud pools boiling away in a cloud of steam with a distinct smell of sulphur hanging over the area. Farther out on the peninsula close to the very scenic Reykjanesviti Light House there is the powerful hot spring Gunnuhver said to be the home of a powerful lady ghost. This is also where the Bridge Between Continents is situated, a symbolic spot for border between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates set in an extensive lava flow where there is a view of a series of volcanic craters and the rugged coastline. The international airport was built by the allied forces during WW2 and remained military base for the US airforce all through the cold war up until 2006.
The main attraction on the Reykjanes Peninsula is the famous geothermal spa The Blue Lagoon with its rejuvenating white silica mud and healing warm earthsea. The Blue Lagoon is also home to two of the best restaurants in the area, Lava Restaurant and Moss Restaurant, both raking up great reviews on Tripadvisor. A Private Reykjanes tour from Keflavik airport is great stopover idea, having a personal chauffeur comfortably take you to the highlights of the peninsula and then perhaps do an add-on of the Blue Lagoon. This is also a great option if you need to manage your time well since some of the other day tours, such as the Golden Circle or South Shore are quite a bit longer.
Possible add-ons along the way(entrance to be paid locally):
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