Highlands, Iceland
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Hnausapollur, also known as Bláhylur, is a volcanic crater lake located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the southern highlands of Iceland. The crater, which was formed about 11,000 years ago during a fissure eruption, is situated at an elevation of around 560 metres above sea level. The lake is approximately 30 hectares in size and reaches a depth of around 60 metres. The strikingly vibrant blue colour of the water, a result of the minerals dissolved in it, combined with the red and black hues of the surrounding volcanic rocks create a stark and stunning contrast. The slopes of the crater are very steep and, during the summer months, adorned with neon-green moss. All around, the terrific landscape of the Highlands greets you and will easily inspire you.

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    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

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The road leading to Hnausapollur is ca 24 km long off the main road and although it is suitable for normal cars, it is wise to use 4x4.
Public transportation available
Public transportation available nearby
4x4 required
Challenging terrain accessible only by off-road vehicles with high ground clearance
Excellent phone coverage
Great phone coverage without interruptions
Not needed
Guide is not needed

Services nearby

There are highland buses that sell necessities at this location. Also some cabins, and a highland hotel within 50 kilometers from Landmannalaugar. The nearest hospital is in Selfoss, 125 kilometres away, there you can also find shops and other services.
< 50 km
Gas station
< 50 km
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
< 1 km
< 50 km
< 30 km


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The area is owned by the government, so a government permit is needed.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
Hnausapollur is a nature reserve and protected by law.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government

Basecamp and facilities

There is a medium-large parking lot just by the crater. There are no facilities at this location and phone coverage is excellent.

Risk factors

The highlands can be a treacherous place. The roads vary from rough to impassable and travelling there in winter needs careful planning and specialized vehicles in some cases. The area is an active geothermal area with versatile landscape. The slopes of the crater are scree and very steep. The lake is 60 meters deep and very cold. Most rental cars are not insured for driving on mountain roads.


This is a high tourist attraction during the summer months, with up to 130 thousand visitors per year. Most stay for a few days and hike through the area which has a plentiful of interesting hikes. However, there is an abundance of beautiful locations and designated spots which could be managed with rangers and staff.

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