Kleifarvatn Lake: Incredibly Deep Lake of Iceland


Basic Information

The largest lake in the Reykjanes Peninsula of south-western Iceland, Kleifarvatn Lake is one of the major attractions that draw a large number of tourists in the region. Spread across an area of 9.1 square kilometers, it is one of the deepest lakes in the country with a depth of about 97-meters. It is located in the center of the Peninsula, near the Blue Lagoon, Gunnhver and Krýsuvík geothermal areas. Renowned for its geothermal and geological activity, the region offers a surreal landscape covered in a thick layer of lava. The lava layer is topped by a moss and hot springs steam in many areas. You will also witness many active volcanoes around this area. Kleifarvatn lies on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, at a short distance from the geothermal area of Seltún.

The unique feature of the sweeping blue lake is that it has no visible surface drainage that means no river runs to or from it. The water level of the incredibly deep lake changes with the level of groundwater that has varied about 4 meters in the last few decades. Kleifarvatn Lake is an attraction for hikers, walkers, birdwatchers, and fishermen seeking the trout in waters. You can capture the immense beauty of Kleifarvatn while taking a tour of Reykjanes Peninsula. Nestled below a steep mountain, the lake has a circular walking path around it that is used by travelers for jogging and sight-seeing. If you want to witness the Northern Lights, Kleifarvatn Lake, and the surrounding area are the perfect places. The Hafnarfjörður Tourist Information Centre provides a detailed map of Kleifarvatn area that shows hiking and walking routes and describes the history, geology and sightseeing attractions of the region. The volcanic lava fields, and the tall mountains around this lake provide a splendid view.

northern lights over Kleifarvatn Lake in Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland

Places to Visit Around Kleifarvatn

While visiting Kleifarvatn Lake, you can explore the surrounding natural attractions including Krýsuvík geothermal area, Grænavatn, and Gestastaðavatn lakes. Krýsuvík geothermal area includes mud pots, hot springs, and steaming vents. You will get a glimpse of multi-colored mineral deposits in the Krýsuvík region, providing an incredible view. Though the region consists of various geothermal sites including Seltún, Hverahvammur, and Hverahlid, the most famous Seltún area attracts travelers throughout the year. In recent years, the wooden pathways have been installed at Seltún for easy tracking and exploring the area.

While exploring the area of Seltún, you will find colorful crater lakes beside the mud pots and Sulphur deposits named Grænavatn and Gestastaðavatn. These lakes are explosion craters created by volcanic eruptions. With a depth of 46-meters, the Grænavatn Lake features green water formed by thermal algae and crystals that absorb the sun. With a few hundred meters of diameter, the lake offers a trail for a walk around it. The path takes about 20 minutes to track around the lake. Standing on the brim of the lake provides a glance of changing color by the shoreline, where the lake gets deeper.

If you have more time, we recommend that you visit Skátalaug hot spring. A hidden hot spring that is not known by many travelers but we can highly recommend it. 

winter and snow at Kleifarvatn Lake in Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland

Reaching Kleifarvatn Lake

Located at a distance of about 31.2 kilometers from the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik, Kleifarvatn can be accessed in any season of the year. Either you can rent a car from Reykjavik or the airport or book a tour package to Reykjanes Peninsula. Exploring the region by own vehicle is a good idea as you can stop by the natural attraction on the way and enjoy the journey.  If you are starting from Reykjavik, follow road 41 towards Reykjanes and then take a left turn to drive on route 49 towards the south. Turn right to head on to route 40 and cross Fitjar. Move onto route 41 when you cross Kaplakriki stadium. Take a left turn at Reykjanesbraut crossing to reach Kleifarvatn lake.

Map of Kleifarvatn

Interesting locations in the area

Hotels & Restaurants

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Reykjanestá: A Picturesque Landscape in Iceland

Reykjanestá: A Picturesque Landscape in Iceland

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Gunnuhver: Iceland’s Largest Hot Spring and Mud Pools

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