Kleifarvatn

On the South West peninsular of Reykjanes lies a unique lake called Kleifarvatn. Kleifarvatn is a fairly large lake by Icelandic standards. It used to be the deepest lake in Iceland until some large holes were discovered in Jökulsarlon. Kleifavatn is in an active volcanic zone on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Hence the landscape changes every few hundred yards. You will see this if you follow the road on the higher American side. Kleifarvatn is unique because there are no rivers running in or out of Kleifarvatn. The lake is fed by underground lava tubes.


Location

Kleifarvatn is just a short drive from Reykjavik and is a feasible detour on the way to or from the airport. The road is track and is usually fine for a regular car, but in the Winter the route can often be difficult or impossible.

There is an interesting hot spring area at the Western end of the lake called Seltun. Here you can bath in the steam coming from the Queens Hole as you watch bubbling mud. Careful though this place has exploded a few times in recent history.

Just past Seltun is Grænavatn (Green lake) which is also worth a visit.


Photography

Kleifarvatn can be tricky to photograph. A lot of the landscape is ugly with some grotesque shapes that make a regular composition difficult. Luckily there is a lot to explore mostly on the road side of the lake.

Winter is more interesting because the ice and snow break up the boring browns. The lake is affected by wind so it is common to have huge ice flows on one side of the lake.
Ice Omlette


Caves

The lake side is littered with caves which can be interesting in Winter and can provide welcome shelter from the changeable weather. Here we have some Winter icicles on the left and the cover for The Icelandic Naked Yoga Project on the right – by Hanna Birna Geirmundsdóttir (model: Vesna). This picture was shot from a cave on a rainy day.

Icicle cave
Icelandic Naked Yoga Project

I you time your trip right with some nice light, Kleifarvatn can be quite rewarding.

Kleifarvatn


These images from Lake Kleifarvatn are for sale in my gallery:

Kleifarvatn

Kleifarvatn


Travel tips:

Possible with regular car in good conditions. In Winter check access on Road.is

Photo Tips:

Allow plenty of time for exploring, any chance to stop the car safely, hop out and take a walk around looking for interesting shapes and colours in the foreground. These shots were all taken with 24mm.

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