Kerið: A Volcanic Crater Lake in South Iceland

iceland tourism private land

Kerið is a volcanic caldera in the Grímsnes volcano system in southern Iceland, formed as a result of an inward collapse of a volcano about 6,500 years ago. The caldera is about 270 m [886 ft] long and 170 m [558 ft] wide, with a depth of 55 m [180 ft]. Its lake’s depth varies between 7-14 m [23-46 ft]. Kerið is known for its visually attractive palette. The lake has a distinct teal colour due to the soil’s minerals. Its surrounding hills are composed of low bushes, moss and red lava; the red colour is due to the oxidation of the magma’s iron (hematite). 

Visiting Kerið

Kerið is located on a private property owned and managed by Arctic Adventures. As of 2024, the entry fee is ISK 450 [$3.25, €3], and it is open all year. Swimming or drinking the water is not allowed. It is one of the destinations on the famous Golden Circle route, which includes stops such as Gullfoss waterfall, Haukadalur geothermal area and Þingvellir National Park. 

It is easily to get to if you are on a self-drive tour and it is also a featured stop in many of the best Golden Circle Tours. Below you will find a list of recommended Golden Circle Tours with a stop at Kerið:

How to get to Kerið

Via Route 1 and Route 35, Kerið is a 67 km [42 mi] drive from Reykjavík city centre. From the capital, drive south on Route 1 for about 55 km [34 mi] before turning left on Route 35 towards Laugarvatn lake. Drive for about 13 km [8 mi], and you will see the parking area on your right. Kerið is right by the parking lot, so hiking is not required; however, there is a 1.4 km [0.9 mi] trail around the caldera for added vantage points.

Climate and weather conditions

Kerið is accessable all year round. Overall, Kerið experiences relatively cool temperatures throughout the year, with precipitation occurring in all seasons. Visitors should be prepared for variable weather conditions and dress accordingly, especially if visiting during the colder months.

For photography, the best times to visit Kerið will differ by season:

  • Summer (June-August): Early morning or late evening during the golden hour for soft, warm light.

  • Spring (April-May): Aim for golden hours to highlight the thawing landscape and contrasting colors.

  • Autumn (September-October): Early morning or late evening for warm foliage tones, with midday clear days offering crisp light.

  • Winter (November-March): Daylight hours, especially late morning to mid-afternoon on clear days, for stark contrasts between snow and volcanic rock.

Remember, Iceland’s weather is variable, so stay flexible and consider how light affects your composition.

In summary, Kerið is a scenic volcanic crater lake, ideally located on the Golden Circle Route. It is very easy to access, it’s photogenic and suitable for kids, seniors and anyone in between.