Golden Circle


The Kerið Crater and its Lake

Date 23 August 2020

The Kerið Crater and its Lake

The Kerið Crater and its Lake

Kerið is a spectacular crater in southern Iceland, more specifically what is known as a maar, which means there is a pool of water at its center. The Grímsnes region is known for its three impressive eruption sites: Kerið, Seyðishólar and Kerhóll.

Kerið is at the tip of a chain of small craters called Tjarnarhólar, the system covering approximately 12 km². As is characteristic of the chain, Kerið is made up of striking red volcanic rock.

Kerið's Origins


Specialists were for many years convinced Kerið was born of an explosive volcanic eruption, however the research pointed to a small magma reservoir under the crater which caused a subsidence at its base.

Located in the middle of a 54 km² lava field, in southern Iceland between Hveragerði and the Golden Circle, Kerið is over 3,000 years old.

Kerid: A water-filled maar

Kerid en hiver

Edited by Luc DIEBOLD @fotolia

This crater is all about the small lake at its heart with its ocean blue tones as it is quite deep in fact, 7 to 15 m. This is what we call a maar. Oval in shape, it is approximately 270 m long and 170 m wide, with a total depth of approximately 55 m.

Although the crater has rather steep walls, one flank has a more accessible slope so you can get quite near to the lake, and there is even a series of steps, so you can descend more safely.

While swimming is not prohibited, the water is very cool (around 15°) and given the number of hot springs Iceland has to offer, might as well keep your swimming trunks dry for a warmer alternative!

What is remarkable on site are the contrasts and colors. The volcanic rock that surrounds the crater is bright red and sprinkled with green moss in summer. The moss disappears in winter, and is then in gradients of black and white as snow collects on the flanks of the crater.

When to go and how to get there

In practical terms, the site is very easy to get to, and the journey can be undertaken with any type of vehicle. It is located along Road 35 in the Golden Circle region, and only 45 minutes from Reykjavík (60 km).

Bus line 72/73 stops just in front (the Stræto company departing from the capital).


The car park is located a few steps from the crater, and for several years now visitors are charged 400 ISK to access the site.

The roads to reach the Kerið crater are regularly open in winter, and it is therefore possible to go see the magnificent small lake at this time of the year. Moreover, the small lake inside is often frozen over and with the snow-covered slopes it's quite a sight.

In summer, the crater is a tourist hotspot, especially since it is considered to be part of the famous Golden Circle and many organized excursions stop there, so time your visits in the late afternoon or early morning.

With this in mind, if you are not driving during your trip to iceland, many tour companies offer day trips to visit the Golden Circle and Kerid: