Lake Kleifarvatn is the largest lake in Reykjanes and is located in the southern part of the peninsula. It’s about 10 km² and 97 m deep. What’s so beautiful about this lake is the volcanic surroundings of the lake are unique and the landscape is covered in a thick layer of lava. You can go scuba diving in the lake and see the hot springs that run into the lake while diving between two tectonic plates. You need to enjoy this lake while you can, as 20% of its surface has disappeared since an earthquake in 2000.
Kleifarvatn is often neglected by travelers, despite being less than 20 miles from Keflavik Airport. It’s a shame, since the area offers such a uniquely Icelandic experience. When I have friends or family in town from abroad, I usually take them to this area before thinking about the Golden Circle because it usually has less tourists and is closer to home. Read my post “Exploring Reykjanes Peninsula” for more info on Kleifarvatn and the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Another reason Kleifarvatn is on our list of top 20 attractions is that the area has so much else to offer. Whether you want to check out the Krisuvik geothermal area, the neighboring Grænavatn (Green lake), Gunnuhver, the Bridge Between Continents, or something else, you are only a few minutes away.
Take Route 41 and then take the exit to Route 42, which will take you to Kleifarvatn. It is only around 15 minute drive from Hafnarfjörður town to Kleifarvatn.
First of all, enjoy the view! You can also explore the beach, go hiking, bird-watch, do some photography, and enjoy the area in so many different ways. But as mentioned above, the area also offers such easy access to so many different attractions in the Reykjanes Peninsula. Pick your favorites and add them to your itinerary to make it an amazing day.
There are a few pull-offs as you drive south on Road 42 next to the lake. Find a good spot with the lake in the background and take the perfect selfie!