Walking through the 'Dark Castes'
The Dimmuborgir Lava Formations, or Dark Castes, offer another surreal experience that feel as if you’ve stepped onto the set of a fantasy film, or a totally different planet. The series of volcanic caves and rock formations look strikingly similar to city ruins, where it’s easy to imagine that castles, forts and citadels once stood. The twisted towers of coagulated rock breach the earth’s surface, forming a lava field that’s dotted with giant pillars, chimneys and tubes. The area came into existence some 2,300 years ago during a massive volcanic eruption in the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir crater row. The most impressive of the formations, a large lava tube with a vault ceiling, is known as The Church, or Kirkjan in Icelandic.
There are a number of hiking routes that run through the area, requiring everything from a quick 10-minute jaunt to a one-hour trek. You can also combine a hike here with a trip to the top of Hverfell Crater, as a longer path leads down from here to the crater that looms in the distance while passing the eastern side of Lake Myvatn.