Lake Myvatn: Iceland's Adventure-Filled Gem

Lake Myvatn

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Welcome to the enchanting world of Lake Myvatn, a geothermal wonder nestled in the heart of Iceland. Picture this: a serene lake surrounded by a landscape that hisses, bubbles, and warmly invites you to explore its many secrets.

    From hidden caves with ties to legendary tales to soothing hot springs that promise relaxation amidst nature's spectacle, Lake Myvatn is a canvas of adventures waiting to be painted in your presence. 

    So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a journey through this mystical land, weaving through its tales and trails and crafting memories that will linger as long as the land itself!

    The Mystical Aura of Lake Myvatn

    Lake Myvatn in Iceland, whose name literally translates to 'Midge Lake' because of the swarms of midges that call it home, is a unique geological wonder. It was formed over 2300 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption, leaving behind a picturesque landscape waiting to be explored. But this isn't just any ordinary lake - it's a portal to another world.

    According to Icelandic folklore, the lake is the inadvertent creation of Satan, who, in a fit of rage aimed at God's beautiful creations, sought to extinguish the sun by urinating on it. He somehow failed, and the wet spot on Earth where he landed became Lake Myvatn. The somewhat humorous tale adds to the lake's mysterious charm and sets the tone for a whimsical adventure.

    Lake Myvatn is not just a mythical wonder but also an ecological treasure, hosting 58 species of birds, including the Short Eared Owl, Whooper Swan, and Gyr Falcon, offering a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. With its geothermal wonders of bubbling mud pools and smoking hot springs dotting its shores, it's no surprise that Lake Myvatn is one of the most magical places in Iceland.

    lake myvatn

    Getting to Lake Myvatn

    Nestled in the northern part of Iceland, Lake Myvatn is a pleasant 6-hour drive from Reykjavík. The journey takes you along the scenic Route 1, also known as the Ring Road, which circumnavigates the entire country.

    If you're starting from Akureyri, the 'Capital of North Iceland,' the lake is just an hour's drive away. Now, here's a pro tip for road-trippers: there's no better way to discover the hidden gems of Iceland than by traveling in your own time in a campervan. It's the adventure you didn't know you needed.

    With our campervans, you can immerse yourself in Iceland's stunning landscapes while enjoying the comfort and freedom of home on wheels.

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    Unveiling the Secrets of the Surrounding Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area 

    Step into a world that blurs the lines of reality and fiction in the Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area, a destination that's as intriguing as it is beautiful. Here are some must-visit spots:

    Grjotagja Hot Spring Cave

    Grjótagjá, concealed within the rocky terrains of Dimmuborgir, is famed for its crystal-clear azure waters, and it was a filming location for a Game of Thrones love scene. While the waters are unsuitable for a warm dip, the cave's vibrant color and geological uniqueness make it a must-visit spot. 

    Grjotagja cave

    Myvatn Nature Baths

    The Myvatn Nature Baths offer a serene geothermal escape, surrounded by the stunning natural canvas of the Lake Myvatn geothermal area. You can immerse yourself in the soothing blue waters, heated naturally by the Earth's subterranean forces, while also having access to a sauna and quality facilities. 

    Myvatn nature baths

    Skutustadagigar Pseudocraters 

    Skútustaðagígar pseudocraters, gracefully lining the southern side of Lake Mývatn, were sculpted by explosive geothermal activities beneath flowing lava. These unique formations, created without ejecting any lava themselves, now stand as a protected conservation area, offering hiking trails and panoramic views.

    Birdwatchers find a haven here, with numerous duck species nesting in the area, adding to the vibrant ecosystem surrounding Lake Myvatn.

    lake myvatn geothermal area

    Hverfell Crater Mountain

    Hverfell (or Hverfjall) Crater Mountain, one of the most accessible and popular hiking destinations in the Lake Myvatn geothermal area, invites adventurers to explore its impressive crater, formed from volcanic activity.

    With two permitted routes for ascent and the possibility to encircle the crater, it offers varying levels of hiking challenges. The mountain, though not exceedingly high, provides spectacular views and a memorable trek for visitors of all ages and abilities.


    Dimmuborgir Rock Formations

    Dimmuborgir, the 'Dark Fortress,' is a sprawling field of striking lava formations located just east of Lake Mývatn, offering you a labyrinthine journey through its rocky towers and caves. 

    The area, with its various hiking trails suitable for all abilities, is steeped in folklore and tales of mythical creatures, often referred to as a gateway to hell. Dimmuborgir not only captivates with its geological wonders but also enthralls with its mystical aura and historical significance in local tales.

    lake myvatn

    Tasting and Resting: Discovering Local Bites and Slumbers Near Lake Myvatn

    The area surrounding Lake Myvatn is not only a haven for explorers and nature enthusiasts, but also a delightful destination for foodies and weary travelers alike. Here, you will find an enticing variety of local Icelandic delicacies and cozy accommodation options that promise a comfortable, authentic Icelandic experience. Here are some of the places we recommend:

    • Vogafjos Farm Resort - For a unique dining experience, try Vogafjos Farm Resort. Here, you watch the cows being milked while you enjoy fresh dairy products, homemade bread, and local meat.
    • Bistro Sel & Pizza:  A local favorite, this restaurant offers delicious pizza and hearty burgers made with locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to try their slow-cooked pulled goose. It's a must!
    • Hótel Laxá - A popular accommodation choice, Hótel Laxá offers stylish, comfortable rooms with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It's praised for its welcoming staff, hearty breakfast, and proximity to Lake Myvatn.
    • Hlíð Camping and Guesthouses -  For a more affordable and intimate accommodation option, check out Hlíð Camping and Guesthouses. Nestled in the heart of Lake Myvatn's nature reserve, it offers camping sites, cozy guesthouses, and even hot tubs for a relaxing soak under the stars.

    North Iceland, lake Myvatn

    Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Lake Myvatn Adventure

    Embarking on a Lake Myvatn adventure is thrilling, but a little insider knowledge goes a long way. Here are some handy tips and tricks we suggest you follow to ensure a smooth and memorable experience:

    • Pack Wisely: The Icelandic weather is notoriously unpredictable. Layers are your best friend – pack lightweight, warm clothing, waterproof outer layers, sturdy shoes, and don't forget your swimsuit for those geothermal baths!
    • Mind the Sun: During the summer months, the sun barely sets. This phenomenon is called the midnight sun. Eye masks can be a lifesaver for a good night's sleep in your campervan.
    • Respect Nature: Iceland's ecosystem is delicate. Stick to marked paths, don't litter, and never disturb nesting birds or other wildlife.
    • Hydrate and Snack: The tap water in Iceland is pure and safe to drink. Keep a reusable water bottle and snacks handy for those long road trips.
    • Visit Off-Season: Consider visiting Lake Myvatn during the off-season (late September - early June) for smaller crowds and a more affordable experience.

    Geothermal area, Myvatn

    Ready to Embark on Your Adventure to Lake Myvatn?

    You're now ready to embark on your captivating Icelandic adventure! Lake Myvatn promises a rich blend of geological wonders, thrilling outdoor activities, tantalizing local flavors, and warm, welcoming accommodations - all waiting to become a part of your unforgettable travel story.

    One of our past clients, Sarah, fondly reminisces about her journey, 'Renting a campervan was the best decision. It allowed us to explore at our own pace, and waking up to a different scenic view each day was truly magical.'

    Inspired? Add your own chapter to the Lake Myvatn saga! We invite you to rent a campervan in Iceland and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Life's waiting; go live it!

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