Lake Myvatn: a pearl of North Iceland

Lake Myvatn: a pearl of North Iceland

2 minutes to read

There have been never ending debates about which is the most spectacular landmark of Iceland, and many people say that is actually the Myvatn Lake, in the northeast of the island. It's difficult to say, but the truth is that this lake and its surroundings are so beautiful that they look like a painted landscape. The lake was created 2300 years ago as a consequence of a large basaltic lava eruption, and it's the 4th biggest of Iceland. With its 50 islets is a must-stop along the so-called Diamond Circle route, a circuit of about 260km in the northeast of Iceland, equally stunning as the Golden Circle but far less touristic and therefore more wild.

Besides a unique scenery of both rocky lava formations and green fields, Myvatn is famous for birdwatching. There are over thirteen species of ducks nesting in the area, and many other birds, mostly in the summer. The only downside are the midges (only when it's warm) - they don't bite, but they can enter your ears or nose, and make breathing difficult. Only once I was there I learned that the lake even got its name after them: "mý" in Icelandic means "midge" and "vatn" is "lake", so Mývatn is "the lake of midges". But don't let those little boring flies change your mind if you are planning on visiting it. Once you see the lake, you will agree that it is worth it.

© Credits to istock / krblokhin
© Credits to istock / krblokhin

Depending on how much time you have, you can either drive or hike around the lake. There are hiking options of one, three or five hours. Both driving and walking alternatives are completely worth it, and especially if you are looking for some stunning spots to take photos you will be delighted. Besides admiring the lake, you should not miss taking a bath in the Myvatn nature baths. This is a great alternative to the popular and more pricey Blue Lagoon. With its 36-40ºC, the water is just what you need after a long hike around the lake. 

Grjótagjá Cave
Grjótagjá Cave
North Island Drive Northwest, Atlanta, Iceland
Lake Mývatn
Lake Mývatn
Mývatn, Islande
© Credits to istock / anyaberkut
© Credits to istock / anyaberkut

Some other must stops nearby include breathtaking waterfalls Godafoss and Dettifoss (the most powerful waterfall in Europe), Dimmuborgir lava shaped fields for a sensation of being on another planet, Krafla caldera, and Skutustadagigar (pseudo crateras) on the South. The only "civilisation" around is a little town Reykjahlíð, on the East side of the lake, where you will find a mini-market, health care centre, a gas station and a hotel. Apart from this, there are several restaurants and cafés scattered around the lake. 

Krafla Caldera
Krafla Caldera
Krafla, Islande
Godafoss Waterfalls
Godafoss Waterfalls
NE-2 640, 640 Grand Island, Islande
Dettifoss
Dettifoss
Dettifoss, Islande

If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, don't miss the so-called "Jon Snow's cave" -  Grjótagjá. To reach it, you can do a 2-3 hours long hike from the lake. If you are short with time it will take you only 15 minutes to get there by car. 

The author

Natacha Costa

Natacha Costa

Hello, I will tell you about the south of France, the Azores, Iceland, among other places, here on itinari. Traveling has taught me more than any school, and I am excited to be sharing this passion of mine with you!

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