Directly on the Ring Road, Lake Mývatn in Northern Iceland offers a lot to see and merits at least two full days. The lake itself was created by a large fissure eruption about 2,300 years ago. In the Middle Ages, the region was referred to as the devil’s piss. To get an idea about the size, it takes 40 minutes to drive around the lake.
When we visited in early spring, we experienced “I can’t feel my face” weather and needed shoe spikes to walk around. Your experience will be impacted by the time of year you visit. Consider the following:
- Winter/Early Spring:
- Pros: significantly fewer people, no flies, northern lights
- Cons: Snow and cold conditions make exploring difficult
- Pros: Birdlife, birdwatching, outdoor activities, more scenic
- Cons: More people, flies, more expensive accommodations
Top things to do in Lake Mývatn
- Hverir Geothermal Area
- Krafla Area – Víti crater lake and Leirhnjúkur lava field (best in summer, or when there’s no major snowfall).
- Mývatn Nature Baths (formerly called Jarðböðin) – A man-made lagoon filled up with steamy, warm geothermal water. This is a great activity when it’s cold. Bring your bathing suit, towel, flip flops, water, and student ID (discount).
- Fissure of Grjótagjá (Game of Thrones Love Cave)
- Dimmuborgir – Large area composed of bizarre lava fields and volcanic rock formations. There are several marked walking routes to choose from. Eat lunch at Kaffi Borgir.
- Hofdi – Beautiful lava pillars in the water. There’s a small forest along the lakeshore.
- Cowshed (Vogafjós Guesthouse) – Great place for lunch, or dinner. Food is fresh and local. You can watch cows being milked and taste the fresh milk.
- Optional half-day trip: whale watching in Húsavík
Stay in Mývatn
Budget | Eldá Guesthouse is an affordable, utilitarian guesthouse with a communal kitchen. The location was great for exploring around the lake. The guesthouse is close the geothermal area Hverir, the Mývatn Nature Baths and Grjótagjá cave.
Midrange | Hótel Laxá is a hilltop hotel flaunting great views of Mývatn’s volcanic scenery. Stay here if you love stark modern designs, excellent food (on-site restaurant), and a fantastic location. Breakfast is included.
Luxury | Fosshotel Myvatn is another dazzling hotel in Mývatn featuring intentional design. Dining spaces are filled with light and allow for maximum enjoyment of the surrounding landscapes. The on-site restaurant serves delicious cuisine. Breakfast is included.