Lake Mývatn is located in the northern part of Iceland about 85 km from the 4th largest city Akureyri. Thanks to the tectonic fault that runs through the place, you will find here practically all the typical Icelandic landscape features - lakes, geothermal springs, volcanic craters, waterfalls and caves.

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The landscape around Mývatn is a year-round destination, and you can get here in winter too.

The lake of flies

Lake Mývatn is set in an idyllic landscape of green meadows, and its jagged shores create many places for beautiful sightseeing. Translated, "Mývatn" means "Fly Lake" and you will soon discover that the name is indeed apt.

During the short summer, millions of flies swarm around the lake, which can make a stay at the lake a bit unpleasant, but on the other hand, they make Mývatn full of many species of birds for which the flies are a welcome feast. You can also visit the Bird Museum on the northern shore of the lake.

In the close vicinity of the lake you will find many short trails leading mostly from the road to the shores and viewpoints, but also other attractions. You should not miss these:

  • Höfði Forest (location: - on the eastern side of the lake you will come across a very unusual Icelandic environment of a mature forest that will visually transport you to continental Europe for a while. On the shores of Höfði, you can admire the traditional Icelandic fossilised lava columns rising from the waters of Lake Mývatn.
  • Dimmuborgir (location: - the translation "dark castles" says it all, it is a "forest" of fossilised and very unusually shaped lava fields
  • Skútustaðagígar (location: - this peninsula, full of small volcanic craters, provides the best view of Mývatn thanks to the possibility to climb some of them.

Hverfjall Crater

The landscape around Lake Mývatn is dominated by the mysterious black 420-metre high volcanic crater or tuff cone Hverfjall. The slopes of the 1 km wide crater are covered in black and grey bare rubble and a hiking trail runs around its entire perimeter, from which you can admire the majesty and bleak emptiness of the volcanic landscape. The crater rim also offers a beautiful view of the whole of Lake Myvatn.

You can drive practically all the way to the crater, and from the small parking lot at the end of the dirt road, there is only about a 600-metre trail to the summit. The other option is a 2.5km hike from the Dimmuborgir site, but the path is not particularly challenging, just expect more elevation gain.

Hverir Sulphur Springs

Just off the main road about 3km east of the lake, don't miss a visit to the rather large Hverir geothermal area with its numerous steaming fumaroles, bubbling mud pools and a very strong sulfur odor indeed that will stay with you in your olfactory memory for many days to come.

Grjótagjá and Stóragjá caves

In close proximity to Lake Mývatn, don't miss a visit to two interesting lava caves flooded with water. Both caves were popular for thermal bathing in small lakes until the 1970s, but after the volcanic eruptions the water in Grjótagjá Cave rose to about 70 °C and is only slowly dropping to about 50 °C today, so bathing is not possible here.

It is possible to swim in Stóragjá Cave, but it is only accessible by rope to experienced cavers.

In recent years, Grjótagjá has experienced a great travel boom, as some scenes of the series Game of Thrones were filmed here. There is no entrance fee, and the cave is really small and actually takes about 2 minutes to peek inside.

Geothermal baths Mývatn

Just about 2 km east of Lake Mývatn is a natural geothermal spa with landscaped lakes and full facilities in the form of lockers, a restaurant or toilets. The spa, similar to the more famous Blue Lagoon, is truly natural in this case and only the entrances to the ponds are landscaped with steps and, of course, the surroundings of the building with the restaurant and ticket offices.

The spa is open all year round from 12:00 to 22:00.

To enter pay 5 900 isk, students and seniors 3 900 isk. You can rent a towel or buy a swimsuit on site for a fee around 900 isk. Official website with online ticket purchase:


As there are so many attractions around Lake Mývatn, it is definitely practical to stay somewhere nearby when travelling around Iceland. There are many small guesthouses and guesthouses in close proximity to Mývatn with prices starting from 92 eur, most of which only offer rooms with shared bathrooms:

  • Vogar Travel Service - A guesthouse with clean rooms with basic amenities and shared bathrooms, located a short walk from the lake shore and one of the cheapest in the area,
  • Skútustadir Guesthouse - a beautiful guesthouse on the southern edge of the lake with great breakfast included and nice rooms with shared bathrooms, prices from 128 eur per night
  • Eldá Guesthouse - a small guesthouse with clean rooms and shared bathroom located in the centre of Reykjahlíð village, prices from 117 eur per night
  • Hlid Bed and Breakfast - a guesthouse in the form of two cottages with nice rooms with private bathrooms and a great breakfast included, prices from 147 eur per night

Then look for more cheaper deals, including classic hotels, in Akureyri, 85km away.

How to get there?

Mývatn is very accessible for all types of car on Iceland's main ring road, number 1, as it's right on it. There is a gravel road around the lake, but it is also passable for all vehicles. Road 1 is maintained in winter, so you can reach Mývatn all year round.

Reykjavík is 470 km away, the fourth largest city Akureyri with its own airport is 85 km away and Egilsstaðir, the largest city in East Iceland, also with its own airport, is 165 km away.

Bus line 56 connecting Akureyri and Egilsstaðir stops in Reykjahlíð, but only runs 1-2 times a day, see timetable.

Nearby attractions

Ideally combine a trip to Mývatn with a visit to Iceland's most massive waterfall, Dettifoss, or the dramatic-looking Ásbyrgi Canyon, for example.

What to see around

Discover all the places to see in Iceland.

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