Hike through lava fields and ascend to the rim of a volcanic crater, before relaxing in the geothermal lagoons of this extraordinary landscape.
Mývatn is a region of dystopian terrain surrounding a vast lake of the same name. Wetlands in the immediate vicinity are home to rich wildlife and flora, but the volcanic activity responsible for the lake has created an otherworldly realm farther afield. Enter a realm of steam jets, bubbling mud pits and barren sulfur grounds.
The lake, a river and its surrounding area are part of the Mývatn-Laxá Nature Conservation Area. Spot water birds, such as the tufted duck and the greater scaup, around Lake Mývatn. It was formed by a huge volcanic eruption 2,300 years ago. Walk along its pebbled shore and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere while viewing the water.
Many of the major attractions are near the eastern shore of the lake, including the lava field of Dimmuborgir. Trek through paths of varying difficulty to see bizarre rock formations. The highlight is “the Church,” with a grand arch to walk through.
Krafla Volcano is to the north of the lava fields. Climb to the rim of its Viti Crater and peer down at the blue-green lake. In addition to creating power, the geothermal activity in the area is put to good use with the hot pools of Mývatn Nature Baths. Relax in baths atop steam jets, before swimming in the sulfur pool until around midnight.
Imagine the end of the world at Námafjall, an eerie region of barren land with hot springs, vapor jets and fizzy mud pits. Listen to the hiss of the steam and smell the intense aroma of sulfur. The experience is like being on an alien planet.
Spectacular waterfalls decorate the region. Hike to the Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall that flows over the rocky landscape. Visit the popular Dettifoss Waterfall to get close to the powerful wall of water.
The lake is on the western side of a fault line that runs through northeastern Iceland. Drive northwest for about 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Reykjavik, a journey that takes 6 hours by car.
The terrain and geothermal pools of Mývatn create a spectacular world from which you may never want to return.