Lake Mývatn

Explore otherworldly lava formations and get close to wildlife near this lush lake.

North Iceland
Lush trees and lava formations next to Lake Mývatn
A tent set up next to Lake Mývatn
Lake Mývatn in its autumn colors
Lush trees and lava formations next to Lake Mývatn
A tent set up next to Lake Mývatn
Best time to visit
All year
Open
Every day
Parking
Free
Charging station
Yes

Spot rare bird species and witness Iceland’s volcanic activity

Visit Lake Mývatn and the surrounding area to explore unusual rock formations. Here you’ll find volcanic craters, hot water caves, steam vents, mud pools and more.

Lake Mývatn is located on the Ring Road (Route 1) in the north of Iceland, around 1 hour east of Akureyri. It’s also one of the main stops on the Diamond Circle touring route.

The beautiful lake sits in the middle of a lava field, formed only a few thousand years ago. Nearby is a geologically active area that forms part of the Krafla volcano system. You can see this geothermal activity at play in the form of hot springs and mud pots.

The shores of the lake are green and lush in summertime, and home to dozens of different bird species. It’s well worth visiting the Lake Mývatn area for this compelling combination of wildlife and landscapes in such a compact area.

What to see and do near Lake Mývatn

A popular stop is the Dimmuborgir caves, which featured in season 3 of Game of Thrones. Even if you’re not a fan, you’ll want to see the hexagonal rocks and indigo-tinted water of the caves.

The Námaskarð hot springs are a few minutes’ drive east of Lake Mývatn. Here you can see (and smell) sulfuric steam rising straight out of the Earth.

For a more tranquil way to experience the area’s geothermal forces, visit Mývatn Nature Baths. Here you can relax and unwind in blue, silica-rich waters. This is North Iceland’s answer to the Blue Lagoon.

On the north side of the lake, you’ll find the village of Reykjahlíð. It has a few dining options, as well as a supermarket and service station. 

If you’re heading east, make sure to fuel up here. There isn’t anywhere else to stop until you reach the town of Egilsstaðir, around 175 km (108 mi) away.