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Lake Myvatn; One of the Most Impressive Lakes in Iceland

celand is an absolute wonderland when it comes to spectacular water displays, from lagoons with sheets of ice floating on top, and breathtaking fjords, to powerful waterfalls crashing over cliffs. One of these impressive sights is Lake Myvatn, one of the largest lakes here in Iceland.


If you have an upcoming trip to the island or just want to learn more about this local natural wonder, read on. We tell you everything you need to know about this magical place and reveal why this lake needs to be on your trip itinerary.



Lake myvatn

Facts About Lake Myvatn

  • Lake Myvatn is Iceland’s fourth-largest lake.

  • It covers 37 square kilometers of land.

  • The lake is 9.5 kilometers long and 6.5 kilometers wide.

  • Lake Myvatn reaches depths of 4.5 meters at certain places, but is 2.5 meters deep on average.

What Does the Name of Lake Myvatn Mean?


The name, Myvatn, translates to “Midge Lake”. The name comes from the staggering number of midges that inhabit the shores of the lake during the summer in Iceland. But don’t worry, these little insects are completely harmless.


Can You Swim in Lake Myvatn?


Swimming is allowed, but you need to be careful since the geothermal activity at the lake and the surrounding areas can cause hot spots in certain parts of the lake or unstable terrain. So, most will stick to the surrounding geothermal pools just because of safety.


lake myvatn geothermal area

When is the Best Time to Visit Lake Myvatn?


As Lake Myvatn is in the northern part of the country where it gets much colder than in the rest of the country and can have much harsher weather conditions, most recommend that you visit during the warmer times of the year.


Not only do the extreme cold and weather conditions make outdoor outings pretty uncomfortable, but they can also cause sudden road closures. Due to this and overall challenging road conditions, the warmer months are a much better time to be driving the Diamond Circle and exploring the north.


Where is Lake Myvatn in Iceland?


Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area is located in the north of Iceland, with the town of Myvatn on its shores. Myvatn is a 6-hour drive from the capital city of Reykjavík, so although a day trip is possible during the summer months with their long daylight hours, it’s not recommended.


If you want to do a day outing, rather do so from Myvatn itself or Akureyri, the so-called capital city of the north (+/- a 1-hour drive). But since the lake is located so conveniently close to the popular road trip route, the Diamond Circle, our recommendation is to add Lake Myvatn as a stop along your road trip.


lake myvatn Iceland

How to Get to Lake Myvatn


There are essentially two ways of getting to Lake Myvatn:


Take a Guided Tour


You will find plenty of tour operators and guides that will be willing to take you to Lake Myvatn. You can opt for a day tour, or a multi-day holiday package, or even a customized private tour. Just keep in mind that if you are planning on visiting during our busy summer season, you’ll need to book any tours well in advance to avoid any disappointment.


Go on a Self-drive


This will always be our preferred method of exploring the island. Driving yourself means that you will always be in full control of your time and itinerary. And driving the Diamond Circle with Lake Myvatn as a stop is quite the experience.

Camper rental Iceland

Things to Do & See Near Lake Myvatn


You will find more than enough exciting things to do and see at and near Lake Myvatn. These are a few things that you can look forward to:


Asbyrgi Canyon


Check out this horseshoe-shaped canyon on the island, believed to be the imprint left by Thor’s eight-legged horse. This beautiful canyon is filled with lush green vegetation, rivers, and lakes, making it a favorite spot to go hiking.


Hiking Mt. Hverfjall


This mountain is actually a volcanic crater, an eruption that took place in 2500 BP. It’s 1 kilometer across and 396 meters high. Hikers who reach the top of the mountain are rewarded with magnificent views.


Myvatn Nature Baths


The Myvatn Nature Baths makes good use of the Myvatn geothermal area’s hot spring water. These geothermal pools guarantee a relaxing soak with breathtaking views over the lake in top-notch facilities.


Myvatn Nature Baths

Dettifoss Waterfall


Dettifoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland, and the second most powerful waterfall in all of Europe. This waterfall is 45 meters tall and a staggering 100 meters wide, so definitely not a sight you want to miss.


Birdwatching at the Lake


Over 115 bird species call Lake Myvatn home, and if you visit the lake at the right time, you’ll also be able to spot a few of the migratory visitors to the lake such as the Red-necked Phalarope, Barrow’s Goldeneye, and the Gyrfalcon.


Grjotagja Cave


This is not just a pretty impressive natural wonder here on the island but was also the location of one of the most famous scenes in the popular series, Game of Thrones. The cave served as the setting for Jon Snow and Ygritte’s love scene.


Grjotagja Cave

Dimmuborgir Lava Formations


Dimmuborgir translates to ‘Dark Fortress’ and are dramatic formations consisting of lava rocks. They resemble towers, so they are often compared to a castle. A walk through these formations gives one an other-worldly experience.


Whale Watching in Husavik


Husavik isn’t called the whale capital of Iceland for nothing. And you are almost guaranteed to spot one of these gentle creatures of the ocean on one of the Husavik whale watching boat tours throughout the year. If you visit during our official whale season (May to September), you’ll also be able to spot some of our migratory species.


Where to Stay Near Lake Myvatn


To properly experience all the things the area has to offer, one should stay over for at least a night or two. Luckily, you’ll find a wide variety of accommodation options to suit a wide range of personal preferences and budgets.


For a bit of a luxury touch, one can opt for a stay at Hotel Myvatn. For a comfortable, but affordable stay, one can opt for a spot at a guesthouse such as Dimmuborgir Guesthouse. But for the most budget-friendly option, one should rent a campervan and book a spot at a campsite such as Hlid Campground.


Lakes in Iceland

Road Trip the Diamond Circle to the Sparkling Lake Myvatn


It is one of the most spectacular sceneries in the country, with loads to do. And the best way to see it is by renting a campervan in Reykjavík upon arrival, taking a Diamond Circle road trip, and making the magnificent Lake Myvatn one of the memorable stops along the way.


And remember to plan at least a couple of days in the area, so you can experience all the exciting things there are to see and do at Lake Myvatn and its surroundings. Happy travels!


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