Lake Mývatn area

Lake Mývatn area
Lake Mývatn, or the Lake of Midges is the fourth largest natural lake in Iceland, situated in north of Iceland, not far from Akureyri. The lake and its surroundings is a paradise for birdwatchers, but it is world renowned for an exceptionally rich fauna of water birds and it´s natural beauty. Lake Mývatn and its beautiful surroundings is one of the best known scenic attraction in Iceland. Lake Mývatn is 38 square kilometers and its altitude above sea level is 227m. It is a beautiful island-studded lava dammed lake with many bays and several islands. Its surroundings include both harsh and gentle natural beauties. There are scenic drives everywhere along the lake and its vicinity and in all an unusually rewarding experience. The lake is on the whole very shallow. Its northern part mostly less than 2 m deep. There is no area in Europe of a comparable size that can offer as much variety of natural wonders as the Mývatn district. Surrounding the lake are some of the most bizzare and beautiful volcanic scenery found in single spot anywhere on earth.


It is not the least the rich birdlife that gives Lake Mývatn its particular fascination. The lake and its surroundings is the nesting region for multitudes of birds, American and European species that are found nowhere further east or west than here. The lake is perhaps one of the best known bird and waterfowl sanctuary in the world where most of the birds of Iceland are to be seen including 16 species of ducks. The name Mývatn means Lake of Midges. Here is one of rather few places in the country where midges are plentiful. Harlequin flies are also much in evidence. In winter, the lake freezes over and is becoming increasingly popular for ice fishing through holes in the ice.

Nearby Attractions

Lake Mývatn is surrounded by lava fields and many are quite spectacular.


For example Dimmuborgir or the „Dark Castles“ which is a large area of strange rock formations and dramatic landscapes, east of Lake Mývatn. There are numerous marked hiking trails through the interesting formations that were formed due to a collapse of a lava crust about 2000 years ago.

Hverfelll Crater

Hverfell Crater which is also called Hverfjall is close to Lake Mývatn. Hverfell is a beautifully shaped 130 meters high explosion crater cone which is about 1000 meters wide and was formed in massive volcanic explosions about 2500 years ago. Hverfell is an impressive landmark in the Lake Mývatn area.

Námaskarđ Pass

A few minutes drive from Reykjahlíđ village which in on the lakeshore of Lake Mývatn is Námaskarđ, a high temperature geothermal area with numerous boiling and colorful mud springs and fumaroles with a strong smell of sulphur. Most of the hot springs are boiling hot and a great care needs to be taken while walking through the area.


Nearby is the volcanic system Krafla, where there were series of volcanic eruptions between 1975 and 1984.

Lofthellir Cave

East of Lake Mývatn is Lofthellir, about 370 meters long cave with interesting isicles that can be seen all year round, - even in summer but temperatures inside the cave remain around freezing all year round.


There are several hotels and guesthouses situated around Lake Mývatn and a supermarket is found at Reykjahlíđ, which is the most densly populated hamlet by the lake. There is also a campsite and a swimming pool at Lake Mývatn.

Mývatn Nature Baths

One of the most popular attraction at Lake Mývatn are the Mývatn Nature Baths, where hot water from the ground has been harnessed to create a unique bathing experience in the open air.
Many guided bus tours, as well as self drive tour packages and road trips including Lake Mývatn and its surroundings, can be found at