Lake Myvatn, in the northeast of Iceland, is packed with volcanic and geothermal wonders. Here are a few short hikes to explore pseudocraters, lava formations, craters, mud pools, and nature baths.
Best of Lake Myvatn
Geothermal activity aside, the Lake Myvatn region is well situated for discovering northern Iceland. The pretty town of Húsavik is Iceland’s whale watching capital, and if you come from June to August, you’re almost certain to see some of the 11 species that come to feed in the Iceland Sea (by winter, cruises focus on viewing the Northern Lights). There are also some great hikes in the area, particularly inside Vatnajökull National Park, one of the largest protected nature reserves in Europe (and home to the largest glacier outside of the Arctic).
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Lake Myvatn Essentials
The North of Iceland may be the country’s best-kept secret. While crowds of tourists populate the South and Golden Circle, visitors to Akureyri and Lake Myvatn can enjoy the beautiful landscapes and wonderful volcanic areas all to themselves.
Northern Iceland is a special region offering unique experiences not experienced by those who only visit the country's southern and western portions. In the north, you'll find an idyllic stretch of the famed Ring Road, passing through places like Húsavík, Iceland's whale-watching capital. In addition, you'll discover less-crowded alternatives to the popular Blue Lagoon and can explore Askja, one of the country's wildest regions. But don't worry, the north also boasts waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and thermal baths!
Winter in Iceland offers many unique activities that you can't always experience in other seasons. Make the most out of the limited daylight with wintry adventures, such as kayaking amongst icebergs, exploring electric-blue ice caves, dogsledding with a pack of Huskies, snowmobiling atop glaciers, hiking in the snow, or tracking the country's wild reindeer population during their annual migration.
Iceland's hot springs are world-famous, as many travelers flock to the country to soak in the hot and healing geothermal pools. You'll find hot springs in every corner of the country, including popular baths like The Blue Lagoon and Fontana near Reykjavík. Or, you can venture out of the west and visit unique pools like Vök Baths and GeoSea. If you want a true adventure, you'll also find baths that require hikes, like the scenic Seljavallalaug pool.
Route 1—known as Iceland's famed Ring Road—loops around the entire country, allowing you to see all the sights, east to west, north to south. A road trip along the Ring Road features some of Iceland's most popular destinations, like the Blue Lagoon, the canyons and glaciers of the South Coast, the famous Gulfoss waterfall, black-sand beaches, and geothermal areas. In addition, the route is packed with excursions like glacier hikes, river rafting, hiking, and (of course) soaking in hot springs.
Lake Myvatn Itineraries
For a unique Iceland experience, avoid the crowds of the south completely. This trip has it all: volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, nature baths, whale watching, fjords and more. Below are 2 great ways to experience the north: all the highlights with only a fraction of the people. You can maximize your time by taking a domestic flight over the beautiful highlands of the interior to Akureyri, or you can drive one way and fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.
New visitors and returning travelers who’ve experienced the Golden Circle and South Coast can enjoy the best of Northern Iceland—without the crowds. First, explore Glymur Falls in West Iceland, followed by visits to turf houses, the Hvitserkur rock formation, and geothermal pools along the Arctic Coast. Next, tour Akureyri, the stunning Goðafoss Waterfall, and Lake Mývatn at length. Then, go whale watching in Husavik, before heading back west to discover the highlights of Reykjavík and the Reykjanes Peninsula, with a relaxing grand finale at the Blue Lagoon.
Take a different route—past the large crowds in the south—on this quick and scenic, five-day road trip. This itinerary is especially enticing for those who have been to popular areas, like the South Coast and Golden Circle, as it incorporates different regions. In West Iceland, hike to Glymur Falls, then head to the Artic Coast to check out turf houses, basalt formations, and the geothermal pools. Tour and spend two nights in Akureyri, along with discovering Goðafoss Waterfall and Lake Mývatn’s highlights, before enjoying time in the capital and a soak in the Blue Lagoon.
This 5-day self-driving itinerary is a great way to get away from the crowds of the south and explore the more remote areas in the north of Iceland. Maximize your time exploring with a one-way domestic flight from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.
This 9-day self-drive adventure is a great alternative to the full Ring Road loop, especially during summer months when Iceland tourism hits its peak. With more than a week, you'll experience a range of incredible landscapes all over the island, like rugged peninsulas, hot springs, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and waterfall hikes with only a fraction of the crowds. To shorten this itinerary, skip the East Fjords and fly back to Reykjavík from Akureyri.
This itinerary packs a lot into 8 days, but if you have limited time and have your heart set on driving the entire Ring Road, then this guide will be your best friend for the journey.
This photogenic self-drive adventure along the Ring Road travels from Iceland's capital to its 2nd largest city on the sunnier north coast, with stops in lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool cultural sites and Scandinavian cuisine.
This scenic road trip traverses highlights along Iceland's west and north regions at a more relaxed pace. Starting from Reykjavik, you'll explore the Golden Circle, the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and continue northwest to Akureyri (Iceland's 2nd biggest hub), Husavik and Lake Myvatn for lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and natural hot springs.
On this scenic road trip, you'll skip Iceland's busier south coast in order to explore the lesser-known Snaefellsnes Peninsula and northern beauties of Akureyri, Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. This all-season itinerary is especially ideal for anyone interested in the unique geological features of Iceland, with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools—all there for the taking.
For road trip enthusiasts, it doesn't get much better than encircling Iceland along its infamous Route 1 (Ring Road). This quick-paced, self-drive itinerary will take you to the best spots along the 828-mile (1,332 km) route with plenty of detours to work the leg muscles and camera batteries. With a bit more than a week, you'll experience a variety of landscapes, like geysers, hot springs, black sand beaches, volcanoes, lava fields, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers in protected national parks.
With 10 days on the road, you can discover a variety of regions and landscapes as you loop around Iceland's famous Route 1 (Ring Road). This moderately paced self-drive itinerary will take you to the best spots along the 828-mile (1,332 km) route with stops in its two biggest cities, as well as volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, small fishing towns, and massive glaciers, as well as major attractions in the Golden Circle. This is going to be one gorgeous ride!
This 10-day driving itinerary is great for the summer when the crowds of the south coast and golden circle area are at their peak and accommodation can be hard to find. Instead, escape to the more remote areas of the country to experience some of the best that Iceland has to offer, with few other people to share it with.
On this spectacular self-drive itinerary, you'll hit the four cardinal points of Iceland as you loop clockwise around the famous Ring Road. Stop to explore volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, and glaciers from Reykjavik to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula and beyond. Finish the adventure with a rewarding soak in the Blue Lagoon before you depart.
This epic 12-day road trip is a perfect way to absorb Iceland as you traverse all four corners of the country. You'll visit popular spots along the famous 828-mile Ring Road, and head off the beaten path to detour through the Westfjords (great for mountain biking and kayaking). The self-drive loop also includes stops in Iceland's two biggest cities, and numerous natural sites like volcanoes, waterfalls, lava fields, black sand beaches, glaciers, and more.
This off-the-beaten-path road trip is especially great during summer months when peak crowds head for Iceland's south coast and Golden Circle (and accommodations can be hard to find). Instead, you'll escape to more remote areas of the country, traveling from Reykjavik all the way to its sunnier north coast with stops in Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the Westfjords (by way of car ferry), Husavik, and Lake Myvatn. There's plenty of time to experience unique geological features along the way with lava fields, volcano hikes, massive waterfalls, and geothermal pools, not to mention cool Scandinavian culture and cuisine.
Drive Iceland's famous Ring Road on this quick, seven-day trip designed for warmer travel (so there are no slowdowns due to weather and lack of daylight in the winter). Head south to the most-visited highlights—massive waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and glaciers. Enjoy the scenic route through the East Fjords, before arriving at Lake Myvatn, surrounded by geothermal and volcanic wonders. Join a whale-watching trip from Husavik, the whale watching capital, and spend time in Reykjavik exploring the best of the city, along with enjoying a soak in the Blue Lagoon.
With 2 weeks in Iceland, you can complete the entire ring road and add some great detours. This grand tour will take you to all the best places giving you plenty of time to hike, explore, and soak it all in. This 14-day itinerary covers all the major regions except the highlands, which you can see with a couple more days or by spending less time in some of the areas below.
Drive Iceland's famous Ring Road on this quick, eight-day trip, which includes a detour to the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Head south to the most visited highlights, including massive waterfalls, black-sand beaches, and glaciers. Enjoy the scenic route through the East Fjords before arriving at Lake Mývatn, surrounded by geothermal and volcanic wonders. Visit the whale-watching capital of Husavik and venture west into the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, with its small fishing towns, easy cliffside walks, and lava fields, and end by exploring the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavík.
If you want to see Iceland's top natural highlights, a self-drive tour is by far the most popular option. Travel at your own pace with plenty of changes to head off the main road in search of your own adventures. This tour also includes the Snaefellsnes peninsula which many call "mini-Iceland" as almost every natural phenomenon in Iceland can be found there, albeit on a smaller scale than elsewhere.