Journey to Lake Myvatn

Date 24 August 2018

Journey to Lake Myvatn

Journey to Lake Myvatn

We had a big day ahead of us that day. We were leaving the East and the Vopnafjordur region to reach Myvatn, so we had a bit of a road and a pinch in the heart of leaving this beautiful wild region that we did not know yet.

Outside, the weather was splendid, a bright sun and 17 °C awaited us that day (like yesterday!).

Leaving in the morning, we decided to make a slight detour to Bustarfell and its museum, a large farm with a peat roof similar to that of  Laufas that we visited a few days earlier. 

Unfortunately, it was too early, and the museum had not opened its doors yet (it opens at 10 am), and our day was going to be busy, so we decided to simply take a few photos of the outside and continue on the road to Dettifoss.

We took the road to Dettifoss via the 862 and then from the south. It was probably the best view of the waterfall from that side.


It seemed more impressive from here. Two years ago, the road to the car park was already much better and paved, but they also better equipped the area with small metal footbridges and other pontoons for better photo viewpoints without taking the risk of sliding on a rock.

Dettifoss was as beautiful as ever, and the sound of the torrent crashing a few tens of meters below was impressive to say the least.

After enjoying the show for half an hour, we headed back to Hverir, at the foot of Namafjall Mountain. We realized that we had actually never seen this place in the sun; the colors were even more amazing, the contrasts deeper. Mud pots and solfatars were everywhere, adding to the magic.

We took the time to walk to the top of the small mountain to enjoy a panoramic view of the Hverir geothermal field. The sulfur smell was easier on the nose up there and we decided to eat our sandwiches.

The Myvatn region is incredibly rich in attractions, and all of them are that much better in the sun! After a few discussions, we agreed on our "essentials" for that afternoon.

Early afternoon we planned to climb Vindbelgjarfjall, a 530-m summit overlooking the lake region. Access was fairly easy with a tiny parking lot right off road number 1 indicating Vindbelgur. After 20 minutes of hiking on a flat path in the heathland with the small birds of Lake Myvatn dancing overhead we started the ascent for a good 30 minutes of walking.


The trail was initially well laid out, including small logs of wood that formed stairs up to the middle of the ascent. Then, it was quite steep, and the small stones made it slippery in places.

After 50 minutes of walking from the car park, there we were at the top, where a sudden and strong wind almost knocked us flat. Once we recovered our senses, what an extraordinary view! The view over the whole of Lake Myvatn, especially Skutustadir below, was absolutely breathtaking and the contrasts between green and blue unbelievable.

The return would take us down the same trail, but in only 40 minutes to the car park. A nice short hike of 5 km, often forgotten by tourists but is a veritable spectacle in good weather.

We then decided to go back east from Myvatn, around the 863 towards Víti. The parking lot was just 2 steps from the site. Víti was a crater filled with magnificent blue water for this stunning contrast. We planned to hike the rim of the crater, but unfortunately the ground was extremely muddy and slippery and made the idea quite dangerous, so we had to content ourselves with looking up at the crater.

Very close by was Leirhnjúkur, a small path that is very well-marked and cuts through what amounts to one of the largest barbecues in the world. We are in a region of the country with a history of some of the most violent eruptions.

Myvatn Nature Baths

The view was breathtaking with all the solfatars and fumaroles along the way, and the bright green moss near the car park slowly shifting to the slate gray of the old lava flows and the intense black of more recent flows, some still dangerously hot.

Following the main path, the short 5 km hike was easygoing since there was almost no elevation. However, it took 1H15 to complete it, obviously taking several photo breaks.

After a finally busy day of short hikes, we headed to the Myvatn Nature Baths. There's nothing more enjoyable than basking in the waters of Jarðböðin after a long day of walking, though you won't know this until you try it.

The pool was big enough to accommodate a good crowd without us all being stuck on top of each other; it was really great.

The twilight in the late evening on Myvatn was splendid, mirrored on the turquoise waters of the basin, even better.