The country’s fourth largest lake, Mývatn is a popular stop on any North Iceland road trip. Full-day tours of the lake depart from Akureyri and often include highlights like the Hverir Mud Pools, Grjótagjá Rift, and Dimmuborgir Lava Fields—many also visit the impressive Godafoss Waterfall en route. Guided trips along the Diamond Circle usually include the lake, as do most multi-day excursions around the island’s Ring Road.
Things to Know Before You Go
In summer, take insect repellent and a head net to protect yourself from midges.
Protect the local flora and fauna by sticking to established pathways and trails.
The town of Reykjahlíð on the lake has a gas station, bank, supermarket, and public swimming pool.
How to Get There
Lake Mývatn is around 300 miles (480 kilometers) from Reykjavík along the Ring Road, which typically stays open year-round—the drive takes between six and seven hours, depending on the weather. From Akureyri, the drive along Route 1 takes just over an hour. Alternatively, you can get there on bus 56.
When to Get There
Each season on Mývatn offers a completely different set of adventures. Go in summer to see birds and vibrant colors—or in winter to spot the northern lights and marvel at shades of white and blue as parts of the lake freeze over.
Bird-Watching at Lake Mývatn
Home to approximately 115 species of birds (including about 28 species of ducks), Mývatn is one of the world’s top pilgrimage sites for bird lovers. On the shores of the lake, Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum showcases hundreds of stuffed specimens, along with an aviary and an extensive collection of eggs.