Iceland // Mývatn and the northeast //

The lakeshore

Moving clockwise around the lakeshore from Rekjahlíð, the Ringroad curves around Mývatn via the hamlets of Vogar and Skútustaðir to where the Laxá drains westwards; from here, Route 848 crosses the river and heads up the west shore and back to town. This circuit is about 35km long in itself, but there are several places to make fairly extensive detours, principally at Grótagjá hot springs; the rough lavafield at Dimmuborgir and Hverfell cone, both east of the lake; and Vindbelgjarfjall, a peak on Mývatn’s northwestern side. Aside from the highly visible wildfowl, keep your eyes peeled for ptarmigan, Arctic foxes and maybe even rare gyrfalcons. Also note that erosion is a serious problem at many popular sites and that you should stick to marked paths where you find them.

No tours circuit the lake, so to see it all you really need your own vehicle – bicycles can be rented in Reykjahlíð. You can of course walk; there’s a well-marked, 8km trail linking Reykjahlíð with Grótagjá, Hverfell and Dimmuborgir. To explore away from here, carry Landmælingar Íslands Mývatn 1:50,000 map – the Reykjahlíð visitor centre might have these, otherwise Akureyri’s bookshops are the nearest source.


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