The road curves clockwise around the lakeshore from Reykjahlíð, via the hamlets of Vogar and Skútustaðir to where the Laxá drains westwards; from here, the Ringroad crosses the river and heads up the west shore and back to town. This circuit is about 35km long, with several places to make 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. 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.