Mývatn Geothermal Area, Iceland: What To See, Itinerary And Tips

If you’re doing a road trip around Iceland, you will also pass by the beautiful area of Myvatn Lake and the geothermal areas around it.

If you’re doing a road trip around Iceland, you will also pass by the beautiful area of Myvatn Lake and the geothermal areas around it. This looks like a lake, and not much to do around, but here is where you will be surprised. 

Mývatn has so much to offer, and my favourite part is that it’s mostly empty, since not a lot of tourists make it all the way up North. 

This area showcases the dynamic geothermal activity of the Mývatn region. 

Featuring bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, and colourful mineral deposits, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the Earth’s powerful geothermal forces. The area’s otherworldly landscape offers an unforgettable visual experience.

I’m writing this blog about Mývatn Lake and the attractions around it because you will pass by it anyway if you decide to go on a road trip around Iceland. 

By now, you probably looked at the map and noticed that there aren’t many roads around Iceland. In fact, there is one main road, Road 1, also called Ring Road, that surrounds the entire country. And if you’re taking Road 1, you will pass Myvatn Lake at some point anyway, so here is what you need to know about this area. 

Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland

How to get to Mývatn Lake?

To visit these places you will need to rent a car and drive there yourself. 

The way most people get here is by car.

Almost all tourists in Iceland who want to do the entire Ring Road (drive on the road that surrounds the country) rent a car for 7 days in Iceland or even more. This will not be cheap, but it’s the easiest and best way to explore Iceland. 

I also wrote a guide on how to visit Iceland without a car, but it will be more time-consuming, and some places will be out of reach. 

I strongly suggest checking the weather before heading to the northern part of Iceland. During summer, it should be great, but not the same can be said about winter. I have included all the details in my guide about planning a trip to Iceland

Myvatn geothermal area Map with attractions and itinerary

Where to stay?

There are so many things to see and explore around Myvatn Lake; you will probably want to spend the night around there. 

Luckily, there are several hotels around the area, from budget options to more fancy hotels. 

I stayed at Vogar Travel Service, which was a great budget option for a night. It had a shared bathroom and kitchen, and it’s located just across the road from the lake. It’s also a great location if you want to visit the Myvatn Nature Baths in the evening, and it offers self-checkin (as most places do in Iceland).  This place also offers a camping site. 

Here are other options for different budgets:

$$$ – Fosshótel Mývatn (the best hotel around), Hlíd Cottages, Eldá apartments

$$ – Mývatn – Berjaya Iceland Hotels

$ – Skútustadir Guesthouse, Dimmuborgir Guesthouse

If you are looking for a place to camp, remember that wild camping is no longer permitted in Iceland, so check out Camping Myvatn (close during winter), Hlíð ferðaþjónusta or Vogar Travel Service.  

I recommend booking your hotel in advance, as this area is rather remote, and the few hotels around tend to get fully booked all year round. 

Myvatn Lake

Parking: Höfði bílastæði norður (click for Google Maps location)

The first stop in the Myvatn area is the famous Myvatn Lake. 

Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland

A stunningly beautiful lake in North Iceland, known for its rich birdlife and unique geological features. Formed by a volcanic eruption over 2,300 years ago, Lake Mývatn is surrounded by lava formations, hot springs, and varied landscapes, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.

I reckon this place is particularly popular during summer, as it offers such a great biodiversity. And don’t forget your binoculars if you want to admire the many species of birds around. 

Note that there are many spots where you can park around the lake, and there is a road that goes all around Myvatn Lake. You can even go on short hikes around it. 

Note that most parking spots are small and only fit a few cars at a time, and it tends to get crowded during summer. 

If you are here for the birds, check out the Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum. 

Hverfjall volcano

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/E6671EeHpNrY9EZo6

Hverfjall Volcano, also known as Hverfell, is a striking and iconic landmark in the Mývatn region of North Iceland. This massive, circular tephra cone volcano, formed approximately 2,500 years ago, stands as a testament to the powerful volcanic activity that has shaped the Icelandic landscape.

Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland

Hverfjall is renowned for its almost perfectly circular crater, which measures about 1 kilometer in diameter. The crater is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

The volcano rises about 420 meters above the surrounding landscape, offering a commanding presence that can be seen from miles around.

A popular spot for hikers, Hverfjall provides a challenging yet rewarding climb. Hiking to the rim offers panoramic views of the Mývatn area, including the lake, lava fields, and other volcanic formations. The ascent takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

The volcano is a classic example of a tephra explosion crater, formed by a massive explosion that ejected volcanic ash and pumice into the air. The dark, barren landscape of Hverfjall is a stark contrast to the green and watery surroundings of Lake Mývatn.

Hverfjall is a protected natural monument due to its unique geological value. Visitors are encouraged to respect the fragile environment and stick to marked paths.

The dramatic and desolate beauty of Hverfjall has made it a location of interest for photographers and filmmakers, drawing visitors from around the world.

Visiting Hverfjall Volcano offers an opportunity to experience the raw and powerful beauty of Iceland’s volcanic landscape up close. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in geology, hiking, or simply witnessing the awe-inspiring forces of nature.

Grjótagjá

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/UaXq1hnLdXFzBzYV9 

Then we headed to this very interesting cave. 

Grjótagjá Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland-3149

Grjótagjá is a small, cave-like lava tube featuring a geothermal hot spring. 

Known for its crystal-clear, warm water, Grjótagjá became famous as a filming location for the “Game of Thrones” series. The cave’s intimate setting and the contrast between the rugged rocks and the soothing waters create a truly unique bathing experience.

Note that the cave has two openings, and both are fairly small. Only a few people can fit at a time, and you have to walk on a few rocks to go down there. But the water can be seen from the entrance. 

Also, you enter this small cave at your own risk, and you should not go swimming. The water was around 44 Celcius (111 F) when I visited, so you could get burns if you tried to swim anyway. Parking is free. 

Myvatn Geothermal Area

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/4obgpp8WxMq8JxtUA 

This is the site of the Bjarnarflag Geothermal Power Station, which is an interesting site to see how Iceland harvests the power of nature and turns it into energy. 

Myvatn Geothermal Area

There is a very small parking spot, just as you get off the main road, close to Blue Lake. That’s where you should stop. The road along the power plan is a dead end. 

The colour of the lake is extremely blue, and it’s mesmerising, but don’t touch the water. It’s very hot, and it’s dangerous. 

Not a lot of people stop here, but it’s such a pretty stop, especially if you don’t have time to go to the Myvatn Nature Baths, which is just on the other side of the street. 

Mývatn Nature Baths

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/2gfBcgNqrKYk7yGT7 

Mývatn Nature Baths is a great (and cheaper) alternative to the famous Blue Lagoon in the Southern part of Iceland. 

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The water is blue, and the facility offers saunas, an indoor restaurant, a pool bar, and a lovely view from the pool. 

You can book your time slot in advance, as this is a smaller spa than Blue Lagoon. However, from my experience, I think it wasn’t too crowded. 

I visited in July, which is the peak season for tourism in Iceland, and I had no problem getting it. I just showed up at reception and paid to get it. 

You need to bring a swimsuit and a towel, but they also have a shop where you can buy everything you need. 

I liked their system where you can order a drink at the reception when you arrive, and then you get a bracelet to redeem your drinks at the bar in the pool (so that you don’t need to bring your wallet/phone with you in the pool).

Since this is a tourist pool, you can bring your phone with you and take pictures. I find this to be the main difference between tourist spas and local pools – the fact that you can bring your phone and take photos. 

Myvatn Lookout (Parking)

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ot8kAoWtdfh7EUPA8 

A popular vantage point offering panoramic views of Lake Mývatn and its surrounding landscapes. 

Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland-5357

From here, you can appreciate the vastness of the lake, the diverse terrain, and the unique beauty of the region. 

It’s an ideal spot for taking in the scenery and capturing stunning photographs.

Hverir

Location: https://maps.app.goo.gl/j42MjxehGmdWtp6bA 

Cost: 1200 ISK for 24h parking

A remarkable geothermal field located near Mývatn. 

Hverir Mývatn Geothermal Area Iceland

Known for its boiling mud pools, steaming vents, and sulfuric odours, Hverir is like stepping onto another planet. 

The vibrant colours and the constant activity of the geothermal features make it a visually captivating and sensory-rich destination.

I’m not going to lie, you do need to get used to that sulphur smell. 

Many people say it resembles the smell of rotten eggs. Otherwise, you will not be able to walk around and admire this beauty. It looks like stepping on another planet. 

This stop gets loads of tourists during summer. 

When I was there, there were at least four buses at the same time, plus a full parking. This is one of the most popular spots to visit near the Myvatn area, but I can’t blame them. 

Iulia Vasile

Iulia is a travel expert, blogger, engineer, freelance copywriter, and a curiosity-driven personality. She sees travel as the ultimate tool for self-improvement and personal growth, and that's the main topic of her blog, Juliasomething.com.

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