Myvatn Lake

Surreal volcanic landscapes, abundant birdlife, grand scenery

The Mývatn (Myvatn) Lake and its entire surroundings are world-famous for their beauty. In addition, Myvatn Lake District is considered one of the best birding and bird watching locations in Iceland.

Mývatn (Myvatn) Lake is a unique pearl of nature, the fourth largest lake in Iceland, covering around 36.5 km2 (around 14 sq. mi). It is situated at 277 m (908 ft.) above sea level, averaging a depth of only 2.5 m. Myvatn Lake has more than 50 small islands and islets, mostly formed volcanically when molten lava flowed into the lake.

Mývatn (mý – midge; vatn – lake) derives its name from these small insects which provide a large part of the diet for various birds as well as trout. Myvatn Lake and the surrounding wetlands have a remarkably rich fauna of bird life, and are home to more species of ducks than any other place on earth. The densest habitation of Harlequin Duck in the world is at the upper reaches of Laxá (Laxa), Salmon River, and the Barrow’s Goldeneye duck is found in no other place in Europe. Other bird species include the Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, European Teal, Long-tailed duck and Eiders.

The majority of Myvatn Lake’s water comes from underground sources; the stream Grænilækur (Graenilaekur), from Lake Grænavatn (Graenavatn) is Myvatn’s only source of surface water. Laxá River runs from Myvatn Lake. It is famous for rich fishing of brown trout and Atlantic salmon. Laxá River is one of the most plentiful and sought after fishing rivers of Iceland.

Mývatn Lake District

Mývatnssveit (Myvatnssveit), Myvatn Lake District, is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist destinations. The area is world renowned for its awesome natural beauty, with volcanic eruptions having played a crucial role in the formation of the landscape since ancient times. Extraordinary natural lava sculptures stand out in and around the lake, while at geothermal fields, the land is painted in all colours of the rainbow. Roads and walkways lead travellers to interesting locations, whether the plan is to enjoy the strange landscape, examine unique natural phenomena or take a closer look at the plant and bird life.

Day trips from Akureyri to Mývatn Lake are immensely popular. The distance to the Mývatn District is about 90 km east of Akureyri. The surroundings are truly magnificent, formed by volcanic activity which is still ongoing. The latest eruption occurred about 20 years ago and the bubbling clay pits and sulphuric fumes wafting over the area are a reminder of the titan forces surging beneath. The results of these forces being unleashed can be seen in the lava formations which have been forged into towers, castles and caves, resembling a giant's fantastic playground.

The Myvatn basin sits directly on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Places of interest include the pseudo-craters at Skútustaðir (Skutustadir) - Skútustaðagígar (Skutustadagigar), Höfði (Hofdi) promontory, Dimmuborgir lava formations, Hverfjall tephra crater, Grjótagjá (Grjotagja) rift, Lofthellir cave, Hverir hot spring area, Krafla volcanic area, Myvatn Nature Baths, and many others.

Myvatn Lake District was one of the filming locations in Iceland for the movie Oblivion, as well as for the Game of Thrones series. Tours are available to visit the filming sites. The District offers a variety of services in accommodation, food, and entertainment, based on years of experience and local knowledge. 


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