Day 3 was our big Mývatn day. First we stopped at goðafoss where the legend tells of a pagan priest, Thorgeir, who threw his pagan idols into the waterfall when he decided that his people should adopt Christianity. From there we headed to Mývatn up the west coast of the lake.
Once reaching Reykhalíð village at the north end of the lake, we started with a hike to Hverfjall, which leads to volacano crater. It was so windy that once we got to the top, we took some pictures and surrendered before making it all the way around the crater. The road up to the crater itself is surrounded by lava fields; it feels like you’re on expedition on Mars.
Next was Dimmuborgir where we did a 2.5 km hike in lava field that was formed from a combination of hot lava over a lake with the hypothesis that the steam beneath the cooling lava formed much of the rock formations. In December, you can find the jollasvein (yule lads), who could be compared to the tradition of Santa Clause. To my amusement, the 13 yule lads include sausage swiper, door slammer, spoon licker, and skyr gobbler. We hiked up to the Kirka or church (which was an arch like formation) then looped back. There was also washrooms at the site that cost 200 ISK.
After a car picnic lunch, we headed to Höfði; there you can meander through shaded paths and birth watch. There are also rock pillar formations and views of the lake and some of its islands.
Afterwards, we continued south then west to Skútustaðagigar where there are a number of ”pseudocraters” formed by steam as lava passed over a pool of water. We then drove back north up the west side of the lake but decided to pass on the bird museum as it was getting late.
Our final stop before dinner was at Grjótagjá to explore the geothermal caves. You´re not allowed to swim there (one´s too hot, the other has algae overgrowth – others think they´re fine but the government is trying to protect them and prevent people from swimming in them), it was probably one my favourite parts of the day because it was warm inside the caves.
We had a lovely dinner at Vogafjós. Both the pan seared artic char and farm burger were delicious. We also tried the local geysir bread (doesn´t seem to rise and has a unique berry/nutty flavour) and the housemade cheese. The housemade icecream from the dairy farm was also delicious.
After a very cold day, we ended our day at the Mývatn nature baths. I was initially tentative as it was so cold but the baths were a lovely 31 degree (while outside it was 5 degrees and dropping) in a beautiful natural setting. There was also a hotter bath which we went into afterwards and then finished off with a natural steam bath (there are two at the baths). It was the perfect combination in the perfect order. I felt much more resistant to cold afterwards.
On our way back to Akureryi, we stopped again in Goðafoss in the hopes there wouldn’t be anyone else there and at 11pm at night; there wasn’t. We were free to do all the scampering we wanted.
Tomorrow we head to Husavík and Asbyrgi Canyon; we wanted to do Kafla and Detifoss as well but the highway between Detifoss and Husavík wasn’t opened as the snow and ice have not yet melted. The plan is to go to Kafla and Detifoss on our way to Seydisfjorður and instead of stopping at Borgysfjorður to see the puffins, we’re going to head east from Seydisfjorður to Skalanes and hope to see puffins there!
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