Destinations, Europe, Iceland

Mývatn – A Cheap Way to Go to Mars

Among the secrets of Iceland, Mývatn lake region is one of the best kept.  You need to quit the safe lands of Reykjavík and venture to the North of the North… And when you think you are lost, you are there: surrounded by landscapes that looks just like Mars.

Used to the vast green mountains of Iceland, it’s a shock when you arrive in this ocher landscape.

Everything seems to come from another planet and the smell of sulfur reminds you that you are the stranger here. Mudpools are boiling and smoke is coming out of fumaroles in Hverir geothermal area. Nature is screaming “I am the boss here!”

Myvatn is a reagion where the nature is screaming: "I am the boss here!" If you venture in the North of Iceland, you better visit this weird region. #Iceland #Myvatn #Eurotrip #Islande #voyage #travel

People taking pictures in Myvatn region in Iceland

Mud hole in the middle of Myvatn Region in Iceland

Geological phenomenon in Myvatn, Iceland

In Krafla area, an active volcanic area, there have been 29 reported eruptions and the last one was in 1984. Due to volcanic activity, it is potentially dangerous to visit the region. A visit is always at your own risk.

The Leirhnjúkur crater is the most impressive part, and the most dangerous. You need to be careful and watch out for hot soil, steam columns and sharp cooled lava.

(Note : If you stay on the very well indicated path, you are not really in danger, but I like to put a little drama.)

The problem is that, when we were there in 2013, the trail was closed.

But we decided to pass anyway, because we are really stubborn, and probably a little reckless too.

Leirhnjukur Path in the North of Iceland

Walking in the snow in Myvatn, Iceland

We soon realized why the path was closed…

Broken path in Myvatn region in the north of Iceland

Broken path leading to a volcano in Iceland

Did the walk worth it? Yes it did.

Krafla Volcano in Myvatn, Iceland

Flower growing in the volcanic ground

When our shoe soles began to be hotter than normal, we concluded that it was time for us to got back to the car and continue our road in the surprising Iceland, where everyday is a new color and adventure.

Would you have gone through the closed trail? Have you already been to Mývatn? What is your best memories of the region?

Tips to Visit Mývatn

  • Mývatn means “midges lake”, and the variety of midges in the region are attracted to the CO2 produced by our breathing, so they go directly in your mouth and nose. Be sure to bring a scarf that you can put on your face. It will also help you with the strong smell of sulfur.
  • Come by car or rent one there. The region is vast and there is plenty of things to see : craters, lake, caves, natural baths. Each of these are far from each others.
  • A jacket is always useful in Iceland. It may look “hot” in the picture because we associate the ocher color with deserts, but truly, it’s not. As you can see, there was still snow in June.
  • There’s not tons of hotels in the region. If you plan on staying for the night, you better book you room in advance.

Planning a trip to Iceland? You might be interested in these posts:

Lonely Planet Iceland Travel Guide

I always travel with a guidebook to help me plan my trip in advance, and find useful information of the road. For this trip, I traveled with the Lonely Planet Iceland Travel Guide and it was full of useful information. If you’re looking for a guide, that one cover all the regions, including Myvatn.





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5 Commentaires

  • Reply Shing 28 novembre 2014 at 16 h 34 min

    Arrghhh so jealous! I am boiling like a volcano!! I’m dying to go to Lake Myvatn! Funnily enough I wrote a piece about the geothermal area of Seltun on the South-West Pennisula of Iceland and referred to it as Mars. However, Seltun is tiny compared to the wonder that is Lake Myvatn! I can’t wait to go. Loving your photos.

    I’m new to your blog, nice to find it!

  • Reply Annie Anywhere 28 novembre 2014 at 20 h 40 min

    Geothermic areas do look like Mars! Ahah! Funny we saw it the same way. :)

    I like your posts on Iceland too. It’s nice to share about the same places.

  • Reply Sarah 17 juin 2015 at 15 h 33 min

    Hi ! I’m travelling to Iceland this summer for 2 weeks. While searching for information about Iceland and cool itineraries, I found yours, which I like a lot :) We also rented a car like the one you rented (not a jeep) and I was wondering if it was possible with this type of car to go around the Myvatn region or whether you needed to go with one of these organized tours (less fun!) because only jeeps can go on the roads ? Thanks for your reply !

    • Reply Annie Anywhere 17 juin 2015 at 19 h 07 min

      Hi Sarah! It’s absolutely possible to explore Myvatn region by yourself, with a non 4X4 jeep. I passed a day in this region during my trip. The landscapes there were “aliens”. One advice: be sure to bring bug repellent. The flies are aggressive! Ahah!

      • Reply Sarah 18 juin 2015 at 1 h 13 min

        Ahahahah! Wouldn’t have thought about bringing some so thanks for the advice :)
        Yes this region looks amazing, one of the parts i’m looking forward the most! Thanks!