Lake Mývatn is one of the attractive sceneries of the north of Iceland. It is a volcanic lake located near Akureyri not far from the Krafla volcano. Its name Mývatn is obtained from the immeasurable number of midges that convene at the lake during summer. ‘Mý’ means midge and ‘vatn’ means lake. At its shores are two towns, Reykjahlio and Skutustadir which though small offer most services to tourists than the latter. The lake was formed as a result of a massive fissure eruption pouring out basaltic lava that occurred about 2300 years ago, and as a result its geothermal characteristics are evident till date. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have a phenomenal rich fauna of water birds.

Lake Mývatn

The lakes spring water is nutritious thus the vast number aquatic insects that create an attractive food supply for the water birds. As a result of the presence of insects in the lake area tourists are always advised to bring with them nets to avoid the human blood thirsty insects. Over 100 species of birds have been spotted at the lake, both nesting and non-nesting birds. Most nesting birds including different duck species turn up at the beginning of summer, either late April or early May. The most common species spotted is the tufted dick followed by the greater scaup and wigeon. Others species include Barrow's, gadwall, mallard, scooter, long-tailed duck, teal, goldeneye and the red-breasted merganser.

Some of these birds don't breed anywhere else in Europe such as harlequin ducks and the Barrow's goldeneye, which relies on a habitat provided by the Mývatn -Laxa water system and it's or rounding water fields. The bird situation in the lake has brought about a tradition of harvesting duck eggs from their nests for various uses. Even though the tradition has a firm rule that a minimum of four eggs should be left in every nest for the ducks to incubate. The climate around the lake is less harsh than what is found in other places of Iceland as it is one of the sunniest areas in Iceland.


During the last ice age most of the lake was covered with glaciers, the eruptions under the ice led to formation of some of the surrounding mountains. There are a number of sights for tourists to visit around the lake. The landscape of Lake Mývatn consists of hverastrond sulphur springs, Krafla caldera, nature baths, dimmuborgir rock formations, neslond, geothermal caves and the Hverfjall crater. The sulphur springs is a location with yellow colored sulphuric acid liquefying the earth into bubbling mud. The Krafla caldera is an extensive cauldron shaped area where Krafla fires that occurred in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The manmade nature baths also called jardbodin which are naturally heated, draw their waters from depths of over 2000m deep which contain large amounts of minerals, is alkaline and well suited for bathing. The dimmuborgir which refers to dark fonts are twisted towers of coagulated rock that protrude the earth's surface to form a larva field. The neslond is a protected area for nesting and access to the area is prohibited during the nesting period. The Hverfjall crater is an immense charred crater black crater which rises about 400 meters high and a kilometer across, access to the bottom is not permitted so as to prevent soil erosion.

The most convenient way to get to myvatn is through automobiles mainly buses from Akureyri and Husavik. For adventurous tourists biking is also an excusing way to get to the lake and also around the lake. Recent activities at the lake area include periods of slow land rise, underground magma bursts, rifting, interspersed by shorter periods of rapid subsidence, earthquakes and eruptions. This activities are evidence that Iceland is in the Process of undergoing continental drift. The lake area is also one of the rare places in the universe where Marimo a rare species of filamentous Green algae grows. The area is also known for a one of a kind mouth-watering molasses bread which is slow baked by the geothermal heat. Around the lake are cafe’s, bars and lounges for drinks.