The area surrounding Lake Myvatn was probably my favorite scenery throughout our trip around Iceland. It is so diverse and completely different from the rest of the island. We started our day in Akureyi and drove along the south side of the lake.
When we arrived inside the conservation limits, we kept seeing people climbing on very small hills. We thought they were just taking pictures of the lake, but it turns out they were viewing Skútustaðagígar or pseudocraters created by gas explosions in lava flows. After looking at pictures online, I am really sad we didn't stop to see these. Don't make the same mistake!
Instead, we made one stop along the lake at Höfdi to get a good view of the water. During the summer, Lake Myvatn has the nickname 'black bug lake'; and after a few minutes, we couldn't handle the swarms anymore. We quickly returned to the safety of our car to push on to our next stop Stóragjá.
A narrow slot canyon hid the gem Stóragjá. The bath-like, crystal clear water might have gone unnoticed if it hadn't been for the helpful rope leading through the high rock walls. We didn't stay long, because the water wasn't very warm. We dried off and changed behind a small crack in the rock and walked through the rest of the mossy canyon.
We made a quick drive down the road to our next hot spring Grjótgjá, but this beautiful blue water had unfortunately been deemed too hot to swim in. Back in the 1960’s, some volcanic activity caused the temperature to rise to almost boiling! It is a beautiful spot to check out for a few minutes; and if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you might recognize it. After a few quick pictures of the water and fissure atop it, we hopped back in the car and headed to Mars on Earth.
Hverir was, by far, my personal favorite spot in Iceland. It was seriously like walking on another planet. The barren red landscape is filled with boiling mud holes, steaming sulphur clouds, and deep crevices that add to the strangeness of this area.
We spent about 30 minutes exploring and photographing this amazing landscape. Eventually the sulfur smell got to me, and we had to leave. Hverir is an absolute 'must stop' on the ring road even if you do nothing else around Lake Myvatn!