Tucked away on the shores of Lake Mývatn lies the tiny village of Reykjahlíð, an unassuming, no-frills place that’s home to only 300 inhabitants. It has a sleepy charm that requires you to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and just be calm in the moment. The village’s offerings are modest—in the summer, there’s a stage for live music, and a Vínbúðin store will open next year so you can relax with a beer without having to fork out at a local hotel. Reykjahlíð’s proximity to Krafla and Mývatn also makes it a good spot to immerse yourself in nature.
For some hotel comforts, you can stay in the newly built Fosshotel Mývatn, just outside of town. For a budget option, or for those in a large group, the local campsite and guesthouse offers a range of options—the campsite is 1km from Mývatn’s lakeside, and includes showers and electricity. For a more romantic occasion, try one of the charming wooden cottages that peek out across the landscape.
There are many great hiking routes around Lake Mývatn—pop over to the local booking centre for advice and speak to the friendly owner, Ragnar. For a short hike, Ragnar recommends a two hour jaunt round the Krafla geothermal area and caldera. If you have more time, hike to Dimmuborgir and marvel at the erratic volcanic rock formations. If the lack of trees in Iceland bothers you, carry on down to Hofði and take a stroll through the woods.
Often referred to as the Blue Lagoon of the North, the Mývatn Nature Baths are a ten minute drive out of Reykjahlíð. Comprised of two warm lagoons, a sauna and a steamy hot pot, this quiet geothermal bathing area is the perfect place to ease your joints after a hike, take in the expansive views, and relax with a beer.
The Vogar family farm has been passed down through the generations for over 120 years. In their café attached to the cowshed, you can watch the cows being milked, or go through into the shed and give them a scratch. The restaurant prides itself on its homemade selection of healthy Icelandic dishes, including a variety of cheeses made with the farm’s own milk. We loved the pan-fried arctic char with perfectly crispy skin and the raw smoked lamb.
If you don’t fancy hiking, sightsee by air instead. These intimate tours are suitable for two to six people, and you can pick from six routes. If there’s something you want to see that isn’t covered by the tours, the routes can be modified to suit your wishes.
This power plant, with its little red geometric huts, snaking silver pipes, and plumes of steam, provides a futuristic pitstop inside the mostly untamed landscape. Just 15 minutes outside Reykjahlíð you can view a film about Krafla’s volatile volcanic history, and learn about geothermal energy. Alternatively, try out one of the nearby hikes across the Leirhnjukur lava field or Viti explosion crater.
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