After a really boring day of bad weather and driving, we wanted a win - a day full of blue skies and plenty of things to see. Lucky, we were headed to the gorgeous Myvatn. We left Asbyrgi, a campsite in the middle of nowhere to head to the very happening Myvatn - volcano city surrounding a lake.
Stop by Myvatn's Visitor Centre
add: Hraunvegi 8, 660 Mývatni, tel:+354 464 4390
coordinates: 65.641535, -16.910958
It's great to stop here and speak to the service officer. There's a lot of things to do here, and she can help you decide what you ACTUALLY want to see. Abel and I stopped here to head to the supermarket that was just behind the centre, next door to look at some handicrafts, and just have a bit of down time from the whole travelling thing.
It was also here that we were told that using the F-roads (off-roads) to get back down to the Golden Circle would be a bigger waste of time, as compared to taking the longer, but smoother, Ring Road. With that advice, we were give more time to explore gorgeous Myvatn.
A short drive around the lake and up a small hill, you'll find the entrance to Dimmuborgir, it's a maze of lava formations. The visitor's centre, which is also a cool cafe, at the top serves up a fantastic soup buffet, and from there, you get a great view of the entire lava maze. They've marked out several paths too take along the maze, some shorter, some longer, depending on how far you want to walk. We took the shortest path hahahaha cause it was cold and we're lazy. It was a lovely walk, there were sheep just wandering amongst these contorted, majestic formations, the ground was covered in soft moss with small holes that look like gnome holes all over the place. Just look:
|A wild sheep just chilling|
|The little holes in the rock really reminded me of gnome holes!|
Just a short walk really opens your eyes to the magic of Iceland. Apparently, there are 13 gnome / goblin brothers around the lava formations that will trick you into following them hahaha.
Explore the boiling mud pools of Hverir
You'll be able to smell Hverir a mile away. Actually, you'll be able to smell sulphur all over the place. The town and a few others are powered by steam from these amazing natural formations and other vents peppered around the region. Hverir is like a desert, albeit a cold one, peppered with boiling pots of mud and vents bursting with steam:
Head upwards to Viti Crater
Viti, actually means "hell". See, it's a giant explosion crater on top of Krafla, but it looks nothing like hell. It's a deep shade of cloudy aquamarine that stretches at the bottom of the crater. Every time the wind blew (which was often), the surface of the water danced, and once again, it was exceptionally magical.
Pop by Grjotagja to visit where Game of Thrones was filmed
Like most of the attractions in Myvatn, you'll be able to spot this with the help of a huge number of cars gathered around a seemingly unimportant hole in a hill. But crawl down the hole, and you'll find a soothing pool of steaming water. It's the pool from Game of Thrones where Jon Snow and Ygritte got it on! You know, this scene:
But the pool is filled with clear, warm water at about 40-ish degrees, perfect for a dip in the cold weather. In the cave, you'll be sheltered, with just steam filling the cave. Unfortunately, the cave is off limits for a dip cause of the crumbling rocks. But you can climb in the take pictures!
Take a bath at the Myvatn Nature Baths
coordinates: 65.631000, -16.847990
After a long day of tourist-ing we needed a LONG shower or... a hot bath! And the exciting thing was that the Myvatn Nature Baths were right by us. We stuffed our bags with swimming wear, towels, slippers and shampoo. Then there we went, past the SUPER cute guy at the reception and into the bath:
After you get past the communal showers (the number of naked bodies!) step out into the cold, you run into the somewhat warm waters of the immensely cool infinity bath. The milky waters had a current of warmth that spread throughout the bath, we moved around a lot trying to find that current of warmth. The bottom is sandy, sometimes pebbly, the sulphur smell permeates the area, but isn't completely unpleasant. There's a little stone bath just outside the pool that has hot water at a controlled temperature. Perfect!
I love it so much, but the only trouble was the people. Oh. My. God. What a tourist hole. The Americans really surprised me with their comments. There was a group of girls who crowded around the mossy stones where the water was warmer. Here are some choice quotes - cue very, very strong valleygirl accents:
"I feel like, you know, this year's my year."
"I used to like, date, only hot guys. I mean, my ex, you should have seen this guy, he was hot. Like, seriously hot. So I told myself I needed a change, so I went for someone nice you know? Just... nice."
"Like we were supposed to go out, but he said he had something special on that day, and it was like, he celebrates the anniversary of his new kidney, and like I had no idea! It's like a thing!"
"Then he said, 'I fucking love you!' So I had to like say it back you know? But I like, I guess I just said it like, 'I fucking love you too!'"
We left after a soak in the tub, just in time to see the sun set over that beautiful place.