This gentle hike is a great way to engage with the landscape of northern Iceland and learn about life in rural communities. You’ll begin from Reykjahlíð and stroll at your own pace through a birch forest, past deep fissures and hidden geothermal caves, and across lava fields toward the Mývatn Nature Baths. Along the way, your guide will teach you about local flora and fauna, the geology of the area and about life in such a small, rural community. With dramatic surroundings and a chance to relax in natural geothermal pools at the end of your walk, it's a scenic and relaxing introduction to the area.
Your guided walk starts at the Hike and Bike headquarters in Reykjahlíð, the main village around Lake Mývatn. Meet your guide and the other members of your small walking group and set off through the forest into the surrounding wilderness.
As you walk, your guide will highlight points of interest, from pressure fissures and geothermal pools to different types of lava in the fields, teaching you about the geology of the area as you go.
Visit the Grjótagjá Cave, which sits beneath the towering bulk of Hverfjall, a massive volcanic crater that dominates the skyline. The rocky cavern contains a lake of geothermally heated water and is accessed by a few small holes at ground level. It’s not permitted to bathe here as the temperatures are too unpredictable and can reach dangerous levels, but it’s an otherworldly spot, used as a filming location for the HBO show Game of Thrones.
From Grjótagjá, ascend toward the Mývatn Nature Baths, whose steamy plumes are visible from a distance. Before reaching them, you’ll be taken to see the village’s old steam baths, enclosed within a lava tunnel that’s now collapsed.
Your hike concludes at the Nature Baths, a series of outdoor geothermal pools that overlook the lake and volcanic scenery. The baths provide a warm and relaxing end to your few hours of exertion, and you can unwind while surveying the mountain scenery.
Your guide can either leave you to relax at the baths for the rest of the day, or after enough time to enjoy their healing waters, take you back to the Hike and Bike headquarters in Reykjahlíð.
Make sure to pack swimwear and a towel, and wear sturdy hiking shoes that can handle the often-sharp, uneven volcanic rock.