Iceland //

Northeast of Mývatn


While Mývatn’s immediate surrounds appear fairly stable, the plateau rising just outside town at Bjarnarflag and extending northeast is anything but serene, the barren, pock-marked landscape pouring out lively quantities of steam and – when the mood takes it – lava. This being Iceland you can see not only how destructive such events have been, but also how their energy has been harnessed. Alongside power stations and even an underground “bakery”, there are the Jarðböðin nature baths, building on the centuries-old tradition of using the area’s plentiful geothermal water for bathing. Beyond here, still on the Ringroad, the bubbling mud pools at Hverir are definitely worth a stop en route to the Krafla volcano, reached by a detour north along a sealed track. The mountain and the neighbouring plains at Leirhnjúkur, still dangerously hot after a particularly violent session during the 1980s, are Mývatn’s most geologically active region.

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