From Akureyri we were able to take a day trip to Lake Mývatn and the surounding area defined by its volcanic activity. On the way though, we stopped at Godafoss, one of many "fosses" in Iceland but really a very stunning place. Godafoss means waterfall of the gods, but you can decide for yourself after checking out the photo.
The signifcant places in the area are located on a loop around Lake Mývatn. Before starting on the loop, we had to stop at a gas station, and while we were filling up the tank we realized we were facing a couple of huge craters 30 feet away. That was our first impression of Mývatn. Our first stop on the loop was the Dimmuborgir lava field. The name Dimmuborgir means dark castles, and the field is a labyrinth of these fortress like rock formations and caves. We spent a while hiking through the lava fields as they have many marked trails.
Our second stop was perhaps one of the most interesting places we've seen on our trip so far. Hverir is a geothermal field of boiling mud pots and sulphuric natural gas. We were going to eat lunch here but the smell was too concentrated to have any appetite. The colors were very rich yellows, blues, browns and oranges as you can see in our cover photo. The steam leaking out of the geothermal vents made the landscape very blurry and loud. The highlight was the boiling mud pots. They were mesmerizing to watch and listen as they bubbled violently and heated the area directly around them.
Next we drove to Krafla and had lunch there. Krafla is a large caldera and in it is Viti Crater filled with a green and blue lake. We spent about 2 hours hiking around the perimeter of Viti Crater and another smaller crater behind it. One of the most interesting characteristics about the area was the colors found in the sulfuric formations.
Everyone told us that Dettifoss was one of the most striking waterfalls in Iceland, but they did not tell us how difficult it is to get there. A journey that should have taken a half hour at the most took almost an hour and a half. With two wheel drive vehicles there are many roads on which we are not allowed to drive. The GPS routed us on a "safe" route, but the road it took us on was probably not too good for the car (good thing we paid a bit extra for gravel protection). Road 862 or 890 (it wasn't clear) was 33 km of gravel, large stones, and rigid bumps. We were still shaking when we got out of our white car which was covered in a layer of dirt and was now our brown car. However, the trip was definitely worth it! We hiked to the top of Dettifoss and sat inches away. We enjoyed its beauty and the winding canyon that it fed.
We took the same road back as it was our only option and then relaxed at Mývatn Nature Baths, a geothermally heated outdoor swimming pool. The pool is actually a fissure in the volcanic surface, and filled with water drawn from depths of 2500 meters.