Leaving the Eastfjords, we headed north towards the otherworldly landscapes of the Lake Mývatn area, stopping along the way to see the most powerful waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, and neighboring waterfall, Selfoss. As we neared Lake Mývatn, we turned off to see (and smell!) Kroflustod Power Station, Iceland’s largest geothermal station. This was an impressive facility but even more impressive were the steaming vents and gurgling mudpots of Hverir, located just across the Ring Road.
We checked in at the Vogafjós Guesthouse just in time to see them milking the cows. This delightful guesthouse includes a restaurant with panoramic views on one side, and a glass wall on the other that offer diners a view into the cowshed. During milking time, visitors can either watch through the glass wall or head inside to meet the cows and try their fresh warm milk. If you stop here, be sure to try their Geysir bread baked in a geothermal oven at the hot springs nearby.
That evening, despite incredibly strong winds, we decided to visit the Mývatn Nature Baths. I’m sure on a much calmer day this would’ve been a lovely experience, but on this particular night, we ended up huddled in a long pool-type Jacuzzi with the locals while the larger pools remained empty. Despite the bitter wind, it was a very beautiful location with incredible views.
The following morning we woke and headed out to explore the forested lava areas of Hofdi, the strange lava columns at Dimmuborgir, and my favorite, Grjótagjá, a beautiful geothermal spring hidden in a cave. I had read online that this location was used for the Game of Thrones scene where Jon Snow broke his Night’s Watch vows in favor of getting fresh with Igrit. I could not figure out what part of that scene was filmed in this cave other than maybe where they entered it beneath the fissure. Either way, this geothermal cave was incredible and definitely a must see in the north.
After making our way around the lake, we headed off again on the Ring Road towards the northwest region of Skagafjörður. After enjoying a nice Easter dinner in Sauðárkrókur, the second largest town on the northern coast, we checked in for the night in the beautiful Hestasport Cottages in Varmahlíð, complete with a stone hot pot right outside our front door. If you are a fan of horse riding, or just horses in general, this area is one of the best known destinations for riders in Iceland.
The following morning, we woke early and headed out to visit the 18th century turf farm house museum at Glaumbær. Unfortunately, the museum was closed but a peek inside the windows of each beautifully preserved structure, filled with old furniture and utensils, gave an interesting view of rural Icelandic life centuries ago.