This day we wanted to explore the Mývatn area and its main sights. Unfortunately, while not far away, they are still a little bit too much spread out to walk around all of them in a day. There’s a bus making the round trip between 12 and 16:30 or so, but we thought it was quite expensive for what it was, and even more importantly, it would not give us the opportunity to walk around the short trails at the places we wanted to see.
So we decided to try our luck hitching rides for the day, especially since without our big packs we thought we should be ok. We waited on the road out of town to the direction of Hverir where we wanted to go first, and initially didn’t have much luck, because we were only second in line after a couple of hippies with big bags nobody wanted to take. Nevertheless, after about half hour (and increasing our distance from the hobos) we were picked up by a very nice French guy and his mum, who were touring Iceland together – they took us all the way to Hverir parking lot, bingo!
At Hverir, we marvelled at the beauty of yet another sulphur-stinking geothermal areas, as our guide puts it “magical, ochre-toned world of Hverir is a lunar-like landscape of mud cauldrons, steaming vents, radiant mineral deposits and piping fumaroles.” Quite so.
We walked a short circular trail over the nearest ridge, which was a great choice because not only did we discover more steaming fields bur also we got to see the whole area from up top, with amazing views all the way back to lake Mývatn on the other side.
After getting down, we went back on the road and walked over to the turnoff to Krafla, where we got lucky already with the second car going up – a young US couple.
At Krafla, we went first to the Víti explosion crater, which is now filled with turquoise water. From there, we walked over to the Leirhnjúkur lava field, which was created through a series of nine eruptions as recent as the 1970s and 80s – a very impressive trail of blackness and fumes again!
It was beginning to be a bit chilly and we also hadn’t eaten the whole day, so we were ready to have a late lunch and warm ourselves up in the local nature baths – just to get there. But we were lucky again, taken down to the main road by an English guy, and from there in a bit by a nice French family all the way to the baths. We had a light lunch in the café, and then we were ready to jump in. The baths are not huge but two good sized connected pools, the cooler of which with amazing views over the lava fields all the way to Mývatn in the distance.
Needless to say, we stayed mostly in the hotter one, and enjoyed it immensely. The milky steaming waters were supremely relaxing, and the floating heads of other people had an otherworldly beauty to them – the steam worked like a soft focus lens. We stayed soaking for about an hour until we were all wrinkly and then reluctantly left. Despite being all relaxed and soft, we decided to walk back to the lake on a trail, which was nice, and we saw some new lava formations too. Once we hit the main road by the lake we found Daddi’s pizza and treated ourselves in this small but popular spot to a couple of pizzas, which were surely too big but delicious. I went for the house special – with smoked trout and pine nuts – delish! Iest had his fave Icelandic beer too.
Tags: backpacking, circular trail, Daddi’s pizza, geothermal area, hiking, hitchhiking, Hverir, Iceland, Krafla, lake Mývatn, Leirhnjúkur lava field, lunar-like landscape, Mud cauldron, Mývatn, nature baths, ochre-toned, piping fumaroles, radiant mineral deposits, steaming vents, thumbing, Víti explosion crater