One of my favorite places in Iceland is Lake Mývatn region (Mývatnssveit). When I worked as a nature warden for the Icelandic Conservation Agency in the nineties I spent three summers there.
The Lake Mývatn area is an extaordinary place because it has so many natural wonders. These wonders are in origin all based on the volcanic activity in the surroundings, like volcanoes, fissures, lava fields, different lava formations, lavataras or mud springs. The flora and fauna in the lake itself is particularly rich because it contains an abundance of nutrients that come from the volcanic area and is also very shallow so the sun reaches the bottom. Mind you, the name “Mývatn” means “Midge lake” and refers to all the different species of midges that swarm around the lake and feed the many species of ducks and fish in the lake.
Mývatn is a heaven for bird enthusiasts. Nowhere in the world are there as many different species of ducks gathered in one place, both European and North American species. The spring is especially joyful as the males show off their beautifully colored plumage in order to impress the females. Quiet evenings with the sun low on the northern sky and bird singing are quite stunning in the area.
The main attractions in the Lake Mývatn area, in addition to the lake itself are Skútustaðagígar, Dimmuborgir, Hverfell or Hverfjall, Grjótagjá, Námaskarð, Hverarönd, Krafla and Leirhnjúkur.
The main focus of my work as a nature warden in the Lake Mývatn area was guiding tourists and providing information on the area. I hiked and maintained the official walking paths by fixing signs, picking up trash and talking to the people I met on the way. I also worked in the information office and at nights I visited camping sites in the area to talk to the visitors. A little dreading part of the job was looking out for people who had camped outside of official camping sites and telling them they had to move.
My husband worked on the night shifts at one of the hotels at the same time and he particularly remembers the quiet bright nights and the tourists who were in awe of the beauty of the midnight summer.
We often stop by in the Lake Mývatn area with our family and we love to introduce the area to the girls.
How to get there:
Ring road no. 1 passes through the Lake Mývatn area.