Mývatn is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland, not far from Krafla volcano. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds, especially ducks. I was told to venture north by so many Icelanders, I eventually had to head to the lake of serenity and birds. Lake Mývatn has a spiritual energy — let’s just say that I was gifted with an opportunity to spend time here.
Below is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, home to Johannes’ family, who I met through car pooling site Samferda.is to get a lift north, a useful service to get to the main points in the country but not as useful to get to more remote pockets in the center of the country or the far East Fjords for example.
Here’s the view from the cottage out to the lake, where ducks, seagulls and wild birds soar overhead.
There’s another charming part of the guesthouse and that’s the Héðinsson family who runs it. Johannes’ brothers are part of the operations as is Dad (Héðinn Sverrisson)who has had this land for as long as anyone can remember.
Did I mention that the sons are not only hospitable and generous but also…..well, let’s just say “tres handsome?”
Héðinn is known for his delicious smoked fish and jerky (Arctic Char, salmon and catfish). The smoking method is an old Icelandic tradition which Héðinn learned from his father who learned from his father and today, his boys are learning from him, a tradition that seems likely to never die. Born in 1949, he has been smoking fish with his father since he was a child.
He started the smokehouse in Geiteyjarströnd around 1976 and has kept the same traditional method he learned from his father while most of the big smokehouses have migrated to a more “industrial” method. They mostly smoke rainbow trout, but also some meat, salmon and experiment with other things whenever they have the time. If you head to Iceland, look for it in certain shops aka Reykhusid Geiteyjarstrond.
The idea is to have the smoked fish on dark bread with butter….loads of butter. They tend to use a lot of it.
Dimmuborgir Guesthouse on Lake Myvatn
660 Mývatn – Iceland
Prices for rooms and cottages at the time of writing this, all based on a 120 exchange rate to the U.S. $.
- A Double in High Season (Summer/Fall): 131,500 k
- Cottages in Winter/Low Season: 16,000-20,000 k
- Singles: 6,500-7,500 k
- Doubles: 12,500-15,500 k