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5 Most Beautiful Lakes in Iceland

|January 25, 2023

Heading to Iceland this year? Discover 5 of the most beautiful lakes there to add to your itinerary. Read now.


Iceland attracts tourists from across the globe, mostly for its immense geological landscapes. Towering waterfalls, volcanoes, geysers and geothermal springs are just some of the many attractions people come to see, not to mention charming cities such as Reykjavik and Akureyri.

What not many people consider about Iceland is its lakes, which draw hundreds of tourists, anglers and fishing enthusiasts each year. Iceland’s lakes offer beautiful unspoiled scenery, surrounding visitors with nothing but pure mountains and wildlife.

How many lakes are there in Iceland?

The country is covered with hundreds of lakes, varying greatly in size and shape. When looking at size, there are 10 lakes larger than 10 km2. The rest measure between the sizes of 2.5 and 10 km2, and include a list of smaller lakes and ponds.

Can I fish in Icelandic lakes?

Iceland has some of the best freshwater fishing lakes in the world. The untouched rivers and glistening lakes are full of salmon, trout and arctic char, with some spots considered first-class in the fishing scene. Most of the fishing lakes in Iceland are privately owned, and many owners will have regulations in place or even sell permits. Before fishing in any lake, you should always check with the landowner first.

Lakes in Iceland

If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, whether for seeing the spectacular views or fishing, we’d highly recommend adding an Icelandic lake to your itinerary or to-do list. Here is our guide to, what we believe, are the 5 most beautiful lakes in Iceland.

1. Lake Mývatn

Lake Mývatn is a large lake in northern Iceland, formed thousands of years ago by a lava fissure eruption. The lake is titled as a must-see in Iceland and is the perfect spot for adventurers to enjoy a hike or photo opportunity. Lake Mývatn is characterised by its bright blue waters that contrast with the surrounding pitch-black lava fields and mountains. The wetlands surrounding the lake are exceptionally rich in bird species, especially ducks. They reside there mostly from April to May, making the Spring season the perfect visiting time for avid birdwatchers.

Lake Myvatn by the Mountains in Iceland

Lake Mývatn by the mountains in northern Iceland

2. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón, an ever-increasing lake with a depth of 248 meters, is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. The melting glacier that results in the continuous growth of this lagoon means that the views here differ year after year. Icebergs that have broken away from the glacier can sometimes be seen falling into the lagoon and drifting out to sea, a breathtaking sight for visitors.

Jökulsárlón, located in the Vatnajökull National Park, is home to some fascinating wildlife including seals and various birdlife.  If you want to see more of the lagoon, a Jökulsárlón boat tour will allow you to sail through the serene waters and give a closer view of the icebergs.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon At Sunset in Iceland

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon at sunset

3. Kerið

One of the most unusual lakes in Iceland, Kerið is a volcanic crater lake that is almost perfectly circular. You can choose to take either an easy hike around the rim of the crater to view the water, or to head down the ladder into the crater for a closer look. Kerið, in the South of Iceland, is often included in the itinerary of many self drive Golden Circle tours. Depending on the time of your visit, you may even be lucky enough to spot the Northern Lights from the lake.

Kerid Volcanic Crater Lake in Iceland

Kerið volcanic crater lake in South of Iceland

4. Lagarfljót

The beauty of this lake is not in the form of crisp blue waters, but instead the expansive volume of water and surrounding scenery. This deep lake in Eastern Iceland is shrouded in mystery and ancient tales of a sea monster known as the Wyrm or Lagarfljótsormur. Sightings of the worm date back to the mid-1300s and were once seen as a bad omen. Luckily there have been no reported sightings for many years, but that’s not to say the legend no longer exists…

Lagarfljot Lake During Autumn In Iceland

Lagarfljót lake in Eastern Iceland

5. Tjörnin

If you’re heading to Reykjavík, you’ll likely spot this prominent landmark on your travels. Visitors tend to enjoy strolling the shores of the lake whilst feeding the large collection of ducks and birds in the area such as Whooper Swans, Arctic Terns, Mallards and seagulls. During the winter when Tjörnin freezes over it is often used for ice skating and ice hockey.

Birds Walking on Frozen Lake in Reykjavik

Frozen lake in Tjörnin Reykjavík

If you’re currently planning a trip to Iceland and are keen to find more activities for your itinerary, we have a variety of guided adventure trips and self drive tours to suit the needs of all travelers. Explore our options today!

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