Top 10 Lakes in Iceland

Iceland is adorned with a multitude of breathtaking lakes. These shimmering bodies of water, each with unique charm, reflect the country's pristine wilderness. From glacial lagoons to volcanic crater lakes, Iceland's lakes invite exploration and captivate the senses.

Understand the Nature Behind the Lakes in Iceland

You most likely won't have time to visit all lakes but can still learn about them at Reykjavík's Perlan. Perlan's exhibits offer a fascinating journey through Iceland's unique geographical features. These lakes, born of glacial meltwater and volcanic activity, are vital to Iceland's ecosystem. 

The Water in Icelandic Nature exhibit showcases their crucial role in the country's hydrology and the diverse ecosystems they nurture. On the other hand, the Timeline of Iceland provides a chronological narrative of these lakes' formation, highlighting significant geological events that have shaped Iceland's terrain over millennia. By bridging these two exhibits, visitors can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of Icelandic lakes and comprehend their geologic origins and ecological importance.

1. Þingvallavatn (Thingvallavatn)


Within the Þingvellir National Park, Þingvallavatn is Iceland's largest natural lake and a gem of Icelandic nature. The lake's clear waters stretch 83 square kilometres, reflecting the dramatic volcanic cliffs and lava formations surrounding it. 

Besides its beauty, Þingvallavatn holds historical significance as the location of the ancient Icelandic parliament, the Alþingi. Visitors can explore the park's walking trails, witness the Silfra Fissure, or engage in snorkelling, diving, and fishing. Þingvallavatn showcases the blend of nature, history, and geology that makes Iceland remarkable.

2. Lake Mývatn

Lake Myvatn

Located in the volcanic region of northern Iceland, Lake Mývatn is a geological wonderland that captivates with its otherworldly landscapes. Created by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago, the lake is surrounded by lava formations, sulfuric mud pools, and steaming geothermal vents. The area's unique geology has also given rise to remarkable pseudo-craters, offering a glimpse into Iceland's volcanic past. 

Lake Mývatn is a visual feast and a sanctuary for birdlife. It attracts many bird species during the summer, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Exploring the lake's surroundings, bathing in the soothing waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths, or hiking to the Hverfjall volcano are unforgettable experiences that await visitors to this mesmerizing lake.

3. Jökulsárlón

In the southeastern part of Iceland, Jökulsárlón is a glacial wonder and one of the country's most iconic destinations. Known as a glacial lagoon, Jökulsárlón is a result of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier's retreat. Enormous icebergs break off from the glacier's edge and float majestically in the lagoon's turquoise waters, creating a mesmerizing sight. Visitors can take boat tours to get closer to the ice sculptures or stand on the shores, witnessing the ever-changing landscape as icebergs drift and reshape. Jökulsárlón is a testament to Iceland's glaciers' raw power and ethereal beauty.

4. Kerið


Kerið, a volcanic crater lake in southwest Iceland, is a visual marvel. Its striking red slopes and deep blue waters create a captivating contrast that mesmerizes visitors. The caldera's walls provide a unique opportunity to walk along the rim and appreciate the lake's beauty from above. Descending into the crater reveals a tranquil oasis surrounded by volcanic rock formations. 

The vibrant colours and the stillness of the waters make Kerið a popular destination for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Its geological significance of earthy tones make it a must-visit location in Iceland's diverse landscape.

5. Kleifarvatn


Nestled on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland, Kleifarvatn is a hidden gem that captivates with its mysterious allure. This volcanic lake is known for its dramatic and haunting beauty. The dark, black volcanic shores contrast against the blue waters, creating a striking and enchanting landscape. 

Barren lava fields surround Kleifarvatn, adding to its otherworldly charm. Its depths hold a sense of mystery as it is one of the deepest lakes in Iceland, and legends whisper of a mythical creature lurking beneath the surface. 

The tranquillity and isolation of Kleifarvatn make it an ideal destination for those seeking solitude and a connection with nature. Hiking along the lake's shores offers panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness, while fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in search of trout. 

6. Langisjór


Tucked away in the highlands of southern Iceland, Langisjór is a hidden gem of beauty. This remote and secluded lake offers a serene natural setting that transports visitors to a world of tranquillity. Surrounded by towering mountains, vast glaciers, and moss-covered lava fields, Langisjór exudes a sense of untouched wilderness. 

Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding landscapes, creating a mirror-like surface that amplifies its serene atmosphere. The area is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with numerous trails leading to breathtaking viewpoints and secluded spots along the lake's shore. Langisjór's remote location and unspoiled nature make it an ideal destination for those seeking solitude and a deep connection with Iceland's untamed landscapes.

7. Lagarfljót

Lagarfljót, also known as Lake Lagarfljót, is a lake located in eastern Iceland. Surrounded by lush forests and picturesque landscapes, Lagarfljót offers a serene and idyllic setting for nature lovers. 

The lake stretches over 25 kilometres and is renowned for its tranquil waters. Legend has it that Lagarfljót is home to a mythical creature known as the Lagarfljót Worm, adding an air of mystery to the lake. 

Visitors can explore the lake by boat or embark on hikes along its shores, immersing themselves in the beauty of the surrounding scenery. Lagarfljót's peaceful ambience and natural charm make it a hidden gem worth discovering in the diverse tapestry of Icelandic lakes.

8. Fjallsárlón


Fjallsárlón is a glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland. Nestled amidst majestic mountains and sweeping glaciers, Fjallsárlón offers a spellbinding experience. Glacial icebergs calve from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and float gracefully in the lagoon's serene waters, creating a scene of ethereal beauty. 

Visitors can witness the ever-changing landscape as ice sculptures drift and glisten in the sunlight. Exploring the lagoon's shores provides a unique opportunity to marvel at the power of Iceland's glaciers up close. Fjallsárlón is a true testament to nature's wonders in the land of fire and ice.

9. Hvalvatn

Hvalvatn, nestled in the Borgarfjörður region of western Iceland, is a hidden gem that enchants with its beauty. Surrounded by rolling hills and framed by the majestic Hvalfell mountain, Hvalvatn offers a retreat away from the bustling crowds. The lake's calm waters reflect the ever-changing colours of the sky, creating a canvas that captivates visitors. 

Hvalvatn is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and hiking along its shores. Its secluded location makes it an ideal relaxing spot and connecting with nature. Whether you seek a peaceful picnic spot or a place to immerse yourself in the stillness of Icelandic landscapes, Hvalvatn's natural charm makes it a must-visit destination.

10. Úlfljótsvatn


Located in the heart of East Iceland, Úlfljótsvatn is a hidden gem among Iceland's lakes. This tranquil body of water stretches over 25 square kilometres, surrounded by rolling hills and a rugged, untouched landscape. Úlfljótsvatn offers a sense of solitude and serenity, far from the bustling tourist destinations. 

The lake's pristine waters reflect the surrounding scenery, creating a backdrop for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Fishing enthusiasts will delight in the abundance of brown trout in Úlfljótsvatn, making it a popular spot for angling. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Iceland, Úlfljótsvatn provides a serene escape into the country's unspoiled wilderness.

Top 10 Lakes in Iceland FAQ


How Many Lakes Are There in Iceland?

While it is challenging to provide an exact number due to variations in lake sizes and definitions, there are estimated to be around 10.000 lakes in Iceland. These lakes range from small ponds and tarns to larger bodies of water, each with unique characteristics and natural beauty. 

What Is The Cleanest Lake in Iceland?

One of the cleanest lakes in Iceland is Þingvallavatn. The lake is fed by glacial runoff and numerous underground springs, contributing to its exceptional water quality.

What Is The Biggest Lake in Iceland?

The largest lake in Iceland is Þingvallavatn. With an area of approximately 84 square kilometres, it holds the title of Iceland's largest natural lake.

What Is The Longest Lake in Iceland?

Iceland's longest lake is Þórisvatn. 

What Is The Largest Freshwater Lake in Iceland?

The largest freshwater lake in Iceland is Þórisvatn. While it is primarily a glacial lake, the water in Þórisvatn is considered freshwater due to its minimal salt content.

Back to articles