Dimmuborgir Iceland is a surprising area near Lake Myvatn in the North. The lava formations and the surrounding vegetation will make your imagination wander: cave, pinnacles, apertures and a few imaginary faces… I recommend stopping on your way around lake Myvatn especially if you enjoy geology or photography. Below is my guide to explore the Dimmuborgir lava field.
Navigate back to the complete Iceland Travel Guide
This article contains affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Why visit Dimmuborgir in Iceland ?
There are many lava fields in Iceland, but none of them are like Dimmuborgir located near Lake Myvatn. The formations you can admire in that field are intricate and have triggered the creation of many stories with elves, trolls and other mystical creatures. I was there in autumn (end September) and had the chance to admire them surrounded by colorful vegetation and low bushes.
Geology of Dimmuborgir Iceland
How were the lava formations of Dimmuborgir formed?
They are thought to be the remains of a lava tube which formed above a lake about 2300 years ago, trapping the water. As it began to cool, the reservoir estimated to have been 10 meters deep, was released, leaving only those shapes created by steam. These rock formations are completely unique (only known similar feature is off the coast of Mexico under water).
Mythology of Dimmuborgir
According to Icelandic folklore, Dimmuborgir is the home of a homicidal troll Gryla, her third husband and their sons The Yule Lads. The sons come back in the snow to give children either gifts or rotten potatoes depending on whether they had behaved well or not.
PLANNING TIPS - Dimmuborgir Iceland
How to get to Dimmuborgir Location
- In North Iceland, near Lake Myvatn
- From Reykjahlíð, continue on the Ring Road for approximately 5 km (South shore of Lake Myvatn, towards Akureyri), and then turn left on the road to Dimmuborgir for approximately 1.5 km until you reach the parking. The crossing is well indicated
- Dimmuborgir (with its GPS coordinates) is included in my eBooks to help you plan your unforgettable road trip:
Visiting Dimmuborgir Myvatn
- Paths are indicated at the entrance (and listed in the section below). Some are paved and other just trails and they vary from 10min to 3 hours. None are very difficult
- I took the Church path and the yellow portion between both ends of the Church path. I took me 1h30 walking very slowly. Most interesting features are close to the gate. I enjoyed the walk but some might say that it is not worth the walk, just for the Church.
- Amenities: café near the entrance and toilets (200kr)
- One of the closest accommodations is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse by the lake - Check out photos and availability
- In Winter, the Yule lads is another attraction of Dimmuborgir
- It is a very touristic place, so I recommend going early or late afternoon to enjoy it almost by yourself
- It is free of charge, although donations are welcome.
- Do not climb them, stay on the paths!
- And Check out my complete article with detailed suggestions and tips on what to wear and pack for Iceland to stay warm and comfortable
Need to rent a car for your road trip in Iceland?
- You can choose from some great local companies - Iceland has a lot of specificities and their offerings are adapted - you can compare cars and prices of quality local brands on this expert Icelandic website
- Otherwise you can compare offers from international companies on RentalCars.com
- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
The walking paths - Dimmuborgir Hiking Map
Here is a picture of the Dimmuborgir map with all the hiking trails for you to choose:
- Small circle (white) – 570 meters – 10-15 minutes takes you to the Borgarskora channel and some of the main features
- Big circle (yellow) – 840m – 15-20 minutes takes you to Hallarflöt (Hallar place), a small grassy area surrounded by lava pinnacles and rock formations near the gate and further formations
- Church circle (Kirkjuhringur - red) – 2.3 km – 1h takes you to the most famous feature: the church
- The crooked path (Krokastigur): – 2km – 1.5 to 2 hours – Indicated as difficult, it goes through the middle of the field. This is a less flat trail. But the comments I saw said that it was not really difficult.
- The Mellond Circle (Mellanahringur) – 3.4km – 1.5 to 2 hours takes you to sand filled lava and sand meadows
- Dimmyborgir-Hverfjall-Storgja – 8km, 2 to 3 hours is a longer hike going out of the Dimmuborgir
Don't worry you won't get lost!
The paths close to the entrance are paved.
However, they are not further away.
Please respect the trails!
Have a look at one of the Dimmuborgir walking trails below:
At the entrance you can have a view of the field from above and more explanation thanks to the orientation table.
Near the carpark you can also get great views of Lake Myvatn
The most visited Lava Formations
Not far from the entrance, and along a well-maintained path are some impressive features with few holes.
So even if you don't have the time or the capacity to hike around, you can already see some great lava formations!
The crater of Hverfjall
One of my favorite point of views was on the yellow path between both ends of the red path (church walk) as you get vegetation, formation and the Hverfjall volcano crater that I later climbed.
Dimmuborgir in photos - the church and more
The most famous of these formations is “The Church”. And as you can see on the picture below, it is clear why this name was chosen for the feature. This is a cave open at both ends and it has a dome-like ceiling.
The Church is at the other end of the field compared to the other features above. In between the path winds in the midst lava. The formations are less interesting, but the walk is quite relaxing.
Nearby is the Dimmuborgir Guesthouse, one of my favorite places to stay in Iceland (I booked myself and paid entirely for my stay). Right next to the lake and with the Hverfjall crater in the background... perfect! Learn more on my Iceland Accommodations article.
Or check out more photos and book
Dimmuborgir in Winter
Dimmuborgir remains accessible in Winter. However the longer trails are hard to follow.
The main rock formations close to the gate are easy to admire under the snow.
Learn more on my article about Dimmuborgir in Winter
Want to see more of Iceland's beauty?
Quite a unique place, don’t you think?
You might also like: