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Botnsvatn Lake

View from lake Botnsvatn over Húsavík to Skálfandi Bay with Húsavík mountain on the right
View from lake Botnsvatn over Húsavík to Skálfandi Bay with Húsavík mountain on the right

Deep-set beneath the colourful slopes of Húsavík Mountain, a fair distance from civilisation, Lake Botnsvatn is a particularly serene and peaceful location to visit. The best times of year to visit are usually considered to be the summer and autumn. But even when still frozen in early spring, the vast yet pristine plateau of ice is still worthy of a visit, if only for the exaggerated sense of space and the dramatic, polar landscape it offers.

Lake Botnsvatn has an area of 1,05 km². It is an oligotrophic lake situated approximately 130 metres above sea level, just southeast of Húsavík. The River Búðará, runs from the lake, through the town, beside Húsavík’s botanical garden into the ocean at Skjálfandi Bay.


Walking or jogging around the perimeter is a great way to see the lake. It’s only 5km, so, if walking, will take about 1 hour.
For those wishing to relax, it´s pleasant to picnic at the water’s edge. If you would like to go fishing in the lake, you are welcome, you don’t have to buy a permit. The typical catch is small Arctic Char, of which there is a strong population.

It´s best not to swim in the lake yourself though, due to a larvae that lives in the water. Please note that camping or overnight stays are not allowed in the area.

Useful Links

Recent bird sightings in Botnsvatn
Annual bird sightings in Botnsvatn
The Geology of Botnsvatn

Getting There

It is 2.7km to the lake from Húsavík. To get there, turn off the main road, up Garðarsbraut, past the bakery. Then, take the left before the Árból guesthouse, on to the road, Ásgarðsvegur. This turns into gravel shortly after, depending on the recent condition, it may not be suitable for all vehicles.
Route map for driving from Húsavík

If walking, there are several different footpaths you can take. The central one, across the heath is probably the prettiest, but walking the road, Ásgarðsvegur also offers spectacular views across the bay and Húsavík town itself. The most beautiful path starts in the park. Follow the stream in the park all the way until the end and then follow the signs marked “Botsvatn”.