Many places in the Icelandic Highland are rarely visited due to their isolation and difficulties to visit in a vehicle. It that sense they are challenging and mostly visited by hikers. This, on the other hand, does not apply to Álftavatn lake, or Swan Lake, located by the popular hiking track Laugavegur and also one of the most exciting 4X4 Highland roads Syrðri Fjallabak. By the lake, there is a popular mountain cabin and a camping site. Many hikers on the Laugavegur track choose to stay there overnight. The lake is placed in a beautiful peaceful landscape, surrounded by mountains that are characteristic for the southern part of the Highland. During the summer months, the place is quite busy.
The southern part of the Icelandic highland
Like many places in Iceland, lakes, caves, stacks by the shore, hills, cliffs and other places in the landscape, Álftavatn lake has a folklore story. Early in the eighteenth century, a farmer traveled with his thirteen-year-old daughter to Álftavatn lake to hunt Swans. As he took his horse from the shore into the lake he fell off the horse and drowned. The daughter traveled back home, a day's journey, and gathered some men and help. Despite a thorough search, the farmer was not found. The next night her mother had a dream where her husband asked the search team to come back a fetch his body under a certain cliff by the lake. The next day the search team went back and found the body of the farmer under the cliff. Although a folklore, it is a true story. A lot of people in Iceland believe that a message from the deceased can be sent through dreams. Well here is your prove, by Álftavatn lake in the Icelandic Highland.
Access is not simple
Driving to Álftavatn is quite challenging and requires a good modified 4X4 vehicle. The Highland track Syðri Fjallabak is the most difficult highland road open to travelers in Iceland. And it is only open from the beginning of July until late September. But at the same time the most fascinating with such variety of places that we label it as one of our most favorite roads.
Below is the location of Álftavatn lake on the map of Iceland