Hafravatn is a lake on the outskirts of Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík, in the west of the country.
Explore this area of Iceland on a self drive tour.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Philipp Weigell. No edits made
Hafravatn is a relatively small lake. It is just over a kilometre squared, its deepest point is 28 metres (92 feet), and it sits 76 metres (249 feet) above sea level. It is, however, larger than its neighbouring lake, Langavatn, which sits to the southwest.
The lake is filled with water coming from the Seljadalsá river, which runs into its eastern side, and the river Úlfarsfellsá flows out of it. This river is named after the adjacent mountain Úlfarsfell, and the lake itself is named after another, Hafrafell.
As is the case in many of Iceland’s serene locations, there are several holiday homes surrounding Hafravatn, where locals retreat to get close to nature in summer. Until the seventies, there was a farm on site, as can be noted by the abandoned sheep pen against the lake’s shores.
Due to its proximity to Reykjavík, Hafravatn is seen or featured on many tours and activities from the city. Of particular note are the many buggies and all-terrain vehicle excursions that leave the capital, which ascend the aforementioned mountains of Úlfarsfell and Hafrafell after circling the lake.
By Hafravatn is a launching site for paragliders, allowing guests to achieve incredible views of west Iceland, that includes the capital, Faxaflói bay, Mount Esjan, and the Snæfellsnes and Reykjanes Peninsulas, without ascending a mountain.
Finally, the lake is renowned for its fishing opportunities. Hafravatn is pregnant with many small arctic char, a delicacy in Iceland, and also home to the larger brown trout, which are caught on occasion.
Salmon have also been known to enter the lake from the river, but the area is not considered to be particularly good for salmon fishing compared to some other parts of the country.