The Legendary Lake Lagarfljót

Lagarfljót (2)

Tucked into the east coast of Iceland, Lagarfljót Lake is a 112m deep lake that is home to an eerie underwater creature. If you are planning a trip around Iceland's Ring Road, make sure you stop and dive into the folklore that surrounds this lake.

About Lake Lagarfljót

If you’re heading east on your trip to the land of fire and ice, you are guaranteed to stumble upon Lagarfljót. The largest town in East Iceland, Egilsstaðir, is located on the bank of the lake and boasts incredible views across the water. The lake water is supplied by the surrounding glacier, which gives it a grey colour. There are many wonderful spots to picnic alongside the lake, and the drive on either side of the water offers fantastic scenery. 

Lagarfljót Lake is not particularly wide, only 2.5 km across, which means it is sometimes mistaken for a river by travellers passing by. However, this lake is popular with people embracing the natural calming atmosphere, fishing on the banks, and, most importantly, searching for the infamous Lagarfljót worm.


Lagarfljót Lake from a nearby mountain, Iceland

Lagarfljót Lake Monster

Embedded deep in Icelandic legend, Lagarfljótsormur (the Lagarfljót worm) is a sea monster said to live in the waters of this hidden lake, dating back to 1345. According to local folklore, the waters in the east of Iceland are home to what locals believe is the cousin of the Loch Ness monster. Although no one has been able to prove the existence of Lagarfljótsormur, the legend has become a popular tourist attraction in the region, inspiring works of art and literature and capturing the minds of visitors and locals alike.

Sightings of the alleged giant worm seem to have continued, with the head of the Icelandic national forest reporting a sighting in 1963. In 2012, a video emerged showing what some believe to be a serpent-like shape swimming in the water. The popularity of the myth has led to the creation of sculptures of the Lagarfljót worm around the lake, pinpointing locations from where the monster has been reportedly seen. Visitors can explore the area to see the sculptures and immerse themselves in the legend of Lagarfljótsormur.

How to get to Lagarfljót 

Lagarfljót and the Ring Road meet in East Iceland, which means the lake is an extremely accessible attraction providing you have access to a car. 

Simply join Route 1 from wherever your journey begins. You’ll need to turn off on Road 931 where your lake adventure will begin. If you are driving from the capital city, the journey will take approximately 8 hours and 20 minutes - which is far too much to do all at once! A few stops en route will make the journey even more rewarding, from Akureyri to Mývatn there is plenty to see in between. 

For a place to stay nearby, discover Fosshotel Eastfjords. Conveniently located in East Iceland and boasting phenomenal views across the fjords, this is a perfect place to unwind and refuel. 

Things to do Near Lagarfljót 

Hallormsstaður forest - Also known as Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland's largest national forest holds some of the most beautiful hiking trails and showcases the success of reforestation projects in Iceland. During June, Hallormsstaðaskógur hosts a fantastic forest day filled with competitions and music.
Hengifoss - Hengifoss is a popular hiking trail to Iceland's third-largest waterfall, fed by the river Hengifossá. The rock behind the waterfall has captured the interest of geologists as it has red layers within the dark rock.



Hengifoss in East Iceland has unique red and black rock layers

Litlanesfoss - Litlanesfoss is an impressive two-tiered waterfall located on the trail towards Hengifoss. However, the waterfall has a completely unique geological feature: basalt columns. The columns, which are formed during the rapid cooling of lava, are similar to those you will find at Svartifoss.

If you're heading north from the legendary Lake Lagarfljót on the Ring Road, discover 10 things to do in Northeast Iceland.