With limited hours of daylight in Iceland in the winter, evenings in North Iceland can seem long, especially when waiting for optimal Northern Lights viewing. One evening, we whiled away a few hours relaxing in the steamy aqua waters of the Mývatn Nature Baths.
Similar in concept to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s biggest tourist attractions, the Mývatn Nature Baths are a man-made lagoon in the middle of a lava field with water supplies running straight from the National Power Company´s 2500 meter deep borehole in Bjarnarflag. Though in winter we were surrounded by snow and sparkling frost, the water is a warm 36° – 40° Celsius and rich in minerals and silicates.
North Iceland isn’t visited by many tourists in the winter (though they boast that you have a 50% better chance of seeing the Northern Lights in the North) and so we practically had the Mývatn Nature Baths to ourselves. We soaked in the lagoon, moving around to find the various spurts of a hot water throughout the lagoon. It was only slightly cloudy and I hoped the Aurora Borealis would make an early appearance to dance above us.
A house with two steam baths is built straight on top of a geothermal area and the sulphur-free steam rises up through holes in the floor. Not wanting to leave the therapeutic waters of the lagoon, I let Tim try out the steam baths on his own.
It was a heavenly way to spend a few hours and we were going to return again the next night until we decided to be a bit more adventurous with our bathing. Nearby is Grjótagjá Thermal Spring inside of a natural lava cave, where many locals go for their daily bath. Give them both a try for two entirely different experiences!
Know Before You Go
- A visit to the Mývatn Nature Baths is included in Lake Mývatn Super Jeep Tour with Saga Travel. Pick-up is available from both Akureyri and Lake Mývatn hotels and guesthouses. Adults are 27,000 ISK and children are 13,500 ISK. (Approximately $209 per adult and $105 per child.)
- Mývatn Nature Baths can also be visited on your own. Off-season and shoulder season entry is 2800 ISK per adult (approximately $22).
- In winter, Mývatn Nature Baths are open daily from 12pm – 10pm and the last entry is at 9:30pm.
- Bring a bathing suit and towel. Towel rental is also available for 600 ISK (approximately $4).