Imagine submerging yourself in naturally heated pools, enveloped in a cloud of geothermal steam., You start gazing out at the striking Icelandic landscape with a sky aeaze with the northern lights. Welcome to the Myvatn Nature Baths, one of Iceland’s hidden treasures.
Nestled in the heart of North Iceland, the Myvatn Nature Baths offer a serene, less crowded alternative to the famed Blue Lagoon. This allows you to connect with Iceland’s primal volcanic landscape in an intimate, tranquil setting. The geothermal waters are rich in minerals like sulphur and silica, known for their healing properties, making this not just an indulgent dip, but also a therapeutic retreat for the body and soul.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about the Myvatn Nature Baths, from the fascinating geological history that created these heavenly pools, what to expect when you visit, health benefits, and how to incorporate this unforgettable experience into your Iceland itinerary. Soak in the knowledge, just like you’d luxuriate in these soothing, warm waters. Your journey to relaxation and rejuvenation in the land of fire and ice begins here.
- The Formation of the Myvatn Nature Baths
- What To Expect at the Myvatn Nature Baths
- Nature Bath Health Benefits
- How To Get to the Myvatn Nature Baths
- Finding The Best Time To Visit
- Myvatn Nature Baths Pricing and Booking
- What To Bring on Your Visit
- 7 Tips For Visiting the Nature Baths
- Attractions Near the Myvatn Nature Baths
- Accommodations in the Myvatn Area
- Frequently Asked Questions and Our Final Thoughts
The Formation of the Myvatn Nature Baths
The Myvatn Nature Baths, also known as Jarðböðin við Mývatn, owe their existence to the same geological forces that have shaped Iceland’s dramatic landscape. They are located in an active geothermal area of the North-Eastern region of Iceland, near the beautiful Lake Mývatn, a region known for its rich biodiversity and unusual volcanic features.
The formation of these natural baths is tied to the intense volcanic activity that the Mývatn area experienced thousands of years ago. The heat generated by the volcanic activity deep beneath the earth’s surface warms up the groundwater, which then rises to the surface, resulting in hot springs.
The geothermal waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths originate about 2.5 kilometers beneath the surface. As the water ascends, it dissolves minerals from the surrounding rock, picking up substantial amounts of silica and a host of other minerals along the way. By the time it reaches the surface, it is uniquely suited for bathing, offering both relaxation and reputed skin healing benefits.
The pools themselves are man-made, built to capture this geothermally heated water, but the heat and the healing properties of the water are entirely natural, gifted by the intense geothermal activity below.
It’s a humbling thought to consider that while you’re soaking in the Myvatn Nature Baths, you’re connecting directly with the volcanic energy that powers much of Iceland, an energy that originates in the fiery heart of the earth itself. This geothermal marvel is not just a testament to the country’s volcanic genesis but also a symbol of how Icelanders have harnessed and lived in harmony with their unique environment for centuries.
What To Expect at the Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn Nature Baths is often referred to as the ‘Blue Lagoon of the North,’ and while there are similarities between the two, the Myvatn Baths offer a less commercialized and more serene experience. Here’s what you can anticipate during your visit:
- The Pools: The central feature of the baths is the large, lagoon-like geothermal pool. The temperature of the water varies throughout the pool, ranging between a comfortable 36°C (97°F) to a hot 40°C (104°F), depending on proximity to the water’s source. The pool’s bottom is natural, giving your feet a gentle massage as you walk around.
- Geothermal Steam Baths: Myvatn Nature Baths also houses two steam baths. These are located directly on top of a geothermal area, and the steam generated offers an intense and purifying experience. The temperature inside these steam baths can reach up to 50°C (122°F), with a humidity level near 100%.
- Amenities: The facility includes modern and clean changing rooms, lockers, and showers. There’s also a relaxation area where you can rest and soak in the serene beauty of the surroundings.
- Café and Bar: The complex houses a café-bar that serves a variety of refreshments and snacks, including local beer and traditional Icelandic soup. This makes for a wonderful way to enjoy a light meal, either before or after your dip, with an incredible view over the geothermal pool and the lake Mývatn beyond.
- The Views: The scenery surrounding the Myvatn Nature Baths is breathtaking. The baths offer panoramic views of the craggy volcanic landscape, Lake Mývatn, and, depending on the time of the year, the mesmerizing Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun.
- The Healing Waters: The geothermal water in Myvatn Nature Baths is rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur. While these minerals give the water its characteristic blue color, they are also known for their healing properties, particularly for skin conditions like psoriasis. It’s a soothing experience for both body and mind.
Overall, a visit to Myvatn Nature Baths provides a rejuvenating and authentic Icelandic experience. Immersed in the mineral-rich, geothermal waters, surrounded by stunning landscapes, it’s an incredible way to unwind, soothe your muscles, and connect with Iceland’s extraordinary natural environment.
Nature Bath Health Benefits
Many visitors to Myvatn Nature Baths are drawn by the promise of health benefits associated with the geothermal waters. Let’s explore some of these potential benefits:
- Skin Health: The geothermal water at Myvatn Nature Baths is rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur, both of which have known benefits for the skin. Silica acts as a natural exfoliant, helping to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can soothe skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Sulfur, on the other hand, has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Respiratory Health: The steam from the baths, which is laden with minerals, may have benefits for the respiratory system. Breathing in the steam can help to clear nasal and sinus passages, providing relief for those with respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis.
- Muscular and Joint Health: The warm water and the buoyancy it provides can help to relieve tension in muscles and joints. Many visitors find that aches and pains, particularly in the back and neck, are lessened after a soak in the baths. The heat can help to improve circulation, promote relaxation, and reduce stress levels, contributing to overall well-being.
- Mental Health: The benefits are not just physical. The act of immersing oneself in the warm waters, surrounded by the stunning Icelandic landscape, can provide a mental and emotional boost. The serene environment is ideal for reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and enhancing overall mood.
It’s worth noting that while many visitors report experiencing these health benefits, responses can be subjective and vary from person to person. As with any natural remedy, it’s important to approach with a balanced perspective and consider the baths as one part of a holistic approach to health and wellness.
How To Get to the Myvatn Nature Baths
The Myvatn Nature Baths are located in the north of Iceland, around 105 kilometers east of Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland, and approximately 490 kilometers from Reykjavik, the national capital. The bath’s remote location is part of its charm, offering a tranquil and idyllic setting amidst the unique landscape of the Mývatn area.
- By Car: The easiest and most flexible way to reach the baths is by car. The journey from Akureyri takes about 1.5 hours via Route 1 (the Ring Road) and Route 848. The drive from Reykjavik can take 6-7 hours, depending on road conditions. It’s a scenic drive, offering stunning views of Iceland’s diverse landscapes. Car rentals are readily available at Keflavik International Airport and throughout Reykjavik.
- By Public Transport: Reaching the Myvatn Nature Baths by public transport is possible but can be a bit complicated as it involves multiple transfers. From Reykjavik, you would first take a bus to Akureyri and then catch a local bus to Mývatn. Remember to check the schedules in advance, as services may be limited, particularly outside of the summer season.
- By Tour: Numerous tour operators offer trips to the Myvatn Nature Baths from Akureyri and even from Reykjavik. These can be a good option if you prefer not to drive, offering the added benefit of a guide who can provide insight into the region’s geology and history.
- By Air: Air Iceland Connect operates flights from Reykjavik to Akureyri, and from there, you can rent a car or take a tour to the baths. This can be a good option if you’re short on time.
Remember to take note of Iceland’s weather and road conditions when planning your journey, especially during the winter months when conditions can be unpredictable. Safe driving practices are crucial in this part of the world!
Finding The Best Time To Visit
The Myvatn Nature Baths are open year-round, offering distinctly different but equally wonderful experiences across the seasons. Your ideal time to visit will depend on what you’re looking to get out of your experience.
- Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season in Iceland due to its mild weather and extended daylight hours. It’s a fantastic time to visit the Myvatn Nature Baths. The warm, geothermal water provides a stark contrast to the cool air, and the Midnight Sun phenomenon, in which the sun barely sets, means you can soak in the baths under a sunlit sky even late into the night.
- Autumn (September to November): Autumn in Iceland is characterized by changing colors and shorter days. The crowds start to thin, making it a great time to enjoy the baths with a bit more tranquility. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might catch the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights while soaking in the warm waters, which would be an unforgettable experience.
- Winter (December to February): Visiting the Myvatn Nature Baths in winter is truly a unique experience. The contrast between the hot geothermal water and the freezing temperatures creates a steamy ambience that’s almost otherworldly. Plus, the chance to potentially witness the Northern Lights dancing above while you’re submerged in the warm water makes winter visits especially magical. Be aware, though, that road conditions can be challenging in winter, and you should always check the weather forecast and road conditions before setting out.
- Spring (March to May): As the snow melts and the days lengthen, spring can be a beautiful time to visit the Myvatn Nature Baths. The tourist crowds of summer haven’t quite arrived yet, and the surrounding landscape is coming back to life with blooming vegetation.
Remember that the Myvatn Nature Baths can get busy, especially during the peak summer season. It’s a good idea to arrive early or late in the day for a more peaceful experience. Always check the baths’ website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information on opening hours and any potential closures.
Myvatn Nature Baths Pricing and Booking
Pricing for the Myvatn Nature Baths can vary depending on the time of year and the specific services you wish to avail. Typically, the general adult admission is between ISK 4,800 and ISK 5,400. For the most current prices, it’s best to visit the official Myvatn Nature Baths website or contact them directly.
Keep in mind that admission includes access to the geothermal baths, steam baths, and the facility’s other amenities. But, extras such as towel rentals, swimsuit rentals, and drinks are charged separately. So, remember to factor in these costs when planning your visit.
Booking in advance is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended, especially during the peak summer season when the baths can get quite busy. You can purchase tickets online through the Myvatn Nature Baths’ official website. This not only ensures your spot but also saves time on arrival as you can skip the ticket queue and head straight to the entrance.
For those looking for a more exclusive experience, private changing rooms and lockers are available for an additional fee. These offer more privacy and convenience, especially for families or groups.
Lastly, the Myvatn Nature Baths do adhere to a policy of responsible and respectful usage. All visitors are required to shower thoroughly without a swimsuit before entering the baths, as is customary in all Icelandic swimming pools and spas. This helps to maintain the cleanliness and purity of the geothermal water.
Remember, prices and policies can change, so it’s always a good idea to check the latest information on the official website before your visit.
What To Bring on Your Visit
Visiting the Myvatn Nature Baths requires a bit of preparation to ensure that you have the best experience possible. Here’s a handy checklist of items you should consider bringing:
- Swimsuit: Although you can rent one from the facilities, bringing your own is recommended for comfort and convenience.
- Towel: Again, towels are available for rent, but having your own can save on rental costs.
- Flip-flops or Water Shoes: These are useful for walking around the site, both for comfort and hygiene reasons.
- Waterproof Bag: A waterproof bag or case can protect your valuables and electronics from water damage.
- Hydration: While there is a cafe on site, it’s always a good idea to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.
- Hair Conditioner: The mineral-rich water at the baths can be tough on hair, leaving it dry or brittle. Many visitors recommend applying a leave-in conditioner before entering the baths to protect your hair.
- Sunscreen: If you’re visiting during the sunny months, remember to protect your skin with a good waterproof sunscreen. The reflection from the water can intensify the sun’s effects.
- Warm Clothing: You’ll want something warm and comfortable to change into after your visit, especially during the colder months. Even in the summer, temperatures can drop in the evening.
Remember, lockers are available to secure your belongings while you are in the baths. However, it’s still advisable not to bring valuables if you can avoid it. The focus of your visit should be relaxation and enjoying the unique experience the Myvatn Nature Baths have to offer.
7 Tips For Visiting the Nature Baths
Visiting the Myvatn Nature Baths can be an unforgettable experience with the right preparation. Here are some tips to ensure your visit is smooth and enjoyable:
- Arrive Early or Late: The baths can get crowded during peak hours, particularly in the afternoon when tour buses arrive. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. Plus, starting or ending your day in the baths can be a truly magical experience.
- Take a Shower Before Entering: Following local customs and hygiene regulations, all visitors are required to take a thorough shower without swimwear before entering the baths. The facility provides private shower cubicles for your comfort.
- Stay Hydrated: The warm geothermal waters can cause you to become dehydrated faster than you might realize. Make sure to bring a water bottle and take regular hydration breaks.
- Respect the Environment: The Myvatn Nature Baths are a natural treasure. Be sure to respect the environment by not leaving any trash behind, not swimming in undesignated areas, and following all rules and regulations.
- Take Your Time: The baths are not something to rush. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours there to truly enjoy and experience the healing powers of the geothermal waters.
- Enjoy the On-Site Amenities: The Myvatn Nature Baths also feature a steam bath, a natural sauna, and a relaxation area where you can enjoy the breathtaking views. Don’t miss out on these amenities during your visit.
- Check Weather Conditions: Weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and can change quickly. Always check the weather forecast before your visit to ensure the conditions are safe for travel.
Remember, the aim of your visit is relaxation and enjoyment. Respect the tranquility of the place, keeping noise levels to a minimum to preserve the peaceful atmosphere for everyone.
Attractions Near the Myvatn Nature Baths
While the Myvatn Nature Baths alone are worth the trip, there are plenty of other attractions in the area to fill your day. Here are a few suggestions:
- Dimmuborgir: This large area of unusually shaped lava fields east of Mývatn is often referred to as a gateway to another world. The dramatic formations, towering structures, and local folklore about trolls make this an enchanting visit.
- Hverfjall Crater: A close drive from the Nature Baths, the Hverfjall Crater offers an easy hike and an incredible view. This tephra cone or tuff ring volcano is approximately 1 kilometer in diameter – one of the largest in the world.
- Námaskarð Geothermal Area: Situated on the north side of Lake Mývatn, this high-temperature geothermal area with boiling mudpots, fumaroles, and sulphur crystals provides an otherworldly landscape.
- Skútustaðagígar Pseudo Craters: This row of pseudo craters formed by steam explosions when molten lava flowed over a wet surface. It offers a unique geological experience. The site is also a protected natural site and offers a good hiking trail.
- Vogafjós Farm: If you’re feeling hungry after your dip in the Nature Baths, head over to Vogafjós Farm. This working dairy farm doubles as a restaurant and offers farm-to-table meals with a view of the cows.
- Dettifoss Waterfall: About an hour’s drive from Mývatn, you’ll find Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss. The waterfall has an astounding width of 100 meters and a drop of 44 meters.
Remember, the Lake Mývatn area is rich with bird life, volcanic features, and diverse landscapes. It is definitely worth spending a day or two exploring the region if your itinerary allows.
Accommodations in the Myvatn Area
If you wish to stay overnight in the Mývatn area to fully experience the tranquility and natural beauty it has to offer, there are several accommodation options that cater to different travel styles and budgets:
- Sel-Hotel Mývatn: Offering an ideal location with views over the lake, this hotel is a perfect base for your exploration of the area. The rooms are comfortable and the hotel restaurant is known for its local delicacies.
- Hotel Laxá: A modern hotel located just a few kilometers from the Mývatn Nature Baths, Hotel Laxá offers comfortable rooms with stunning views. The on-site restaurant serves Icelandic and international cuisine.
- Hótel Gígur by Keahotels: Situated by the Skútustaðagígar Basalt Columns, this hotel gives you easy access to Mývatn’s attractions. Rooms are cozy, and the dining room provides panoramic views of the lake.
- Guesthouse Stöng and Cottages: If you’re looking for a homey atmosphere, consider this guesthouse located in the Mývatn countryside. They offer rooms in the main building and cozy cottages for more privacy.
- Hlíð Camping: For those looking for a budget-friendly and nature-immersive experience, camping is an excellent option. The Hlíð Camping site offers good facilities, including Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and a convenience store.
- Vogafjós Farm Resort: For a unique experience, consider staying at this farm resort. You can choose from modern rooms or rustic cabins, all while being surrounded by the farm animals and stunning landscapes.
As the Mývatn area is a popular destination, it’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the high season.
Frequently Asked Questions and Our Final Thoughts
- Is it necessary to book in advance? While it’s possible to buy tickets on arrival, it’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak times, to ensure availability.
- Do I need to bring my own towel and swimsuit? Yes, you should bring your own swimsuit. Towels can be rented for a small fee, but you’re welcome to bring your own.
- Are there lockers available? Yes, there are lockers available to store your personal belongings.
- Can children visit the Myvatn Nature Baths? Yes, children can visit the baths, and there’s a reduced entry fee for children aged 13-15. Those aged 12 and under enter free when accompanied by a parent.
- Is there a place to eat at the Myvatn Nature Baths? Yes, there’s a café on-site offering a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks, and meals.
- How long should I plan to stay at the baths? It’s recommended to spend at least two hours at the baths to fully enjoy the experience and relax in the waters.
Immersing yourself in the therapeutic waters of the Myvatn Nature Baths is a quintessential Icelandic experience that should not be missed. Whether you’re soaking in the geothermal waters, relaxing in the steam baths, or just taking in the stunning landscapes, you’re sure to leave feeling rejuvenated.
With the added benefit of being less crowded than the Blue Lagoon, the Myvatn Nature Baths offers you the chance to unwind and connect with nature in a more serene and authentic setting. It’s a reminder of the raw, therapeutic, and enchanting beauty that Iceland offers – a true highlight of any trip to the country.
Remember, the Myvatn Nature Baths are not just a tourist attraction, but a significant part of Icelandic culture. Respect the rules and traditions, maintain cleanliness, and always prioritize safety. Above all, enjoy your soak in these naturally soothing geothermal waters.