Myvatn Nature Baths
Ring Road to Myvatn
After a long day of driving and adventures, a soak at Myvatn Nature Baths was exactly what I needed to unwind. The springs were about a 5 minute drive from the guesthouse where my cousin Lesa and I were staying for the evening. We had already visited Dimmuborgir lava trails, Hverir geothermal area which felt other planetary and Grjótagjá cave that day and Lesa was all tuckered out.
It was late in July and around 9:30 p.m.. In Iceland at that time of year, the sun is up until around 11:30 p.m. and rises again about three hours later.
Myvatn Nature Baths were high on my list of things I had to see. Lesa opted to stay back, but I couldn’t wait another minute. After a few unsuccessful attempts to lure her to the springs, I ultimately set out on my own.
What’s Up With “Myvatn”?
Myvatn itself is beautiful. It is about 65 miles south of the Arctic Circle and about 295 miles north east of Reykjavik. It is mountainous and glowing turquoise geothermal lakes dot the area. Unique columns of a collapsed lava tube and an underground clear blue spring are close by.
I made the short drive to the springs. The nature baths are man made, but they use the alkaline, geothermally heated water for the pools. The water is sourced from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. When it arrives at a huge basin in Myvatn nature baths, the temperature is around 130°F (54°C.) When soaking in the lagoon though, the temperature can vary from 96.8°F (36°C) to 104°F (40°C.)
Naked Shower Required at Myvatn…
After paying for my entrance plus a drink wristband, the blond pony-tailed attendant handed me a locker key and a wristband.
“Take a look at the poster and pay special attention to the areas that are circled.” She indicated a poster on the wall behind her. “We require a naked shower before entering the springs.”
I glanced at the poster. “Okie-dokie.”
Shoes were to be left on the racks in the lobby and I quickly showered and changed. Grabbing my towel I found the door to the outside.
The Hot Spots…Myvatn Nature Bath Sauna
When I stepped out, I could feel every one of those 42°F (5.5°C) of the air permeating my swimmie suit. I ducked into a nearby wood building for warmth. The wood door was heavy and a billow of vapor puffed out from within.
There are two steam baths near the lagoon. The wooden, sauna-like rooms are built directly on top of a geothermal area where sulfur-free steam fills the room through vents in the floor. The steam bath was around 122°F (50°C) and I quickly went from freezing to ultra uncomfortable warm.
I stayed a few minutes past my comfort level, hot condensation filling my nose making it hard to breath. I was the only one in my little wooden steam house and I felt like I was looking through glasses that were fogged up, but that was just the thickness of the air.
My body heat had risen and I felt confident I could make a comfortably warm dash for the rest of the distance to the lagoon.
I pulled open the heavy wooden door and burst out into the night air. The grey sky of dusk was swirled with pink and ash colored clouds above me. A large billow escaped from the room with me and a thick haze came off my skin as I walked. I was like a vapor cloud version of Pigpen from the old Snoopy cartoons with an area of mist surrounding and following me as I moved.
The Mad Dash to Myvatn Nature Baths
The goosebumps were just starting to form on my skin and I speedwalked to the edge of the gleaming steamy lagoon. The cobalt water reflected the colors of the sky. My feet began to experience the warm water and I couldn’t wait to submerge the rest of myself.
“Oh holy momma…yes!” I exclaimed as I felt the inviting liquid covering my toes and legs.
I tried to contain myself and walk normal but my feet practically ran down the remaining steps and I sunk into the lagoon, my muscles melting into the warmth that enveloped me.
Einstock Toasted Porter and a Myvatn Hot Soak
The hot sulfury water felt amazing and I walked bent legged across the sandy gravel bottom of the large pool, exploring all the different areas. There were not many other visitors at that time which made me feel excited, having whole areas of the lagoon to myself.
I showed my wrist band to the attendant and he came back and handed me an Einstock Toasted Porter as I soaked. The water came up to about my armpits in most areas if I stood up straight, hence the bent leg walking to stay warm and submerged.
Areas close to the steaming basin and geothermal vents were much warmer and when I began to feel overheated in those sections, I would move to a cooler area until I needed more heat again. The variety of different temperatures made staying a few hours submerged in the waters extremely comfortable and relaxing.
There were a couple of spots that had water jets that shot the geothermal water in various degrees of pressure ranging from a faucet trickle to a massage spray. I stood under a massager jet and gratefully aimed it at each shoulder and my neck.
My Favorite Place…Looking at Lake Myvatn
My favorite place was the edge of the pool with a concrete ledge. Outside of the soaking area were several small ponds of water and further out was Lake Myvatn with mountains in the distance. It felt like being in a huge infinity pool.
When I finally stepped out, I felt like my body had been filled with concrete. After essentially floating for a number of hours, it was exhausting to carry my own weight. I made another quick pit-stop at the steam bath to warm up and then a dash to the locker room.
That night, I slept like a log and in the morning I was anxious to go back with Lesa before continuing our road trip. We had breakfast at the guesthouse and checked out before heading back to Myvatn nature baths.
Daydreaming in the Lagoon – Daytime at Myvatn
After wrist banding, showering and stopping at a steam-bath to get warm, Lesa finally got to experience the lagoon.
“Oh it’s so pretty!” Lesa exclaimed.
” If I lived here, I would be here every single day.” I daydreamed aloud. “I need hot spring soaking every single day.”
“This is sooo relaxing.” Lesa murmured as she leaned into one of the massage sprayers.
We grabbed drinks from the attendant at the edge of the pool. Then we water walked…bent legged to my favorite spot that looked like the infinity pool with Lake Myvatn beyond.
“I would work here…and then soak every day after work.” I continued my out loud dreaming.
We stepped out and filled little cups from a water cooler filled with icy water and lemon and glugged down a few refills. I noticed a long rectangular hot tub area close by. We stiff-walked, quick and careful towards it.
“Ooooh…cold…cold…cold.” I announced with each step, toes on chilled concrete.
We stepped in gratefully and found the water was even warmer than that of the lagoon. It felt good after being out walking in the cool air. There was only so much super hot we could soak in without becoming lightheaded. We gathered up our internal warmth and made a mad dash to the changing area.
We were so relaxed. Lesa and I grabbed a small snack at the nature baths cafe before heading out to start our drive to Hvitsurkir and begin the adventure for the day.
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