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I was recently lucky enough to visit Iceland whilst on a cruise. One of the excursions included a visit to the Myvatn Nature Baths. Upon arrival we were divided and pointed in the direction of the Male or Female changing rooms. We had been given instructions to shower BEFORE putting our swimsuits on. As we entered the ladies changing room we passed the showers and yes, it was one huge shower room. Now, I know we British are a little reserved but if the only way of getting to the steamy Naturebath was by showering naked with all the other women then so be it. I found myself a locker (coin required) where I was able to stow away my clothes and bag etc. Grabbed my costume and towel and went to join my 'sisters' in the shower. Memories of school days and the PE teacher forcing us through ran through my head. OK, let's say showering done and after struggling to put costume on a wet body, I headed outside and then finding a railing to hang my towel on I got in the lovely warm waters of the pool.
Then I remembered I should have taken all jewellery off. I still had my wedding ring on so decided to keep that hand elevated (not as easy as it sounds after a few minutes), Apparently the jewellery thing mainly applies to Silver as the chemical composition (sulphur) causes it to turn black, shame I didn't realise gold was unaffected until later!
Now there were quite a lot of people here the day I visited, a few coach loads plus individual visitors. Still it never felt too crowded as the pools are quite big. You can relax on wooden platforms where clouds of steam rise up from cracks in the Earth's surface, then you can enjoy a pool of geothermal water which comes from depths of 2500 metres underground. The warming waters contain high quantities of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms that can be beneficial to the skin.
The website tells us: "The water supplies for the lagoon run straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. The water has a temperature of about 130°C when it arrives to the huge basin beside the lagoon itself forming an impressive, man-made hot spring. Altogether, the lagoon and the basin contain around 3.5 million litres of water with a temperature of 36 – 40°C."
There are no undesirable bacteria in the pool so no chlorine or disinfectants are added.
The ground of the pool can be a bit rough in places and slip in others so I'd advise wearing waterproof footwear. There are areas around the pool that you can sit, there are areas where the temperature changes as you walk around.
Whether it's Summer or Winter this pools will soak away all your tensions (once you're out of the naked showers!) Just lay back and enjoy the amazing scenery of Lake Myvatn and the volcanic crater Hverfjall.
Once out and dressed you can purchase gifts from the shop or have a snack in the Kaffi Kvika (Magma Cafe).
I've been told these baths are better than the other ones in Reykjavik as they are bigger, less crowded and more lockers. I've not tried the others so cannot verify this.
Pool opening times:
Summer - June - August 9am to 11.30pm
Winter - September to May 12 noon to 9.30pm
Date 01/06 - 31/8 01/09 - 31/05
Adult single ticket kr. 3.700.- kr. 3.200.-
Teenagers, 13-15 years kr. 1.300.- kr. 1.100.-
Handicapped, Senior citizens, Students kr. 2.400.- kr. 2.200.-
Tel. +354 464 4411
During our trip to Iceland in the summer of 2007, Myvatn was our first place of stay - 300km along the Iceland ring, going anti-clockwise from the ferry terminal. I've reviewed Lake Myvatn seperately, so if you want to check it out - feel free.
I was initially planning to visit the thermal baths Blue Lagoon right at the end of this trip during a few days in the capital. The weather was pretty moody in Myvatn, so when a Danish girl staying at the same campsite at us mentioned to us that she was going up there and had done so the day before and thought it was considerably better than Blue Lagoon which she had also been to, we decided to give it a go.
The main reasons for the preference of this thermal bath is - less tourists and people generally, cheaper and the amazing location. A small but chilly walk up the hill from Myvatn, leads you to the baths, pay your fee, change your clothes and then take a peek outside for what you are in for.
Perched almost at the top of a hill, through the steam a dramatic view of Lake Myvatn with the vocalnic islets in the middle is seen at the edge of the nature bath and from the other side you can see the deserty star wars coloured hills in the background with smoke spiralling into the sky. It's quite magnificent. At around 0 outside when we were there, it's naturally fresh.. which makes getting into the hot water or the hot tubs all the more comforting.
There's also a sauna. Best of all - cold beer can be bought for 400kr which isn't cheap but was probably the cheapest beer we had out in Iceland in all of our trip. There's no time limit and you can basically spend all day frolicing around in the silky soft water! It wasn't particularly busy and you could always have a great deal of space to yourself, in fact there were only a handful of people there when we visited and the sauna seemed more popular.
I'd say that along with nearby Detifoss (Europe's largest waterfall), this was definitely the best part of our Iceland experience.
Adult single ticket kr. 2.000.-
Teenagers, 12-15 years kr. 1.000.-
Handicapped, Spoex Members (Icelandic Association for Patients of Psoriasis and other Skin Diseases), Senior citizens (67 years and older) kr. 1.600.
The annual tickets are a great deal at:
10 entries ticket kr. 18.000,-
3 months ticket kr. 20.000.-
Annual ticket kr. 25.000.-
Annual ticket for couples kr. 30.000.-
Annual ticket for families kr. 40.000.
With the great exchange rates at the moment, 300 kr is £1, so you really can't miss out!