The Less Crowded And Just As Unforgettable Destination Dupe To Iceland's Blue Lagoon

Iceland is a geographically stunning country. Volcanos can be found across the island nation and there's an eruption once every four years, on average. A consequence of this phenomenon is the creation of over 600 thermal hot springs. All that said, geothermal pools and spas have become a fundamental aspect of tourism and are a must-do on a trip to Iceland. Perhaps the Blue Lagoon, located near Reykjavík, is the most well-known geothermal spa.

You should know before swimming in the Blue Lagoon that many travelers feel that it's a tourist trap, with reviewers on Trip Advisor saying it's overrated. Nevertheless, there is a little-known gorgeous alternative: Mývatn Nature Baths. The spa can be found in northeast Iceland, close to Lake Mývatn.

While a volcanic eruption created the lake naturally, the Mývatn Nature Baths were constructed in 2004. The geothermal lagoon is heated to 96-104 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, the toasty water is packed with minerals and sulfur, which Healthline states can hydrate and provide anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. At the time of this writing, an adult admission ticket for Mývatn Nature Baths is around $50 and can be booked online. A time and date must be selected at the time of purchase. For this price, visitors receive access to an array of amenities.

Know before you go to the Mývatn Nature Baths

There's some prep work involved before stepping into the lagoon's alluring crystal blue waters surrounded by black volcanic rock. Make sure to bring a towel and bathing suit, but if you left them at home, you can rent them on-site before heading to the changing rooms. If you're wondering where to store your clothing and toiletries, the changing rooms have lockers included with your admission price.

Per the luxury hot springs' rules, you must shower thoroughly before your geothermal bathing experience. Take note that minerals in thermal water can be damaging to jewelry and temporarily to hair. Thus, ensure you put away your jewelry and keep your hair up and out of the water. You can also apply a protective layer of conditioner to minimize any possible adverse effects. Besides the lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths include steam rooms heated to 113 degrees Fahrenheit to enhance relaxation.

If you feel peckish, there is an onsite eatery, Café Kvika, which can be likened to a cafeteria. Menu items include salads, sandwiches, and pastries. Notably, they offer geyser bread with smoked char for under $10. This traditional local rye bread is cooked underground using the natural geothermal heating from the earth, and paired with a salmon-like fish. In addition, there is a swim-up bar for drinks (seen in the TikTok above) if you get thirsty while you swim in the lagoon. The Mývatn Nature Baths are open daily from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., are kid-friendly, and have wheelchair accessibility.

Attractions near Mývatn Nature Baths

The Mývatn Nature Baths are about six hours from Reykjavík, Iceland's capital. Alternatively, you can take a 45-minute flight from Reykjavík to Akureyri and rent a car there. The town is an hour and a half drive from the Mývatn Nature Baths. That said, nearby Lake Mývatn is included in what's referred to as the Diamond Circle, a scenic route to consider on your itinerary.

Another stop is Grjótagjá (pictured), a cave filled with thermal water that is too hot for bathers. It was featured in "Kissed by Fire," a Season 3 episode of "Game of Thrones" in 2013. Dettifoss Waterfall, which is top-rated on Trip Advisor, and Goðafoss Waterfall are also on the Diamond Circle and are otherworldly sites. The town of Husavík is another stop you can make and is famous for its whale-watching opportunities. September to April is the best time of the year to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, and Mývatn is known as one of the top viewing locations. 

If you need a place to stay, check out Sel-Hotel. It offers simple-style accommodations and a complimentary breakfast. Prices vary throughout the seasons, but you can pay anywhere from around $150 to $263 for a room with a double bed. While Sel-Hotel does have a restaurant, Lake Mývatn has highly-rated eateries, including Vogafjós Farm Resort, which serves Scandinavian cuisine. Both establishments are a brief drive from the Mývatn Nature Baths.