My favourite activities in Mývatn used to be tracking down hot baths in which to swim. There is what we called the “green lagoon,” the hot lagoon formed from production of a silicate material at a now defunct factory. There are also amazing natural hot pots, all of which I found through the help of locals and have promised not to report. (Though if you follow the hiking trail from just outside Reykjahlíð to Grjógjá, you will stumble on my favourite natural hot pool in about six kilometres.) The warning on natural hot springs, including the “green lagoon” is this: they aren’t regulated. You can get burned. Badly. So use caution and don’t even think about drinking near them, as this can dull the senses a little, and you could get burned on very private areas.
If you want casual bathing, or just a relaxing time, I highly recommend the newly constructed Jarðbaðsholar, or Mývatn Nature Baths. The less pretentious, less futuristic cousin of the Blue Lagoon, Jarðbaðsholar initially disappointed us.
“This is just a big puddle,” my friend said. “This can’t even compete with the Blue Lagoon.”
Two hours later, after staring down at an unimpeded view of Lake Mývatn, and up at the stars and the Northern Lights, we both conceded that Jarðbaðsholar won hands down. A puddle the place may be, but a puddle in the middle of some of the world’s most beautiful scenery with no alteration whatsoever isn’t bad thing.
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