If you are planning a visit to Iceland or you are currently enjoying your trip to Iceland, you should be definitely thinking about which Icelandic hot springs to visit. There is nothing better than enjoying a warm bath in rainy or cold weather, relaxing after a day trip or just enjoying the day with rest.
The two most famous hot springs in Iceland are undoubtedly the Blue Lagoon and the Myvatn nature baths.
We visited both famous hot baths and I have prepared for you a summary and a comparison of which one to choose.
About Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is almost one of the symbols of Iceland. Thanks to its convenient location, close to the airport, you can visit it even if you stay in Iceland for only a few hours or days.
The artificial bath is the largest in Iceland, visited annually by up to 700,000 tourists and offers, in addition to the classic bath massage, you will find two restaurants and accommodation in a luxury hotel.
About Mývatn nature baths
The hot baths in the Mývatn area are almost 500 kilometers from the capital Reykjavik, so it’s ideal to visit if you’re traveling around Iceland. They are about a third smaller, but definitely less touristy and will give you the impression of an authentic Icelandic bath.
Comparison: Mývatn nature baths vs Blue lagoon
I can’t say which of these places I would recommend more. Both baths have their pros and cons, so I’ll leave the decision to you.
However, if you have the opportunity and you are traveling around Mývatn, I would recommend trying both places, because each of them offers a different type of experience.
Which one is cheaper?
Even the cheapest ticket to the Blue Lagoon costs almost double what you pay for admission to Mývatn nature baths.
Admission prices (January 2022) were $74 to the Blue Lagoon in the basic version, in Myvatn nature baths then about $36.
Winner: Mývatn nature baths (50% cheaper)
Blue lagoon is definitely (especially among tourists) more popular and visited. This may sound like an advantage, but in season you need to plan your experience in advance and book a specific time for your bath.
Although time reservation is also required at Mývatn nature baths, there is a much lower chance that you will have to adapt and plan your trip in advance, there are usually more vacancies.
The advantage of bathing near Mývatn is also that they are more popular among locals, so you will not feel like you are in an artificially created tourist attraction.
Winner: Mývatn nature baths (much less overcrowded and touristy)
In terms of facilities and services, Blue Lagoon definitely wins here.
The whole area is modern, you will find restaurants, massages, souvenir shops or skin care, and if you pay extra (several times), then you can use several more private types of spas or saunas.
Nature baths, on the other hand, are much simpler and less touristy. However, in addition to the bath, you will also find a sauna and the Kvika restaurant here.
Winner: Blue lagoon (much more to offer)
How to get there
As I mentioned in the introduction to this comparison, Blue Lagoon has a really great location. It is just about 20 minutes away from Keflavík Airport and the journey from the capital Reykjavík there takes less than an hour.
So it is an ideal place to visit if you only have to stay in Iceland or you do not know how to spend a day in Reykjavik.
In addition, transport from both cities is very easy – you can rent a car or take one of the trips and take day trips to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavík.
How far are Mývatn nature baths from Reykjavík?
Mývatn nature baths are definitely not suitable for day trips from Reykjavik. Answer for this question is this, because it takes 6 hours (distance is 475 km) from the capital to the Mývatn nature baths.
However, this does not mean that nature baths near Mývatn are off the beat path. These baths are located near the ring road, so you will definitely not miss them if you travel around Iceland.
Winner: Blue lagoon (closer to airport and Reykjavík)
If you want to experience all the beauties of Iceland, I would recommend visiting both places.
Blue Lagoon is a special attraction that is visited by a large part of tourists who visit Iceland every year. Unique and unforgettable blue water, a large area and healthy effects are something you should definitely experience.
On the other hand, it is true that there is a great influx of tourists, Blue lagoon is often full and overcrowded.
For those who are not looking for such attractions or places, I would therefore recommend enjoying the quieter Mývatn nature baths, where there is a better chance to meet the locals, enjoy the same turquoise blue water and get used to the skin of Icelanders and their customs.
Must see places nearby
Whether you opt for the Blue Lagoon or the baths at Mývatn, there is always something to see at both places. I have chosen for you for each bath one place that is really famous in the locality and you should not miss it.
Krysuvík geo thermal area near Blue lagoon
A highly active geothermal area of mud pools and steam vents boiling practically under your feet – if you dare to walk the wooden planks crisscrossing the area.
Indeed, here is where you find the biggest mud pool in Iceland, Gunnuhver hot spring.
Dettifoss near Myvatn nature baths
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall, which you can find in Europe, so you should definitely not miss to visit this place, on you trip to Myvatn baths.
Eventhough it´s around one hour drive from baths and maybe not on your way, this famous and gorgeous waterfall will definitely suprise you and you will not regret this attraction.
Alternative hot baths in Iceland
Blue Lagoon and Mývatn nature baths are not the only hot springs in Iceland. You can find several man-made ones in Iceland.
One suitable alternative is, for example, the recently opened Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik, which is becoming increasingly popular.
There will be new Forest lagoon open in north Iceland in may 2022. It looks like a very strong competition to Mývatn nature baths. Forest lagoon will have 2 pools, swim up bars, restaurant and can have til 200 visitors. The unique look, design by same architects from Blue lagoon or Geo sea baths will definitely bring attractive lagoon, which worths visit.
In the north there may be an alternative to Mývatn nature baths such as Geosea baths, in the south the lesser-known Laugarvatn fountana or Secret lagoon.
All three mentioned hot springs are smaller and not so visited by tourists, but they look much more natural.
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