Iceland’s Blue Lagoon vs Myvatn Nature Baths: Detailed Comparison

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The Blue Lagoon was my first stop on my very first trip to Iceland back in 2019 and it always stood out as an incredible place.

I since read online that Myvatn Nature Baths was a far superior experience. So, it was high on my list of must-see destinations when I returned to Iceland to explore the north of the country some years later. 

After experiencing both destinations I can now conduct a detailed comparison from a more informed point of view.

I’ll say upfront that I disagree with the advice I read about Myvatn, and in this article, I will summarize exactly why.  

Video Summary

If you prefer to watch rather than read, then check out the video below summarising the full Blue Lagoon vs Myvatn Nature Baths comparison. 

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Myvatn Nature Baths vs Blue Lagoon Comparison

We will keep score across 8 points of comparison, some objective and some subjective, that will allow you to determine what experience you would like the most. You may not agree with the latter so I would encourage you to keep your own score as we move through each category.  

They are both expensive to visit and I hope this list allows you to pick the one that will provide you with the best experience possible for your money. 

Size and Space

We are kicking things off with a fairly easy one. The Blue Lagoon is huge, and Myvatn is not. 

However, the Blue Lagoon attracts 7x the number of annual visitors but is nowhere near 7x the size. Of course, not everyone is there are the same time but it will get busy at peak times.

We visited first thing in the morning and had plenty of space. In that first hour, we barely saw anyone else. By the time we left, it was far busier but still with lots of room. 

Blue Lagoon

The entry timeslots do a good job of spreading out the crowd throughout the day. There is no time limit once inside so the crowd will build up in the afternoon. You will be guaranteed a great experience if you simply avoid the busy periods.

We visited Myvatn Nature Baths late in the afternoon at one of the busier times in the day. The pools were not crowded at all, but the edge of the bath was.

I found that mildly inconvenient because there was nowhere in the water to just sit and relax. Which is why everyone hangs around the edges. 

Myvatn Nature Baths

It is a much smaller complex with limited bath areas to explore. So you may run out of things to do a lot sooner. 

So the first point goes to the Blue Lagoon.

Verdict Blue Lagooon

Visual Appeal 

The large glowing turquoise waters of the blue lagoon are simply stunning. Even if you didn’t swim, a visit would be worthwhile just to see the colors with the volcanic rocks, and steam vents in the background. 

Blue Lagoon Iceland

It is a unique setting that you won’t find elsewhere.

Myvatn is also blue, but it doesn’t have the same glow that really jumps out at you.

The surrounding landscape is far more baron with only the distant lake breaking up what is a fairly plain view behind the baths.

Another easy point for the Blue Lagoon. 

Verdict Blue Lagooon

The Water Experience 

The water temperature is almost the same at each location. Myvatn is 37-40 degrees, and Blue Lagoon ranges from 36-40 degrees celsius. 

A more significant differentiating factor here is the strong sulfur smell that you get in these waters! 

The whole Myvatn region has a mild sulfur smell which in some areas is overpowering! The geothermal mud baths at Hverir have by far the most pungent smell I have encountered in Iceland.

Myvatn Sulfur Smell

After visiting earlier in the day it is possible my nostrils were still tainted when arriving at the nature baths. 

Regardless, I remain of the opinion that the smell is worse at Myvatn than the Blue Lagoon. It is not intolerable but is strong enough to stand out in my memory. 

I have no such recollection of the Blue Lagoon. Yes, there was a smell, but it was mild in comparison and not particularly bothersome. 

Verdict Blue Lagooon

Price of Entry

Myvatn is in a far more remote location and is therefore a less popular destination. The relative cost reflects this. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous, and most popular attractions in the country. 

So expect to pay more! 

The prices summarised below are true as of March 2024, which includes a conversion from Icelandic Kronur to US dollars.

Myvatn Nature Baths vs Blue Lagoon Price Comparison

There are seasonal fluctuations with these prices to consider and they will change over time. However, for the purposes of this comparison, the price differential is unlikely to change.

  • Myvatyn – $51
  • Blue Lagoon – $72 to $104

So that is an easy point for the Myvatn Nature Baths! But there is more to this story than the minimum cost alone when assessing value.

Verdict Myvatn

Inclusions and Add-Ons 

If you are looking for luxurious add-ons then the Blue Lagoon is in its own league here. There are hotels and day spas on site that will provide you with an incredible (and expensive!) experience. 

If this is what you are looking for then there is no question that Blue Lagoon is the right option for you. But more on this later on in our list.

A comparison that is more relevant to the average traveler is the standard inclusions for the price of entry. We will consider the most basic and cheapest entry packages to see what you get for your money.

Mud Mask at Blue Lagoon

At the Blue Lagoon, you have the following inclusions as standard: 

  • Entry to the Blue Lagoon at your reserved time slot
  • Mud mask
  • Drink from the swim-up bar
  • Towel
  • Locker

At Myvatn the price of entry will get you into the baths and use of a locker, and that’s all. 

You will pay separately for a towel, drinks, bath robes, or any other extras you would like. Once you account for all of this the cost would be near the Blue Lagoon anyway – with no option for a mud mask. 

This is a pay for what you need model, which gives people more choice and flexibility in how they spend.  

The Blue Lagoon wins the point for standard inclusions, and there is an argument that it is better value considering the superior facilities. But you are locked into a higher spend regardless of what you will actually use. 

Verdict Blue Lagooon

Ease of Booking

Both destinations offer a user-friendly website that allows you to book your timeslots seamlessly online. But if you think you can book a spontaneous visit to both destinations, think again! 

The Blue Lagoon often sells out days in advance! If you are trying to book at the last minute, you may get lucky with an early morning or late night time slot. But it is rare in the busier months. 

Blue Lagoon Landscape

You have far more flexibility at Myvatn. We visited the baths after spending the day driving around the Diamond Circle and were not sure of our time of arrival. We checked the website throughout the day and there were plenty of timeslots available.

We did not book until a couple of hours before arrival once we knew our arrival time. 

This is another case of Myvatn offering more flexibility in your experience. Even in the busier summer months. 

Verdict Myvatn

Convenience of Location

The Blue Lagoon is a short 20-minute drive from Keflavik Airport, where the majority of tourists start their journey into Iceland. This makes it a a convenient introduction to Iceland, or a relaxing way to say goodbye.

If you used the same starting point to reach Myvatn, the 6-7 hour drive is an obvious differentiator. However, there is a second airport in the north of Iceland at Akureyri which would be far more convenient.  

The drive from Akureyri Airport to the Myvatn Nature Baths is just over one hour. Much better than driving 6 hours across the country, but the trip is still also three times longer than the drive to the Blue Lagoon.

No contest really…  

Verdict Blue Lagooon

Additional Stuff to Do 

I mentioned earlier that the Blue Lagoon has a range of additional experiences including:

  • Spa day
  • Float therapy
  • In water massage

All of these are incredibly expensive!

Myvatn Water

The spa experience is upwards of $500US… Much more than I would ever spend, but for the sake of this comparison, it is an impressive list of extras. 

There are also two incredible hotels where you can stay on-site. Some rooms have water views, and others overlooking the volcanic landscape surrounding the area. Check out the links below to book (affiliate links):

Myvathn has none of these – except a steam bath – which is a nice way to warm up if you are there on a colder day but isn’t really my thing. 

Another easy point for the Blue Lagoon which adds an exclamation point to an already decisive result!  

Verdict Blue Lagooon

Which One is Better?

The Blue Lagoon is better on most points of comparison according to our scoring. You may have reached a different conclusion based on your own preferences, and what may be more suitable for your Iceland road trip itinerary.

The full scoring summary is below:

Myvatn vs Blue Lagoon Score Summary

Recommendations

If you are completing a full loop around Iceland then I would still recommend you attend both. They are located at opposing ends of the country and would be spaced out at almost the halfway point in your journey. 

It is a rejuvenating experience for weary travelers regardless of which one you attend. Given the cheap relative cost of Myvatn it might be just what you need to slow down and relax at the halfway point in your journey. 

Blue Lagoon Water Iceland

However, if you only have the budget or time to attend one then I would definitely go with the Blue Lagoon. The colors, size, and surrounding landscape is on a whole other level and is an experience not to be missed! 

It will be more expensive, but you will get more inclusions for your money and are likely to stay longer due to the size of the complex and additional activities included as standard. Yes you will have to pay much more for the Blue Lagoon vs the Myvatn Nature baths, but the experience is on a whole other level. 

Just book for an early morning or late night session to avoid the busier times of the day to really make the most of your experience.

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