This small lava cave with a thermal spring inside is called Grjótagjá (sounds like Graw-ta-gyo to me). It was not too difficult to locate it, just look out for a small sign along the Ring Road 1 that tells you where to turn off for Grjótagjá. The entrance to the cave is really small & nondescript. It isn’t obvious save for the few people milling around it, trying to keep the small fly-like insects from getting their orifices & pondering whether to climb down the uneven & steep rocky ‘steps’ into the cave. It would be great if you bought one of those nettings you wear over your head that would keep the insects at bay. Fortunately my hair was long & it covered my ears & I cupped my left hand over my nose & mouth but honestly the swarming insects are scary.
Descending into the cave was one challenge, the other was the lack of room. This little section of rock is where maybe four or five persons can balance themselves to take photos of the cave. I left my camera & mobile on this huge rock on the right & leapt from the last step to get over there holding on to the rock to steady myself. Be careful if you are a tall person not to bump your head as the cave roof hangs low in this section.
Here on my left is where the last step ends. The story told was that an outlaw by the name of Jón Markússon used to live & bathe in this pool when he was on the run in the early 18th century.
Up till the 1970s, Grjótagjá was a popular bathing site until the volcanic eruptions of Krafla between 1975 to 1984 when magma steam caused the water temperatures to rise over dangerous levels of 60°C making it unsuitable for bathing. Today the water temperature hovers around 43-46°C but bathing is prohibited & only viewing & photography is allowed as it sits on private land belonging to the Vogar farm. A scene from Episode 5 “Kissed by Fire” from Game of Thrones Season 3 was filmed here & aired on 28th Apr 2013 further popularising this cave.
This grotto lies underground totally obscured from view & it was just my curiosity that was piqued when I first read about people coming here to bathe in the natural thermal spring that brought me here. It is akin to going to an exclusive spa but…. this awesome cave with beautiful, clear blue waters really blew me away!
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Into Travelling, Photography & Music
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