Grjótagjá Is Not Just A Lovely Icelandic Cave, It Is Also One of Game Of Thrones' Most iconic Locations

One of the Most Iconic Locations From Game of Thrones Is Actually A Real Cave In Iceland

One of the Most Iconic Locations From Game of Thrones Is Actually A Real Cave In Iceland

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
July 28 2015 3:20 PM

The Cave Where Jon Snow Lost His Virginity

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We get it, Iceland. Every inch of your serene volcanic landscapes is filled with beauty and is very likely hiding some secret natural wonder. Like this fissure in the ground; instead of opening into a deadly abyss, it holds the natural hot spring known as Grjótagjá, a stunning cave pool that people can bathe in. 

The beautiful natural hot spring is located near Lake Mývatn and has been used as a bathing spot for locals for as long as anyone can remember. The waters in the shimmering cavern are heated by volcanic activity deep in the earth, making it the perfect spot to take a dip in the freezing Icelandic winters. In addition to being a popular bathing spot, the cave served as a redoubt for 18th-century Icelandic outlaw Jón Markússon.


In 1975, when one of the nearby volcanoes began to erupt, the water temperature rose to dangerous levels, and while the cave in the fissure could still be visited, people were no longer permitted to bathe in the hot waters. Lately the temperature of the waters has begun to fall and people are being allowed to jump in the waters once again. However, the status of the pools seems to be a bit tenuous, so visitors may want to check with local guides before trying to take a dip.

The cave is so beautiful and fantastical that it actually made its way into the fantasy canon when it was used as the secret sex cave where Jon Snow sealed his deal with Ygritte, in the Game of Thrones Season 3 episode Kissed by Fire. Great job, Iceland, you no longer simply seem like something out of a fantasy novel, you actually are.

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Eric Grundhauser is a head writer and editor at Atlas Obscura. He lives in Brooklyn with his comic book collection. Follow him on Twitter.