Hot tubs and natural hot springs have been a part of Iceland's culture since the settlement era. The love for swimming and bathing is engraved in our DNA. For centuries we have known the health benefits of bathing in the oh-so-wonderful warm mineral water and de-stressing and relaxing every muscle in your body after a hard day at work. Almost all Icelandic swimming pools are geothermally heated so they are warm and cosy all year round. Most of the facilities also sport a hot tub or two. Swimming pools are even considered one of the most important places to socialize, work out and unwind.
Swimming or bathing is not just a summer thing in Iceland. Sitting in a hot tub on a dark frosty night, feeling the snowflakes land gently on your nose while gazing at the starry sky, is nothing short of amazing! We encourage you to go pool-hopping on your Iceland trip. Explore the different kinds in every region you visit. You will not regret doing so.
The 20 Best Swimming Pools and Hot Springs in Iceland
1. The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is the most famous pool in Iceland and one of the most popular Iceland attractions. It has been named as one of the 25 wonders of the world according to National Geographic and an absolute must-see on your trip to Iceland. The milky blue waters and the white silica mud make the lagoon a unique one.
2. The Secret Lagoon
This rustic pool was opened in 1891 and used until 1937 before being abandoned for over 60 years. It is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland and has been renovated in recent years. This beautiful lagoon has become increasingly popular and is only a short detour from the famous Golden Circle Route.
3. Laugarvatn Fontana
Easily accessible on the Golden Circle Route on the way to Gullfoss Waterfall, this sleek lake-front spa is well worth a visit for its pool, three hot tubs and sauna.
4. Mývatn Nature Baths
The Mývatn Nature Baths have been called the Blue Lagoon of the North. The milky blue mineral water is very soothing and the natural steam baths are wonderful. Lake Mývatn and the surrounding area is a magnificent and unique natural wonder.
5. Laugardalur Swimming Pool
Photo from reykjavik.is
This is Iceland's largest and most visited swimming pool complex with Olympic size lap pools and hot tubs of various kinds and sizes. This pool has something for everyone.
6. Reykjavík Swimming Hall
Photo from reykjavik.is
Sundhöllin was opened in 1937 and is the oldest one in Reykjavík. It is located in downtown Reykjavík, a short walking distance from the main shopping and nightlife Laugavegur. This pool has an old-school and authentic feel about it and the atmosphere is quite interesting. This is the only pool in Reykajvík with diving boards and the facilities also has hot tubs and a steam bath.
7. Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
Seljavallalaug is among the oldest swimming pools in Iceland, built in 1923. The pool is nestled in a valley beneath the infamous Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, not far from Skógafoss Waterfall. The pool is very picturesque and makes a very interesting stop along the South Coast.
8. Reykjadalur Geothermal River
Reykjadalur is located near Hveragerði town, just a 40-minute drive from Reykjavík. A short three-kilometer hike brings you to Reykjadalur ('Smoky Valley') and the geothermal river. There are no changing facilities here so be prepared to strip down to your birthday suit out in the open.
9. Landmannalaugar Hot Pot
10. Strútslaug Geothermal River
Strútslaug is a hidden gem in Iceland! It is located between Torfajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, where a geothermal river and a glacial river converge to create this natural hot spring in the remote Highlands. You need to have a jeep to reach this place and it is about an hour walk from the road. There are no changing facilities, so be prepared to get naked in the wild.
11. Hella Swimming Pool
Photo from south.is
The swimming pool at Hella is a must-stop if you are travelling with kids, or if you are a kid at heart. Three water slides, a paddling pool and hot tubs make this a great place to take a break from travelling.
12. Vestmannaeyjar Swimming Pool
Photo from south.is
If there is a family-friendly pool in this list, it has to be the one in Vestmannaeyjar. The pool provides a wide range of toys, a basketball ring, a rounded waterfall, along with the most exciting water slides. Kids can also conquer a climbing wall with the outlines of Heimaklettur, the highest mountain in Westmann Islands!
13. Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach
Nauthólsvík is a golden man-made beach in walking distance from downtown Reykjavík. The beach has a geothermally heated ocean as well as hot tubs, an outdoor shower and grilling facilities. On hot summer days you will find this beach packed with sun starved Icelanders looking to soak up every ounce of every ray of sun.
14. Laugaskarð Swimming Pool
Photo by hveragerdi.is
The Laugaskarð Swimming Pool is renowned for its lovely setting in the hillside of Hveragerði as well as excellent facilities, including hot tubs, whirlpools, a natural sauna and a fitness centre. The pool is heated with steam coming directly from the ground, which you can also enjoy in the steam bath.
15. Víti Geothermal Lake
Víti('Hell') is one of the most interesting natural wonders in Iceland. It is a explosion crater which contains a geothermal lake of opaque blue, mineral-rich, warm water. Although the name isn't particularly inviting, many visitors like to take a dip in the lake.
16. Grjótagjá Geothermal Spring
Grjótagjá is a small cave in the Lake Mývatn area, that used to be a popular bathing place dating back to the 18th century. Geological activity in the period 1975-1984 caused the temperature of the water in the cave pool to rise to such a degree that is has not been possible to bathe there for a long time. At the moment, bathing there is strictly forbidden but the temperature is slowly going down again, so maybe one day... Game of Thrones fans will recognize this place as the cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte first got hot and steamy.
17. Drangsnes Hot Tubs
Photo from westfjords.is
The Drangsnes Hot Tubs are right along the shoreline in the middle of the village, easily spotted from the road. Locals and visitors alike use the tubs throughout the year and they are said to to be the place to meet and gossip about everything and nothing. What is better than a geothermal hot tub overlooking the ocean to help you let off some steam?
18. Hörgshlíð Hot Pot
The pool is located below the road not far from Hörgshlíð farm, at sea-level on a pebbled beach. The pool is fed water from three hoses, two hot and one cold, which is used to cool the pool off. The temperature is a perfect 40°C and the facilities include a very simple changing room. Please note that the pool is owned by the farmers at Hörgshlíð, so please knock on their door and ask for permission to take a dip!
19. Heydalur Geothermal Hot Pot
This is a very well-hidden secret that offers such an amazing and bizarre experience. In fact, Heydalur is so off-the-beaten-track that your GPS will probably tell you that it is not even possible to get there. Don't worry - it lies! When you get here you will see that there are actually three pools to choose from: one small indoor pool, a man-made rocky pool and a tiny natural hot spring. And why is this experience bizarre? - You ask. Well... because here you can swim in a greenhouse with grape vines and fruit trees growing all around you after eating said fruit at the Heydalur restaurant.
20. Landbrotalaug Hot Pot
Landbrotalaug is a beautiful natural hot spring and the temperature is just perfect year round. It is a surprising and well-hidden gem, easily accessible but can be difficult to spot due to its tiny nature. The pool is small. It only fits 2-3 people, which makes it such a special and romantic stop. Landbrotalaug lies north of Eldborg Crater on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, just about two hours drive from Reykjavík.
Experience nature from its core by bathing in the lovely Krauma bath. The hot water originates in Europe's most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver, at a temperature of 100°C (212°F). To achieve the perfect bathing temperature they mix the boiling hot water with glacial water from Rauðagil Canyon. Here you find relaxing natural geothermal baths, a cold tub to get your blood circulation going, two calming saunas, and a relaxation room where you can rest by the fireplace while listening to soothing music.
Pool-hopping in Iceland is easy and fun and we encourage you to try some or all of the above hot springs and swimming pools for an unforgettable experience!
If you are travelling to Iceland and found this article interesting and helpful, you might also want to check out our articles about what to wear on a trip to Iceland and how to drive in Iceland in the summer.