Iceland thrives on geothermal energy and the tradition of public bathing is deeply rooted in Icelandic culture. Not without reason,the island is home to hundreds of public geothermal baths. There are different types of baths: On the one hand there are firmly established spas, which are financed by a usually quite high entrance fee, but on the other hand there are also hundreds of small hot springs in nature, which can be used for free or for a small donation. Most natural springs have temperatures between 35 °C and 40 °C and it is a real treat to bathe in them. To get a small overview of the many springs, we present some of the most beautiful hot springs in this blog article.
Hot Springs in North Iceland
Myvatn Natural Bath: Directly at the Diamond Circle, the Myvatn region does not only attract visitors with a unique nature, but since 2004 also with the Myvatn Natural Bath. The bathing oasis has the same color as the popular Blue Lagoon, but is not yet as known and therefore somewhat quieter. The approx. 5,000 m² lagoon has a temperature of a pleasant 38 °C to 40 °C all year round. Besides the lake, there are also several small pools with different temperatures that invite you to relax. There are showers and changing facilities on site, as well as a sauna and a café. By the way: the hot bath is a very good location for watching the northern lights in winter.
Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths: The thermal bath in the whale capital Husavik is fed with geothermally heated salt water, which distinguishes the bath from other hot springs in Iceland. Water is drawn in through two boreholes in the sea and pumped into the pools. Another special feature is the view from the basin of the spectacular landscape of the northern Eyjafjord. A thoroughly beautiful setting to relax or enjoy local food in the bath's restaurant.
Grettislaug & Jarlslaug: On the west side of the Skaga Fjord in the north of the country are the two hot springs Grettislaug and Jarlslaug. The two pools offer breathtaking views of the sea and mountains. Both springs measure 39 °C year-round, although the weather can affect the water temperature. There is a small entrance fee to use them, as the spring is located on private property, but in return there is a changing facility.
Forrest Lagoon: Since the beginning of 2022, the luxurious spa in the Nordic Vaðlaskógur forest near Akureyri invites its guests to relax. In addition to a 530 m² infinity pool with a temperature of 39°C to 42°C, there is also a warming pool and a pool with cold water. The spa also features two bars directly in the water, a sauna, and a restaurant. Changing facilities and lockers are also available.
Hot Springs in East Iceland
Laugavalladalur: Laugavalladalur is a green oasis west of the river Jökulsá á Dal, 20 km north of Káraghnjúkar. The special feature of the spring is the natural hot waterfall that flows into the basin. If you want to visit this spring, you should plan a lot of time, because it is more difficult to reach than others. Either you pass a 7 km-long F-road, for which you need a 4WD car, or you take a normal car to the Kárahnjúkar dam and hikes from there through the Hafrahvammagljúfur valley to the waterfall. For this hike you should plan seven hours with a stay at the spring. Since this natural pool is very remote, there is neither a changing room nor toilets or showers.
Vök baths: The Vök baths at the beautiful Lake Urriðavatn in East Iceland offer a choice of geothermal pools floating on the lake with temperatures ranging from 13 °C to 41 °C. After a hot bath, you can cool off directly in the 0 °C to 18 °C cold lake water or in a tunnel with cool steam. The geothermal water is the only one in Iceland that is certified as drinking water. The bathing area has changing rooms and a small bistro where meals/snacks and drinks are offered.
Hot Springs in South Iceland
Reykjadalur: Reykjadalur translates as "steaming valley", which is a very appropriate name for the popular hiking area in Ölfus due to the many hot springs and geothermal activity. The area is quite easy to reach coming from Reykjavik: after a 45-minute drive you reach the village of Hveragerði, from where you hike to the warm river in the valley. This warm river has been dammed by stones in several places, forming individual pools that have different temperatures. Since the hiking trail can be closed, you should check the website safetravel.is in advance.
Seljavallalaug: This hot spring is located in the south of the country. The pool, 25 meters long and 10 meters wide, was built by people in 1923 in a narrow valley in the middle of nature at the foot of the Eyjafjalajökull glacier. From the ring road the spring is easily accessible via road 242. After leaving the car at the small parking lot of the Seljavellir swimming pool, a 25-minute hike down the valley to the spring follows. The bath has a constant temperature of 30 °C to 34 °C and can be visited even in winter. At the bathing place there is a small cottage where visitors can take off their clothes.
Hot Springs in West Iceland
The Blue Lagoon: Probably the most famous hot spring in all of Iceland is the Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes Peninsula. It is located not far from Reykjavik, making it a great destination for city trips as well. The namesake light blue, milky water with a temperature of 38 °C to 39 °C is ideal for swimming and relaxing and also for taking pictures.
Besides the swimming area of the lagoon, there are also several restaurants, cafes, a bar in the water, a hotel, a souvenir store and some wellness services, such as massages and a relaxation area. There are only a limited number of tickets per day, so it's imperative to book your tickets online early. But don't be alarmed: the Blue Lagoon is the most expensive thermal bath in all of Iceland.
Hellulaug: The approx. 60 cm deep and 38 °C hot natural pool Hellaug is located in the Westfjords near Hotel Flókalundur. The small spring is not visible from the road, but it is only a short walk away and there is a parking lot next to the path leading to the spring. If you want to cool off a bit after the warm bath, just jump into the fjord right next to it.
Krossneslaug: The 12-meter outdoor pool was built in the 1950s and is easily accessible at the end of road 647 on the east coast of Westfjords. Cars can be conveniently parked above the pool in a small parking lot. In addition to the pool, which is about 30 °C hot, there is also a hot tub, which is about 40 °C hot. Changing rooms are also available and in them hang boxes into which a small entrance fee can be thrown, because there is no staff in the bath. But it's really worth it, because you have a fantastic view of the open sea while relaxing.
Behavior & rules in hot springs
In all sources, there are certain rules that must be followed:
- Do not leave trash in the pool or surrounding area - that goes without saying!
- Do not bring glass bottles or jars into the area around the spring
- No wanton destruction or defacement of the springs and surroundings and caution in handling the springs!
- No loud music or noise in the area of the springs - hot springs are not fun baths, but are for rest and relaxation
- Wash thoroughly before entering the bath
- Enter bathroom barefoot only
- No food and drink in the swimming area (except the bar in the Blue Lagoon)
A wide range of excursions to the hot springs can be booked directly with us - just contact us! For more ideas, take a look at our other selection of excursions. Find inspiration for your next round trip to Iceland here.