Visiting Iceland without heading to any hot spring is like going to New York and miss the Liberty Statue. Or head to Spain and not taste any tapas, or to, well, OK, I guess you already got the point. The thing is, Iceland hot springs are essential for every traveler not only when it comes to mellow out and relax after a long journey but also if you really want to dive deep into the Icelandic culture.
Let's find out why and the top hot springs in Iceland, so you can have the ultimate Icelandic experience!
Iceland hot Springs
Welcome to yet another one of the Top 30 Things to Do in Iceland. Feeling excited? Well, you should because you’re in for a treat!
For many visitors, Iceland hot springs will be merely a place to shake off the stress. They might enjoy this time off to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. The truth is that, in Iceland, natural hot springs are much more than that.
I mean, for us Icelanders, it is also an obvious (and perfect) way to forget about worries and ease our minds, but besides that, it is a neuralgic point that unities us as a society. Iceland is a country with long and cold winters.
Darkness comes too soon in these latitudes, and with it, the options available to socialize in the outdoors get limited. That's where having a natural hot spring near me comes quite handy!
Going to a hot spring means meeting friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. There, we discuss everything and nothing—sports, culture, or maybe about that weird neighbor across the street, who knows.
We don't have Mediterranean weather, so having huge squares and terraces bursting with people chatting under the scorching sun is not an option. Instead, we have this fantastic naturally heated water and the northern lights just for us. Not too bad either, right?
This is why these places are so vital to us. Do you want to be part of the Icelandic way of life? Well, let's learn more about the best hot springs in Iceland.
Why does Iceland have so many hot springs?
The reason why Iceland has so many hot springs is geothermal activity. Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. The island lies on top of the mid-Atlantic ridge and the Eurasian and North American plates.
These are gradually diverging plates, and that implies a tremendous amount of energy. Iceland is growing as you read this post, about 2 cm or 0.78 inches per year.
We weren't given the privilege of year-round sunshine, but hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Instead, we were granted something quite unique and peculiar: a country brimming with geothermal energy.
Thanks to Iceland's volcanoes and the constant activity under our feet, you can visit different natural hot springs and geothermal pools around the country. Both have hot water naturally heated by the heat of the earth's activity, but there is a difference between the two options.
- Natural hot springs: They can be found throughout the island and are completely natural. They are essentially the natural version of a hot tub. The water in these springs can range from warm to scorching, so be careful when bathing. If they are in an isolated area, you probably won't find any signs stating how hot the water is; precaution is advised.
- Geothermal Pools: Although the source of heat for these pools still comes from geothermal activity, the pools themselves are mostly human-made. As the water in the earth's crust is boiling, geothermal pools will cool the water to the perfect temperature for bathing, between 34 ° and 40 ° C (93-104 F).
Let's then head directly to the best Iceland geothermal pools and natural hot springs. For that, we will make a different list for each category.
The best Icelandic Hot Springs – The Natural Ones!
Let's get to know the best natural Icelandic hot springs!
Laugar means bath, pool in Icelandic. So, the name already gives a hint. Landmannalaugar, or "the pool of the people," is an impressive area located in Iceland's highlands.
The hot water runs freely through the multicolored mountains. The views are simply spectacular. Most people come to the area to hike; afterward, they can reward their exhausted bodies with a relaxing bath in these warm waters.
The hot spring area is next to the campsite; however, you still have to walk there. It is just a minute or so, but bear that in mind and take your towel with you if you don't want to freeze on the way back. At the campsite area, you have a dining area and changing rooms.
Entrance fee: Free. Changing rooms and bathrooms are available for ISK 500 or USD 4.
Reykjadalur hot Spring Thermal River
I bet you have already seen pictures of this jaw-dropping place on Instagram. It is not hard to imagine why, as this is a stunning and unique activity to enjoy.
Its name means "Steam Valley," and it is quite close to Iceland's capital, Reykjavík. Reykjadalur is actually a hot river; the water's approximately 40 °C (93 F).
This beautiful area is located in the south of Iceland, near Hveragerði, about 45 km from Reykjavík. It is part of the Hengill area, home to an already extinct volcano. There is a hiking route here, so most travelers stop on their way and enjoy these therapeutic waters. Not everybody has enough time to head to Landmannalaugar; if It is your case, choose Reykjadalur. It won't disappoint you at all!
Entrance fee: Free
Hveravellir Geothermal Area
Let's go back into the Highlands of Iceland. This time to see the Hveravellir Geothermal Area. It is close to the Kjolur route (F35), in the western highlands, about 200km fromReykjavik.
It is an area where fumaroles abound. The landscape is indescribable regardless of the season in which you come to visit. It is a relatively remote area; therefore, you must prepare your trip well. You have many leisure options that you can always top off with a dip in the hot spring area.
Entrance fee: Free
Kerlingarfjöll Geothermal area
Located in the Highlands of Iceland, the Kerlingarfjöll Geothermal area is another mesmerizing spot. The hot water runs between the colorful mountains, between unique landscapes that can only be found in Iceland.
The site does not have one but three immense geothermal areas and the "Valley of Hot Springs." If you have the opportunity to visit it, you will be amazed at the beauty of this place.
Nearby, you have a resort that offers accommodation, parking, and a wide variety of activities to do in the area, which could still be considered a hidden pearl.
Entrance fee: Free
Hellulaug hot spring
This one can be a tricky one to visit. The reason is it is located in the Westfjords region of Iceland. And sadly, not many visitors have enough time to add this spectacular region to their itinerary.
If you are among the few lucky ones, then do head to Hellalaug. It is close to Flókalandurand right in front of Vatnsfjorður fjord. The fjords' views and the wild nature surrounding these hot springs are just a sight to behold.
Also, as it is somewhat remote, maybe you can enjoy this area all on your own! But forget about changing rooms and facilities. This is just you, 38ºC water (100F), and nature.
Entrance Fee: Free
The Best Geothermal Pools in Iceland – human-made ones!
It's time now to check the best human-made options for geothermal pools in Iceland. The fact that they are not precisely built by nature does not make them any less attractive.
Keep in mind that all the benefits that come from geothermal water are still there. These fantastic pools do use naturally heated water that springs from the entrails of the earth.
The Blue Lagoon
Well, this article would not be complete if we don't mention the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most beautiful sites, and it is a popular tourist attraction in Iceland.
It is not hard to understand why. As soon as you catch a glimpse of its turquoise waters, the volcanic landscape surrounding it, the urge to dive in will take you over. The Blue Lagoon is not just a bathing area; it is an exclusive spa with hot tubs, sauna, hotels, and restaurants. Pretty much everything you need to spend a lovely and relaxing evening.
The spa is close to Keflavik International Airport in Grindavík, so It can be a great starting or ending point. And this may seem quite convenient, but it also has a dark side.
It is so famous and so close to the airport that it can be crowded sometimes. We do recommend booking your tickets in advance through their website, so it can easily skip the line.
The Blue Lagoon has two packages for the Day Visit option
- Comfort: 38 EUR or 46 USD
- Premium: 57 EUR 69 USD
If you wish to have a bundle with other services, please check their rates online.
Myvatn Nature Baths
The Mývatn Nature Baths are the Northern Iceland version of the Blue Lagoon. It also has beautiful turquoise water full of silica. Dark black volcanic rocks surrounding the bathing area and a landscape can easily take your breath away.
Some people even say it reminds them of otherworldly scenery, such as Mars' landscapes in the movies.
The lagoon's water temperature ranges from 36-40C° (96-104 F). Perhaps the Mývatn Nature Baths is a much more enjoyable option, in my opinion. Both spas are great, don't get me wrong. But Myvatn Nature baths are less crowded, which makes the whole experience a more relaxing one. Save time and secure your admission by purchasing your Myvatn Baths tickets online.
Entrance Fee: adult single ticket is USD 44
Iceland Sky Lagoon
Get ready for the ultimate bathing experience because that is precisely what Iceland Sky's Lagoon will offer. This brand-new spa will open its doors this upcoming 2021, and we are already looking forward to bathing here!
This new geothermal lagoon will be located in a municipality of Reykjavík called Kópavogur. The location is so convenient, you can get in your rental car in Reykjavik and drive there in a blink of an eye.
The spa will be overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and it will be an infinity-edge pool. There will also be several facilities such as a restaurant, sauna, swim-up bar, shopping area, etc. And all of that will be built in such a way that you will think you are somewhere in the wildest areas of Iceland and not merely surrounded by buildings and concrete. Sky Lagoon tickets can be purchased online in advance or on site.
Entrance fee: from 7,990 ISK
Hofsos swimming pool
Hofsos is a geothermally heated swimming pool. Just a plain swimming pool, may I add, But It has to be listed in this article because the pool's views are majestic. It is on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the fjords.
It gives a sense of an infinity pool, and it is just magical. Furthermore, it is located in a small town in North Iceland called Hofsós, and I'd dare to say that it has one of the most beautiful views I have ever experienced in a pool.
Entrance Fee: 1000 ISK or USD 8
GeoSea Sea Baths
If Reykjavík's is getting their brand-new Sky's Lagoon, Husavik has GeoSea Sea Baths. Husavík is a fishing town in North Iceland. It is a famous town as it is a perfect place for whale watching in Iceland. Many of you may know it for the wonderful Netflix's movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
The bathing area is located on a cliff, overlooking the Skjálfandi Bay. You probably have this town in your itinerary as it is a beautiful place for whale watching, and now, a wonderful place to relax too.
Entrance fee: 4500 ISK or USD 35 for an adult pass.
Laugarvatn Fontana Iceland Spa
And finally, Laugarvatn Fontana! This Wellness Center is located close to the Golden Circle. And let me tell you, there is no better way to finish this route than taking a relaxing bath in these warm waters!
Laugarvatn Fontana is just 20 minutes away driving distance from the Geysir Geothermal Area. It offers several hot pools, steam baths, and a sauna. You can quickly head there with your rental car in Iceland once you finish the whole tour.
Entrance fee: 3950 ISK or USD 30 (adults)
Geothermal Hot Spring Pools in Iceland – The hybrids!
Besides the artificial spas and the natural hot springs, you can find a hybrid of both across the country. They are in natural settings, with water sources running nearby, they lack extensive facilities, but someone had to condition them for the water to accumulate. Even so, the Geothermal Hot Spring Pools that we will list in this article are so unique that you should not miss them.
The Secret Lagoon
Well, the secret lagoon is not so secret anymore. This hot spring area is located in a village called Fluðir, close to the Golden circle route as well.
It is Iceland's oldest pool, and locals still head there to enjoy the steamy, warm waters surrounded by unique scenery. There is even a little geyser close by that erupts every five minutes or so!
Entrance fee: adults ISK 3000 or USD 23
Seljavallalaug is tucked away in a narrow valley in southern Iceland close to Skogar, but very accessible from the main road, the ring road. It is an outdoor swimming pool nestled on the hillside, deep in the valley, surrounded by black volcanic sand and moss.
The pool was built in 1923 as a place where the little ones could learn to swim. Fun fact: despite being a fishing country with a deep connection to the sea, swimming was not widely practiced back in the old days. So, the solution to many drownings was to build a place where people could learn how to swim at an early age.
Entrance fee: Free.
Gudrunarlaug or Gudrun's pool is a lovely geothermal pool in West Iceland, in the Sælingsdalur valley. The pool was mentioned in the Icelandic Sagas, and as the original once was destroyed by a landslide, it was rebuilt by locals.
I do love the epic surroundings, the lovely valley, and a typical Icelandic turf house nearby. You might enjoy a relaxing evening with elves, or maybe with a Viking warrior tired of fighting.
Entrance fee: Free.
This bathing area is close to Saudarkrokur in North Iceland, on the west side of Skagafjörður fjord. The site is remote, idyllic and full of history. The pools are by a towering mountain at the end of a gravel road. It can take you 20-25 minutes to get there once you leave the paved road behind, but it will be worth it.
Entrance fee: 1000 ISK or USD 8
Kvika Geothermal Footbath
Okay, Kvika Geothermal Footbath is not itself an area to bathe your entire body. It is impossible to dive here due to the size of the pool.
Now, it's an idyllic little spot in Reykjavík where you can dip your feet and relax while enjoying the view of the Icelandic mountains and the sea. Perhaps the best thing about this site is the moment you come. How about before the sunset?
Entrance fee: Free.
Iceland hot springs FAQ
Are hot springs in Iceland safe?
It depends on the hot spring. Some hot springs are quite famous and a point of interest for visitors; therefore, they have marks, safety signs, and water temperature information. Some others are in remote areas may lack information, and thus they can be dangerous. Make sure you test the water before entering! Water can be boiling, so hot it may burn you.
Can I enjoy Iceland hot springs when pregnant?
It would help if you always ask your doctor first. However, hot springs are usually not recommended for a pregnant woman. Water composition and water temperature can be counterproductive.
Should you shower before hot springs?
Absolutely. And in Iceland, you must do so naked. You need to soap and clean your body thoroughly before heading into the waters. This mostly applies to spas and pools.
Should you shower after hot springs?
For natural hot springs, it is not necessary. For other spas such as the Blue Lagoon, it is advisable to wash off certain minerals like silica. Mind your hair! Silica is great for your skin, but it can really dry your hair.
Can you get sick from Hot Springs?
Some people may feel dizzy or faint, though it is not very common. So if you are feeling hot, don't try to get out of the water too quickly. Keep hydrated and let your body adapt to the water's temperature.
What is the Iceland hot springs temperature?
Temperature varies from hot spring to hot spring. Most of those range between 38-42 Celsius (100-107F), which is usually adequate for bathing. Some remote hot springs are not suitable for human use as the water is scorching.