Top Best 12 Natural Hot Springs in Iceland

The Icelandic hot springs are not only a place to relax, they are linked to the Icelandic culture and way of life. Let's discover some of the best options out there.

Hot Springs in Iceland

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Things can actually get pretty hot and steamy here in Iceland. One of the most popular pastimes for both locals and visitors alike is to visit the hot springs in Iceland. These are not your average heated pools and have been proven to have more benefits than just relaxing in the warm water.

    If you’re planning a trip to the island or are already compiling your list of some of the best hot springs to visit in Iceland, stick around because we’ll give you all the info you need on this hot topic.

    What Are Natural Hot Springs?

    As many of you already know, Iceland isn’t called the Land of Fire and Ice for nothing, and volcanic activity is rife here on the island, averaging at least one eruption every 4 years. It is this exact volcanic activity on the island that actually heats up the underground water supply. Some of these natural hot springs are easily accessible, whilst others are not, but these natural hot springs in Iceland and their water is used in a wide variety of ways.

    Iceland hot springs

    What Types of Hot Springs Will I Find in Iceland?

    You might be wondering what we mean when we say that the natural hot springs and their water are used in a wide variety of ways. Well, these are some of the different and most popular ways for you to enjoy the hot springs in Iceland:

    Natural, Free Hot Springs in Iceland

    All across the island, you will find places where the heated water reaches the surface. And whether in the form of a river or a stream or what might resemble a rock pool, these hot springs are very much still in their original form.

    Some of these hot springs are simply too hot for humans to use safely (so keep an eye out for warning signs), but others make the best swimming or soaking spots. The best part of it is that most of these are free to use, and even those on private land merely ask for a donation as thank you.

     Natural geothermal pools iceland

    Geothermal Pools in Iceland

    Remember how we just mentioned that some hot springs are simply too hot to use for humans? Well, this, combined with other hot springs that are not easily accessible (such as those deep underground), are often used to create geothermal pools or thermal baths in Iceland.

    These can either be a combination of the water from the hot spring along with a cold water source such as the ocean or a stream, or it can be solely water from the hot spring.

    Man-made geothermal pool

    Hot Spring Resorts in Iceland

    A hot spring resort is exactly what it sounds like. It’s where you can enjoy the water of the natural hot springs here on the island (often in the form of a geothermal pool), but with all sorts of added amenities such as restaurants, bars, and spas, and it offers accommodation options as well. A good example of this would be the Blue Lagoon.

    Hot Tubs in Iceland

    Once again, these are exactly what they sound like. They are essentially geothermal pools that come in the form of a hot tub. In other words, much smaller, more intimate, and will be for soaking only.

    'No Bathing' Hot Springs & Pools in Iceland

    This has nothing to do with not being able to wash yourself in a hot spring (although that is not allowed either). As we already mentioned, certain hot springs are simply too hot to use and will either be cordoned off or have warning signs.

    A good example of this is the Geysir hot springs in Iceland. This is also why it’s important to stick to designated areas and paths, since you don’t always know where these boiling hot springs might be (just ask Ed Sheeran). 

    Why are There So Many Hot Springs in Iceland?

    We’ve already mentioned all the volcanic activity here on the island, with roughly 30 volcanoes active here at any given time. But do you know why the island is so volcano-prone?

    Iceland is situated right on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are pushing apart from one another. It’s this movement of these tectonic plates that make it a so-called “volcanic hotspot”.

    Iceland thermal baths

    What are the Benefits of Soaking in a Hot Spring in Iceland?

    Hot springs are also known as mineral springs here in Iceland, and for good reason. You see, our hot springs offer much more than a relaxing soak and have actually been proven to possess healing properties due to the water being extremely mineral rich. Here are some of the benefits that you can look forward to when visiting one of our hot springs:

    • It can help you sleep. Not only will its relaxing effects help you sleep, but also have a better quality of sleep.
    • It detoxifies the skin and helps with all sorts of dermatological problems. As we mentioned, the water is extremely mineral-rich and gets absorbed through the skin.
    • The warm water brings relief from all sorts of aches and pains, as well as inflammation in the muscles. This is because the heat actually blocks the pain receptors in both muscle and bone.
    • The minerals, as well as the heat, help clear any congestion you may have in your nasal passages, sinuses, or lungs.
    • It improves overall circulation, with the heat impacting your blood pressure and specific hot spring minerals improving blood flow.

    Iceland sulfur springs

    What are the Different Minerals Found in Hot Springs?

    There’s an absolute plethora of minerals that can be found in the hot springs in Iceland, with some places recording the presence of more than 100 natural minerals. Some of the most common ones found include:

    • Silica
    • Magnesium
    • Potassium
    • Calcium
    • Calcium Carbonate
    • Chloride
    • Iron
    • Sodium
    • Lithium
    • Sulfate (These are the yellow deposits that can be found at hot springs such as the ones at Geysir that gives off a smell like rotten eggs. This is also why some will refer to these as the Sulfur springs of Iceland)

    Iceland mineral springs

    The 12 Most Famous Hot Springs in Iceland

    If you’re busy compiling your hot spring checklist for your upcoming trip, make sure you include these must-visit sites:

    Blue Lagoon

    We already mentioned the Blue Lagoon hot springs in Iceland, and this resort is probably one of the most famous here on the island. We can also call this the Iceland mud bath, since the mud on the bottom is so mineral-rich that people come from far and wide to lather it all over their bodies.

    It’s also one of the hot springs in Iceland that’s near Reykjavik, and most tend to visit on their way from or to Keflavik Airport.

    Sky Lagoon

    Sky Lagoon is yet another one of the Reykjavik hot springs. In fact, this one is conveniently located in the city itself. What makes the Sky Lagoon so special is that the location is elevated and the infinity thermal pools offer breathtaking views over Reykjavik and the ocean.

    Kvika Footbath

    This is one of the secret hot springs in Iceland, since very few know about this hidden gem that’s within walking distance from the capital city of Reykjavik. This natural hot spring is completely free to use and is the perfect place to sit, stare out across the ocean and let your thoughts wander.

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    Reykjadalur Valley

    Reykjadalur is yet another natural hot spring, but these rock pools come along with an entire river! Getting there requires a 3-kilometer hike, but it’s totally worth it.

    What makes Reykjadalur even more interesting is that you can actually choose this Iceland hot spring’s temperature to suit your preferences by moving either up or downstream.

    Reykjadalur Valley

    Secret Lagoon

    The Secret Lagoon, or Gamla Laugin as it’s also known, got its name from actually being forgotten for many years.

    Even though the uneven and rocky edges of this pool might have you believe that this hot spring is still in its natural form, the Secret Lagoon is a manmade pool. It is also one of the hot springs that can be found along the Golden Circle route in Iceland.

    Myvatn Nature Baths

    Just like the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, the Myvatn Nature Baths is a resort of geothermal pools and steam baths in Iceland that offers all sorts of other amenities, such as a restaurant and bar. The Myvatn Nature Baths also give visitors breathtaking views of the Icelandic landscape.

    Laugarvatn Fontana

    Laugarvatn Fontana hot springs in Iceland are very similar to the Myvatn Nature Baths with their geothermal pools and steam rooms, but Laugarvatn Fontana is also located on the popular Golden Circle route, which makes it easier to visit for those sticking to the capital and surroundings.


    Hrunalaug is one of the hidden hot springs in Iceland and is still in its original form. It is situated on private land where the landowner has opened up the hot spring to the public, and its remote location brings beautiful views and a sense of peace that is simply indescribable.

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    Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach

    We see your hot spring and raise you an entire beach! The Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach can be found in Reykjavik and the man-made lagoon is a mix of geothermal water and seawater. And if you get tired of the lagoon, you can head over to the hot tub.

    Geothermal beach in Iceland

    Vök Baths

    Infinity geothermal pools overlooking a gigantic lake with the added benefits of a sauna, bar, and restaurant. What’s not to like? If you’re ever near the town of Egilsstadir, the Vök Baths should definitely be one of your stops.

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    Hvammsvik Hot Springs

    Hvammsvik is an incredibly special place. Even though it is man-made, it has tried to keep things as natural as possible and in harmony with its surroundings. And the views over the mountains and the ocean will take your breath away. End your day with a nice meal at the restaurant.


    Krauma offers visitors the option of taking a dip in 6 pools; 5 hot and 1 cold. Some of which are in the shape of shells. The pools use absolutely no chemicals to keep the pools clean since the water is constantly replaced.

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    Before You Go: Hot Springs Etiquette

    There are certain things that you need to keep in mind when swimming in hot springs in Iceland:

    You Need to Be Dressed for the Occasion

    You cannot take a dip in Iceland’s hot springs in the nude. Not only will you be getting a lot of unwanted stares, but you will be escorted off the premises by the police to your new accommodation – jail. This constitutes indecent exposure here on the island.

    Make Sure You Take a Shower Beforehand

    Icelanders take hygiene very seriously, and you need to make sure that you have taken a proper shower before heading into a hot spring. This becomes even more important at one of the Iceland hot springs that require a hike beforehand. Most hot springs will have showers on the premises exactly for this reason.

    Bath is Not a Verb Here

    You might be going to take a soak in a “bath”, but this definitely doesn’t give you permission to grab the soap and sponge. As we already mentioned, you need to make sure that you’ve cleaned yourself off before entering the hot spring. Bathing in Iceland’s hot springs is strictly forbidden.

    Iceland hot springs bathing

    Chill Out

    Iceland’s hot springs are not places where you’re going to be running around or doing cannonballs. These are places to relax. No one wants to listen to anyone screaming at the top of their lungs or get splashed in the face.

    FAQs About the Hot Springs in Iceland

    Below you will find the answers to a few frequently asked questions:

    How Many Hot Springs are in Iceland?

    There are more than 45 natural hot springs and roughly 200 geothermal pools all across Iceland.

    How Hot are the Hot Springs in Iceland?

    That will all depend on the specific hot spring, but you can expect hot springs to be around 36 – 40 degrees Celsius.

    When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland’s Hot Springs?

    Any time is a good time to visit the Iceland hot springs, but many will tell you that visiting Iceland’s hot springs during the winter is especially nice. This is because of the contrast between the warm water and the bite of the cold outside.

    Are There Any Hotels in Iceland With Hot Springs?

    Yes, but it tends to be the other way around – the hot springs in Iceland also have hotels. Well, some of them. The resorts like Blue Lagoon will have hotels on-site whilst others such as the Myvatn Nature Baths have hotels close by.

    Famous hot springs in Iceland

    Can I Watch the Northern Lights from Iceland’s Hot Springs?

    Yes, if you come at the right time in the year and the conditions are good you may actually see the Northern Lights from some of the hot springs in Iceland (normally the more remote ones).

    One of the ways to ensure that you have a great time and increase your chances of seeing the lights is to book one of the Iceland hot springs tours or vacation packages that include this as an activity/outing.

    The Hot Springs in Iceland; a Must for Any Visitor to the Island

    Whether you soak in the warm waters of a geothermal pool or soak in the views of one of our natural hot springs, you simply cannot come to the island and miss out on this Icelandic tradition.

    If you are planning on renting a car in Reykjavik and doing a road trip around the island, ask your travel agent or car rental agency for a map of Iceland’s hot springs. This way, you won’t drive past any of our article’s must-visit spots.

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