Natural hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland
Need some ideas for your natural hot spring mission in Iceland? Where are the best natural hot springs in Iceland? What natural hot springs and geothermal pools are near Reykjavik?
Welcome to the country of limitless access to both cold and hot water! You can find hot water springs basically everywhere and bathe in them is simply awesome. The Blue Lagoon is probably the most famous geothermal pool but there are other ones around Iceland that are definitely worth your while too. We would like to share with you some of our absolute favorite natural pools found in Iceland. All of them are well reached from Reykjavik. Click the images for directions!
Text by: April Harpa Smaradottir
In this blog about our favorite geothermal pools and natural hot springs in Iceland, you will find the following info:
- Our favorite local natural hot springs in Iceland
- Where to find them & the best way to get there
- Admission fees for each spot
- Our best Secret local tips and recommendations
Hvalfjarðarlaug in Hvammsvík
We can’t recommend this gem highly enough! Hvalfjarðalaug is beautiful, warm, assessable and right in front of the ocean! You can also control the water temperature by adjusting a black pipe that controls the flow of water into the pool.
Directions: Drive around 21 km in Hvalfjörður until you see a sign saying:” Hvammsvik”. Turn into Hvammsvik, until you approach a T and then turn right until you see a bridge. Park there, and walk around 50 meters to your left.
Tips: Beware of hatching season! The Artic Tern can be a bit fussy over their eggs so stay on the path. Also, you control the water temperature by adjusting that black pipe that controls the flow of water into the pool.
Entrance Fee: Free
Directions: Assuming you are driving from Reykjavik, you leave the city heading North, crossing the Hvalfjarðargöng tunnels (small 1000kr fee) and continuing to the town of Borgarnes (which by the way has Bónus and the ÁTVR liquor shops and is perfect for loading up on some snacks or dranks!). When leaving Borgarnes, take a left at the roundabout and head North/West for Snæfellsnes.
In about 25 minutes drive you should see Eldborg – an old volcanic crater (it hasn’t erupted since the settlement age so you are safe to hike and explore it). To get to Landbrotalaug, take a left turn after you have passed Eldborg crater and drive for a few minutes on a dirt road. There you will pass a small abandoned house and in a few more minutes, in approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes after departing from Reykjavik, you will find the parking spot in front of Landbrotalaug – Easy Peasy!
Tip: Basically, this tiny pool has space for about 3 souls at a time. We highly recommend you visit during low season and early in the morning when not many people are around!
Reykjadalur Steam Valley
Reykjadalur, which translates simply to ‘Steam Valley’, is truly a hidden gem. This one is SO EPIC because you actually have to do around 60 minutes of awesome hiking to access the springs. The hike itself is stunning with incredible scenery. We highly recommend that you start from Hveragerði and walk from there- the paths are marked so we highly doubt that you will get lost!
Directions: Drive to Hveragerði and follow the signs to “Reykjadalur”. You will have to drive through the town and up towards the hills. Park your car and start hiking for approx 30 minutes to reach the beautiful baths!
Tips: Don’t be shy to ask around! – And bring a daypack, you’re going to want to spend a whole day exploring this place. Also, bring your towel and mind your step around the pools as some areas can be hotter than others.
Entrance fee: Free
Geothermal Footbath by Grótta (Located in Reykjavik)
This little cutie is super nice as a place to enjoy a warm foot bath with an ice cream. If you are kinda stuck in Reykjavik or not in a mood to do a huge mission but still wanna do something nice, visit this one!
It’s small. This one is more of a simple geothermal footbath than a pool. Still, – stunning views of mount Esja and sometimes you can even see the Snæfellsjökul far away!
Tips: TIMING IS EVERYTHING! My favorite time to visit Grótta is around sunset and of course when Northern Light activity is high. It’s in my opinion the best spot in Reykjavik to catch a glimpes of the mystical Northern lights!
Entrance Fee: Free
Gamla Laugin (The Secret Lagoon)
Gamla Laugin is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland, translated simply as “The Old Swimming pool”. Gamla Laugin is also known as “The Secret Lagoon” and sits next to a large flowing river and even small geysers!
Directions: This one requires a bit longer road trip out of Reykjavik, around 1 1/2 hours, to a town named Flúðir. It’s very spacious and they have made very nice facilities around it too.
Fun fact: People first started to swim in this one in 1891! Then, from 1937, it got forgotten for over 60 years until the Secret broke out round 2006.
Tips: While you’re there and hungry, and if you’re in a mood for something very different, try out this Ethiopian Restaurant out. Such a random nice place in this rural town!
Also, check out the geyser that is only a short walking distance away! Apparently, it erupts every 10 minutes!
Entrance Fee: 2800 ISK
Let’s say you drove to Gamla Plugin (The Secret Lagoon) but wanted to do a little bit more of a geothermal exploring. It’s a normal urge, you can get dangerously addicted!
Ask around for Hrunalaug, which sits right on the outskirts of Flúðir. It’s fairly hidden but definitely worth checking out!
Tips: For some incredible reason, people are leaving a lot of rubbish around this natural wonder. Be the change you want to see in the world and pick up your trash!:)
Entrance fee: Free
Many people want to think this is actually the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. But the thing is, this is actually the oldest man-made a swimming pool in Iceland. Alright? Now you know!
This one is super fun as it’s also quite hidden from the main road. It takes a little beautiful hike to reach and also has a “changing room”. A nice little river flows next to it and has many cool hikes around!
Entrance fee: Free
Lake Mývatn Nature Baths
Mývatn nature baths is a super cozy geothermal pool located in the north of Iceland, 489 km from Reykjavík (approx. 6-hour car ride.) The water supplies for the lagoon runs straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. One of my favorite reasons to visit Lake Mývatn is because of it’s BEAUTIFUL landscape scenery that surrounds it and which is considered one of Europe´s greatest natural treasures! The water has a temperature of about 36 – 40°C and contains a lot of minerals and due to its chemical composition, bacterias do not thrive in the lagoon so it’s PERFECT for bathing.
Tips: Sulphur, which is found in this lake (among other geothermal waters in Iceland) is believed to have an awesome positive effect on asthma and many of the water’s elements are also considered to prevent acne and other skin problems!
Entrance fee: The standard price is 3800 ISK but 4300 ISK in the summertime!
Fun fact: The name of the lake (Icelandic mý (“midge”) and vatn (“lake”) comes from the huge numbers of midges to be found there in the summer. Midges are actually a group of insects that include many kinds of small flies.
This is only a small fraction of the pools you can find in Iceland! There are heaps of hidden spots spread all over the country! If you would like to hear more ideas then please don’t be shy to pop us a message!