Iceland Hot Springs: 10 Must Visit Natural Hot Springs in Iceland
Are you ready to learn about the best Icelandic Hot Springs? Where in Iceland are the natural Hot Springs? How to find them, is there an entrance fee and how hot are Icelandic Hot Springs?
This is your ultimate Iceland Hot Spring guide:
Welcome to the country of limitless access to both hot and cold water! You can find natural hot water springs all-around Iceland. Everything from the Geysir hot spring area and the Blue Lagoon to smaller, amazing, hidden gems. Bathing is possible in many of these hot springs – and it is our favourite thing to do in Iceland!
The Blue Lagoon is without any doubt the most famous hot spring in Iceland but there are other ones (hidden) around Iceland that we think are even more worth your time. We would like to share with you some of our best local secrets – our absolute favourite natural hot springs in Iceland. Many are easy to reach from Reykjavik, some can be done as day tours from Reykjavik and others are perfect while driving around Iceland on your rental car!
Text by: April Harpa Smáradottir
Last Updated: 27. March 2019
First, let’s begin with what topics you will find in this Iceland Hot Spring guide:
- The #1 Hot Spring tour in Iceland
- Where in Iceland are the hot springs? And how hot?
- Top list: 10 Must visit natural Hot Springs in Iceland
- Included are information about each hot spring, where to find them and admission if any
- Our best Secret local tips and recommendations
#1 Hot Spring Tour in Iceland
If you have limited time and want to make the absolute most of your time in Iceland. Then I cannot recommend this Golden Circle + Natural Hot spring tour highly enough!
If you had only 1 day in Iceland, you should do this.
This tour combines the best of Icelandic scenery- and sightseeing spots (powerful waterfalls, erupting Geysir geothermal area and Þingvellir national park) with a fun visit to the beautiful Secret Lagoon natural hot spring.
Personal highlights & why I recommend this to all my friends:
- Visit the most breathtaking scenery spots in Iceland
- Visits the magical Secret Lagoon natural hot spring
- A lot less touristy and crowded then the Blue Lagoon
- Pickup and drop off included from down town Reykjavik
- Super budget friendly (similar price as standard golden circle tours)
- Time efficient (let’s you experience brilliant sightseeing & hot spring all in one awesome day)
You can read about and secure your spot on the Golden Circle + Secret Lagoon tour here.
Where in Iceland are
the Natural Hot Springs?
Natural Hot Springs can be found all-around Iceland. And there are hundreds of them!
However, West- & South West Iceland are very active with geothermal heat and that is where you will find the most natural hot springs. North Iceland has a few amazing hot springs and the same goes for the Eastern highlands. But Iceland’s East coast does not have hot water in the ground, resulting in no hot springs in that area.
Judging from the number of natural hot springs in each area, Southern Iceland and the Westfjords are by far the best areas to find Natural Hot Springs in Iceland. But anywhere you go in Iceland, wether it be West or East, you will also find plenty of man made geothermal swimming pools with jacuzzis and saunas.
The temperature of Natural Hot Springs in Iceland varies from every pool. In my personal experience, most are perfect for bathing all year round or from 38-40°C. However, few pools are getting colder each year for some reason while other are in very active geothermal areas and get too warm for bathing.
TOP 10 ICELAND HOT SPRINGS
Alright, let’s get right to that list!
Here are some of our best recommended hot springs in Iceland:
Landbrotalaug hot spring
Driving duration from Reykjavik: 1.5 hours!
Directions: Assuming you are driving from Reykjavik, you leave the city heading North, crossing the Hvalfjarðargöng tunnels and continuing to the town of Borgarnes (which by the way has Bónus grocery store 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!
… or just follow this Google Maps Link!
Tip: Basically, this tiny pool has space for about 3 souls at a time. We highly recommend you visit during low season or early in the morning/late in evening when not many people are around!
Entrance fee: Free
Rent a car? Find the BEST deals for rental cars in Iceland with our partners at Lagoon Car Rental. Perfect to explore the Natural Hot Springs at your own pace.
Reykjadalur hot spring hike
Reykjadalur, which translates simply to ‘Steam Valley’, is truly a hidden gem. This one is SO EPIC because you actually have to do around 30-60 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!
Driving duration from Reykjavik: 30 minutes (+30-60 minute beautiful hike!)
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! …You can also just follow this Google Maps Link!
Tips: Don’t be shy to ask around! – And bring a daypack, you’re going to want to spend some time exploring this place. Also, bring your towel+swimsuit and mind your step around the pools as some areas can be hotter than others. The further you walk up, the warmer the pool gets!
Entrance fee: Free
Geothermal Footbath 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 long, full day hot spring mission but still wanna do something awesome, visit this one!
It’s small. This one is more of a simple geothermal foot-bath than a pool. Still, – stunning views of Mount Esja and sometimes you can even see the Snæfellsjökull glacier from far away in the West! You can find this super duper cosy hotpot on the coastline in Seltjarnarnes. You can either drive or walk from down town Reykjavik.
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 glimpse of the mystical Northern lights!
Entrance Fee: Free
Directions: This cosy little tub is located in Reykjavik city right here. It’s a short 5-7 minute drive or 45 minutes walking from the city centre.
Don’t Miss Our most recommended Natural Hot Spring / Golden Circle combo tour in Iceland!
Secret Lagoon hot spring Iceland
The name is Gamla Laugin and it is just perfect!
Gamla Laugin is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland, and the name translates to simply: “The Old Swimming pool”. Gamla Laugin is also known as “The Secret Lagoon” and sits next to a large flowing river and even small little geysers!
Driving duration from Reykjavik: 1.5 hours
Directions: Make your way out of Reykjavik and head East to a town called Flúðir in Southern Iceland. It’s very spacious and they have made very nice facilities around it too – You’ll love it! Also, here is the exact Google Maps link to make it easier to find!
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 around 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, very close is the famous & incredibly beautiful Friðheimar geothermal green house tomato farm / restaurant. Definitely worth your visit. It is amazing!
Also, check out the geyser that is only a short walking distance away! Apparently, it erupts every 10 minutes!
Entrance Fee: 2800 ISK
You can also check out our brilliant Hot Spring tour, that visits all the incredible highlight sightseeing spots of Iceland along with a super cozy dip in this Secret Lagoon!
Hrunalaug Natural Hot Spring
One of the most beautiful natural hot springs in South Iceland is without any doubt this gem right here, Hrunalaug close to the small town of Flúðir.
Located on a small farmers land lies this small pool with a perfect temperature year round. Note that the pools are actually two -although they are right next to each other. It’s the larger pool that can easily fit 6-8 people and then there is a small old cabin where you can change and from there lies this tiny pool (that Egill, the founder of Wake Up Reykjavik is bathing in on the image above!).
PLEASE NOTE: With such a beautiful natural gem – you can only imagine that lots of fun travellers want to visit & enjoy. Please help us to protect our beautiful land by being careful and honour the environment. Not leave any trash behind. And please, leave a small donation (1000 or 2000 ISK) in their donation box. In comparison, the Blue Lagoon which is not as special as this costs 9000 ISK per person. This fee will go directly to the farmer and only spent to clean and maintain the pool and it’s surroundings.
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 and if you see anything laying around! :)
Entrance fee: 1000 – 2000 ISK to leave in the donation box. Your donation makes a huge different!
NEW TOUR: Explore the best of a week night out with a local in down town Reykjavik. Have a great night out and sample 10+ Icelandic beers in The Reykjavik Beer Tour!
the Blue Lagoon
Oh, did you think we wouldn’t include the #1 most popular, largest and famous hot spring in Iceland?
The Blue Lagoon doesn’t need much introduction. It is one of the 25 wonders of the world and it is the main reason for many travellers to visit Iceland.
From a personal standpoint, I highly recommend you to visit. It is a must while visiting Iceland. The natural lava surroundings are magical and a dip into the Blue Lagoon is truly like nothing else.
However, some people today claim that it is both touristy and expensive and personally, I agree! But it is only expensive because it is so incredibly popular and it is touristy since everyone does of course want to experience the Blue Lagoon for themselves.
The Blue Lagoon is like the Colosseum for Rome or the Pyramids for Egypt. It’s a must do while in Iceland!
Seljavallalaug Hot Spring
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 swimming pool in Iceland. The pool itself is man made but the geothermal water flows naturally. 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 small”changing room” as seen on the image above. A nice little river flows next to it and there are so beautiful hikes all around this area!
Good to know: Seljavallalaug has for some reason been getting a bit colder throughout the years and is not as warm as it used to be. Last time I visited it was awesome but one half of the pool was a little chilly.
Tip: Do you dare to get in the cold glacier river next to it?
Driving Distance from Reykjavik: approx. 2 hours!
Myvatn Hot Spring Iceland
Mývatn Nature baths is a super incredible & cozy geothermal hot spring, located in the far North of Iceland. One of my favourite things about Lake Mývatn is its incredible landscape scenery that surrounds it. The water has a perfect temperature of about 36 – 40°C and contains a lot of minerals!
Mývatn Nature Baths are a true treasure, just like it’s big brother, the Blue Lagoon. Only difference is that it’s not as crowded and costs 50% less.
Driving Distance from Reykjavik: Approx. 6 hours!
Directions: This beauty is located in the north of Iceland, making it a perfect hot spring to check out for those that are visiting our ‘capital of the north’, Akureyri city. Or for those driving the full circle/ring road of Iceland. You and their exact location right here!
Entrance fee: Their standard price is 3800 ISK
Grjótagjá: Game of Thrones Hot Spring
This incredible piece of untouched natural beauty has been an Icelandic secret for centuries. But recently it was made world famous by Jon Snow and company in multiple episodes of Game and Thrones that are shot all around Iceland.
Grjótagjá is a small but untouched lava cave just a few kilometers from Lake Mývatn and the Mývatn nature baths mentioned above. Inside the cave you will find a beautiful natural hot spring.
The cave is well known as a bathing spot in the Icelandic sagas. But unfortunately, bathing in Grjótagjá is forbidden today and people have not been enjoying Grjótagjá as a bathing place since the 1970’s.
The reason is an earthquake in the area that resulted in a big spike in water temperature (around 50°C) and stones occasionally falling from the ceiling of the cave!
Grjótagjá is still an absolute gem to witness even though you won’t dip in. And I highly recommend you to check it out. However, just promise me that you’ll be careful :)
A FEW FINAL WORDS
I really hope from the bottom of my heart that this blog post has inspired you to see the best of my country. Happy hot spring exploring :)
Share it with your traveler friends if you enjoyed it! And please feel free to drop me a comment below – specially if you’ve been to any of these hot springs to tell me about your experience or there is anything at all that I can help YOU with!
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