A trip to Iceland is only complete with a visit to one of its famous hot springs. These natural pools are a perfect way to relax while exploring the country’s stunning landscape after a long day.
Some are artificial, like the Blue Lagoon, and others are more natural, such as the steaming river at Landmannalaugar. Let’s take a look at each of these unique places!
So, what are the famous hot springs in Iceland? The Blue Lagoon is arguably Iceland’s most famous destination and one of the country’s top attractions. With steaming, milky blue water filling a lava-rock basin, it’s beautiful and a must-visit for many travelers. It is, however, a little pricey for a hot spring when there are many other thermal pools throughout the country at a fraction of the cost.
You must book an entry time slot to visit the Blue Lagoon. The timings vary depending on the season. It is busiest in May through September and quieter in January and February. If you will visit, book early and arrive during your timeslot to enjoy the lagoon without the crowds.
If you want a more luxurious experience, check out the Retreat Hotel on-site at the Blue Lagoon. The rooms open out to moss fields and the lagoon, making this a true escape from the busyness of the main pool area.
You’ll need to follow Icelandic public spa etiquette when visiting the Blue Lagoon, which requires you to shower naked before wearing your swimsuit. This is to ensure the water is as clean and bacteria-free as possible. The water is filled with algae, silica, and other minerals known for their natural healing properties and will leave your skin feeling soft and shimmering after soaking in the water.
Myvatn Nature Baths
The Myvatn Nature Baths are an incredible place to soak and relax while looking out over a lunar landscape of volcanic fields. Like the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, the waters here are rich in minerals, algae, and silica. They also have some healing properties. Thanks to the water’s unique chemical composition, undesirable bacteria and flora cannot thrive in the pool, and chlorine or other disinfectants are unnecessary.
Myvatn Nature Baths is located in Jardbadsholar, 105 kilometers (65 miles) east of Akureyri. While smaller than the Blue Lagoon, it’s just as relaxing and far less crowded. The pools are surrounded by an incredible natural landscape and heated through geothermal activity. Designed with preservation in mind, the complex offers an experience different from anything you’ll find elsewhere.
While summer is the best time to visit Myvatn Nature Baths, they are open all year. Whether visiting during bright, warm summers or the dark, serene winters, you can expect a magical and surreal experience. The Nature Baths also have a steam bath that uses geothermally sourced steam to create a soothing atmosphere. The baths are also infused with essential oils to promote relaxation. The Nature Baths have an on-site restaurant and gift shop for your convenience.
There are many cool things to do in Iceland, but sometimes you want to park the car and soak. Luckily, some pretty awesome hot pools are waiting to be enjoyed nearby. One such pool is Hrunalaug, located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve near Landmannalaugar. This natural bath is a beautiful place to relax and unwind among colorful rhyolite peaks after hiking.
Initially, this spring was used by shepherds to wash their sheep, but now you can enjoy a hot soak here, too. You can enjoy two pools – a watering trough-like pool with picturesque rock walls and another long rectangular pool that stays at a balmy 104 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
The water in the hot pools is heated naturally by the earth and contains several medicinal minerals. The silica in the water provides a smooth texture to the skin, while the sulfur and calcium help treat several conditions, including respiratory and joint issues.
The entrance to this hot spring costs 1000 ISK per adult (as of 2023). It’s a little cheaper than the Blue Lagoon and Secret Lagoon, but it can still feel crowded, so arriving early to enjoy your time here is a good idea.
Built in 1923, Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest pools in Iceland. A man initially constructed it to teach Icelanders how to swim, and it soon became a beloved place for families to spend time together. In 2010, during the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, the pool was filled with ash, but volunteers quickly cleaned it, and the pool is now open year-round.
You’ll find the hidden pool just east of Seljalandsfoss waterfall and at the foot of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano and glacier. The hike to the collection will take you through a picturesque valley, where you can spot the water flowing from the natural hot spring. The water temperature varies throughout the season but is usually lukewarm to hot.
The hike to the Seljavallalaug hot spring pool takes about 20 minutes. You should bring decent footwear and warm clothing for the colder months to make the most of your visit. You should get plenty of water and sunscreen during summer to stay safe in the sun.
If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to discover the beauty of Iceland, there’s no better way than by exploring its many geothermal wonders. Iceland’s hot springs are a sight to behold, and each one offers a unique experience you will remember.