There is something simultaneously delightful and soothing about soaking in geothermal pools, in the rugged wilderness, that has to be experienced to be believed. One of the most outstanding features of Iceland’s landscape is its abundance of delightful natural hot springs and geothermal baths. Even though some of the hot springs are bubbling with boiling hot water or sprouting geysers and therefore not meant for bathing in.
Regardless of which corner of the country you find yourself in, there is no shortage of decadent geothermal baths to soak yourself in. From the scenic Geosea in the north to the murky Seljavallalaug in the South. From the new lush Vok baths in the east to the elusive Landbrotalaug hot springs in the west. You really do not have an excuse not to include a geothermal pool experience on your Iceland itinerary. The bonus being that most of them are free. For the spa type of pools mentioned on this post, you would need to book in advance on their respective websites.
As a hot spring and geothermal pool enthusiast, I have indulged in my fair share of nature baths all over Iceland. Here is my list of the top 15 must-experience geothermal pools in Iceland.
Geothermal pools near Reykjavik (West Iceland)
Blue Lagoon Iceland
By far the most famous of Iceland’s geothermal baths, it is no wonder it is visited by more than 2 million people every year. If you want to know whether the Blue Lagoon is worth the visit, read this post on five reasons why Iceland’s Blue Lagoon will blow your mind away.
Guðlaug Natural Pool
Guðlaug, which translates to God’s pool, are fabulously designed geothermal pots located on the beach in Akranes, barely 45 minutes from Reykjavik. There is no better place to soak up some decadent sunsets than from these pots which blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. From the pots, you can also see the magnificent Akranes lighthouse which was built in 1918. It is also one of the best spots to see the northern lights.
Landbrotlaug Hot Pots
One of the absolute highlights of visiting the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is finding the Landbrotalaug hot pots. As far as geothermal hot springs go, these are a little less known and certainly less visited. There are two hot springs, one is literally just a hole on the ground with enough room for just one person, the other is just a shallow puddle. The water is not very hot, but it is the perfect spot to partake of the beautiful surrounding mountains while taking in the slow hum of nature. The hot pots are as raw as can be and are located on an abandoned farm. There is no changing room on-site, so prepare accordingly. They can be a little difficult to find, we used these GPS coordinates N64°49.933 W22°19.110 recommended by the follow me away blog and they led us straight to the parking lot of the farm.
Krauma Geothermal Baths
Be prepared to be enamoured with Krauma’s ambience and surrounding rough wilderness. Krauma’s pools perfect temperature is a combination of hot geothermal water from Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhver, and glacial water. Amenities include five warm and one cold bath, steam baths, and a relaxation room. It is located less than 100 km from Reykjavik in Reykholt. Book in advance on Krauma’s official website.
Fontana Geothermal Baths
There is no better way to complete a trip to the famous Golden Circle than by taking a dip in the relaxing Fontana baths. Fontana has everything it needs to be a world-famous tourist hotspot. Amenities include three connected pools and a hot tub, steam baths, a sauna, and it also happens to be located next to Laugarvatn Lake, in case you are in the mood for a cold dip. The views of the Icelandic landscape from the pools makes the experience even more delectable. Fontana is barely an hour and a half’s drive from Reykjavik and is a good location for a fun half-day trip from the capital.
Kvika Foot Bath
Kvika is a tiny natural hot pot located very close to the Grótta lighthouse in Seltjarnarnes, a suburb of Reyjkavik. While it does not meet the description of a fully-fledged hot bath because of its size, it is still worth a mention. Kvika is quite popular, especially among sunset-watching locals or sporty types looking to relax their feet after a run on the beach.
Geothermal pools in the North of Iceland
Myvatn Nature Baths
It is easy to comprehend why Myvatn is dubbed the Blue Lagoon of the north. Like the Blue Lagoon, Myvatn is a man-made geothermal pool, rich in minerals which give it the same brilliant blue colour and is also surrounded by lava fields. Its waters are rich in sulfur which is good for your skin, (but terrible for jewellery as it makes copper or silver jewellery turn black). Surrealism is ubiquitous in Myvatn, making it the perfect location to have a one-on-one with pristine nature, enjoying languid moments of relaxation. It is located on Lake Myvatn, about two kilometres east of the village Reykjahlíð.
Geosea Geothermal Baths
Located at the heart of the whale-watching capital of Iceland, Husavik, Geosea baths consist of carefully designed hot pools that are made for elegant idleness. The pools are emblematic to the city in that they offer epic views of the arctic circle, the Skjalfandi Bay and the Husavik lighthouse. You might even be lucky enough to spot a whale or two. Designed for relaxation and socializing, it is not uncommon to strike up a conversation with total strangers while enjoying a glass of wine in the pools.
Kaldi Beer Spa
While it is not a geothermal pool perse, it is still worth a mention as this new addition to Iceland’s tourism brings new meaning to the phrase ‘reeking of alcohol’. The only one of its kind in Scandinavia, Kaldi’s hot tubs are filled with beer, hops and yeast. Apparently, the high levels of vitamin B and protein from the beer and yeast is perfect for your skin and hair – well clearly this does not apply to hair extensions… A complimentary Keg is provided, so you are not tempted to drink the beer in which you are bathing. Believe it or not, the package includes a nap in a heated room. At an extra charge, you can also soak in an outdoor beer tub and savour the unsullied mountain view over a freshly brewed beer.
Geothermal pools in South Iceland
Seljavallalaug Nature Bath
One of Iceland’s oldest man-made pools built in 1923, it is located between Seljallandfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls and is quite off the radar. The water in this pool is swampy and green from algae; hence it is not recommended for people suffering from bacteria-related issues. The bath is not maintained and is apparently only cleaned once a year, although it looks like it has never been cleaned ever. All of this adds to its charm though. You would be amiss to think that the pool itself is all it has to offer, make sure to walk behind the pool for a fantastic view of the surrounding hills. There is no changing room at the pool but there is an old room beside it which is quite dirty.
It is quite elusive to find, the best way to make sure you do not miss it is to start looking out for a sign that says Raufarfell 242 road just after you pass Þorvaldseyri, (The Iceland Erupts exhibition). Take the left turn at Raufarfell 242 and follow the signs to Seljavellir. From the parking, it is about a 15 minutes’ walk towards the hills. The view alone makes visiting this pool totally worth it.
Geothermal pools in East Iceland
If you are looking for an exquisite geothermal spa ambience, nowhere is that more evident than at Vok, the latest attraction on East Iceland’s tourist circuit. An architectural eco-feat, Vok consist of a collection of astonishingly beautifully designed pools looking out into Lake Urritjavatn. The surrounding landscape might be typical; the pools are anything but. It is impossible to take a bad photograph in this geothermal spa. Vok baths are located 5 km from Egilsstaðir.
Geothermal pools in the Westfjords
Heydalur Greenhouse Pool
At the Heydalur guesthouse in the Westfjords, guests have a wide array of activities to choose from, including horse riding, kayaking and yes! soaking in delectable hot pots. If you are an eco-conscious traveller, then this is the perfect spot for you. The guesthouse’s well-functioning ecosystem uses geothermal power to grow fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse powered by natural pumped geothermal water. Guests also get to chill in the relaxing pool, which also happens to be located inside the greenhouse.
Pollurinn which literally means “The Puddle” is a hot spring in Talknafjordur in the Westfjords and a popular meeting point for locals. While the pools themselves are very bland, the view from the pools is indulgent and understated offering idyllic sights of the beautiful surroundings. Regardless of the season, be prepared to be spellbound by the nearby mountains, whether they are draped in the golden summer sun or snow-capped in the winter, the view promises to be captivating. The pools are located just outside of Talknafjordur town on Sveinseyrarhlíð hill.
Birkimelur pool is a hidden jewel of the Westfjords and is often overlooked by most travellers. Located between the Brjanslaekur ferry terminal and Látrabjarg cliffs, the pool offers a quiet place for total relaxation. The natural stone pool has a spectacular view of the surrounding cliffs and waterfalls.
Private hot tubs
I would be remiss to write a blog about geothermal pools in Iceland without including private hot tubs commonly found in many Icelanders’ homes and summer houses. Soaking in hot tubs is a national past time for Icelanders. Perhaps because of the perpetually cold weather or just because Icelanders believe in the healing benefits of hot tubs. Either way, expect to find a hot tub in a majority of the Air BnBs you rent in Iceland.
Other Hot Springs and Lagoons Worth Visiting in Iceland
- The Secret Lagoon also located on the Golden Circle
- Grettislaug and Jarlslaug pools located near Skagafjörður fjord, in the north
- Guðrúnarlaug is a reconstructed pool in West Iceland
Geothermal pool etiquette
- What to bring to a hot spring: Bring snacks and refreshments to the pools found in the wild, but no outside food or drink is allowed into the spa type of pools, as these are equipped with bars and restaurants.
- Changing rooms: Some pools have no changing rooms so come prepared.
- Be prepared to share the pool, even the small-sized ones, as most of the pools tend to get quite packed, just because you get there first does not mean you have sole access to the pool.
- You are expected to shower before entering the pools – unless there is no shower on site of course.
- Be quiet and respectful, people come to the pools seeking some peace and quiet.
- Clean up after yourself