Lounging around in swimming pools and hot springs is a national pastime in Iceland. Instead of going to the pub or the park, Icelanders like to gather in their local pool to get fresh air, exercise and discuss world matters in the hot tub. There is no better way to get in touch with the nation than in the pools and hot springs found everywhere you go in Iceland. Here are our favorite hot springs and hot tubs!
Located in the idyllic town of Hveragerði, the Laugarskarð swimming pool was built by volunteers in 1938. The pool is a 50m long flow-through pool and is heated with thermal steam which ensures the purity of the water and some say gives it healing power. The pool has a warm, shallow sitting pool, a children’s pool, along with a hot tub with electronic massage as well as a natural sauna built over a hot spring. Built in a small valley, the pool is shielded from the sterner elements of Icelandic weather and offers a beautiful view over the surrounding mountains.
Often named as the most beautiful man-made swimming pool in Iceland, the Hofsós swimming pool was designed by the same architect who designed the renowned Blue Lagoon. Built into the hillside, the view out to sea and over to Drangey is breathtaking. While the pool is not really an infinity pool, the impression you get as you swim in the geothermal waters is that you’re right at the edge of the world. The pool is 25 m long and has a hot tub, steambath and an infrared sauna for guests to enjoy as well.
Sundhöllin í Reykjavík
Sundhöllin is the oldest pool in Reykjavík and has always been popular with the locals who go there for the calm environment and mostly original fixtures. A rare indoor pool, Sundhöllin is the only pool in Reykjavík to offer a proper diving board, its deep end reaching 3.5 metres. The hot tubs are located outside on a balcony so you can still get the experience of soaking in hot geothermal water in the cool Icelandic weather. There’s also a small steam room outside.
This man-made pool in Reykir in North Iceland is said to be were the Saga hero Grettir Ásmundarson bathed after his demanding swim from Drangey to get fire. The pool is oval-shaped and fits around 15 to 20 people at the same time and has a temperature of 42-43 °C. The lovely rock pool is the perfect place for a serene soak and the area around it has a campsite, a guesthouse and a small café, along with several hiking trails.
The Secret Lagoon
The Secret Lagoon is a natural hot spring pool, located in the small village of Flúðir. The pool is surrounded by geothermal spots and a little Geysir which erupts every 5 minutes, lending the place an otherworldly air. Originally built in 1891 the Secret Lagoon, or Gamla Laugin (The Old Pool) as it is known in Icelandic, was Iceland’s first swimming pool. The pool is fed by a hot spring that constantly replenishes itself so that there is a steady supply of fresh clean 38-39°C water in the pool.
The Árbæjarlaug swimming pool is ever popular with the locals of Reykjavík for its size and variation. It is comprised of an outdoor pool, indoor children’s pool, outdoor paddling pool, water slide and fountains for children, three hot tubs, steam bath and sauna, so everyone should be able to find something to their taste. The indoor pool is under a huge glass dome but the pools are all connected to each other so you can travel between all the pools without ever getting out of the water.
The Nauthólsvík geothermal beach was created to establish a diverse outdoor recreational area. The project, involved the construction of a lagoon with high sea walls, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together resulting in perfect temperatures for bathing. Guests on the white sand beach can enjoy sunbathing, sailing and sea-swimming, a very popular pastime amongst the locals. There are also hot tubs and a steam baths to warm you up after swimming in the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Seltjarnarneslaug swimming pool likes to boast that its water is particularly healthy as it comes directly from a nearby borehole, making it rich in minerals and ideal for treating various skin conditions. Whether you believe in that or not the pool is nevertheless one of the nicest ones in the Reykjavik area. Newly refurbished, it has a warm pool, a cold pool for swimming, 4 hot tubs, a cold tub, and a steam room. This pool is also very child-friendly because of the big wading pool with different animal-shaped fountains and a waterslide.
The Viking Pool, as it is often called, is built from stone and lava walls form a sheltering enclosure around the circular, sunken pool. The Leirubakki pool is small, it fits around four people at a time, and lined with cut lava blocks. Leirubakki is one of a few farms in the Hekla area, since the volcano is one of the most active ones in Iceland. This means that the landscape is absolutely stunning though and there’s no better way to enjoy it than in a warm pool.
The “Farmer’s Pool” as the locals call it, in Landmannalaugar is a natural hot spring in one of Iceland’s most rugged, yet beautiful areas. The water in the pool springs from underneath a fifteenth-century magma stream and blends with a cold stream, creating a Goldilocks-level of perfect temperature for bathing. There are changing rooms available for guests, as well as outdoor showers for the complete natural experience. Bathing in a hot spring in the highlands is an unforgettable experience and a welcome relaxation for those who have just finished the famous Laugavegur hiking trail.