Soak in luxurious hot springs in a sleek modern complex, unwind in a natural thermal lagoon in the middle of nowhere or take a dip in a local pool fed by a geothermal spring. Here are the best hot springs in Iceland.
In a land still being formed by geothermal activity, Iceland is blessed with natural hot springs.
Straddling the North American and Euraisan tectonic plates, Iceland occupies a unique location on the planet where volcanic activity is very common. This volcanic action creates geothermal activity – areas of water heated underground, resulting in natural hot springs bubbling to the surface.
Some of Iceland’s hot springs have been harnessed in luxury spa complexes with high-end restaurants, swim-up bars and indulgent amenities. Others are left completely natural – bubbling thermal pools with nothing but uninterrupted scenic views.
Rich in minerals, Iceland’s natural hot springs are thought to have several important health benefits. But the real reward is an experience in nature that you can’t find anywhere else.
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IN THIS GUIDE
GEOTHERMAL POOLS IN ICELAND
HOT SPRINGS ICELAND MAP
We’ve organised the best of the Iceland hot springs in 3 categories, which are spread across the country:
- Geothermal Pools & Spas – Hot springs with facilities including restaurants and bars for a more luxurious soak.
- Free Hot Springs – Natural hot springs with no facilities in an untouched environment which are free to enter.
- Highland Springs – Geothermal bathing areas in the remote areas of the Iceland highlands.
GEOTHERMAL POOLS & SPAS
1 – BLUE LAGOON
There are few hot springs in Iceland more famous than the Blue Lagoon. Located 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of Reykjavík near Keflavik airport, the Blue Lagoon is a relaxing experience for the start or end of your trip.
Although artificially pooled, the water in the Blue Lagoon is naturally heated from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. The milky blue appearance is due to the high content of silica which you can rub on your face to rejuvenate the skin.
The Blue Lagoon has all the facilities you need including restaurants, a 5-star hotel, treatment spa and gift shop. Entrance including the silica mud mask, towel and 1 drink is ISK 8,490 ($58 / £50 / €59). Advanced bookings are required – bluelagoon.com
2 – LAUGARVATN FONTANA
Laugarvatn Fontana is a stylish spa complex set on the edge of Lake Laugarvatn near the Golden Circle Route. With a focus on the healing properties of the natural hot springs in the area, Laugarvatn Fontana has several different ways to relax.
Steam from the hot spring rises through the cabin floors providing a completely natural steam room with a temperature that varies with the spring. Several interconnected relaxation pools vary in size, depth and temperature with a raised hot tub that provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. After warming up, refresh with a bout of ice therapy by jumping in the lake.
All the facilities you need are on site including changing rooms, towel hire and a gift shop. The café serves geothermal bread, which is baked underground for 24 hours.
3 – SKY LAGOON
Just outside Reykjavík, the Sky Lagoon occupies a magical location on the cliffs overlooking the ocean with panoramic views from several of their hot spring experiences.
Combining traditional Icelandic therapeutic practises with modern hospitality, Sky Lagoon offers a 7-step ritual which involves soaking in the hot lagoon, an icy plunge pool, sauna, a fog-mist, an exfoliating body scrub, steam, and then finally a shower.
If you’re lucky, you might get a Reykjavík hot springs experience with the Northern Lights dancing over the ocean.
They have various passes starting from ISK 6,990. Book online – skylagoon.com
4 – SECRET LAGOON
The Secret Lagoon (also called Gamla Laugin) is a large outdoor pool, naturally heated by the nearby hot spring. The spring flows continuously into the pool, taking 24 hours to complete a full cycle, leaving the water rich in nutrients and around 38-40°C (100-104°F) year-round.
There are changing rooms, toilets, and a small café that sells a few snacks. Most importantly, you can buy a beer or a wine to take out to the pool for a drink while you soak in the delightfully natural surroundings.
Secret Lagoon is located in the town of Flúðir, a 5-mile (8-kilometre) detour from the Golden Circle. It’s around 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from Reykjavík but if you don’t have a car, you can take a day trip from Reykjavík.
5 – VÖK BATHS
Vök Baths is a unique Iceland hot spring with a series of connected baths floating on the beautiful Lake Urriðavatn. The name comes from the patches of lakes that fail to freeze over winter (Vök means ice-free) which alerted locals to the geothermal properties of the area.
The facility includes the floating geothermal pools, onshore hot pots, a sauna and a restaurant which serves light dishes made from local produce where possible. Take advantage of the uniqueness of Vök by having a tea prepared in the only drinkable geothermal waters in Iceland. It’s also put to good use in their Vökvi and Vaka craft beers.
Standard admission is ISK 5,990 with towels and bathrobes available for hire. Hot Springs are less common in the east of the country, and Vök Baths is a great addition to our Ring Road itinerary.
6 – MÝVATN NATURE BATHS
The milky blue lagoon pool of the Mývatn Nature Baths is heated by a nearby hot spring. Although it’s a man-made pool, the lagoon is set overlooking a barren landscape with the facilities nicely blending into the surroundings. It has a relaxed natural appeal with great views from the lagoon.
The temperature changes slightly as you move around the pool but averages a delightfully pleasant 96°F – 104°F (36°C – 40°C).
Facilities include 2 steam baths, a hot tub, a separate pool for kids, a café and a swim-up bar where you can order alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Enjoy a late evening beverage soaking in the hot pools as the sun slowly fades the rocky landscapes.
Advance booking is recommended – myvatnnaturebaths.is
7 – GEOSEA HUSAVIK
Geosea is a geothermal spa in the north of Iceland that uses naturally heated seawater in a dramatic location overlooking the ocean. A steady stream of water flows from the nearby drillholes, through the various pools and over the edge into the sea, providing mineral-rich seawater at a constant 38°-39°C.
Sympathetically built into the landscape with the pools overlooking the ocean, Geosea Husavík is one of the best places in Iceland to see the Northern Lights dancing over the Arctic Circle from the luxury of a beautiful thermal pool.
Light snacks can be purchased from the café overlooking the baths and drinks are available from the pool bar. Opening hours change throughout the year so check on their website – geosea.is
FREE ACCESS NATURAL HOT SPRINGS
8 – REYKJADALUR THERMAL RIVER
The Reykjadalur Thermal River is one of Iceland’s most scenic hot springs. High up in the Reykjadalur valley, the river contains a series of pools with temperatures ranging from 36°C – 40°C (96°F – 104°F).
Surrounded by mountains and steaming vents, geothermal activity has allowed tiny succulents, reeds and mosses to survive, creating a wave of green against a red and black volcanic hill.
Reykjadalur is a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík, however, it’s a 1-hour hike (each way) to the geothermal section of the river from the parking lot. All the information is on our Reykjadalur thermal river guide.
9 – HRUNALAUG HOT SPRINGS
The Hrunalaug Hot Springs are set on private land in the hills east of the Golden Circle. It’s a secluded and picturesque location with 3 pools of different sizes and temperatures, seamlessly built into the landscape.
The smallest and hottest pool only has room for 2 people but the largest would fit around 10. Hrunalaug is getting more popular so you may find a bit of a crowd. Your best bet is to arrive early or late in the day when it’s more likely to be empty.
Despite the crowds, the natural setting makes it one of the best hot springs in Iceland.
It’s a 5-minute walk to the pools from the parking lot. There are no facilities, although there is a turf-covered hut you can use as a changing room. The owner requests a donation of 1,000 ISK to use the pool.
10 – HELLULAUG HOT SPRING
Hellulaug is a small hot spring tucked into a rocky alcove on the coast in the Westfjords. Although it’s small at just 60 centimetres deep and around 4 metres wide, its relative obscurity means there’s seldom anyone else there.
It’s a short walk from the parking lot down a trail that curves under the small cliff facing the sea. The bathing pool is encased by rocks but otherwise, it’s left in a fairly natural state. The water is replaced and cleaned regularly to maintain hygiene standards.
Soaking in the hot springs directly on the rocky beach and watching the waves lap at the ocean is one of the highlights of a visit to the Westfjords.
There are no facilities at Hellulaug and it’s free to enter, however, there’s a collection box in the parking lot to leave a donation to contribute towards the upkeep of the pool.
11 – SELJAVALLALAUG
Seljavallalaug is a historic swimming pool located between two of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. The 82-foot-long pool is built into the hillside with a verdant valley wall forming the 4th side of the pool.
Geothermal water trickles into the pool from a nearby ground spring which keeps the temperature above freezing. But it’s not as hot as the other Icelandic hot springs and in winter, the surface will still freeze over in places.
Nonetheless, on a summer trip to Iceland, Seljavallalaug is one of the most interesting hot springs to visit. It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the pool from the parking lot over a grassy lava field with mountains all around you.
There are minimal facilities except for a small changing room where you can store your stuff. Seljavallalaug is only cleaned once a year so it’s not uncommon to find algae on the surface.
12 – GUÐRÚNARLAUG HOT SPRING
Guðrúnarlaug is a historic geothermal pool that was rebuilt in 2009 after it was destroyed in a landslide in 1869. It’s located in northwest Iceland around 100 miles (160 kilometres) north of Reykjavík, making it easy to visit on a Ring Road itinerary.
The pool is heated from a nearby hot spring and the temperature is a toasty 100°F (37°C). The small circular stone pool is a lovely spot to stop and relax – soaking in the surrounding hilly scenery on a road trip to the Westfjords.
There are 2 small changing rooms in a nearby turf-covered hut, but there are no showers or toilets. Entry is free.
Guðrúnarlaug is located behind Hotel Laugar Saelingsdal which has no association with the pool.
HOT SPRINGS IN THE HIGHLANDS
13 – LAUGAVALLAUG HOT SPRING
Laugavallalaug (sometimes referred to as Laugavellir) is a hot spring in the Laugavalladalur Valley and a beautiful oasis in the middle of nowhere. A naturally heated waterfall drops into a small pool that has been dammed by stones providing an idyllic bathing spot amongst the vast open plains of the Iceland highlands.
The waterfall plunges at a temperature of around 70°C (158°F) but cools to around 40°C (104°F) as it mixes with the cold water in the pool. The perfect temperature to have a relaxing soak as you enjoy the scenery.
It was one of our favourite things to do in Iceland and – in our opinion – the best geothermal pool.
Laugavallalaug is down a rugged but scenic track off the west side of the F910. The track is pretty easy to drive but the F910 can be quite bumpy. There is a medium size river crossing just before the hot springs, but there’s a car park and a footbridge if you don’t want to drive across it. The pool is 5 minutes’ walk from the footbridge.
14 – LANDMANNALUAGAR HOT SPRING
Tucked into a scenic corner under the edge of a lava field and surrounded by green banks, the natural hot spring at Landmannalaugar is a beautiful spot for a relaxing soak after a long day in the highlands.
The temperatures range from 36°C to 40°C (97°F to 104°F) and you’ll most likely find people huddled near the warmest section towards the far edge of the pool, where steaming water trickles down a rocky edge. There’s a wooden platform to change and a partition to hang up some clothes and a towel, but otherwise, there are no facilities at the Landmannalaugar thermal springs.
With warm water temperatures and brilliant mountain panoramas, this is the perfect way to relax after a long day hiking in Landmannalaugar.
15 – KERLINGARFJOLL HOT SPRING
Kerlingarfjöll is a small but stunning mountain range in the centre of Iceland. Snow-capped summits are wedged between two mighty glaciers with a geothermal area of bubbling mud pots and steaming vents shrouding the valley in mystery. It’s a volcanic wonderland of breathtaking natural scenery.
Tucked into one corner is a small hot spring heating a tiny pool. At only around 34 °C its cooler than many other hot springs in Iceland, but on a warm day it’s a great way to relax after hiking in the mountains
The hot spring is 1 mile (25-minute walk) from the parking lot at Kerlingafjöll Moutain Resort on a well-marked trail. There’s a small wooden boardwalk to enter, but otherwise, there are no facilities. The Kerlingarfhöll hot spring is free to enter, however, the ranger may ask for a small donation to help with the upkeep.
16 – HVERAVELLIR HOT SPRING
The geothermal area of Hveravellir (hot springs fields) is 1 hour north of Kerlingarfjöll. A series of paths through steaming lava fields and bubbling mud pots deliver you to one of the most remote natural springs in Iceland.
A dam has been built in the flow of the stream creating a small pool that fluctuates between 20 and 40°C (68-140°F). It’s a lovely, natural thermal pool with nothing else around other than miles of mountain scenery. Find the right temperature spot, then soak while staring out at the magnificent vistas.
There are no changing facilities at the hot springs except for a wooden bench and some hooks to store your gear. Alternatively, there are toilets a couple of hundred meters away.
MORE ICELAND READING
Iceland is an excellent destination for semi-adventurous travellers who like to get off the beaten track and immerse themselves in stunning scenery. Here’s some more reading from us to help plan your journey to the land of fire and ice.
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