Hot spring pools and rivers in Iceland
The very high levels of geothermal activity in Iceland ensure that you will never have to travel far to find an area with hot spring pools and rivers suitable for bathing. Many are out in wild nature, such as the hot river at Hveragerði. The Blue Lagoon is the most famous geothermal pool and spa in Iceland, situated in a magnificent lava landscape close to the airport at Grindavík.
As well as hot spring pools and hot spring rivers there are many places with hot springs. On Reykjanes peninsula and at Hveragerði, Landmannalaugar and around Mývatn they are plentiful. There are many hot spring pools and rivers in Iceland which are listed as good for bathing. Some of those pools are now far too hot, or too cold. The hot spring bathing possibilities recommended below have all been checked out:
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a world famous hot spring spa facility. The water is very rich in silica and other skin nurturing minerals. Icelandic doctors write prescriptions for their psoriasis patients to go to the Blue Lagoon. The changing rooms are luxurious, there are a cafeteria, a restaurant and a bar with an extensive cocktail menu.
The Secret Lagoon
The Secret Lagoon at Flúðir is a magnificent hot spring pool. Its charming Icelandic name is “Gamla Lónið”, meaning The Old Pool. This pool is close to the Golden Circle and makes a perfect stop to a day of sightseeing. The facilities include a nearby seating area, very comfortable changing rooms, showers and a café/bar serving drinks. Footpaths lead to various areas around the lagoon, including a small geysir hot spring. When you are bathing you are totally immersed in Icelandic nature, as trees from the nearby forest scent the air.
Brennisteinsalda Bathing Place
Also known as the hot spring in Landmannalaugar. Boiling hot water surges up from deep within the earth. It is then cooled down, and sometimes by naturally blending with a source of cool water in a pool or a river. This happens at Landmannalaugar. The Brennisteinsalda hot spring pool is absolutely perfect for relaxing. Views of the colorful mountain peaks really give this place an idyllic otherworldly feel. Changing facilities and showers (fee to be paid) are functional but basic and situated about 50 m from the pool.
Myvatn Nature Baths
Mývatn Nature Baths is like a small “Blue Lagoon” located in the north. The baths have very comfortable changing rooms and plenty of showers, there are two steam baths. The water is alkaline and enriched with many minerals which often help soothe skin problems. No chlorine or chemicals are added. A licensed restaurant offers drinks, meals and snacks – outdoor dining is available on fine days.
The Fontana Spa offers an unusual experience, a hot spring sauna, which has been built over a hot spring, sauna guests can hear it bubbling away as they steam gently! There are geothermal bathing pools and the option of a refreshing plunge into the cool lake. The changing rooms and showers are comfortable, a licensed restaurant offers drinks, snacks, and meals.
Hveravellir is an amazing hot spring pool, between Hofsjökull and Langjökull, 92 km north of Gullfoss. The pool is located in a small nature reserve, it got basic changing facilities – fee payable to the Hveravellir Service Center.
Landbrotalaug is a tiny pool on Snæfellsness peninsula which is really hidden away. This is just a small natural hot pot, with no changing facilities.
At Reykjadalur, the hot spring valley behind Hveragerði, the hot water blends with the cooler water of the river to give a good temperature for bathing. Further up in the valley the water is warmer and going down the river the temperature gets colder. It gives you the opportunity to find the temperature you prefer. Good to know, “the Hot River” has no proper changing facilities, and it requires a small hike to get there.
This remote pool, Seljavallalaug, is located at the end of a valley near to Eyjafjallajökull. It was built 1923 and is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The pool is 25 m long and has basic changing facilities. Seljavallalaug is a popular choice, good to know before you take a bath is that the pool doesn’t get cleaned like a modern pool, so please take a bath at your own risk.
Where are the hot spring pools located?
Hveragerði is 39.4 km from Reykjavík, the hot river is reached by a mountain trail. The best option is a Hot Spring Hunt tour from Hveragerði or Reykjavík. Landmannalaugar (175 km) and Hveravellir (208 km) can only be reached by 4×4.
Mývatn Nature Baths are 483 km from Reykjavík and 105 km from Akureyri in the north. The Blue Lagoon is 47.8 km from Reykjavík and 21.6 km from the International Airport at Keflavík. The Secret Lagoon at Flúðir is 97.5 km from Reykjavík close to the popular Golden Circle.
Landbrotalaug is 110 km from Reykjavík and 40.6 km from Reykjanes.
Fontana Spa at Laugarvatn is 70.6 km from the capital. Landbrotalaug is 110 km from Reykjavík. These pools can be reached by regular car.