There’s a reason why Icelanders are thought to be one of the healthiest nations in the world. On top of freshly grown produce, locally caught fish, and a relaxed Scandinavian lifestyle, glacier-fed groundwater heated by geothermal activity offers a steady supply of world’s cleanest water, saturated with minerals. There’s approximately 700 of them in the country, offering a constant supply of mineral-rich hot water!
Natural hot springs and geothermally heated public pools are not only the places where Icelanders come to recharge in nature but also where they socialize. Bathing in hot springs is also a way to meet locals and experience a fraction of Icelanders’ social life. Plus, there’s something otherworldly and sublime in bathing outdoors beneath the dancing aurora or the lavender skies of the Midnight Sun.
Iceland is one of the most popular destinations for those who seek to get away from daily troubles by visiting world-famous natural hot springs and geothermal spas. Wellness travel is at its peak and Iceland is a perfect location to try a wellness tour.
Why Iceland is perfect for wellness travel?
Those of us who like to combine relaxing wellness retreats with traveling, find Iceland to be a perfect destination. Located at the conjunction of two dynamic tectonic plates, Iceland is freckled with a rich diversity of astonishing natural wonders, such as vast glaciers, active volcanoes, hot springs and many more. Soaking in steaming azure water with an aim to wash daily worries away has been a custom of Icelanders ever since the first settlements.
On top of bubbling hot springs and spouting geysers, Iceland is also abundant with hiking trails, waterfalls, deep, rugged canyons and mountains, painted with autumnal colors – all of which are beneficial to your body, mind, and soul. With such a broad mixture of attractions and activities available to you at hand, you can design your own perfect wellness holiday.
What are natural hot springs and geothermal pools?
Natural hot spring, as opposed to a geothermal pool, is an actual natural wonder. It’s a spout of geothermally heated groundwater rising from Earth’s crust. The temperature of the water can sometimes be perfect for bathing, other times, it needs to be cooled down as serious injury might be caused.
Iceland is lavishly rewarded with natural hot springs, more so than any other country, allowing everyone to enjoy a dip in the pleasantly warm water, running undisturbed by modern technology. They don’t require maintenance and often are free to use.
A geothermal pool is a body of hot spring water, nicely wrapped up in a spa-like environment. Most of them are conveniently situated in an easily accessible location in the city or just outside of it. It takes a lot to maintain a geothermally heated pool, so you can expect to pay an entrance fee which often isn’t too high.
On top of hot spring pools and hot tubs, saunas, restaurants or even accommodation is at your fingertips. These establishments also provide other spa procedures, such as facials, massages, scrubs and many more.
What are the health benefits of hot springs?
Healing capabilities of hot spring water have been known and put to use in Iceland since around 874 c.e. Icelanders have been said to live healthier and longer lives than most Europeans and some claim it’s due to the pure and mineral-rich waters. With approximately 700 hot springs in the country, bonding over bathing has long been a lifestyle essential for Icelanders. Here’s why you should immerse yourself into azure mineral waters:
No to stress, yes to quality sleep
Mineral water in hot springs is often warmer than your body temperature and it relaxes your muscles almost as soon as you dip your foot in. Then, just as the hot steam of the spring disappears into the atmosphere, stress that you’ve accumulated during the day, evaporates too. As you step out of the hot spring, the temperature drops, reducing the risk of inflammation. All in all, a perfect recipe for a great night’s sleep.
No to bad skin
While some healing benefits of mineral hot spring water are still being researched, it’s a fact that sweat caused by the high temperature of the water opens up and cleanses your skin pores. On top of that, the high content of silica and sulfur found in the mineral waters can soften and smooth your skin, and relieve skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, to name a few.
Better blood circulation
Calcium and sodium found in hot springs improve oxygen flow and increase blood circulation in your body.
No to pain, yes to happiness
Widespread, chronic pain can cause major fatigue. Some studies show that the fatigue is easy to heal with a good soak in the hot spring water. Hot water in the pool dulls our perception of pain by numbing the pain receptors in our bodies.
While the benefits of mineral hot spring water are still under research, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the blessings of it now!
Which wellness tour is best for me?
Regardless of how long you plan to stay in Iceland, visiting a few natural hot springs or geothermal pools won’t take long. One of the many benefits of a holiday in Iceland is the close proximity to the best attractions, spas, and hot springs. In just one day, you can visit the Golden Circle and at night, soak in the Blue Lagoon.
There’s just one decision you need to make if you’re in Iceland for a short period of time. Would you rather have a long soak in a natural geothermal pool or a man-made hot spring? While natural hot springs can be more authentic and bring you closer to nature, there’s nothing more luxurious and invigorating than a dip in the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon.
If your wellness holiday stretches over a few days, we recommend stepping out into the wilderness. You might be pleasantly surprised by the beauty and remoteness of some hidden natural hot springs. There’s no better way to rejoin with nature than leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind and soaking in a hot spring in the middle of an empty lava field.
When is the best time to go on a wellness tour?
Natural hot springs and geothermally heated pools in Iceland are available all year long. If you decide to visit Iceland during the summer, the midnight sun will make your wellness travel even more special. Here, starting in May and through to July, Sun is visible for almost 24 hours. Bathing in the natural hot spring under a vividly luminescent sky is nothing short of magical!
Winter is also a great time to plan your wellness holiday. There’s no better way to recharge in nature than to dip your foot in hot water under a dark starry sky. Imagine soaking in a heated pool, letting your muscles relax and let go. Above you, the snow falls gently down, hardly making a sound as it blankets surrounding fields in white. If you’re lucky, Northern Lights might treat you to a flamboyant light show!