Soaking in hot springs is a tradition which dates back to viking times, and an essential part of the Icelandic experience. And while the Blue Lagoon may be the most famous hot spring in Iceland, there are so many other AMAZING and STUNNING spots dotted throughout the country that are worth a visit too. You should probably just go ahead and plan to visit a hot spring a day, every day! I spoke to a few female travel bloggers who shared their favorite tucked away spots to help you get started with your planning – check out the 7 hot springs they recommended below.
Tip: a great resource for finding all of the hot springs and pools throughout Iceland is the website HotPot Iceland. The site shows a photo, write-up and the location of each spot on a giant map of the country.
Mývatn Nature Baths
The area of Mývatn has a great hot spring which is off the beaten path – Mývatn Nature Baths! It’s all the way on the Northeastern part of Iceland, but it’s generally empty, refreshing and always full of beautiful views. Purchase a beer from the bar inside to enjoy with the fantastic view of Lake Mývatn. Nearby, you can also enjoy farm to table dining at Vogafjós after a dip, the cone of Hverfell, and the Dimmuborgir, which is composed of strange looking volcanic rocks.
- Location: Northeastern Iceland, near the city of Mývatn (GPS: 65°37’51.8″N 16°50’53.4″W)
- Price: Between ISK 3800 (£29) and ISK 4300 (£32) in summer months (renting a towel and bathrobe will cost you extra)
Many people head straight to the Blue Lagoon when visiting Iceland. Another great option is Laugarvatn Fontana, which sits right on the beach in the Laugarvatn Geothermal Area. If you’re driving the Golden Circle it’s on the way from Reykjavik and easy to incorporate into your tour. Laugarvatn is a complex of pools and, as you relax in the steaming waters, take in the view of the surrounding mountains and lake, realizing exactly why Iceland is nicknamed the Land of Fire & Ice. Bonus: there is a gift shop inside which sells local products — including beer!
- Location: Southwestern Iceland, near Reykjavik and the Golden Circle (GPS: 64°12’55.4″N 20°43’55.0″W)
- Price: ISK 3800 admission (£29)
The tiny hot spring, Landbrotalaug, only has room for two or three people. If you time it right, this means you can visit the spring surrounded by the beautiful quiet wild of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and no other people. There is one main road that will take you past an abandoned farm to this hot spring. It can still be challenging to find, so check out the GPS coordinates below to help you navigate. There are two ‘hot pots’ at the pond. One which is larger but shallower and fed by a pipe, and another which is across the pond and smaller but deeper and warmer. Tip: since this spot is so tiny, I’d recommend visiting during the low season or early in the morning.
- Location: On the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, an hour and 45 minute drive from Reykjavik near Eldborg (GPS: N64°49.933 W22°19.110)
- Price: Free!
Reykjadalur Hot Springs
Reykjadalur Hot Springs is incredibly unique because it isn’t your typical hot spring — it’s actually a hot river. In order to access the river, you have to hike up about 1 hour and, because of this, a lot of people decide to cut this activity from their Iceland ‘to do’ list. Good news for you because this means fewer people and less crowds like those at Myvatn Nature Baths or the Blue Lagoon. Plus, it’s free!
Along the hike you’ll find incredible views, interesting and rugged terrain and, as you get closer, sulfur smelling steam coming from the sides of the mountains. If it isn’t raining or hailing (like it was for me) the hike is 100% worth it. After hiking for what seems like a long time, but really is only about an hour, you’ll start to see parts of the river and a picturesque wooden walking path. If you can wait, keep walking up the path towards the higher part of the river. Here you’ll find the warmest water (especially in Fall/Winter time) and it will be an extremely enjoyable soak! Pro tip: If you can, wear your swimsuit on the hike up. That way you only have to change your clothes in the cold once!
- Location: Southern Iceland, near the town of Hveragerdi about 45 minutes from Reykjavik (GPS: +64° 1′ 32.52″, -21° 12′ 44.91″ )
- Price: Free!
Fosslaug Hot Spring
They say you always remember your first hot spring in Iceland. Well, maybe I made that up but I certainly remember mine! Fosslaug is a hot spring near a waterfall in the North of Iceland. The directions weren’t 100% clear and I had almost given up before I saw a handwritten sign on a fence. Excitedly, I drove our little campervan up the gravel path to a small car park area, near some stables. From there it’s a 10-minute walk to the hot spring.
First, you have an opportunity to admire the stunning waterfall, Reykjafoss. Across the little bridge and over a grassy mound is where you will find the hot pot. It’s built out on stones and feels very natural as you sit relaxing with the sound of the river and waterfall cascading down a few metres away. Fosslaug is the perfect temperature. But if you find yourself too hot then take quick dip in the icy river nearby which will quickly cool you down!
As this hot pot is as natural as they come, don’t expect changing rooms. Most people just get changed a few metres away. And remember to leave no trace behind!
- Location: Northern Iceland, near Reykjafoss Waterfall (GPS: 65°29’44.6″N 19°22’55.6″W)
- Price: Free!
The Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin)
Gamla Laugin, also known as ‘the Secret Lagoon’ is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland, built in 1891. It was used until around 1937 and then forgotten for some 67 years before being renovated. Despite the renovation, the pool feels rugged and wild like many of the other natural hot springs but with additional amenities for changing, etc. Strangely enough, there also happens to be an unexpected Ethiopian restaurant in the nearby tiny town of Fludir.
- Location: Southern Iceland, an hour and a half from Reykjavik near the town of Fludir (GPS: 64°08’14.7″N 20°18’33.6″W)
- Price: ISK 2800 (£21)
Seljavallalaug Hot Pool
Any activity that starts with finding some secret location or is hidden away from the masses is always alluring. One such place that was calling my name was Seljavallalaug, a hot pool nestled in a valley overlooking cascading waterfalls in the Icelandic mountains. The moment I read about this hot pool, I was sold! Come rain or shine I was not going to be leaving Iceland without visiting. Yes, it did rain but the warm and toasty water made up for the lack of shine.
Getting to Seljavallalaug wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Reykjavik and past Porvaldseyri (Icelandic Eruption exhibition). Once past the exhibition, continue driving and look for signs for Seljavellir, which leads to Raufarfell on road 242. This off-road leads to a dead end with a small car park. Once parked, its a short hike to the pool. What’s more is that the pool is absolutely free! Beautifully quiet and serene, perfect for an end of the day relaxing activity and you can stay as long as you like.
- Location: Southern Iceland, 2 hours from Reykjavik near Seljavellir (GPS: N63°33.664 W19°37.131)
- Price: Free!
This is only a small list of hot springs that can be found in Iceland – there are so many other hidden spots throughout the country that are worth a visit too! Have a favorite hot spring in Iceland that isn’t mentioned in this list? Please share it in the comments below!