The Ultimate Guide
The Ultimate Guide
In this hot spring guide, we’ll talk about every single hot spring in Iceland, along with detailed information on each. We’ll be talking about hot springs for swimming, and the ones that bubble and steam. Furthermore, we’ll list our favorite swimming pools, hot springs, natural swimming pools, hot tubs, and the unswimmable ones. We also categorize each of the hot springs by accessibility. And it wouldn’t be a proper guide if we didn’t provide a map of everything we discuss.
Iceland is a fantastic place to discover hot springs. Some are hidden, and others quickly found, and they are spread all around the country. Due to Iceland’s volcanic geography, there are dozens of geothermally heated pools dotted around the ring road and interior. You can even visit a new hot spring every day as you drive around the country. By clicking on each hot spring’s name on our list, you open up the Google profile/navigation to each one. And if you click on the [ ] icon in the top right corner on each map, it becomes much easier to browse.
There are at least 45 hot springs that we know of, which we have conveniently mapped out for you below, plus some short descriptions of the ones we like the most.
You may be surprised to learn that Iceland has over natural 45 hot springs and more than 200 swimming pools to service only 350.000 people. Iceland has more pools per capita than any other nation, so as you may be able to tell, we love swimming! As a geologically active nation, new hot springs are cropping up with earthquakes and eruptions, bringing fresh hot water to the surface. The latest hot spring formed during the Holuhraun eruption of 2014, in a remote corner of northern Iceland.
Now, before we start listing and mapping everything out, a few rules on how to behave around natures’ gifts that are these natural hot springs.
In every town, and even tiny villages and farms, you’ll find swimming pools open to the public. They are quite lovely. On this map, you’ll find all of them, plus opening hours and prices. Last update, March 2020.
Let’s start with our list of favorite swimming pools built by our little coastal villages. They are (almost) all heated by hot water pumped from the ground, right underneath them, or close by. Virtually every town in Iceland has its own geothermally heated Sundlaug (municipal pool). These are very popular among locals who visit them for fitness and relaxation. Weekends are busy when the locals soak together in the hot tubs and gossip. As the waters are so pure and untreated, bathing nude communally beforehand is required, which can be somewhat disturbing for a first-timer. Especially if you are coming from the Americas, where the nude culture hasn’t quite caught on. However, this practice is so commonplace in Iceland that nobody will bat an eye at you. With over 200 swimming pools in Iceland, we have whittled this down and compiled a list of our absolute favorite village swimming pools.
This unique and beautiful swimming center has a large indoor atrium pool, which leads to the outdoor pool with views of Reykjavik. This pool has plenty of activities and waterslides for children and hot tubs for adults. Located close to Árbær Open Air Museum, which makes for a beautiful day out.
Located way up north, this pool is beside the ocean’s edge and has an eternity feel. The architecture of this pool is minimalist and gives off very 70’s vacay-vibes, with gorgeous views of the mountains across the bay.
A long drive north into the Westfjords on road 843 will uncover this remote gem of a pool next to the beach. The quirky little blue pool does not receive much traffic, so it’s a perfect place to unwind and take in the wild birdlife and gorgeous mountain views.
Walking distance from downtown Reykjavik this pool is where you will find all the beautiful locals. With retro architecture, this complex offers a sizeable shallow soaking pool, lap pool, a children’s play pool, hot pots, and a sauna. Scientifically proven that good looking people source their good looks from this pool. Or maybe that was made up. You be the judge.
This pool makes our top 5 due to the naturally occurring carbonated mineral water! It is also rich in good algae and minerals, thought to have healing properties for the skin. Located in the Westfjords, it’s like swimming in champagne!
This is probably one of the most famous pools in Iceland, located on the south coast, a short hike to the mountains from the car park on road 242. Mountains and a river surround this Instagram-famous white pool that boasts a white changeroom and green-tinted water (due to algae). It was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest pools in Iceland. The water is not very warm, and there is a risk of contamination due to seabirds nesting nearby, but it is a beautiful place nonetheless. There is a short hike from the parking lot, so it’s a good idea to wear hiking boots.
There is something magical about having a warm bath in nature, with views of snow-capped mountains and lunar landscapes surrounding you. The following list represents our favorite naturally occurring rivers or springs that are created entirely by mother nature.
Not too far from Reykjavik, this hot river requires a 1-hour hike to reach, but it is well worth it once you reach the gentle warm river. It does get busy in the summertime.
Hidden away in Iceland’s interior, and only accessed by a 4×4, the hot river in Landmannalaugar is a surreal place to bathe. Surrounded by multicolored mountains, hiking trails, and an excellent camping spot.
A small and very warm hot pot just off road 54, near the Eldborg crater in Snaefellsnes. If you see a vehicle parked, best to wait until the occupants have left before trying to enter. Surrounded by mountains and a river.
This natural hot tub is located on F35 in the Icelandic Highlands and requires a 4×4 to access. The area is geothermically active, with fascinating sulfur fumaroles (gaseous openings near volcanoes,) and a warm river passing by the hot pot. Many different hiking trails and views of the ocean.
Another hot water spring located in Iceland’s interior, this is a hikers paradise, with the famous rainbow mountains, with bubbling mud pots, sulfur stacks, and a hot river for bathing.
Inside a volcanic caldera in the north of Iceland, you’ll find the Viti crater lake. It is hard to reach, requiring a 4×4 vehicle (take F88) and a hike, but the surreal warm (25°C) blue water inside the volcano surrounded by lunar landscapes is an experience you will never forget. It is an out-of-this-world experience to swim inside the volcano, located in the Central Highlands.
Iceland is a haven for incredible soaking baths, and this lists human-made geothermally supplied “natural” swimming pools. They use natural geothermally heated water piped from the earth. These serene spas are our recommended top 5 soaking spots.
Located in Húsavík in the north of Iceland, this spa is filled with hot, naturally occurring mineral-rich seawater, believed to be beneficial for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Perched on the edge of the ocean beside a bright yellow lighthouse, offering incredible views of the sea from the clifftops. Incredibly, it’s also possible to spot whales from the pool.
This ethereal swimming pool was made from lava bricks in 1891 and looks like the kind of place fairies would take a dip. Located in the Golden Circle area, the pool is heated naturally and is a steady 38-40°C all year round. There is a small geyser on the grounds with a walking path around it.
Located in Reykholt, about an hour north of Reykjavik, this hot spring heats most homes in the area, and it’s one of the most powerful hot spring in Europe. The spa offers five geothermal hot tubs, a cold tub, and two saunas. Equally important, the Krauma Spa has a soothing relaxation room where you can listen to music as you lay next to the floating fireplace.
A very similar experience to the Blue Lagoon, albeit less crowded and less expensive. Silica-rich blue waters surrounded by black lava lunar landscapes in the north of Iceland.
Floating pools on Lake Urriðavatn, in the East of Iceland. The only one of its kind, these baths offer a unique bathing experience. Harnessing the geothermal power of the region, and sporting some of the most impressive views.
As you may have guessed, Iceland is the hot-tub capital of the world, so it would be remiss of us not to include our top 5 favorite geothermal hot tubs. (More details on each below)
Blue Lagoon– paid access. The world-famous hot spring needs no introduction; the Blue Lagoon is arguably the world’s most unique place. The milky blue silica-rich water surrounded by mossy black lava has been named one of the 25 wonders of the world by The National Geographic and is unlike anywhere else on earth. The best time to visit is early in the morning before it gets crowded. Entry is expensive, but no visit to Iceland is complete without a dip.
Djúpavogskörin– One of the CampEasy favorites. From djúpivogur, heading south on Route 1, after 1-2 km, you will see it on your left. There is a gravel road with signs of no camping or overnight stays. You can park your car and walk 50 meters to the bathtub behind the cliffs. There’s a fountain in the parking lot.
Hoffell Hot Tubs– There are five hot tubs at Hoffell – two are warmer than the rest. You’re supposed to shower before tubbing, though your bathing suit can stay on for it. How to find it: Hoffell is about a 25-minute drive west from Höfn. Turn off of Rt 1 at the sign for Hoffell, drive another 3km on the dirt road. It will soon diverge into a few separate routes, and it’s not obvious which one to take to get to the hot tubs. Try to stay towards the center and look for a metal gate with a small parking lot. Or just use the navigation 😉
Mývatn Nature Baths– Paid access. Even so, it’s a really cool alternative to the Blue Lagoon.
Biskupslaug– Please speak to the farmer at Reykir before using the pool. Be careful not to drive down the jeep path leading down towards the fence which surrounds the hot spring. Walk the jeep path. It’s not easy to find, located at the end of the hey field. You will see it next to a brown shed, slightly above the well. (the navigation takes you to Reykir, the farm).
Fosslaug– One of the more accessible hot springs that still has a feeling of absolute seclusion. CampEasy Recommended. Type Saurbaer into Google and choose the top option. When you reach the last turn (into the farm itself), don’t turn but continue across the bridge. Take the first right onto the gravel road after the bridge. Look for a small blue sign to guide you. After passing the waterfall and crossing a small bridge, you’re there. The pool is on the riverbank.
Grettislaug (Grettir’s Pool)- Paid access. The pool represents the excellent craftsmanship of Jón Eiríksson. Oval shaped, 4,5m in diameter, and 0,8m deep. 42-43°C. The road leading to it isn’t great, but it is accessible by non-F-roaders.
Seljavallalaug– Seljavallalaug was built in 1923 and has been in use since. The hiking route is quite easy, 2 out of 5 hike difficulty, although not long. The pool is very green with algae, which isn’t harmful, but not for the squeamish. DO NOT try and drive all the way up to the pool.
Laugarvatn Fontana– Paid access. A cozy pool on the shore of Laugarvatn lake. We dare you to jump out of the hot pool and take a swim in the cold lake.
Hrunalaug– Holds perfect temperature all year round. There is even a “changing room” where you can change your clothes. No, before we head any further, we would like to mention that this place has received a lot of traffic recently and can’t handle it. Due to the appalling treatment of the area, the owner of the land has considered bulldozing the site. If you go, please, oh please, be respectful of the space. Take your trash, don’t try and tear down walls, and don’t shit on the grass next to the pool.
Secret Lagoon – Paid access. It looks like a place fairies go for a swim- a lovely ethereal pool with all amenities. It even has some food stands right outside.
Reykjadalur– A beautiful valley full of geysers and hot springs. It is formed of a single river that flows down the valley. At regular intervals, small pools have been made by piling rocks to create small dams. Each dam represents a small hot tub along the river. The area is “powered” by Mt. Hengill, an extinct volcano north of the hot spring area. It’s a frequented area, so don’t expect seclusion. But there’s plenty to go around in terms of space, and you can even choose your temperature. By hiking further up the valley, the temperature of the river gradually increases. Easy access by camper, but requires a 30-40 minute hike each way. It’s even more perfect during the shoulder months when there is less traffic.
Englandshverir– We could not find a lot of information on Englandshverir, and we’ve never been there. Located in Lundareykjadalur and the source of water is from a small Hot Spring a few hundred meters away from the pool. Multiple sources confirm the location, but little else. Time for you to explore? Tell us about it if you go.
Krosslaug– Located 50 meters above the road (according to some locals), the pool is small and will fit 3-4 people. The temperature is around 42°C. Several myths surround the hot spring, the most pervasive being it’s incredible healing powers. The pool is described as beautiful and clean (for a hot spring)
Kvika Footbath– A quaint little tub on the coast in Reykjavík. Only deep enough for a foot bath, though. The area is cozy, with the Grótta lighthouse nearby. A good place to wander and “hike” around.
Skátalaug– Not very warm and not very deep. A place to check out if you are driving in the area.
Landbrotalaug– A beautiful, small, 2-3 person hot spring in the middle of nowhere. The temperature is around 44°C. To get to Landbrotalaug, take a left turn after you have passed Eldborg crater and drive for a few minutes on a dirt road. You will pass a small abandoned house, and in a few more minutes, you’ll find a parking spot close to Landbrotalaug.
Lýsuhólslaug– Paid access. The pool is filled with naturally heated mineral water, coming directly up from the earth. Rich with minerals and no chemicals added. There are a swimming pool and two hot tubs.
Guðrúnarlaug– A reconstruction of the historic Guðrúnarlaug. Open for all, with a small old-school changing room. When you reach the place, it’s right up the hill from Hotel Edda. It can be a bit on the colder side during winter.
Hellulaug– A funky hot spring located on the shore next to an abandoned farm, called Hella. The pool is around 4 meters wide and approximately 60cm deep. The temperature is about 38°C, and there are no changing facilities.
Reykjafjarðarlaug– A 2 in 1 package. The pool is around 32°C, and the natural “hot tub” or hot spring is about 45°C. The hot spring is perfect as a winter destination. It is easily located and has changing facilities.
Pollurinn– Three hot tubs with varying temperatures. Overall an excellent hot tub location with adequate changing facilities. All very small and cozy.
Galtahryggjarlaug– Hog-ridge-pool. Yeah. We know how to name them. A small and cozy natural hot spring. The temperature is around 40°C. Small changing room nearby. (the navigation takes you to the guesthouse, speak to them first)
Hörgshlíðarlaug– Ask permission at Hörgshlíðarbær. A cool location, looking over the fjord. The temperature is around 40°C. There is a small changing facility.
Gjörvidalslaug– A mystery that needs to be solved. We can’t find it, and we cannot verify the location found online. But multiple sources write of this pool in Icelandic. We’ve never been there. Probably best to speak to the farmers at Múli farm. Please provide feedback once you know something!
Nauteyrarlaug– A cozy hot spring with changing facilities, but you’ll need to speak to the local farmer. Not too long ago, a fishing company was drilling in the vicinity, and the flow to the pool stopped. They fixed it using a hose to feed the pool from the natural hot spring source. Temperatures between 35-42°C, depending on the season.
Krossneslaug– A lovely pool beside the sea. Paid access via the honor system. Open 24/7. Excellent for night swimming. If you bring some drinks, never use a glass container.
Gvendarlaug– An unusual location overall. Although the original, medieval pool Gvendarlaug is now a national heritage site and closed to bathing, the new modern pool next to it also draws its waters from the same source and is quite lovely. Enhancing the experience is that next door, you’ll find the national museum of sorcery and witchcraft.
Drangsnes Hot Pots– Lovely geothermal-powered hot pots on the edge of the sea. Three pots with different temperatures. Access to changing rooms.
Geothermal Goldfish Pond– Yes. Geothermal Goldfish Pond. You heard me. And that’s no translation. It is indeed a geothermal goldfish pond. One of the weirdest things. Popular by small children in the area to bathe while hunting goldfish. The pond is home to the northernmost goldfish population in the world. It’s said to be the strangest thing to watch a pond full of goldfish, with snow all around, in the midst of winter. Apparently, they can survive due to the geothermal heat feeding the pond. If you decide to partake and enjoy this remarkable experience, make sure you release the goldfishes if you catch them. No joke. All of that is true. The pond is not very warm, 20-30°C, depending on the season, and there is no changing facility. We recommend this one during the midst of summer.
Geosea– One of the CampEasy favorites. Geothermal Sea Baths. For centuries, the geothermal heat, north of Húsavík, has been known to residents who have utilized it for bathing and washing. Drilling for hot water at Húsavíkurhöfði in the mid-20th century revealed water that turned out to be hot seawater, too rich in minerals to be suitable for heating houses. Instead of letting this hot water go to waste, they installed an old cheese barrel at Húsavíkurhöfði. There, Húsavík residents could enjoy the health benefits of bathing in hot seawater. Those suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis have found relief by bathing in the water, which is at an optimal temperature of 38°-39°C. The water in the GeoSea sea baths comes from two drill holes, one located by the cheese barrel and the other by Húsavík harbor. There is no need to use any cleaning agents or equipment. The steady flow of water from the drill holes, between the pools, and over their edges into the sea, ensures that the water stays well within limits stipulated by health regulations. The GeoSea sea baths offer a unique natural bathing experience. You can enjoy the view of the mountain range to the west, Skjálfandi Bay beneath the cliffs, and the Arctic Circle itself on the horizon.
Krauma– Experience earth’s power when bathing in the geothermal baths at Krauma. The hot water originates in Europe’s most powerful hot spring Deildartunguhver, at a temperature of 100°C (212°F). To achieve the perfect bathing temperature, they mix the hot water with cold water from Rauðsgil, which originates in the glacier Ok (Okjökull), the smallest glacier in Iceland. Krauma offers five relaxing natural geothermal baths, a cold tub to get your blood circulation going, two calming saunas, and a relaxation room where you can rest by the fireplace while listening to soothing music.
Vök Baths– A new hot spring bathing experience where the hot tubs are floating on top of a lake. The water is so pure that it is drinkable. This unique destination is located 5kms away from Egilstadir by lake Urriðavatn. It is a challenge to jump into the cold lake and back into the warm spa. Open year-round. (as are most of them)
Laugarfell– Only accessible by 4×4 vehicles during the summer months. F-Road access. The spring is around 3.5 meters in diameter and about 0.7 meters deep. The average temperature is 34°C.
Hólsgerðislaug- Refer to our map, this location has no Google designation, so we can’t generate a link. The hot spring is laden with big rocks into an oval shape. It is not that big but roughly 4.5 m long, 1.9 m wide, and 0.6 m deep. Four persons can bathe at the same time, and the water flow is really slow and is not measurable. Note that there is a lot of algae flora in the spring, which make it slippery, so take caution when entering the spring. Permission from the farmer is needed before you take a bath. According to the latest reports, the pool is still there, the farmer grants entry most of the time.
Hveravellir– Hot Spring Plains would be the direct translation of this beautiful geothermal area. It’s one of the best known such areas in Iceland. Loads of attractive hot springs in the vicinity: Bláhver, Öskurhólshver, Eyvindarhver, and Bræðrahverir. There are ruins from the 18th-century outlaw, Fjalla Eyvindur, near the spring Eyvindarhver where he is said to have boiled his meat. In the area are huts, shelters, a bathing basin, and a crewed year-round weather report station—one of a couple of locations inhabited year-round in Icelandic highlands.
Kerlingafjöll– Borhola- The Google location refers to the Kerlingafjöll mountain resort. You can drive further up the mountain, where you’ll find parking. From there, you must hike. If you are aiming for this hot spring, we recommend you stop at the resort and ask directions. Check road conditions before heading into the mountains! Winter access is only via a guided tour.
Landmannalaugar– A green oasis in the middle of the highlands. An excellent starting point for hiking trips. The hot spring is very close to the main camping area. The name translates easily to The-People’s-Pools. Now, getting to Landmannalaugar isn’t always easy, and you can easily pick the wrong route and drown your vehicle in a river. There are very rough F-roads most of the way, and winter access is close to none. Please consult our team if you are heading to Landmannalaugar.
Kúalaug– “Cow-Pool” is an apt name, as it’s often a mud pit. There are two small pools, one larger and one smaller. Relatively small and muddy on the bottom. It Will fit 2-4 people and is a comfortable 38-40°C. It is situated right before you reach Haukadalskirkja Church, on the right side of the road. It’s very close to the road, and there are no facilities.
Sturlungalaug- Google won’t be able to help you here. It has no clue that there’s a road leading into the area, and it doesn’t have an official profile for the location. You can find it using our Hot Spring map. The pool is located in the middle of a wet, grassy field. It’s relatively large, being able to accommodate up to 12 people. Not easy to find, though. On Route 55, look for the sign “Syðri-Rauðimelur.” After 6km, open the gate, then enter a second gate on the right. Drive towards the crater to reach the parking lot.
Laugarvallalaug– It’s a beautiful hot spring underneath a waterfall. Requires a large modified 4×4 jeep to get there. Check out tour operators in the vicinity for access.
Hveragil- Refer to our map. Google has nothing. A gushing hot stream down a ravine that is very difficult to access due to its location. It has multiple pools where you can bathe, but also pools that are scolding hot and burn almost instantly. Only for the extremely motivated. Or people with helicopters.
Víti (Askja)– Viti (meaning Hell) is an explosion crater Northeast of Öskjuvatn. The Viti crater is around 150 meters in diameter and contains a geothermal lake of mineral-rich, sulfurous, opaque blue water. You will need to hike a bit from the parking lot.
Laugarfell– Located in the Highlands of Northeast Hofsjokul, which happens to be the third-largest glacier in Iceland. Here you can find numerous pools to choose from, and even the river contains warm water.
Strútslaug– To reach it: Extreme 4×4 terrain, then some rivers, and finally a good hike. Try it. We don’t know, haven’t been. Check out local guides, either based in Landmannalaugar or the south for a day trip. Not accessible by a CampEasy camper.
Grafarlaug– A somewhat cold pool at around 26°C and not very hygienic, according to most of the latest visitors. But with access to changing rooms and in a cool place. Don’t try and reach it in any car. You will need to walk around 2 km to find it.
Grjótagjá cave– Not for bathing. Located in the north by Lake Myvatn. This hidden hot spring was made famous by Game Of Thrones. The cave was a popular bathing spot in the ’70s, but due to volcanic activity, the water temperature has risen to above 50c, which has made it unsuitable for bathing.
Stóragjá– A sister to Grjótagjá, this spring can only be visited by climbing down a tight ravine. The water in this cave is bright blue, but stagnant and is therefore very acidic and high in algae and bacteria. Swimming is discouraged due to possible dangers to health.
Brimketill– A small, round, rock pool on the edge of the coast by Grindavik. It is entirely unsafe for bathing due to large, powerful waves and strong ocean currents. Beautiful to look at, with a viewing platform and walking path from the car park.
Holuhraun – Located close to Svartá River in the north, requires a 4×4 to access it via F910, and then some hiking. This new 40c hot stream formed during the eruption of 2014. Shallow with sharp lava rocks, a good idea to wear swimming shoes. 2020 update, we cannot find any information confirming the status on this hot spring. Happy hunting.
There are a few things better than to soak in a natural hot spring after a long day of hiking and activities.
Color codes on map:
Easy to access Hot Spring are Blue.
Only 4×4 access to Hot Spring is Orange.
Tour operator access to Hot Springs are Black.