Hidden in the mountains, surrounded by lava fields, small or big, natural or built with a little help from people – Iceland has many different types of hot pools dotted around the island. Find the best free hot springs in Iceland, where you can relax and enjoy the nature around.
If I was to choose three things, that I liked the most in Iceland, one of them would definitely be hot geothermal pools. That feeling of dipping in the hot water somewhere in the middle of nowhere with a glass of wine in your hand – unforgettable! During our 7 days Iceland road trip itinerary, we managed to see quite a few of them. My favourite were, of course, the natural and free hot springs in Iceland.
Apart from the natural hot pools, in almost every, even small Icelandic town, you will find heated swimming pools with hot tubs (small containers with water temperature ranging between 38-44 °C, where you can sit and relax). The entrance there is really cheap and you can swim, chill out and warm yourself up if the Icelandic weather wasn’t nice to you recently.
The best free hot springs in Iceland (the south)
There are also some famous Iceland hot pools like Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon in the south of Iceland or Myvatn Nature Baths in the north. They all look great but are more like spa resorts, than wild hot springs. There is also a steep entrance fee to get in.
Therefore, I prefer the natural hot springs, dotted around the beautiful Iceland.
Iceland hot pools you need to visit
# Seljavellir – “Abandoned pool”
Hidden in the mountains between the Eyjafjallajökull Erupts Visitor Centre and Skogafoss, the “Abandoned pool” is one of my favourite free hot springs in Iceland.
To get to the pool, you need to walk for about 20 minutes walk from the car park until you reach the small building with the pool in front of it. The pool was built in 1923 (which makes it one of the oldest in Iceland!), but then it was left abandoned. Now, it is visited by happy tourists, who like to swim in its warm waters.
The water comes to the pool from the geothermal spring located above, through the rocks. However, because the water in Seljavellir is mixed with rainwater, it’s not very hot, but still pleasantly warm. The best place is the one, where the spring drops into the pool – it’s much warmer there. The building next to the pool is used as a changing room – there are no other facilities and no toilets around.
I was a bit surprised by the number of people visiting the “Abandoned pool”. It wasn’t crowded, but as for one of the Iceland hidden gems, I would have thought that there should be much fewer people. But I guess, if something ends up on the internet it’s not hidden any more.
The pool was really nice, surrounded by mountains. Deep and long enough for swimming. We enjoyed our red wine looking at the sun shining on the hills around us. The only problem was a bit of algae floating around that made our swimming suits green after we came out of the water.
# Hoffel hot tubs
Those small pools are located close to Hofn and the Hoffellsjökull (Hoffells glacier), which is a part of Vatnajökull glacier.
The Hoffel hot pools consist of five tubs filled with hot water, surrounded by stunning mountains. The water containers and the pipes leading to each of the pools were built by the landowner. The hot tubs are not entirely natural hot springs, but the water to them comes from geothermal springs nearby. Around the hot tubs, there is a small car park.
Unfortunately, when we were there, the weather was quite bad with a lot of clouds and a drizzling rain, so we haven’t seen many views. Staying in the pool was nice anyway. There is an outdoor (hot!) shower and changing rooms with a toilet (no plug though if you are thinking about charging something or drying your hair).
At the entrance to the pools, there is the box where you can pay 500 IKR to keep the facilities in the good condition.
# Hveragerði hot river
In the geothermal area of Hveragerði, there is a special river, hidden in the mountains. Its temperature goes up to 40 degrees and you can enjoy it while admiring the amazing landscape around.
To get to, the hot river, you need to follow 3,5 km (1h) Reykjadalur hot spring trail, that leads you through the steaming geothermal area with bubbling hot springs and mud pots. The walk through the hills is really nice with great views. And when you reach the river, you will see that your efforts were worth it.
Around the most popular part of the river, you can find wooden platforms, that help with the muddy ground and also simple changing rooms (or rather walls). It’s probably better to not to go too far up the stream, as the water gets hotter there, but it’s good to be high enough, so you can enjoy the heat.
# Landbrotalaug hot spring in Snaefellsness
Landbrotalaug in Snaefellsness is a tiny natural hot pot located in the stunning place. The mountain backdrop and the small hot spring, fitting only 2 or 3 people, makes a perfect place for a romantic paradise in Iceland.
To get to the spring you need to turn from road 54 into the small dirt road that has a sign for Stóra Hraun. Once you get to the parking lot, past the abandoned farmhouse, you can see it.
The hot spring is natural and free for everyone to enjoy. Therefore, keep in mind that there might be already some people in it, when you arrive. You just need to patiently wait (preferably in the car) and it will be your turn! There are no showers or toilets. It’s a wild place, so if you go there, leave it as you’ve found it.
#Laugardalslaug – Reykjavik swimming pool with hot tubs
Icelandic swimming pools are cool too! Even though you need to pay for entrance, it’s not much and you can spend as long as you want inside.
Laugardalslaug is one of the biggest Reykjavik outdoor pools with several hot tubs outside. The water in the pool is around 28°C and the hot tubs are from 5-8 °C to 38, 40, 42 and 44 °C. The coldest ones are great for cooling yourself a bit – which is really needed after spending too much time in the hot water. There are also some smaller pools for kids, steam room and indoor swimming pool with other facilities. After paying the entrance fee you stay there the whole day.
It’s especially handy if you are staying at the Reykjavik campsite nearby (very nice one and great if you travel Iceland on a budget). Then you can just walk to the pool anytime you want.
Any other hot pools in Iceland?
There are some other hot pools in Iceland, also worth to try, but we didn’t have time to visit all of them and we were really happy with the ones that we tried. We were hesitating if we should try Blue Lagoon. After all, we wanted to focus more on the natural hot springs in Iceland avoiding the crowded ones, so we didn’t. But I guess if you like more luxury things and don’t mind paying a quite high entrance fee, or you don’t have enough time to try out the natural hot springs located further away – you can try it out.
Have you been to any of free and natural hot springs in Iceland? Do you know some other ones worth to try? Share in the comments!
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