Visiting Iceland natural hot springs is like entering the outdoor (and free) spa treatment. Geothermal pools in Iceland are hidden in the mountains, surrounded by lava fields, small or big. You can many different types of hot pools dotted around the island. Find the best hot springs in Iceland, where you can relax and enjoy the nature around – for free, together with a handy hot springs Iceland map included.
If I was to choose three things, that I liked the most during our trip to the volcanic island, one of them would definitely be geothermal pools and hot pots in Iceland. 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, especially in southern Iceland. My favourite were, of course, natural hot springs in Iceland, that can be accessed for free (or with a small fee). You can find a map of hot springs in Iceland at the bottom of the post.
Apart from the pristine nature baths, 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 fee to the swimming pool in Iceland is usually cheap and you can swim, chill out and warm yourself up if the Icelandic weather wasn’t nice to you recently. They typically have more changing facilities, than the wild Iceland hot springs.
THE BEST HOT SPRINGS IN ICELAND
Apart from the natural Iceland thermal pools, there are also some famous Iceland spa resorts. They include Blue Lagoon Spa Iceland or Secret Lagoon in the south or Myvatn Nature Baths in north Iceland. There are also some hot springs near Reykjavik like Laugarvatn Fontana hot springs Iceland – a sleek lakefront spa. They all look great but are more like geothermal spa, than natural hot springs. There is also usually quite steep entrance fee to get in.
Therefore, I prefer the natural hot springs, dotted around beautiful Iceland.
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Iceland natural hot springs, that are also free
# Seljavallalaug hot springs – the “Abandoned pool” in the Icelandic mountains
Hidden in the mountains between the Eyjafjallajökull Erupts Visitor Centre and Skogafoss, the Seljavallalaug hot springs, also called “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 the oldest man-made swimming pool 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 anymore.
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.
# Reykjadalur hot springs Iceland Thermal River – 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. The Reykjadalur Hot Springs is a special place in southern Iceland, located in the Reykjadalur Steam Valley.
To get to the hot river in Iceland, 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. If you want to visit hot springs in Iceland in winter, this is the place to go. After a frosty walk, you can just jump into the hot water.
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.
The Reykjadalur Steam Valley is part of the volcano Hengill and spreads out across 5000 years old lava field. This is where its geothermal activity comes from. Hveragerði is also worth a stop, at least for the best Icelandic food, which is geothermally cooked.
How to get to the Hot River in Iceland
Hveragerði lies 45 km from Reykjavik, on the Ring Road and the Golden Circle Route. To get to the hot river hike you need to drive to the end of town. There you will see the car park. From the car park, the hiking trail leads through the hills and hot pots of steam and mud. You will see the location of the famous hot spring river in Iceland, once you walk for around 30 minutes. The place suitable for bathing is where the wooden platforms and changing facilities are.
The explanation of how to get to the beginning of the hot river hike in Hveragerði is shown below.
# Hoffel hot tubs, less known hot springs in Iceland
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 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.
# Landbrotalaug hot spring in Snaefellsness in Iceland
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.
# Landmannalaugar hot springs
#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.
HOT SPRINGS ICELAND MAP
Here you can find the Iceland hot springs on the map.
TREAT HOT SPRINGS IN ICELAND WITH RESPECT
If you decide to visit some of the natural Iceland hot springs mentioned above (or any other ones), please treat those places with respect. It is still nature, so any human activity should follow the simple outdoors rule – leave no trace. This means – take your rubbish with you, do not leave anything behind, do not pollute the water, do not contaminate the area or break anything. It also applies to the “bathroom breaks” – do not leave them on the ground, bury them or drive away and find a toilet. Those rules are normal rules for wild camping or enjoying outdoors. Because of tourists not respecting Icelandic nature, many of the best hot springs in Iceland, including the natural hot pools are getting unpleasant to visit, or even permanently closed. Please, respect nature.
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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