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The Best Geothermal Pools in Iceland

Discover the relaxing waters fed by Iceland’s natural hot springs

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|February 7, 2024
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No trip to Iceland is complete without visiting a geothermal pool for a soak in the nutrient-rich waters. Feel your tensions melt away as you take in beautiful surroundings.

Vacationing in Iceland doesn’t always guarantee relaxation. With glaciers to climb, mountains to hike, waterfalls to chase, and wildlife to spot, adventure will likely be at the heart of your trip. But what could be more deserved after a couple of days spent exploring the land of fire and ice than a relaxing soak in a warm geothermal pool surrounded by snow-capped mountains or endless coastal views?

What are Geothermal Pools?

Geothermal pools are natural bodies of water found in volcanic regions, heated by geothermal energy. They include hot springs and geysers.

The water in these pools is known for its natural health benefits due to its mineral content, such as sulfur and silica. The minerals are said to have a positive effect on skin and hair, while the warmth of the water can soothe aching joints and stimulate blood flow.

However, not all geothermal pools are safe for swimming. Some of them can be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching boiling point, so it's important to know whether it's safe to enter before doing so.

The Best Natural Hot Springs in Iceland

Out of Iceland’s many natural geothermal springs, many stand out thanks to their particularly beautiful locations and surroundings. These springs are somewhat more popular than the others and, therefore have some basic facilities such as changing areas or wooden paths for your comfort and to protect nature, but they are still free for the public to use.


Tourists and locals enjoying a soak in the steamy People’s Pool Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar, meaning ‘the People’s Pools,’ is known for being one of the most wonderful hiking spots in Iceland. This geothermal valley is located deep inside the Icelandic Highlands, meaning it is only accessible during the summer months between June and September. In winter, however, the Highland roads are closed, so the site can only be accessed by specialized Superjeeps that can be booked on guided tours.

In the middle of this enthralling natural scenery, hot water springs up from under the ground and flows into a natural pool, making it perfectly suitable for bathing all year round. The water temperature is around 36-40°C (96-104°F). The hot spring is located next to a campsite and is free to the public. There are showers and changing areas available for visitors, but a small fee of a few hundred krónur must be paid to use these facilities.

Reykjadalur Valley

The steamy Reykjadalur Valley in Iceland

Keen to experience a geothermal pool in the wilderness but don’t want to travel too far from Reykjavík for a swim? Just 50 km (31 mi) from the city center is the steamy Reykjadalur Valley. Though many of the hot springs and mud pools here are unsuitable for bathing due to high temperatures, there is a geothermal river to enjoy should you have what it takes to hike there. 

The hike is around three km (1.86 mi) from the parking lot, and the views, particularly when you pass the Djúpagil Canyon, are spectacular. Make sure you stick to the marked paths, as the hot pools that surround them are extremely dangerous. 

While bathing in the river, you can experience various water temperatures depending on the spot you pick. The further down the river you go, the cooler it gets. This is very much a natural bathing area, and facilities are limited, so be prepared to change quickly behind your towel.


People bathing in Hveravellir, Iceland

Some 92 km (57 mi) north of the Gullfoss Waterfall, in the middle of the Icelandic Highlands, there is another geothermal oasis which is also a protected nature reserve called Hveravellir. The area features steaming fumaroles and milky-blue hot pots as well as a small pond which hot water flows through, making it one of the most stunning geothermal pools in Iceland. There is a small service center here with a cozy restaurant, huts, and a large campsite.

Changing facilities, toilets, and showers are available right next to the pool for a small fee.

The Best Geothermal Spas in Iceland

It is easy to admit that geothermal baths with facilities are much more comfortable than natural ones. They are also less harmful to nature as the crowds do not wander through wild landscapes to find them, potentially damaging vegetation.

These baths also use natural geothermal water, and most are just as scenic as the remote ones - or sometimes even better! These man-made spas offer a protected environment to bathers and useful services such as first aid, water quality control, changing facilities, lockers, bathing suit rental, and catering.

Icelanders love bathing, but they also love comfort and want to protect nature. That is why they keep building new spectacular baths.

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland on a cloudy day

No list of Iceland’s best geothermal pools would be complete without a mention of the Blue Lagoon. And it’s no wonder why. The geothermal seawater, which is drawn to the surface, has endless health benefits owing to its mineral-rich composition, and the views across the lagoon are like no other. In addition, this relaxing experience can be combined with the adventure of a Golden Circle tour, perfect if you are planning an action-packed itinerary.

Listed as one of the “25 Wonders of the World” by National Geographic in a 2012 special edition, the popularity of the bath has become unbelievable. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is crowded. The Blue Lagoon only allows a limited number of visitors, so there are never too many people in the pool. For the same reason, visitors must book their tickets months in advance to get in.

Bathing here is truly a unique experience! In addition to the stunning open-air lagoon, the spa offers amazing facilities such as a sauna, a resting room, an in-water cocktail bar, different types of mud masks, massages, shops, and a gourmet restaurant.

The location also adds to the value. The Blue Lagoon is situated between the international airport and the capital, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by an 800-year-old lava field. It is no wonder that this place is on every traveler’s bucket list!

Beware - the water can have temporary but unpopular effects on your hair. It is advised not to dunk your head underneath the water or to apply conditioner if you want to avoid dry, stiff hair following your swim.

Sky Lagoon

Visitors enjoying the steamy Sky Lagoon in Iceland

The Sky Lagoon, just a 13-minute drive from Reykjavík, is an impressive oceanside infinity pool that harnesses geothermal energy. Experience true Icelandic bathing culture as the steam rises above the water while you soak in the calming waters of the lagoon and admire extensive views from across the sea to the shoreline.

The Sky Lagoon offers a seven-step ritual, combining the Icelandic bathing traditions.

  1. The Lagoon
  2. The Cold Plunge
  3. The Sauna
  4. Cold Mist
  5. Sky Body Scrub
  6. Steam 
  7. Shower

After all these steps, you’ll feel rejuvenated and stress-free. Why not try it for yourself?

Mývatn Nature Baths

Steam rising above the milky blue waters at the Mývatn Nature Baths

The nature pools and steam baths found in the Lake Mývatn area are becoming increasingly popular amongst those who are keen to explore the north of the island, often being referred to as the “Blue Lagoon of the North.” The panoramic scenery that surrounds the lagoon is exceptional, and if you visit when darkness descends, you may even spot the Northern Lights dancing above you.

It offers everything that the Blue Lagoon does but as a more modest version and for a cheaper price. It is an excellent alternative to the Blue Lagoon. The facilities here include ample changing rooms and a café to refuel and rehydrate yourself after your bathing experience. Admission should be booked in advance to secure your place.

The Secret Lagoon

Secret Lagoon on a sunny day

The gorgeous Secret Lagoon is a man-made but very natural-looking pool. In fact, it is Iceland’s oldest swimming pool, having been built in 1891. The lagoon is perfectly positioned in a small village called Flúðir on the famous Golden Circle tour route, a 1.5-hour drive from Reykjavík.

At a temperature of 38-40°C (100-104°F), the water is ideal for bathing all year round. What makes this place even more interesting is the age-old ruin of a tiny changing hut and the fierce geothermal field right next to the pool.

The geothermal site features a few small hot springs and streams, bubbling hot pots, and a tiny geyser that erupts every five minutes or so, spouting water into the air at a height of one to two meters (3.2-6.5 ft). On the other side of the pool sits a recently constructed building with modest showers, lockers, and a small buffet. The Secret Lagoon is certainly an unmissable stop on your Golden Circle tour.

Vök Baths

Soak up all the scenery from these unusual geothermal pools that float on Lake Urriðavatn. Located in East Iceland just off of the Ring Road, the bathing experience is particularly unique because the area is considered to be cold, and is not typically associated with geothermal heat. However, before the baths were built, locals noticed that there were specific areas of the lake that did not freeze over; a quality from which the name “Vök” derived. The shape of the baths was also inspired by the ice-free patches.

The infinity pools and on-shore hot pools offer temperatures from 37-41°C (98-105°F), however, you can also access the lake itself in the summer, which is much cooler.

The Laugarvatn Fontana Spa

Snow surrounding a pool at The Laugarvatn Fontana Spa

Fontana is a luxury spa with a few outdoor pools, a sauna, and steam baths, built right on the shore of the beautiful Lake Laugarvatn. The spa is located on the Golden Circle route, a one-hour drive from Reykjavík.

One of the highlights of this spa is the traditional steam rooms that were built over a natural hot spring. Listen carefully, and you will even be able to hear the hot water bubbling underneath the steam rooms.

There is also a Finnish-style sauna with a beautiful view over the lake and direct lake access. Bathers can take a cool dip in the lake like true Vikings. There are several mineral pools that vary in depth, size, and temperature.

The spa also offers healthy, locally produced delicacies and refreshments. Moreover, they bake their traditional Icelandic rye bread in the hot sand by the lake! Fun and educational walking tours are offered to the geothermal bakery, where they dig up a pot of freshly baked bread from the hot black sand. This is something that no one should miss out on when visiting Iceland!

Hvammsvík Hot Springs

Bather soaking in the Hvammsvík Hot Springs

Hvammsvík Hot Springs, located right on the edge of the ocean, holds eight geothermal pools of various temperatures. Here you will find pools ranging from the ocean temperatures, which are usually around 10°C (50°F), to original hot springs temperatures, which reach 42°C (107°F).

At Hvammsvík, you’ll also find a variety of modern facilities - a steam bath, outdoor showers, and even an on-site bar and restaurant. It is a perfect place to spend a relaxing day in the middle of serene Icelandic nature!

The Krauma Baths

Steam rising from the pools at the Krauma Baths

Krauma opened in 2017 and is one of the newest baths in Iceland. The bath is located on the Silver Circle tour route, which takes travelers to West Iceland, north of Reykjavík, and features two beautiful waterfalls, a lovely historic village, and Europe’s most powerful hot spring with breathtaking views along the way.

The modern spa sources its hot water from the mighty Deildartunguhver hot spring and mixes it with cold glacial water from Iceland’s smallest glacier, named “Ok,” to generate water at the perfect temperature for bathing.

There are four small hot tubs that vary in temperature, a cold tub, and a somewhat larger geothermal pool. There are also steam baths on the site, as well as an appealing relaxation room with calm music, a crackling fireplace, and glass walls that provide a beautiful view over the surrounding hills. These baths are perfect for those who like to choose spots with fewer tourists.


Aerial view of bathers enjoying the GeoSea Bath

The unique GeoSea baths opened in September 2018 in a faraway northern village called Húsavík. The GeoSea is an extremely tempting bath located close to the edge of a sea cliff, offering unforgettable views over the ocean bay and the surrounding mountains with the Arctic Circle on the horizon!

Uniquely, this spa uses geothermal seawater sourced from deep underground through two drill holes. The 38-39°C (100-102°F) seawater is extremely rich in minerals and has a healing effect on many skin problems such as psoriasis.

The Best Geothermal Swimming Pools in Iceland

Locals have built geothermally heated swimming pools for themselves in literally every single village in Iceland. They can be found everywhere! Some of these open-air pools have such incredible locations that they easily beat out the best natural hot springs. On top of that, they offer showers and changing facilities.


This warm water pool is situated in the remote Westfjords, past a tiny fishing village, literally in the middle of nowhere, directly on the seashore. The location is so remote that it is not possible to access it in winter. The fantastic landscapes all along the way from Reykjavík make this journey incredibly worthwhile. The view from the pool is absolutely breathtaking and the peace that surrounds it is indescribable.

The Hofsós Swimming Pool

Hofsós Swimming Pool in North Iceland

This pool is located in the village of Hofsós in North Iceland, a four-hour drive from Reykjavík. Two hot tubs and a hot pool are built right on the shore of the spectacular bay. Bathers can enjoy the view of the picturesque islands that decorate the beautiful bay.


Bather standing on the edge of Seljavallalaug pool

Seljavallalaug is a remote man-made swimming pool which naturally warm water flows through. The pool is located in a breathtaking, narrow valley in South Iceland, somewhere between Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.

Having been built in 1923, Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest man-made pools in Iceland. The water, however, at about 20-30°C (68-86°F), is not too warm. But it is pleasant enough to take a dip and enjoy the special location. You will find very basic changing facilities in a tiny, old building next to the pool, but there is no shower or toilet available here.

Ready to experience the ultimate relaxation on an Icelandic hot springs tour? The only problem you’ll be faced with is which of these geothermal pools to visit first!


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