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Icelandic Lagoons

Do you enjoy sitting in a hot tub and soaking away the cares of the day? Would you enjoy sitting in nature while enjoying that soak? Then Iceland is the country for you! This article will show you some of the wonderful thermal lagoons in Iceland.

The people of Iceland have a deep connection with geothermal activity that is centuries old, so it’s no wonder there are so many geothermal pools in Iceland. Hot springs are a part of the Icelandic culture and provide a place to connect or meet friends and family all year long. When you have amazing Icelandic scenery paired with a natural hot water source, it's a perfect match for relaxing.

Blue Lagoon (Reykjanes Peninsula) is, of course, the Number 1 most famous lagoon on every traveler’s list. It is listed as one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic and is on Time Magazine’s list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places.

The Blue Lagoon is only 15 minutes travel by car from Keflavík Airport so if you had a short layover in Iceland it would be possible to visit. Otherwise, it is worth the trip from Reykjavík or other locations you may be visiting. The Blue Lagoon is the most established lagoon in Iceland with offerings of hotels, restaurants, skincare, and more. Children under 2 are not permitted inside but those 2 – 13 years of age swim free! Adult prices, 14 and up range from $80 - $616, $80 being the minimum and $616 being a spa package. When I checked the availability, there was nothing open for 10 days so if you have your heart set on the Blue Lagoon, make sure you book ahead of time.

Next on the list is the Sky Lagoon, newly opened in 2021, and is located 15 minutes from Reykjavík. It is unique because of a ritual experience that includes a sequence of soaking, cold plunge pool, sauna, cool mist, nourishing scrub, and rinse. There is also a hot steam room in addition to the hot pools and swim-up bar. On site is a gourmet restaurant as well as cafe items. It's located off the ocean so there are wondrous views. Prices when I checked were $50 and up. No children allowed.

Hvammsvík Nature Resort is one of the newest resorts. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, tides will dictate the amount of water and temperature of the pools. One can schedule a day trip or an overnight stay. It is located a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik on the Southwest Coast. Other free activities include stand-up paddle boarding, a guided nature walk, and ocean swimming. No children under 10. Prices range from $50 and up.

A river! And FREE! Reykjadalur Hot Spring Theme River in South Iceland is about 40 minutes from Reykjavík that you’ll have to work for. This one is for hikers and soakers as it is a 5-mile round trip hike. You will be rewarded with a warm river once you get there. Summer trips are recommended as winter trails get slippery. Look it up on Google to get directions or there is an option to select a guided tour.

Another one I have actually been to is Laugarvatan Fontana Hot Spring which is on the Golden Circle about 50 minutes from Reykjavík. In 2018, on a Golden Circle tour, we stopped here. First, we went outside to unearth a well wrapped pot of Rúgbrauð that had been cooking in the hot sand for 24 hours after which we buried another pot ready to spend 24 hours in the sand! The guide brought the gingery tasting cake inside, opened it and cut slices for everyone served with Icelandic butter. Delicious! Afterwards, everyone washed up and went swimming in the hot pool, or the cool pool, or sat in the Finnish style sauna or the steam room. Wonderful! Adults: $37 Children: $22 for admission to pools and facilities. You can also book a tour from Reykjavik which includes other Golden Circle highlights.

Secret Lagoon, (Gamla Laugin) the oldest naturally occurring geothermal pool in Iceland is in Southern Iceland on the Golden Circle. It is a simple, natural pool with a path around it but it is still large enough to find your own space. A bistro nearby has snacks and drinks. Admission: Adults $25, Children 14 and under: FREE.

Visiting East Iceland? Check out the Vök Baths, which feature floating infinity pools! With four geothermal pools, a paddling pool, a steam room, cold spray tunnels, a pool bar, a tea bar, and a restaurant (Vök Bistro) you’ll find plenty to keep you busy for hours. As East Iceland stands in a cold region outside the geothermal zones, the lake, Urriðavatn, freezes in the winter, but people noticed there were spots on the lake that did not freeze. These hot spots (Vakir) are where hot water flows up from the bottom. This is where the geothermal pools are located where guests can soak or swim. Prices: Adults: $47, Seniors: $37, Children (6 – 16): $25.

Mývatn Nature Baths in Northeast Iceland is a one-hour drive from Akureyri and has been referred to as the Blue Lagoon of the North. The lagoon itself is man-made and its bottom is covered by sand and gravel. They also offer steam rooms with a view of the lagoon and the space is large enough to find your own quiet space. There is a swim-up bar, cafe, and a nice large changing area. Cost: $64 and up.

Hofsós Sundlaug Pool in North Iceland is conveniently located if you’re going to the

Icelandic Emigration Center in Hofsós. It is not a lagoon but a pool built on the hillside with a beautiful view of the sea and the Skagafjörður fjord. Cost: Adults: $8.50, Children (6-17): $2.50, under 6: FREE.

Looking for more FREE lagoons? These are also recommended and can be researched on Google:

  • Nauthólsvík Thermal Beach (Reykjavík)

  • Landmannalaugar (Highlands, Requires off Roads)

  • Westfjords (Vestfjarða) Hot Springs (in Westfjords)

  • Kvika Footbath (very shallow – only soak feet) (Reykjavík)

Did you know?

There are hundreds of hot springs and pools throughout Iceland. Wherever you travel, you can usually find some place to swim or soak. Those mentioned in this article are only some of the more notable areas.

If you are going to a popular lagoon or spa, book ahead of time, even before your trip, as space fills up! This way, you’ll get to go to the place of your choice at the time you want. The most popular ones have swimsuit, towel and robe rentals so you don’t have to carry it with you, but the FREE lagoons or those out in the country will not.

When you visit a spa or lagoon, it is important to read and follow the rules which may be posted. When swimming, it is customary to shower naked with soap and water, and then put on your suit. Leave your towel in the changing room before entering the pool, lagoon, or spa.

Make sure you are respectful of others by picking up after yourself and not making too much noise.

Editor's Note: This article was written with prices from 2023. Icelandic Roots encourages those travelling to these and similar tourist areas to be well informed of the situation before you arrive. Prices and availability may have changed. In particular, The Blue Lagoon has been affected by volcanic activity as recently as February 2024. Wishing you happy travels!


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