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Best Hot Springs & Geothermal Pools in Iceland

The Icelandic tradition of bathing in geothermally heated pools dates back to the days of the Vikings. A popular part of daily life for Icelanders, it should also be essential during your Iceland vacation. Soaking in the naturally warm waters while surrounded by magnificent scenery is likely to be one of the highlights of your trip. Plus, it’s said to have many benefits due to the high concentration of minerals, from soothing sore muscles and improving circulation to healing skin conditions. Not to mention, it’s incredibly relaxing, providing the perfect way to wind down, breathe, and just enjoy the moment. To help you make the most of the experience, here are the very best hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland.

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It should come as no surprise that the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. For fewer crowds, early morning or late evening visits can offer a more tranquil experience. The lagoon is open until late, so consider a night visit for a unique experience under the stars or, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights.

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Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool, with milky aquamarine waters surrounded by jet-black lava rocks. Not only can you simply relax and enjoy the comforting feel, but indulge in a waterfall massage and skin-enhancing treatments such as the algae face mask or volcanic rock scrub. Right in the middle of the lagoon is a little bar that serves items like strawberry champagne, beer, and creamy Skyrr smoothies. There’s also a steam cave, a steam room, and a sauna. A poolside cafe serves light snacks and there are two upscale eateries, the Lava Restaurant and the Michelin-star Moss Restaurant. And, if you don’t want to leave, you don’t have to, with accommodation available that includes your own section of the lagoon.

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Myvatn Nature Baths

Located just over an hour from Akureyri, the unofficial “Capital of North Iceland,” the Myvatn Nature baths are hot pools that have been transformed into the ultimate natural spa. You can spend the day exploring this spectacular region with its unique craters and geothermal fields, stunning fjords, dramatic peaks, and waterfalls, and then enjoy a soak in the relaxing geothermal waters. It isn’t nearly as crowded as the Blue Lagoon as it’s not quite on the well-beaten tourist path, yet accessible from the Ring Road that circles much of the country. Facilities include a sun patio, café, changing rooms, and showers. Multiple tours will bring you here, but if you’ve rented a car it’s just as easy to reach on your own.

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Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon, locally known as the Gamla Laugin, is a pool fed by the active geysers Litli, Basahver, and Vaomalahver. Located just off the popular Golden Circle tourist route near the village of Flúðir in South Iceland, it’s the country’s oldest pool, created in 1891. For quite some time it wasn’t very well known, earning it the “secret” name, but these days it isn’t a well-kept secret though many pass it without even realizing it’s there. That said, it isn’t nearly as busy as the Blue Lagoon. If you visit in the morning, there’s actually a good chance you’ll enjoy it all to yourself. There’s a small cafe, changing rooms, and showers. Towels and swimsuits are available for rent.

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Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

Landmannalaugar is nestled among the colorful Southern highlands of Iceland, a popular area for hiking with breathtaking hues of red, green, yellow, blue, purple, and black. After all that exertion, there are few better things to do than relax in these hot natural pools in temperatures ranging from 96.8 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (36 to 40) in this desolate, tranquil area. As there is no light pollution to disturb the view, if you’re here between late September and mid-March, you might even be treated to the brilliant display of the northern lights. Getting here isn’t easy, requiring a drive through rivers (not recommended when driving a rental) which means Landmannalaugar is best experienced by joining an Iceland private tour.

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Hrunalaug Hot Spring

A small but unique and private hot spring, Hrunalaug is a secluded natural bathing area near Flúðir, not far from Reykjavik. It’s located on a farm with the site once used as a sheep washing station, but the owner welcomes visitors who respect the land (a small donation is recommended). There are three pools that range in temperature from 90 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 40 Celsius) providing something ideal for every type of Icelandic weather. It’s not nearly as well-known as the Blue Lagoon or even the Secret Lagoon but it will feel crowded if even just 10 people are soaking so if you’d prefer a more tranquil experience avoid late afternoons and early evenings, which tend to be busiest.

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Reykjadalur Steam Valley

Less than 30 miles from Reykjavik near the town of Hverageroi, Reyjadalur translates to “Steam Valley.” A hiking path winds through this geothermal hotspot and will bring you to some of the very best natural places to soak in the area. In some places, the water is too hot, but where the cold river merges with the hot, you’ll find the ideal temperature where you can sit back and watch the steam rise from the surrounding fumaroles. Close your eyes and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to an entirely different planet. You can easily get to Reyjadalur on your own. Drive to Hverageroi, turn left at the roundabout, and head to the road’s end where the hiking trail begins.

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Seljavallalaug Pool

Seljavallalaug is another one of the oldest man made pools in Iceland, tucked deep within a narrow valley below Eyjafjallajokull in the southern part of the country. It was constructed in 1923 by a few visionaries who wanted to give the locals the perfect place to learn to swim. At the time, most Icelanders didn’t know how to swim which was pretty risky considering that most of them made their living on the water by fishing. The approximately 82-foot by 33-foot pool is filled with water from a natural hot spring nearby and ranges in temperature from roughly 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 Celsius). While there are no showers, changing rooms are available.

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Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon offers a more tranquil setting, available only to those 12 and older. It’s located in Kopavogur, a suburb of Reykjavik just a 15-minute drive from downtown. The geothermal pool ranges from 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 40 Celsius) and has varying depths with the deepest nearly five feet. Everything blends in with the stunning landscape from the rolling grassy hills and a turf house to the craggy rocks while the infinity pool overlooks the North Atlantic, making it difficult to tell where it ends and where the sea begins. This is an upscale experience with numerous facilities and different options available like private changing rooms with your own shower rather than the typical communal ones.

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