Want to know the best Swimming Pools and Hot Springs to visit in North and West Iceland? Look no further! I did the ‘hard’ task of trying many of them out for you.
I’ve been to Iceland three times and each time I’ve visited different lagoons. This time last year Olly and I went for 5 days. We visited a number of different swimming pools and hot springs in the North and West of Iceland.
Iceland sits on one of the world’s ‘hot spots’ resulting in a lot of geothermal activity. Large parts of the country may be covered in snow most of the year, but under the surface is a different matter!
There are loads of different hot springs and pools across Iceland. You can enjoy a dip in bath like temperatures across the country, while being surrounded by snow and ice. Dreamy.
Last year we were in Iceland for 5 days. Our Iceland itinerary had us spending a couple of days in and around Reykjavik and three days travelling up to the North of Iceland and back. It was a long journey, but it was worth it for the views en route alone. Nevermind the husky dogs waiting for us on arrival at our final destination.
A large part of our road trip planning was planned around swimming pools and hot springs. Well that and dog sledding!
This post is in collaboration with Original Travel. They organise tailor made travel itineraries to Iceland and all over the world. They have loads of tips for what to do on a trip to Iceland.
The Best Hot Springs and Swimming Pools in North Iceland
Myvatn Nature Baths
If the Myvatn Nature Baths were nearer Reykjavik they would be as popular, if not more so, than the Blue Lagoon. The milky mineral-rich waters are surrounded by beautiful snow peaked mountains.
They have two saunas, the main geothermal pool and a cafe. Like most Icelandic hot springs you should take your own towel if you don’t want to pay to hire one.
We had every intention of visiting Myvatn Nature Baths. We had our tickets booked and we’d planned to arrive to our hotel in time for a couple of hours at the nature baths. However the Icelandic weather had other ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, generally the hot springs are open all year round, whatever the weather. I went to the Blue Lagoon in a storm on a previous visit to Iceland, and it only made the whole experience more fun!
However, when we arrived at our hotel we were warned that the temperature at the nature baths had dropped and with the blustery windy weather it wouldn’t be as toasty warm as usual.
We made the most of the ‘hot pot’ at the hotel that evening instead. If I return I will definitely be visiting Myvatn Nature Baths.
You should book your tickets in advance online.
Sundlaugin á Hofsósi
Sundlaugin á Hofsósi is a public swimming pool in the small town of Hofsós. We stopped at this pool on our way back from Myvatn. It was a minor detour from our road trip itinerary and so worth it.
When we arrived we were the only people there. It was freezing outside but the pool was hot and the ‘pot’ even hotter. The views out to sea look across to more snow covered Icelandic mountains.
How often to you get the chance to swim in a naturally heated pool, only 50 miles from the Arctic Circle, with a woolly hat on your head surrounded by snow. It was a truly special experience.
It’s definitely visited more by locals and if you go on a quiet winter’s afternoon like we did, you might get the whole place to yourself.
They don’t have a website but you can find out about opening times and pool temperatures on their Facebook page.
Akureyri Swimming Pool
If you’re travelling to Iceland with kids then a stop at the Akureyri swimming pool is a must. We spent the night in Akureyri on our way back to Reykjavik and had the most incredible sushi at Rub 23.
The complex has two pools, three slides, including the longest water slide in Iceland and several hot tubs, a sauna and a cold tub!
Like many of the pools, Akureyri Swimming Pool is visited by both locals and tourists.
The Best Hot Springs and Swimming Pools in West Iceland
The Secret Lagoon Hot Spring, Gamla Laugin
I loved the Secret Lagoon. We went here as part of the Golden Circle Tour which is popular with pretty much Every. Single. Person. who visits Iceland.
The Secret Lagoon is another geothermal natural hot spring, that has been turned into a popular destination for tourists and locals.
When we visited, the small amount of daylight was disappearing and a cloudy mist fell upon the pool. It was dark and mysterious and you could barely see a few feet in front of you.
Though it was quite busy, you didn’t have to swim far before everyone else disappeared into the mist and you felt like you had the pool to yourself.
I highly recommend a visit to The Secret Lagoon. It is quieter and cheaper than the Blue Lagoon and a perfect end to a self drive Golden circle tour before heading back to Reykjavik.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is often at the top of everyone’s to do list when visiting Iceland. It is a regular stop off on the way to or from the airport.
I’ve been twice, though we didn’t go on last year’s visit and opted for the lesser known spots above instead.
Entrance to the pool will set you back £40 and then on top of that there is towel hire, drinks etc.
I ate at the Blue Lagoon restaurant on a press trip a few years ago and it was delicious, though again quite pricy.
Despite the cost I still recommend a visit. The creamy soft waters will do wonders to your skin and it is listed as one of the 25 Wonders of the World. You can’t go all that way and not visit!
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River
I was desperate to visit Reykjadalur, the thermal river. However visiting in the middle of winter meant getting up the hill to the hot river would be difficult and icy.
It came recommended by a few friends, but I think it is a better option for the summer months in Iceland. A walk from the nearest parking, it is a natural thermal river people enjoy sitting and swimming in. Perhaps a picnic on the grass after.
The river is about an hour’s walk from the car park, with plenty of time for photo spots. Even when it gets busy there are so many hot pools there should be plenty of space for a dip.
The thermal river is only 45km from Reykjavik, so a great day trip idea. I’m told the cafe nearby does amazing lamb soup too!
Have you been to Iceland? Do you have any more hot spring and swimming pool suggestions?
Let me know if you visit and try any of the hot springs above.
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