Everyone heard that Iceland is the land of fire and ice. Every nature lover should head there at least once in life. You can hike all day and sure, there are no beaches to bathe in, but there are a lot of hot springs. In fact, hot springs in Iceland are quite famous. The geothermal energy makes a lot of places quite warm, so you can bathe there even in the winter. It would be a shame to miss this opportunity. And it is quite refreshing, especially after a full day of hiking. However, most of the hot springs are hidden somewhere in nature, so for most of the time, don’t expect luxurious facilities. Those you can find in Budapest thermal baths.
But because Iceland is filled with hot springs, it should be mentioned which ones are worth it. The most know hot spring in Iceland is Blue lagoon spa. There are a lot of them that are quite popular and constantly filled with people, but then there are somewhere only some hikers are going or are not so popular. I hope that this list will help you decide which one you should go to. I tried to add some all over the map, so you would always have some opportunity to bathe in hot springs.
Located very close to the Golden Circle, Reykjadalur is a valley filled with hot springs. It is between Reykjavík and Golden circle, close to a village called Hveragerdi. If you hike Reykjadalur, not only you will see the magical waterfalls all around, but it will be steaming all around you. Note that this hike you can also take on horseback.
With bathing itself wait till you reach the main hot river. Some hot springs in this hike might be simply too hot or might have a high consistency of certain chemicals that might be dangerous. So just wait till you hike all the way to the top.
Because of geothermal activities in this valley, it is possible to hike this place during winter as well. The hike is about 3 km, and it is not difficult. Generally in Reykjadalur is less touristy than famous Secret lagoon located also close to the Golden Circle.
About Secret lagoon
It wouldn’t be fair not to mention Secret lagoon since it became so popular. The secret lagoon is located close to village Fludir and it is perhaps one of the oldest hot spring spas in Iceland. It was abandoned but due to its popularity, it was renovated and reopened again in 2014. This lagoon has about 38-40 degrees, and unlike bath in Reykjadalur, it is basically just one big pool.
Even though it might not sound like the most adventurous place, you will get dipping place right next to bubbling natural hot spring (don’t come close to it, these are dangerous) and even little geysir.
While Secret lagoon is man-made bathing spot and Reykjadallur is touched only by nature, there is something in the middle as well. One of the best hot springs in Iceland is close to the famous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. This natural pool is in the middle of nowhere, which makes it special. The pool was made in the early 20s.
The important thing to know here is that the water during winter isn’t completely warm. So this hot spring is made specifically for summer days. It is open for free and you can find there two changing rooms. Keep them clean, because this pool is cleaned only by volunteers.
Specifically, this pool will give you the idea that you are resting on the edge of the world. Krossneslaug is a hot spring pool located in West fjords. Even though it is harder to get there, it is worth to visit. There is a fee for entering, but as a reward, you will get clean changing rooms with shower facilities.
The pool is filled with hot water even during the winter. And offers a spectacular view from the edge, which makes it one of the most special hot springs in Iceland.
Alternative to Krosseslaug
If you feel like you want to see something more natural, there are more hot springs in that part of Iceland. Hellulaug is also located in West fjords. Even though Hellulaug is one of the most natural places, without any facilities, it is very close to hotel Flókalundur. The pool is very close to the road and offers comfortable 38 degrees and about 60cm of dip. If you feel like you are getting too hot, feel free to cool down in the sea that is very close by.
More hikes and hot springs! One of the most awesome hiking places is in Landmannalaugar – highland in the south part of Iceland. These highlands are widely popular and you can spend days there, just hiking around. But one of the best things on them is that they have hot springs which make them one of the best hiking spots in Iceland.
Except for great hiking place, Landmannalaugar offers also camping spots with shower facilities and nearby shop. You can get there either by your own car or by bus.
Alternative to Landmannalaugar
Laugavallalaug – similar name but very far from each other. These hot springs that you will have a hard time to pronounce are in eastern highlands in Iceland. And they are not just a hot spring, there is a waterfall too. Often used as a shower, since it is a hot waterfall. These hot springs might be harder to find, but they are definitely worth it. You can find them by driving on F road that is reachable only by 4×4 cars. But there is a beautiful hike around or alternatively, there are also other pools on your way – but without a waterfall.
Hot springs in Iceland with a twist
Sure, there are natural hot springs, man-made ones, tubes and some hybrids in the middle. But then there is also a Bjórbödin beer spa. And these are possibly the only beer spa in Iceland. Kaldi brewery offers this irresistible bath in the beautiful nature but in with the man-made liquid. You can find these hot springs in the north of Iceland, in Eyjafjördur fjord.
The spas are for everyone since the beer is after being warm up undrinkable, but you can refresh with their beers after the dip.
The famous Blue Lagoon
I have not mentioned Blue Lagoon because to me it is an overrated place. But then again, I’m saying it as someone who actually has been there. The thing about Blue Lagoon is that it has both pros and cons. On the one hand, it is a very beautiful place with magical colors and professional staff and facilities. However, it is one of the most visited hot springs in Iceland and it is definitely very expensive. By most visited place I mean the fact, that you need to reserve a place to be able to go there.
But I wouldn’t know that if I wouldn’t go there and I know that I would be certainly really annoyed if I wouldn’t visit it. So I understand both not going there and going there just for seeing what the rumors are about.
Alternative to Blue Lagoon
Same color, different place. Mývatn nature baths are very similar to what you can see in Blue Lagoon. The same sulphuric bath can be found in North of Iceland in case you are craving the blue water. These spas are a lot cheaper with the same quality of facilities. Too good to be true? Well, it is also far away from Reykjavík and from the southern circuit where most of the tourists are going. So enjoy, these are a lot less visited even though they deserve the same level of attention.
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