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 most of the time, don’t expect luxurious facilities. But they are all around Iceland, so there is a plenty of oportunities.
Map of hot springs in Iceland
Because Iceland is filled with hot springs, it should be mentioned which ones are worth it. The most known hot spring in Iceland is Blue lagoon spa. There are a lot of them that are quite popular and constantly filled with people. Others are available only if you hike your way up there, but those are the real hidden gems. The best thing about hot springs in Iceland is the fact, that they are mostly all around the country, so you can choose which one you want to visit depending on your location. 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. It costs about 50 dollars and can take the whole day.
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 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 a famous Secret lagoon located also close to the Golden Circle.
How to get to Reykjadalur?
As mentioned before, first you need to go to Hveragerdi. You can get there either by bus from Reykjavik or by bus from the south part of the country.
The hike starts about 2 kilometers from the station, but it is not difficult to find it. If you go towards the hills behind the village, soon enough you will see tracks. And then you just keep going.
The terrain is both upwards and downwards. But not difficult. The hike is still for beginners. It is only 3km long and after that, you will reach the river where people bathe.
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 just one big pool. But it is still using the natural geothermal energy.
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.
Besides Secret lagoon is a great place to visit after hiking around the Golden circle. The whole day can be very exhausting and a dip in nice warm water can help to rest for the next day.
While Secret lagoon is a 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 which makes it the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. Even though it is quite old, it is functioning until today.
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. During summer days it will be also easier to take the 20-minute hike to get to this pool. Seljavallaug is open for free and you can find there two changing rooms. Keep them clean, because this pool is cleaned only by volunteers. And perhaps because of that, with the rising popularity of the pool, it is very often, that the changing rooms are quite nasty. Just be prepared for that as well.
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 entry fee is only 500 ISK and you can pay with a credit card as well.
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. But it is not the most adventurous place in Iceland. This hot spring is completely man-made. There is also super clean water, which shows that it is not the natural pool. But even then it is still a nice place to go with nature around you. There are also not too many people, which makes it even more special.
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. At the same time, the pool is also very close to the road and offers comfortable 38 degrees and about 60cm of a dip in every weather and all year round. If you feel like you are getting too hot, feel free to cool down in the sea that is very close by.
Similar to previous hot spring, this one isn’t visited too much as well, mainly because people tend not to visit west fjords in general. So chances are that you will be able to be in this beauty completely alone. Especially if you are coming in shoulder season.
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.
The hot springs in Landmannalaugar are completely natural. Closer you come to the spring root the hotter it gets. This place got more popular and so you should prepare yourself for a battle of hotter place in the springs.
Another good thing to know is the fact, that there are little to no facilities. Most of the people are staying here in the camp or go to a hotel by buses. This means that the only coverage for you to change clothes is your towel.
Except for a great hiking place, Landmannalaugar offers also camping spots with shower facilities for hikers and nearby shops. You can get there either by your own car or by bus.
Laugavallalaug – similar name to Landmannalaugar 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. If you are coming to bathe here, make sure, you will try the water first, sometimes the temperature is way too hot for bathing.
These hot springs might be harder to find, but they are worth it. You can find them by driving on F road that is reachable only by 4×4 cars. There is a beautiful hike around the springs so you can enjoy it as well.
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 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 very expensive. By the most visited place I mean the fact, that you need to reserve a place to be able to go there.
So how to get there? First book a ticket for Blue lagoon. It is a little bit cheaper in the off-season, but still rather a luxurious place. The tickets cost about 85 euros per day, which is the cheapest option and the opening hours differ depending on the month of the visit. The easiest way to get to Blue Lagoon is from Reykjavík by bus. From Reykjavík, it takes about 50 minutes to get there. But you can also get there from the airport, which is just a 20-minute ride. Blue Lagoon offers not just a spa, but also a hotel and fine dining. Just expect the higher prices, when it comes to things like this.
Mývatn nature baths
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 the North of Iceland in case you are craving blue water. These spas are a lot cheaper with the same quality of facilities. In the main season, you would pay here 5500ISK as an entrance fee, which is the same amount of money that you would pay only for transfer to Blue Lagoon. The spa is also open all year round with different opening times. It all pretty much depends on the season.
While this lagoon doesn’t come with hotels, you can still find here a very nice café and some extra steam rooms that are counted in the price of the entry fee. Except for this, Mývatn nature baths are in the middle of gorgeous nature and you can even see some of the volcanos here.
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. It is relatively close to Akureyri city. So enjoy, these are a lot less visited even though they deserve the same level of attention.
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