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Blue Lagoon Alternatives: 23+ Best Hot Pools in Iceland

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Wondering where the best hot pools in Iceland are located? We got you covered! In this detailed post, we will share our personal favorites and popular geothermal pools and baths in Iceland that you can add to your itinerary. Many will be clear Blue Lagoon alternatives if you are considering something offbeat!

We will also share some of the travel tips that will help you to choose the best geothermal pool, give you a packing list, and other important insights. So keep reading!

Best Hot Pools in Iceland + Blue Lagoon Alternatives 

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As one of the world’s most geologically active countries, it’s no surprise that Iceland is home to some of the best geothermal pools around. 

From natural hot springs to man-made spas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

What is a geothermal pool or a hot pool?

A geothermal pool is a hot spring that has been harnessed to provide natural heat and hot water for people. 

In Iceland, there are many geothermal pools that are used for both recreation and therapy. The water in these pools is naturally high in minerals, which can have health benefits. 

Girl at the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

Soaking in a hot pool can help to relieve muscle pain, improve circulation, and boost the immune system. 

There are a number of public geothermal pools in Iceland that are open to everyone. These pools provide a great way to relax and enjoy the unique landscape of Iceland.

Quick list of geothermal pools in Iceland (+ alternatives to Blue Lagoon): 

  • Blue Lagoon Iceland
  • Sky Lagoon
  • Secret Lagoon
  • Fontana Geothermal Baths
  • Reykjadalur
  • Seljavallalaug
  • Grettislaug
  • Myvatn Nature Baths
  • Krossneslaug pool
  • Gudrunarlaug
  • Husafell Canyon Baths
  • Krauma Geothermal Spa
  • Drangsnes Hot Tubs
  • Landmannalaugar

We will also share some of the swimming pools in Iceland that are worth checking out, as an alternative to the popular lagoons. 

Plus you will also find travel tips to plan your Iceland itinerary around a favorite hot pool that you like. So let’s get started,

Blue Lagoon Iceland 

  • Type: Man-made lagoon
  • Costs: The entry package starts at 8490 ISK or $65 USD
  • Itinerary tip: Visit when you fly in or out of Iceland

Let’s get the cat out of the bag first – the Blue Lagoon Iceland. Blue Lagoon is considered to be one of the 25 Wonders of the World, and truly when it first opened many flew to Iceland just to soak in its geothermal waters. 

Milky blue waters of Blue Lagoon, and a girl soaking it in
Milky blue waters of Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is situated in a lava field in the southwest of the country, the lagoon is fed by geothermal water that is rich in minerals. 

The lagoon’s warm, soothing waters are perfect for relaxing in, and the stunning setting makes it a truly unique experience.

We have been to the Blue Lagoon twice, and although quite liked it (but have a new favorite now), we do understand many don’t wish to visit this hot pool. 

When we spoke to travelers, these are some of the reasons they shared

  • Too expensive (it is expensive as compared to some of the other geothermal pools listed in this guide)
  • Too crowded (it is not super crowded at the pool as the lagoon is big enough to accommodate a large crowd and tickets are time-stamped)
  • Difficult to find a time slot that works for your itinerary (we have been there. Because the Blue Lagoon is located near the airport it is suggested that people visit before flying in and out of the country, and sometimes tickets are sold out in advance!)
  • Too popular (and you want to visit something offbeat)
Blue Lagoon

These are definitely some of the cons of visiting Blue Lagoon, but if you plan it well, and wish to check it off your Iceland bucket list, then follow these tips listed below, 

  • The lagoon is open all year round, but hours may vary depending on the season. Check the website for up-to-date information.
  • Do book your tickets in advance and prior to your visit
  • The cost of the Blue Lagoon starts at 8490 ISK or $65 USD, which is the most affordable option (called the Comfort package).
  • We recommend buying the Comfort Package, which includes admission to the lagoon plus the use of a towel, a silica mask, and a drink of choice from the Swim Bar. You also get a locker for your belongings.

There are 3 levels of packages offered at the Blue Lagoon to suit your needs. The basic package is all you need to enjoy the lagoon.

  1. Comfort Package (affordable)
  2. Premium (mid-range)
  3. Retreat Spa (luxury)

These admission fees do not include transportation or luggage storage fees. There is a Blue Lagoon skincare store, a restaurant, and a cafe, which you are free to visit without buying an entry ticket. 

View of the Blue Lagoon Cafe
Blue Lagoon Cafe

You can visit the Blue Lagoon even if you do not know how to swim. The water in the lagoon is wonderfully warm at around 98°F (37°C), so it’s important to take breaks and cool off in between dips.

The lagoon is situated in a lava field and the milky blue waters and its surroundings are definitely otherworldly – this is why tourists flock to the Blue Lagoon. 

But there are alternatives to the Blue Lagoon (and here is our favorite one)

Sky Lagoon

  • Type: Man-made lagoon
  • Costs: The entry package starts at 6990 ISK (or $54 USD approx.)
  • Itinerary Tip: Plan to visit the Sky Lagoon while you are in Reykjavik (as it is located 15 minutes

The Sky Lagoon is the newest geothermal spa in Iceland. 

Girl at the Sky Lagoon in Iceland, one of the best Blue Lagoon Alternatives
Sky Lagoon: Blue Lagoon Alternatives

It is a man-made lagoon located about 15 minutes from the capital city of Reykjavik. This lagoon is truly beautiful, and highly recommend adding this to your Iceland itinerary. 

One of the unique things about the Sky Lagoon is its signature 7-step hydrotherapy cycle, known as the 7 Step Ritual. 

These seven steps are supposed to be performed in a sequence, and in doing so it helps to deeply relax and enhance wellness. 

This ‘ritual’ is said to be inspired by Icelandic bathing traditions, and something that Icelanders have done for centuries.

At the Sky Lagoon, you will find a gorgeous 230-foot infinity edge, overlooking the Kàrsnes Harbour. The pretty views from the Steam Room should not be missed either.

The beautiful sauna room in Sky Lagoon with harbor views
Beautiful sauna room in Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon is a great alternative to the Blue Lagoon. 

  • You can easily visit the Sky Lagoon when you are in Reykjavik (even a taxi ride shared with a few travelers won’t break the bank)
  • It opened its doors in 2021, and is relatively new and not very crowded (yet)
  • There are 3 package levels to enter the lagoon. The cost of the Sky Lagoon starts at 6990 ISK (or $54 USD approx.). This is the most affordable option, and it is also cheaper than the Blue Lagoon’s Comfort Package

The 3 levels of Sky Lagoon admission (all without round trip transportation), 

  1. Pure Lite Package (affordable) 
  2. Pure Package (with the 7 Step Ritual) 
  3. Sky Package (luxury with 7 Step Ritual + private change rooms)

During my trip, I opted for the Sky Package as it gave access to a private changing room with a shower facility. 

If you are on a budget, opt for the Pure Lite, which includes access to the waters, shared change rooms, and a locker. There is no mask or drink at this level.

Sky Lagoon, is one of the best (and our favorite) Blue Lagoon Alternative

The Pure Package offers you one full journey of the 7 Step Ritual, which is mindblowing. 

You get access to the rejuvenating spa process with a cold dip, steam and sauna room access, a scrub, and a cold shower. Book: Pure Package (with the 7 Step Ritual) 

Quick tips for visiting the Sky Lagoon, 

  • We recommend making reservations ahead of time, especially if you are on a short visit. Book in advance and prior to your visit
  • Packages only include access, no food/drinks or transportation is included
  • Plan to visit the Sky Lagoon while you are in Reykjavik (as it is located 15 minutes from the city centre). Many tours will include a stop there like the Golden Circle tour here
  • Bring a swimsuit (towels and eco-friendly plastic bags are provided. Swimsuits can be rented)
  • Bring your credit card to pay for drinks (or for use at the store, or restaurant) 

Secret Lagoon or Gamla Laugin 

  • Type: Man-made lagoon and swimming pool
  • Costs: The entry package starts at 2700 ISK (or $21 USD approx.)
  • Itinerary Tip: Add it to your Golden Circle day trip/route, read our 3 day Iceland itinerary

Secret Lagoon is one of the oldest geothermal pools in Iceland and dates back to the year 1891. It is located in the Golden Circle area which makes it an easy stop when you are on an Iceland road trip or add it as an extra on a day tour.

Girl soaking in at the Secret Lagoon one of the hot pools in Iceland
Secret Lagoon

The hot spring is located close to the waterfall of Gullfoss, which is one of the classic Golden Circle tours, in the village of Flúðir. 

Near the pool, you will find a lot of volcanic activity, with many greenhouses. 

The geothermal activity in the area is natural and it has been used for ages by Icelanders. 

As compared to the Blue and the Sky Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon is pretty simple and fuss-free. It is also smaller in size. 

But today, they have modified the area to accommodate a much larger number of people with parking on-site. 

The water temperature is around 38-40° Celsius (100° Fahrenheit) all year long. You can enjoy the warm waters without knowing how to swim, plus the Secret Lagoon offers floaties for you to use!

Views of Secret Lagoon one of the best geothermal pools in Iceland
Secret Lagoon views

During my visit, I found that some areas were warmer than others, and there is an uneven surface, rocks, etc. that you should be careful of. 

There is also a restaurant on-site where you can enjoy a meal after your swim, and of course, shared changing facilities. 

The Secret Lagoon is often preferred over Blue Lagoon, for it is cheaper and less busy.  It is also easy to find entrance tickets to meet your schedule. 

The entry fee to the Secret Lagoon is approx 2700 ISK ($21 USD). You can book your tickets here

Quick tips for visiting the Secret Lagoon, 

Fontana Geothermal Baths or Laugarvatn Fontana

  • Type: Man-made lagoon 
  • Costs: The entry package starts at 3950 ISK (or $31 USD approx.)
  • Itinerary Tip: Golden Circle route

Fontana Geothermal Baths is a man made lagoon and baths, located near the Golden Circle route, next to Laugarvatn Lake. This area sits over a hot zone, and this powers the geothermal warmth of the bath waters.

The site has hot pools, a sauna, and steam baths. The sauna here is built over a steaming hot spring which is all-natural and is built in a Finnish style. 

This area has over 100 years of history of Icelanders having experienced the healing powers of the natural steam baths by Lake Laugarvatn. 

And the Fontana Geothermal Baths today offers everything that you need for a relaxing spa day including modern facilities.

At the Laugarvatn Fontana, you can also opt for a nice lunch or dinner. 

Fontana makes for a great alternative to the Blue Lagoon as it is not one of the most popular spas in the country. Yet it can be easily explored on a road trip or tour, leaving out Reykjavik. 

The entry fee to the Fontana Baths is 3950 ISK (approx. $31 USD). 

Quick tips for visiting the Fontana Baths, 

  • Plan to visit the Lagoon as part of your Golden Circle Route. Many tours will include a stop there like the Golden Circle tour here
  • Bring a swimsuit, towel, and a dry bag to store your wet suits. Towels, bathrobes, and swimsuits can be rented for a fee (around 800 ISK per piece)
  • There is a cool bakery at the Geothermal Baths, you can opt for a tour here as well!

Reykjadalur Steam Valley

Nothing beats the feeling of warm waters after a good hike. And if it is a hike to the Steam Valley aka Reykjadalur, you will love it!

Natural geothermal bath in a Hot River stream in Reykjadalur Valley with wooden footpath and changing rooms
Natural geothermal bath in a Hot River stream in Reykjadalur Valley with wooden footpath and changing rooms

Reykjadalur is a geothermal area, located about 40 minute drive from Reykjavik. There are hiking trails that lead to the warm waters where you can enjoy a nice dip.

Because the hot springs are in the wilderness, you will need to hike. The trail to the hot spring is about 1.50 to 2 hours, so don’t forget to pack and bring your hiking gear as well!

You can drive there yourself, as it makes for a nice day trip from the capital city. Or opt for a day tour with a guided hike to the warm waters. 

If you prefer the latter, and not renting a car, book this tour with transportation 

Travel tips to visit the Reykjadalur hot springs,

  • Note that there are no changing rooms in the area 
  • Remember to bring your swimwear, towel, etc
  • Although it takes quite a hike to get there, views are worth it 
  • Hveragerði is the closest area where you can find services like gas stations
  • This is a free pool, with no entry fee! 

Seljavallalaug

  • Type: Man-made swimming pool
  • Costs: Free
  • Itinerary Tip: Add it to your South Coast – Iceland Ring Road itinerary

From the popular Golden Circle route, head over to the South Coast of Iceland. 

Natural swimming pool Seljavallalaug in Iceland
Natural swimming pool Seljavallalaug in Iceland

Located between the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss is the hot pool of Seljavallalaug. 

This is a 25-meter outdoor pool and is considered to be one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland, dating back to 1923.

The waters of the Seljavallalaug are all-natural, and later the facilities including 2 small changing rooms were built. 

The surroundings of the pool will make you feel like you are in a different world, altogether!  

Although the Seljavallalaug has been popular with travelers, you do need a car to get there. 

And keep in mind that the water isn’t very hot. 

Also, the surroundings and the geothermal pool are only taken care of in the summers by volunteers. 

Depending on when you are visiting the pool and the surroundings may appear dirty and rundown, but its beauty is its natural landscape. 

Quick tips for visiting, 

  • Plan to visit the pool as part of your South coast of Iceland route. 
  • A car is necessary to get there
  • Bring a swimsuit, towels, and a dry bag to store your wetsuits
  • Although the Seljavallalaug is free, note that it is not well-kept at all times of the year. We recommend visiting during the summer months, and remember to pick up everything before you leave 

Grettislaug

  • Type: Man-made pool 
  • Costs: The entry package starts at 1 000 ISK (or $8 USD approx.) for two hot pools
  • Itinerary Tip: Add it to your North Iceland itinerary, en route to Akureyri (2 hours drive)

From southern Iceland, let’s move to the north. 

The hot pool Grettislaug in Iceland
The hot pool Grettislaug in Iceland

In northern Iceland, located by the west side of Skagafjordur fjord at Reykir, are two hot pools, and they are a good alternative to a modern-day spa.  

The pool – Grettislaug – is named after Grettir Ásmundarson, who was the strongest man in the Icelandic Sagas. 

The uniqueness of this geothermal pool is the circular pot with piled rocks surrounding them offering stunning views of the mountains and the sea nearby. 

At Grettislaug you can access an outdoor shower and the changing facilities. These pools are located on private property, so prior reservation and an entry fee are required. 

Quick tips for visiting, 

  • Plan to visit the hot pools when you are en route to Akureyri or in North Iceland. It is about a 2 hour drive away from Akureyri. 
  • There are no tours or public transportation to the Grettislaug and Jarlslaug
  • Jarlslaug is bigger and hotter than Grettislaug
  • With 1000 ISK, you have access to both pools, and they are placed next to each other surrounded by stunning nature
  • The entry fee is to be paid at the gate where you will find a cafe
  • The changing facility is located inside a cute turf house
  • There is a camping site near the pools

Myvatn Nature Baths

  • Type: Man-made lagoon 
  • Costs: The entry starts at 5900 ISK (or $45 USD approx.) for adults
  • Itinerary Tip: Travel from Akureyri or Diamond Circle route in North Iceland. Read our 5 days in Iceland itinerary

Myvatn Nature Baths are one of the top geothermal pools in north Iceland. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the Diamond Circle featuring the Myvatn Lake area and the stunning Godafoss.

Girl at the Lake Myvatn Nature Baths Iceland
Myvatn Nature Baths

These baths are known to be the Blue Lagoon of the North, this is the only kind in the northern part of the country. 

Mývatn Nature Baths have the same milky blue and mineral-rich water that is great for your skin and has healing properties.

The baths are located on the edge of Lake Myvatn, which is a volcanic region of lava fields and craters, and the water is heated by hot springs nearby. 

Myvatn Nature Baths are not super crowded, and there are no tier entry packages either. 

An adult ticket price for entering Mývatn Nature Baths is 5900 ISK (or 45 USD approx.). This entrance ticket only includes access to the baths and public changing rooms. 

Entrance to the warm waters of Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn Nature Baths

We will round up some of the travel tips for the Mývatn Nature Baths below,

  • We recommend making reservations ahead of time for the Nature Baths, particularly in the summer months
  • Plan to visit the Nature Baths while you are in Akureyri or northern Iceland. Baths will be about an hour’s drive from Akureyri. There are tours that will include a stop there like this one
  • Although there are no package tiers, you can get a discount for seniors and young adults under the age of 16 years. Just be sure to carry proof of age/status
  • There is a restaurant on-site, do grab a snack or eat before getting to the thermal pool 
  • Bring a swimsuit, a towel, and a dry bag to carry the wetsuit after. Towels can be purchased for a fee
  • Bring your credit card to pay for drinks (or for use at the store, or restaurant) 

Krossneslaug Pool

  • Type: Hot pool, open 24 hours
  • Costs: Free
  • Itinerary Tip: Westfjords road trip

Krossneslaug is a natural pool located at Krossnes by Strandir in the WestFjords peninsula. The pool is located in a remote place, with gorgeous mountain and ocean views. 

Hot pot Krossneslaug, one of the Blue Lagoon Alternatives
Hot pot Krossneslaug, one of the Blue Lagoon Alternatives

If lucky, you might even spot whales from the pool swimming in the ocean.

The pool is open 24 hours, and both the pool and dressing rooms are well maintained (a small fee). 

Now you will need to drive to get there, passing through a gravel road to reach it, but the views are worth it! 

  • Getting there is a long and challenging drive, and the gravel road 643 is both difficult. It is a 90-kilometer drive from the small village of Hólmavík and Road 61
  • There is no public transportation or tours to the site
  • Plan for a visit during the summer months when it is accessible by most cars (typically from May until the end of August)
  • There are no entry fees, but there is a small box where you can put some cash $3-4 USD for the maintenance of the site
  • And the pool is open 24/7

Gudrunarlaug

  • Type: Hot pool, open 24 hours
  • Costs: Free
  • Itinerary Tip: West Coast road trip

Gudrunarlaug is a newly renovated hot pool located in the western part of the country. It was reconstructed in 2009. 

Aerial view of Gudrunarlaug hot spring in Iceland. This geothermal pool is free to use, it is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland and is filled with naturally heated water.
Aerial view of Gudrunarlaug hot spring in Iceland

History suggests that these thermal baths have been in existence for thousands of years. 

It is named after Gudrun Osvifursdottir, who was one of the most well-known women from the Icelandic Sagas. The western part of Iceland is filled with the nuance of sagas and Icelandic history. 

Access to the Gudrunarlaug hot pool is free. In order to get to the area, you will have to drive there yourselves, there are no scheduled buses or tours to get here. 

To enjoy a dip at the Gudrunarlaug, depart from Reykjavik on Ring Road 1, towards the Westfjords. You can save the landmark as Hotel Edda and get there, and then you will find the hot spring nearby. 

  • There is no public transportation or tours to the site. A vehicle is needed 
  • Entry is free, and there is a small changing room on site
  • Do bring in your swimwear, towel, and a dry bag
  • The pool is open 24/7. It is located near Hotel Edda, and it is on a hill above the hotel 

Husafell Canyon Baths

  • Type: Man-made hot pools
  • Costs: The entry fee is 9900 ISK (approx. $78 USD)
  • Itinerary Tip: West Coast road trip, along Silver Circle route

Similar to the Grettislaug and Jarlslaug pools, the Husafell Canyon Baths are stunningly beautiful, located in the Icelandic Highlands (west coast).

View of the Husafell Canyon Baths
Husafell Canyon Baths

The Canyon Baths are new, and they came to life after the hard work of the locals. There are two pools, and the larger one is hotter than the smaller adjacent one. 

Typical temperatures are around 30-41°C (86-105°F), plus a cold-water spring at 10°C (50°F). Each pool offers a spectacular view of the surrounding canyon, mountains, and glaciers.

There is a changing room and a fully functional bathroom. 

In order to get to the Husafell Baths, there is an entry fee, and is only accessible with a guide. 

View of Husafell Canyon Baths from the steps
View of Husafell from the 64 steps: Hot springs in Iceland

You must pack a swimsuit, and a dry bag. Towels are provided along with the entry fee. 

The entry fees include a ride to the Baths area. The guide provides the towel and secures the area for your visit. 

To get to the baths you have to take about 64 steps down to the pool area – so do wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes. 

Tips to visit the Husafell Canyon Baths,

Krauma Geothermal Spa

  • Type: Man-made hot tubs with water from the hottest geothermal spring
  • Costs: The entry fee is 4900 ISK (approx. $38 USD)
  • Itinerary Tip: West coast, along the Silver Circle route

Krauma Geothermal Spa is located on the Silver Circle route as well. The spa is one of the newest in the area, dating back to 2017. 

Krauma Spa’s location next to the hot spring, Deildartunguhver makes it unique. 

Entrance to Krauma Geothermal Spa (right), and on the left is the hottest hot spring in Europe
Entrance to Krauma Geothermal Spa (right), and on the left is the hottest hot spring in Europe

Deildartunguhver is actually Europe’s hottest – hot spring with boiling water (at 100°C  or 212°F). And this water is used at the Spa once it has cooled down. 

You can see the Spa tubs from the geothermal area, and once in the tub, you can view the steam and gases in the sky. 

There are about six beautiful black marble tubs for bathing (five warm and one cold), and a few saunas on-site. 

You will also find a shower and changing facilities along with a modern restaurant (on-site) and a greenhouse near the Spa. 

View of Krauma Geothermal Spa
Photo by Krauma Geothermal Spa

Krauma Geothermal Spa is a great alternative to the famous Blue Lagoon, it is a lot cheaper, and not very crowded (still an offbeat attraction along the Silver Circle route). 

The distance to Krauma and Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik is also comparable at 50 minutes to an hour. 

Tips for visiting Krauma:

  • Karuma is open all year round. Although it is not required to get tickets months or weeks in advance, it is a good idea to do so in the summer months. You can also reserve a table for a nice Icelandic meal after a soak
  • Don’t forget to bring your swimwear, and towels (they are available for rent)
  • The Spa is located in Reykholt, about a 60 minute drive from Reykjavík. You can include a stop here when you visit waterfalls such as Hraunfossar or the Snorri Pool in west Iceland

Drangsnes Hot Tubs

  • Type: Man-made hot pots, but naturally heated
  • Costs: Free
  • Itinerary Tip: Westfjords road trip

Moving on to another hot tub in Iceland, this one is located in the town of Drangsnes in the Westfjords (and hence the name).

Drangsnes Village
Village of Drangsnes in Strandir in North Iceland

There are three hot tubs with warm water, and each of them offers stunning water views. Each hot tub has slightly different temperatures, but they are in the range of 38 to 42 degrees Celsius (100-107 F). 

This is considered to be a popular spot to watch the Northern Lights in the winter in Iceland.

There is a small changing facility near the tubs, so carry swimwear, a towel, and a dry bag. The area around the tubs can be slippery, so be mindful. 

Drangsnes hot tubs
Drangsnes hot tubs

Some travelers have worn wet shoes when they get inside the tubs, but you don’t have to, as long as you are careful getting in and out (and the rocks of course). 

These tubs have free entry and are open 24/7 – at all times of the year. 

Landmannalaugar

  • Type: Natural 
  • Costs: Free, but changing room facility/use is 500 ISK (approx. 4 USD)
  • Itinerary Tip: East coast road trip (3.50 hours drive from Reykjavik)

Landmannalaugar is a hot pool located in the highlands of Iceland. This area is particularly known for hiking and is better accessible in the summertime. 

Wooden path to natural hot spring with a group of tourist people relaxing in a thermal bath in Landmannalaugar campsite, Iceland
Wooden path to natural hot spring with a group of tourist people relaxing in a thermal bath in Landmannalaugar campsite, Iceland

At the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs, you soak in stunning views of the highlands from colorful mountains to lava fields, and Brennisteinsalda volcano. 

The pools stay consistently warm throughout the summer months (at about 40 degrees Celsius or 104 F), and are perfect after a long hike. 

Know that to get there, you’ll have to hike, so wear proper gear and carry a swimsuit and towels. 

The hot springs are free to access, but there is a fee of 500 ISK to use the changing room facilities 

You do need to drive there to access the pool, as there is no public transportation or tours available. However you can arrange for a private transfer for a group of 6 people, and it is advisable if you are not used to driving in the highlands. 

Here is the private transfer/day trip to book.  The hot springs are located about  3.5 hours east of Reykjavík.

Travel Tips:

  • Landmannalaugar Hot Springs is located in a remote area. With the hike and soak-in, you will have to set aside a full day at the hot springs
  • Again as the drive from Reykjavik takes 3.5+ hours one way, if you are driving there yourself, we recommend staying nearby overnight. You can utilize the next day for more hikes, if interested, or just enjoy the drive back
  • The hot pools are open year-round, but it is best visited between June through September, as access is very difficult in the wintertime 

Hot pools in Iceland where swimming is not allowed

There are some hot pools in Iceland where swimming is forbidden, reasons being too hot, or inaccessibility. Here are a few,

Grjótagjá 

Grjótagjá is a tiny cave in the Lake Mývatn region that was once a popular swimming hole dating back to the 18th century. 

Hot spring cave in Iceland Grjotagja has water above 50 degrees Celcius and is dangerous for swimming
Hot spring cave in Iceland Grjotagja has water above 50 degrees Celcius and is dangerous for swimming

But the temperature of the water in the cave pool rose dramatically from 1975 to 1984, making it impossible to bathe there for an extended period of time.

You can visit it today and can see/feel the steam coming out of it, but it is really too hot for a swim. 

Grjótagjá entrance
Grjótagjá Cave entrance

There are rocks leading to the cave, so do wear hiking shoes to get down. When I visited I saw gas/steam coming out from various spots and between the rocks.

Kerid Crater 

Kerid Crater is one of the most stops on the Golden Circle route. The crater is massive, and there is water that looks like ‘a human eye’ from most drone shots, but swimming here is not a good idea. 

You can enjoy hiking in and around the crater. 

Snorri’s Pool

Located in the Reykholt village in West Iceland is one of the heritage sites in the country, particularly those pertaining to the Icelandic sagas. 

This village is where medieval historian, poet, and lawmaker, Snorri Sturluson, lived. He has a pool in front of a turf house, called the Snorri Pool (named after him). 

View of the Snorri Pool, one of the hot pools in Iceland that are not allowed for swim
Snorri Pool

This is where he possibly bathed. 

Snorri’s Pool is one of Iceland’s oldest structures and is a heritage site, and no swimming is allowed. 

When I visited I did touch the water (and our guide said we can touch it), and it was medium warm. It is free to visit the site. 

Geothermal pools like Geysers

Popular Iceland attractions like geysers (Strokkur on the Golden Circle route), or sulphuric hot pools, or geothermal areas such as Gunnuhver, Námaskarð, etc. are TOO hot, or have harmful gases and are unsafe for a swim. 

Hverir Geothermal Field
Hverir Geothermal area is not for swimming

When you visit a geothermal area, you have to stay within the designated walkway or path. 

There are rope rails, and signs that state that you have to stay within the route for your safety. These are not meant for swimming.  

Top public swimming pools in Iceland

Although we have covered one swimming pool above (Seljavallalaug), we will share some of the popular public swimming pools below. 

These are ‘typical’ swimming pools – with modern facilities, amenities, swim lessons and also slightly cheaper than lagoons, not they are not free! 

Swimming pools in Iceland with a view
Swimming pools in Iceland with a view

Reykjavík Swimming Hall

  • Location: Reykjavik 
  • Costs: 1100 ISK ($8.50 USD)

This swimming hall is one of the most popular pools, located in Iceland. It has stellar amenities including diving boards and hot tubs and a steam bath.

Laugardalur Swimming Pool 

  • Location: Reykjavik 
  • Costs: 900 ISK ($9 USD)

The biggest and most frequented swimming pool facility in Iceland is the Laugardalur Swimming Pool. This is a large and diversified complex with Olympic-size lap pools and various hot tubs of many kinds and sizes. 

Laugaskarð Swimming Pool

  • Location: 30 minutes from Reykjavik 
  • Costs: 700 – 2100 ISK ($17 USD) with amenities 

The Laugaskarð Swimming Pool is notable for its beautiful location in the Hveragerði hillsides as well as decent amenities, including hot tubs, whirlpools, a natural sauna, and a fitness center. 

For a while, Laugaskarð Swimming Pool was one of the largest pools in Iceland. It dates back to the late 1930s, and has a nice thermal pool!

Selárdalur Swimming Pool

  • Location: East Iceland
  • Costs: 950 ISK ($7.50 USD) 

Located on the banks of one of Iceland’s greatest salmon rivers, Selárdalslaug, is a local swimming pool. And this is a beautiful environment for a swimming pool with views of the river and wildflowers. 

There are swimming lessons, as well as deck chairs and hotspots available in the pool area. 

Hofsós swimming pool

  • Location: Vestmannaeyjar – North Iceland
  • Costs: 900 ISK ($7 USD)

The Hofsós Swimming Pool is slowly becoming a popular swimming pool in Iceland, especially in the Skagafjörður area. 

The pool has one of the most scenic pools, with an amazing view of Drangey and the fjord.  

Vestmannaeyjar Swimming Pool

  • Location: Vestmannaeyjar – Western Islands
  • Costs: 900 ISK ($7 USD)

This swimming pool is a kid’s playground. The pool offers toys, climbing rocks, etc. 

How to find the best geothermal pools in Iceland + Travel Tips

There are many geothermal pools in Iceland as you have read above, and they are all different. 

Some are large and deep, while others are small and shallow. There are also pools that have hot water and pools that have cold water. 

Some are hot springs, also called hot pools, lagoons, geothermal spas, swimming pools, and ‘nonswim’ pools. 

Sky Lagoon

So, how do you know which one is the best for you? We will cover that below, but first, we will share some nuances of these thermal pools as found in Iceland,

  • Lagoon: A lagoon is defined as “a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, such as reefs, barrier islands, barrier peninsula”. In Iceland, the popular lagoons are Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, both man-made, but the water is minerally rich and they do remain consistently warm all throughout the year. 
    • You also have to take a shower in shared (or private) changing rooms before getting into the water
    • Leave your jewelry outside 
    • They allow you to float and even without knowing how to swim, you can enjoy a soak at these lagoons in Iceland
  • Hot pool or geothermal pool: They both refer to the same thing. It is a pool or spring that is heated geothermally (and Iceland has a lot of hot pools, some are concentrated in tubs that are man-made). 
    • Depending on which pool you are visiting some are free, and some have an entry fee
    • Many of the hot pools in Iceland are accessible by 4×4 vehicle, or after a hike in the wilderness 
    • The benefit of visiting a hot pool is its natural surroundings
    • Some pools are super hot, that swimming is not allowed, and some could be a little cooler in the winters (and also inaccessible)
    • Many of the hot pools that you can swim in are unmanned. So you have to exercise caution when visiting (loose rocks, slippery rocks, wet surfaces, route access, etc.)
  • Swimming pools: And there are swimming pools open to the public for use, and the water is warm and nice to enjoy. The entry fee is cheaper, usually less than $10 USD per person
Swimming pool in Akureyri
Swimming pool in Akureyri

Now, here are some of the factors to keep in mind when choosing a geothermal experience in Iceland. 

First, think about what you want to use the pool for. If you just want to relax and soak in the warm water, then any geothermal pool will do. 

But if you want to swim laps or play games, then you’ll need a pool that is large and deep enough like a swimming pool. 

If you’re after a luxury experience, then the Blue Lagoon or the Sky Lagoon is definitely worth a visit. 

Luxurious Blue Lagoon

These are one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions, and although these are man-made lagoons, they are fed by geothermal waters.

These waters are also mineral-rich mud which is said to have therapeutic properties. 

Now if you want to be in a completely natural setting in a hot pool, then you will have to choose one of the low key and affordable options. Like the Gudrunarlaug. Or something where you also have to hike for a bit like the Reykjadalur Steam Valley. 

Second, consider the temperature of the water. 

Some geothermal pools have very hot water, while others have cool water. If you prefer toasty warm water all throughout it is a good idea to opt for a man-made lagoon. 

Girl in Husafell Canyon Baths
Gorgeous hot pools in Iceland, surrounded by nature

When visiting free or unnamed pools the temperatures may or may not be all very warm and toasty all year round. 

Third, think about the location of the pool. Some geothermal pools are located in remote areas, while others are right in the middle of town. 

  • When you flying in and out of Iceland, opt for the Blue Lagoon (located 15 minutes from the airport and has a ton of transportation options)
  • When you are in Reykjavik, head to the Sky Lagoon (15 minute drive), or any of the swimming pools. Or the Reykjadalur Steam Valley (40 minutes)
  • On the Golden Circle Route: Add Secret Lagoon, and Fontana Geothermal Baths to your itinerary 
  • On the South Coast Route: Seljavallalaug
  • Northern Iceland: Myvatn Nature Baths, Grettislaug pool
  • West Coast: Krossneslaug pool, Gudrnarlaug, Husafell Canyon Baths, Krauma Geothermal Spa, Drangsnes Hot Tubs, Landmannalaugar

Fourth, consider the amenities that are available at the pool. Some geothermal pools have sauna and steam rooms, float therapy, restaurants, private changing rooms, etc., while others are more basic. 

Fifth, think about the price of the pool. Geothermal pools can be very expensive, but there are many hot pools in Iceland that are free to visit. But do factor in the costs of car rentals, hiking, condition of the pool, etc.

Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn Nature Baths + lake area tour

Lastly, if you do not have access to a vehicle, and are not into hiking, then opt for a lagoon or a geothermal pool along a popular day tours route, like 

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you should have no trouble finding the best geothermal pool for you. So, get out there and start exploring all of the different options!

Quick packing list when visiting the hot pools in Iceland,

Should you visit a geothermal pool on your visit to Iceland?

There’s nothing quite like soaking in a geothermal pool to relax and rejuvenate. The benefits of the minerals in the water are well-documented, and there’s something special about being surrounded by nature while you soak. 

If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, be sure to add a visit to a geothermal pool to your itinerary.

Need more tips? Read all of our Iceland travel guides and posts here

Pin: Geothermal Pools Iceland Travel Guide + Alternatives to Blue Lagoon

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