Iceland is known as the land of ice and fire for good reason. The island is situated atop many volcanic spots, resulting in a lot of geothermal activity. Icelanders love to swim, no matter what time of the year it is. There are many public swimming pools and spas heated geothermically in Iceland, but there are also many hot springs.
Iceland’s landscape is dotted with therapeutic hot springs that draw in visitors and locals alike.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is without a doubt, the most famous hot spring in Iceland. Located in a lava field not far from Reykjavik, The Blue Lagoon is man-made and is supplied by water from a nearby geothermal power station. The Blue Lagoon is easily accessible an has a number of amenities and conveniences, including restaurants, two hotels, a spa, skincare line, as well as shower and changing facilities.
While The Blue Lagoon is busy with tourists and can be very expensive, it does make for an experience you’re unlikely to forget if you visit Iceland. Find out about visiting the Blue Lagoon as a family.
Mývatn Nature Baths
Located in the north of Iceland, the Mývatn Nature Baths are one of the most popular bathing areas in this area and continues to grow in popularity. The baths were opened in 2004 and though the facilities are man-made, the water is still from a natural geothermal source.
Mývatn Nature Baths have been called The Blue Lagoon of the north, as it has excellent facilities and is located in an area of natural beauty on a nature reserve. There is a café and shower/changing facilities on site, making this a perfect hot spring if you want to make a day of your visit.
If man-made luxury isn’t what you’re hoping to find in a hot spring in Iceland, there are still plenty of other natural options. This romantic hot spring is easy to access but is off-the-beaten track, which can make it difficult to find. Landbrotalaug is a very small spring, only fitting perhaps three people at a time.
The location is very isolated, surrounded by vast expanses and mountains in the distance. This is the perfect hot spring if you’re looking for something that typically isn’t crowded with tourists. It also makes for some fantastic photo opportunities.
This volcanic cave containing a hidden natural hot spring is perhaps one of the most iconic hot springs in all of Iceland. It was featured in season 3 of Game of Thrones as Jon Snow and Ygritte’s romantic retreat.
Until the 1970s, Grjótagjá was frequented by hot spring bathers – but then, due to volcanic eruptions for nearly a decade, the temperature of the pool was far too hot to use. Grjótagjá’s temperature gradually began to fall again so that visitors could soak in its soothing waters. However, in the summer of 2018, Grjótagjá was sadly closed off temporarily due to vandalism by tourists. This is an important reminder of just how vital it is that all visitors and locals alike respect the beauty of Iceland, natural or man-made.
This hot spring off the beaten path boasts something extra special – not only is this a hot spring, it is a hot spring with a geothermal waterfall. This hidden gem is ideal for a soothing soak and a unique experience.
To access this off-the-grid hot spring, you’ll need a 4x4 vehicle and you’ll want to make sure the temperature is not too hot for bathing – the heat of the waters at Laugavallalaug can fluctuate a great deal, meaning they are not always suitable for taking a dip. The hot spring is also on private land, so you’ll want to gain permission from the landowner before enjoying a soak in these gloriously warm waters!
Located less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, Reykjadalur Valley is a unique region. The valley is popular among hikers, with wonderful hiking trails and beautiful surroundings. The trails will lead you through steam creeping up through cracks in the earth, hinting at the hot waters flowing below.
But what’s really special about Reykjadalur is that it’s home to a geothermal river. The hot river, as it’s called, provides various areas where you can relax after your hike and enjoy the steamy waters.