10 Suggestions for Visiting Iceland Sizzling Springs and Thermal Baths

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Iceland is know because the Land of Fireplace and Ice – the ice coming from glaciers, and the hearth from the 130+ volcanoes (a few of them nonetheless lively!) throughout the small nation.

These volcanoes and glaciers have formed Iceland over the millennia into the otherworldly landscapes it is recognized for in the present day. From spiky lava fields to black seashores to waterfalls that trickle down from glaciers to tumble over cliffs, hearth and ice have left their marks on Iceland.

Because of the nation’s abundance of geothermal exercise, one other staple you will run into throughout Iceland are a moderately giant variety of scorching springs, thermal swimming pools, and spa baths. (In reality, you possible will not see advertising materials from Iceland with out seeing photos of somebody soaking within the Blue Lagoon!)

Blue Lagoon at sunrise
The Blue Lagoon is iconic

Going to the native (heated) swimming pool commonly is regular for Icelandic folks, and visiting at the least one thermal bathtub or pure scorching spring is regular for any customer to Iceland.

In the event you’re planning a visit to Iceland however aren’t accustomed to scorching spring tradition, I am right here to assist! I’ve traveled to Iceland 4 separate instances, and have visited portion of the nation’s organized scorching springs (and some un-organized ones, too!).

Listed here are all of the issues you have to learn about Iceland’s scorching springs:

10 issues to know earlier than visiting scorching springs in Iceland

1. There’s not only one sort of scorching spring

Amanda at Hvammsvik
Amanda at Hvammsvik

On the subject of locations the place you may calm down in scorching, geothermally-heated water in Iceland, folks usually simplify it and simply use the time period “scorching springs.” However, in actuality, there are a number of several types of locations you may go to for a pleasant soak.

These embody:

  1. Spa-like thermal baths – These are your Blue Lagoons and Sky Lagoons – scorching springs/thermal baths with a extra spa-like really feel that provide issues like locker rooms and bathe services, steam rooms, swim-up bars, and extra*. These are sometimes man-made, although all of them use naturally heated water, or water from pure scorching springs. Due to the providers and services supplied, these are the most costly sort of scorching springs to go to in Iceland.
  2. Pure scorching springs – These are scorching swimming pools and tubs that you’re going to discover out within the wild. Many are actually naturally-formed, whereas others might have rudimentary pool shapes – however they’re all naturally fed by geothermally heated water. A few of these may have primary services (like perhaps a altering room), however others are simply out in nature. Many of those are free, however you will have to hike to seek out them.
  3. Metropolis swimming swimming pools – Lastly, each main metropolis in Iceland has a public swimming pool. These stem from the times when not each family within the nation had a bath, however in the present day are simply used for recreation. These swimming swimming pools usually have indoor and outside swimming pools (all the time heated, by the best way), together with issues like scorching tubs, saunas, and generally even water slides. Vacationers will pay to go to any swimming pool in Iceland.
Swimming pool in Hofsos, Iceland
The unimaginable swimming pool in Hofsos, Iceland

*My private listing of favourite spa-style scorching springs in Iceland is on the finish of this submit!

2. Watch out and thoughtful at pure springs

Iceland’s pure scorching springs are those you are most certainly to see dreamy images of on Instagram. A few of the hottest pure scorching springs in Iceland embody:

  • Reykjadalur Thermal River (hike required)
  • Hrunalaug (on non-public land)
  • Landmannalaugar scorching spring (requires driving on F-roads)
  • Fosslaug (close to a waterfall)
  • Hellulaug (within the Westfjords)

(There are some others which have extra services constructed up round them, too, like Seljavallalaug, Grettislaug, Gudrunarlaug, and the Hoffell Sizzling Tubs.)

Landmannalaugar hot spring
Landmannalaugar scorching spring

While you’re visiting any of those much less built-up spots, although, know that this additionally means you will be bathing at your personal danger. Getting there might be robust in some circumstances, there is probably not any services, and you may count on pure pool bottoms (i.e. generally mud). The water temperature will not (often) be regulated, both, so you’ll want to examine how scorching the water is earlier than getting in!

And, it in all probability ought to go with out saying however I am going to say it anyway: do not deal with these pure spots as a dumping floor. Sizzling swimming pools will not be bathtubs so that you can bathe or shampoo your hair in, and when you create any trash or waste when you’re visiting, you’ll want to pack it out with you if you go away.

Be thoughtful of others visiting, too. Simply since you “discovered” a pure scorching pool doesn’t suggest you might be entitled to have all of it to your self.

3. Ebook forward at organized scorching springs

Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn Nature Baths – you have to e-book forward right here in the summertime.

If you wish to go to a well-liked spot just like the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon and even Myvatn Nature Baths, plan to e-book your go to forward of time. (In the event you’re touring through the in style summer season months, you will wish to e-book your Blue Lagoon entry weeks prematurely if potential, as time slots do commonly promote out!)

A lot of the spa-style scorching springs and thermal baths round Iceland do timed entries with a purpose to assist management the move of individuals by means of the altering rooms and scorching swimming pools, although outdoors of the principle vacationer facilities you may usually stroll up and buy tickets, too.

(On my current journey to Iceland the place we visited 7 completely different scorching springs, we positively wanted reservations on the Sky Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Baths, however we had been in a position to simply present up early and alter the time we visited at a number of different ones, together with Geosea, Forest Lagoon, and Vok Baths.)

You’ll be able to e-book tickets on-line forward of time for all of the organized scorching springs.

4. Deliver your personal towel

Forest Lagoon in Akureyri
The primary pool on the Forest Lagoon

I extremely, extremely advocate touring with your personal towel to Iceland when you plan to go to a pair scorching springs. (A quick-dry towel like this is a superb possibility!)

You will positively want one at any pure springs you go to, and it could actually additionally prevent cash on the spa-like baths the place renting a towel can value the equal of wherever from $7-$10 on common. These rental charges can add up shortly!

Deliver a towel you may simply acknowledge, as you will be leaving it both in a cubby or hanging subsequent to a bunch of others when you’re within the scorching swimming pools.

(And talking of paying additional for issues at these spas, I usually do not advocate paying additional for issues like robes or non-public altering rooms. Even pre-paying for drinks in all probability will not prevent a lot cash, so I like to recommend simply reserving the doorway time prematurely.)

5. Pack a couple of swimsuit

Forest Lagoon
Myvatn Nature Baths

Clearly a swimsuit is a should in Iceland. Some locations will can help you lease one, however I am certain I am not alone after I say… ew.

In the event you plan to go to a pair completely different scorching springs, I like to recommend bringing a couple of swimsuit.

You will possible bathe after soaking, and whereas a number of spas and swimming swimming pools have little machines you may put your bathing go well with into to spin out extra water, not all of them do. And, because of Iceland’s excessive humidity ranges and lack of scorching climate, you may’t all the time rely on a swimsuit to dry hanging up in a single day! (In my expertise, they often took 2 days!)

I packed 3 swimsuits for a 2-week journey, however in all probability would have been fantastic with simply 2 that I might rotate.

RELATED: What to Pack for a Journey to Iceland (in Summer season or Winter)

6. Find out about locker room etiquette

Sauna at the Sky Lagoon
Sauna on the Sky Lagoon

Each locker room space at each thermal bathtub and public swimming pool in Iceland is comparable. They’re all the time gender-specific, and often begin with an space the place you are anticipated to take off your sneakers (often there can be shoe racks and a bench).

Then there are lockers the place you may retailer your issues. These are often digital and accessed by way of both a bracelet you are given if you examine in, or with a code you will create. A number of are nonetheless old skool with keys, however all of them are free to make use of and efficient for securing your issues.

Subsequent would be the bathe space, which might both be particular person stalls, semi-open stalls, or only a huge open bathe space. Issues like shampoo, conditioner, and physique wash are all the time supplied, and most locations have hair dryers for later, too (within the ladies’s locker room, at the least).

You all the time need to move by means of the bathe space first with a purpose to enter the pool or bathtub space, and there is often someplace right here to go away your towel so you do not have to return to your locker dripping moist.

7. It’s a must to bathe – bare

Amanda at Geosea Baths
There is not any bare bathing at any of the organized scorching springs in Iceland, although. (That is Geosea.)

Talking of showering, you are anticipated to do it – sans swimsuit – earlier than entering into any pool or scorching tub in Iceland. There are indicators throughout each locker room, and generally locker room attendants round to remind you, too.

In some circumstances, there could also be one non-public altering room, or a number of bathe stalls with doorways in every locker room. However usually there’s only one giant open bathe space that everybody is predicted to make use of.

I do know this half is usually stunning and uncomfortable for some American ladies (I get it; bare folks in locker rooms wasn’t regular the place I grew up both), however it’s fairly regular in Europe. It’s totally possible (in truth, I would say it is assured) that there can be ladies strolling round within the locker room bare – and the identical is true within the males’s locker room.

Do not stress about it if there isn’t any non-public space to bathe. Avert your eyes if you need, bathe shortly, put in your swimsuit, after which transfer on.

8. Situation your hair

Blue Lagoon water in Iceland
The white stuff is silica, and it is exhausting on hair!

If you are going to the Blue Lagoon or Myvatn Nature Baths, know that each of those spots have water that has a number of silica in it (it is what makes the swimming pools milky blue).

Silica is nice in your pores and skin, however might be actually exhausting in your hair. IF you propose to get your hair moist at both of those locations, it is beneficial to clean it beforehand and go away some conditioner in it if you go into the swimming pools. In any other case it is going to really feel actually dry and brittle for days.

(It is in fact potential to go to these scorching springs and never get your hair moist in any respect, although, so do not stress about it when you do not plan to totally submerge.)

9. Benefit from the swim-up bars moderately

Swim-up face mask bar at the Blue Lagoon
Swim-up face masks bar on the Blue Lagoon (however it has a drinks bar, too)

Nearly the entire organized thermal baths in Iceland have swim-up bars, or someplace to buy drinks to get pleasure from within the scorching swimming pools. Most of those will supply beer and wine alongside non-alcoholic drinks, and some locations might embody a drink or two together with your entrance payment.

Simply remember that if you’re planning to drive after visiting a scorching spring, you will wish to go simple on the in-pool drinks. Iceland’s drunk driving guidelines are very strict – the authorized restrict is simply 0.02%, and the fantastic for driving over that restrict is a minimal of 100,000 ISK ($700 USD) and will embody jail time.

Soaking in scorching tubs can dehydrate you shortly as it’s, so if you understand you will be driving you need to stick to 1 drink at most and loads of water, or simply order one thing non-alcoholic (I like the native Collab collagen sodas, in addition to the non-alcoholic glowing TÖST drinks that almost all spa bars serve).

Drink at Forest Lagoon
A non-alcoholic TÖST drink at Forest Lagoon
Slushy at Vok Baths
Non-alcoholic slushy at Vok Baths

10. Not all scorching springs are proper for youths

Whereas many scorching springs and thermal baths in Iceland permit youngsters (some even present little ones with flotation gadgets to make use of), they are not all the time essentially the most kid-friendly surroundings. Not solely are some simply not arrange for little ones to be splashing round, however in lots of circumstances they’re nonetheless fairly costly.

(For instance, if an grownup entry to a scorching spring is the equal of $35-$40 USD, a child’s entry payment would possibly nonetheless be round $15-20.)

In the event you’re touring round Iceland with youngsters and wish to get pleasure from heated swimming pools and scorching tubs as a household, this is my finest tip: go to metropolis swimming swimming pools as a substitute! It will likely be rather more inexpensive (assume $7-8 for an grownup, and perhaps $2-3 for youths), AND many have issues like water slides and pool toys and are simply higher arrange for youths to splash round.

Nearly each metropolis in Iceland has at the least one public swimming pool – there are half a dozen within the better Reykjavik space alone! (Simply search for the phrase “Sundlaug” on metropolis indicators.)

One of the best Iceland scorching springs (ranked by me)

And now, listed below are my favourite Iceland scorching springs*, ranked! (I have never visited all of them, however I have been to fairly a number of!)

*Be aware: These are all organized, spa-style thermal baths that you do not have to hike to.

1. Hvammsvik

Mosfellsbær

Hvammsvik hot springs
Hvammsvik scorching springs

It is robust to decide on a favourite scorching spring in Iceland, but when I am pressured to place one on the prime of my listing, I feel it needs to be Hvammsvik, a brand new thermal spa (opened in July 2022) positioned simply 45 minutes north of Reykjavik.

This spot feels essentially the most pure of the bunch, with scorching swimming pools constructed proper right into a pure seashore; a few them really disappear into the ocean totally at excessive tide. The swimming pools listed below are crammed with a mix of pure (scorching) spring water and sea water, and the fjord views are stunning and serene.

There are 8 completely different swimming pools of various temperatures, a steam room, a swim-up bar, and even some paddleboards you may take out into the fjord on calm days. There’s additionally a really good restaurant hooked up, and particular little touches like bespoke bathe merchandise with a novel, ocean-y scent within the altering rooms.

2. Vök Baths

Egilsstaðir

Thermal pools at Vok Baths
Two of the swimming pools at Vok Baths

Maybe tied with Hvammsvik are the Vok Baths in Egilsstaðir. This thermal spa is the biggest one in East Iceland, and is exclusive in that two of its scorching swimming pools are arrange infinity-style inside Lake Urriðavatn. Chilly plunges within the lake are inspired!

This spot has a really relaxed vibe, with an on-site restaurant (the bao buns are scrumptious!), a tisane tea bar, a steam room, and a big locker room/bathe space with all non-public showers. The swimming pools listed below are at various temperatures, with the most popular ones being those within the lake.

I visited this spot within the night, and it was the right place to unwind. My favourite discovery right here? The truth that the swim-up bar affords slushies! (Technically I feel they’re for the youngsters, however nobody says adults cannot get them organized too!)

You’ll be able to pre-book your entry right here.

3. Geosea Geothermal Sea Baths

Húsavík

Geosea baths in Husavik
Geosea baths with a view!

I feel the Geosea baths in Husavik get my vote for “finest view” in terms of Iceland scorching springs. These infinity-style baths sit up on a hill overlooking Skjálfandi Bay and snow-capped mountains; when you’re fortunate, you might technically even spot whales when you soak, as they reside year-round within the bay beneath.

Geosea has three linked mineral-rich saltwater swimming pools of various temperatures. I’ve one buddy who stated not one of the swimming pools right here had been scorching sufficient for her, however I personally thought these had been nice! The most important of the three swimming pools was the right temperature to take a seat in for greater than an hour with out getting overheated.

There’s additionally a swim-up bar right here, together with saunas to get pleasure from.

You’ll be able to pre-book tickets for Geosea, although that is one spot the place you may often simply get walk-up tickets, too (for now, at the least).

4. Blue Lagoon

Grindavík

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon on a sunny day

As touristy as it’s, Iceland’s most well-known scorching spring nonetheless makes it into the highest half of my listing right here. Why? As a result of it is in style for purpose! The Blue Lagoon is exclusive, and fairly darn excellent to go to upon arrival into Iceland after an in a single day flight. I’ve really been to the Blue Lagoon on three separate journeys!

The Blue Lagoon is a sprawling facility with milky-blue pool water that is wealthy in minerals like silica. Whereas the Blue Lagoon is certainly touristy (and tickets do often promote out, generally weeks prematurely), it is giant sufficient to often not really feel over-crowded.

There are ample altering rooms and completely different sections of the big blue pool; even when it is busy, it is potential to seek out a little bit nook for your self. There is a swim-up bar, a mud/silica masks bar, a sauna and steam room, and the choice for issues like in-water massages.

RELATED: Every part You Must Know About Visiting the Blue Lagoon

5. Forest Lagoon

Akureyri

Forest Lagoon
The Forest Lagoon

Skógarböð Geothermal Spa – colloquially generally known as the Forest Lagoon – is a brand new addition in North Iceland, having opened in Akureyri in early 2022. Arrange on a small forested hill, the Forest Lagoon provides off main Scandinavian vibes with its infinity swimming pools surrounded by pine timber.

The Forest Lagoon has two swim-up bars, a sauna with an enormous window, a chilly plunge pool, and an on-site bistro. There are two swimming pools right here to get pleasure from, with loads of in-water seating across the fringe of the pool and even an in-pool water fountain.

The one purpose this spot would not rank increased for me is that timber block what could possibly be an unimaginable view out over a fjord, however do not do something to dam out noise from a the freeway main into Akureyri.

6. Sky Lagoon

Kópavogur

Sky Lagoon at sunset
Sky Lagoon at sundown

I had hassle deciding the place to put the Sky Lagoon on this listing. It might have in all probability landed wherever between 5 and seven, as I feel the expertise there can differ rather a lot.

One of the best half in regards to the Sky Lagoon is that it is positioned in Kópavogur, simply outdoors of downtown Reykjavik. That means it is simple to get to, even when you’re not renting a automobile in Iceland.

The Sky Lagoon is a more recent scorching spring, having opened in 2021. It is constructed to resemble a pure infinity pool overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean. There is a swim-up bar (in fact), a sauna with presumably the biggest single pane window in Iceland, and a novel 7-step ritual that features cold and hot steps and a physique scrub.

I visited the Sky Lagoon later within the night (round sundown time in August), so it was pretty quiet and stress-free. However it’s not an enormous place, so I do really feel prefer it might really feel fairly busy at different instances of the day. (You positively wish to e-book this one forward.)

7. Krauma

Reykholt

Krauma hot pools
Sizzling swimming pools at Krauma

Subsequent up is Krauma, a geothermal spa made up of assorted scorching tubs which might be fed by Deildartunguhver, essentially the most highly effective scorching spring in all of Europe. The 6 swimming pools all differ in temperature, with 5 scorching ones and one chilly plunge pool. There’s additionally a steam room and an infrared sauna, together with a novel rest room that is heated by a woodburner.

Krauma additionally has an on-site restaurant and occasional bar that is superb, serving up Icelandic dishes.

And whereas these baths are family-friendly, this spot had a quiet, relaxed high quality to it once we visited. I nearly felt as if I needs to be whispering after I was there.

Why would not Krauma rank increased for me? Apart from the quiet vibe, it is also sort of out of the best way. Except you had been seeing different issues on this space, I am undecided it is a spot I might purposely detour to.

8. Myvatn Nature Baths

Mývatn

Busy Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn baths on a busy day

The one scorching spring on this listing that I in all probability would not exit of my technique to go to once more are the Myvatn Nature Baths – AKA the Blue Lagoon of the North. These baths are much like the Blue Lagoon in that the swimming pools are crammed with milky blue water. However I didn’t discover the expertise right here to be as pleasurable because the Blue Lagoon.

First, I used to be touring in Iceland through the excessive season after I visited this spot. A number of time slots all through the day had been bought out, and the entire place felt crowded, from the small locker rooms to the swimming pools themselves.

There are two giant swimming pools right here, however one was actually solely lukewarm, which means most individuals had been packed into the warmer pool. There is a swim-up bar, too, however there isn’t any wrist band system (or at the least there wasn’t after I visited), which means that when you did not pre-pay for drinks, you wanted to carry a bank card into the pool with you – and who needs to do this?

I’ve heard different folks say they cherished the Myvatn Baths after they visited in winter, so perhaps the expertise would have been extra pleasurable in one other season. However for me, personally, this was my least favourite thermal spa! (If you wish to test it out for your self, although, you may pre-book tickets right here.)

Different Iceland thermal spas

Whereas 8 scorching springs/spas is rather a lot, there are such a lot of extra throughout Iceland! Another organized thermal baths that I have never but visited embody:

  • Secret Lagoon
  • Laugarvatn Fontana

Plus all of the pure ones that I have never been to! (The one one I have been to is the Landmannalaugar scorching spring within the Highlands.)

Hopefully this may also help you propose your personal scorching spring-centric journey round Iceland although, and to organize you for what to anticipate if you go to any of them!


Have you ever visited any scorching springs in Iceland?

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