When you think of hot springs in Iceland, you think the Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately, so does everybody else. If you want to avoid the huge crowds and hefty price tag, we have a solution – or rather, six of them. Prepare for the most comfortable wild swimming adventures ever…
Reykjadalur hot springs
This hot spring is a short hike away from the town of Hveragerði, a 40-minute drive from Reykjavik. The walk to the spring affords great views back down towards the coastline. You’ll pass bubbling mud holes and steam rising from hidden vents in the ground, eventually reaching the valley where you can bathe in the river. There are partitions to get changed behind and boardwalks that line the river on both sides for access.
Seljavallalaug hot springs
Hidden deep in a valley at the base of the great Eyjafjallajökull volcano is Seljavallalaug, a man-made pool that can only be accessed on foot. Usually missed by people travelling south, this pool is secluded and surrounded by beautiful hills making you truly feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere. To get there, take road 242 from the ring road, and stop at the parking space at the end of the road. From here it’s a 20-minute walk to the pool.
Hellulaug hot springs
Nestled on the coast line in the Vatnsfjörður fjord is this beautiful, naturally formed pool on a rocky beach. Enjoy a water temperature of about 38°C while admiring the view over the ocean. Vatnsfjörður can be found in the Western Fjords, a region of Iceland that is often overlooked as it doesn’t sit on the main ring road. This small pool is located right next to the town of Flókalundur, and has a small car park for access.
Grettislaug hot springs
Seemingly at the end of the world on the north coast of Iceland is Grettislaug. This pool is well known from the Icelandic sagas. Famous Icelandic outlaw Grettir Ásmundason swam 7km to shore from Drangey Island, which sits in the middle of Skagafjörður, and bathed in the 42°C waters of this steamy pool to regain his strength. Grettislaug lies 40 km north of the main ring road. To get there from Varmahlið, take route 75 and then 748.
For the last word in secluded hot spring swims, get yourself over to the eastern Icelandic highlands and the wild landscape of the Askja volcanic caldera. Viti, meaning ‘hell’ in Icelandic, is a volcanic crater that has filled with milky blue water at temperatures fluctuating between 20-60°C. The Askja volcano ravaged and moulded the surrounding landscape when it erupted, making it one of the most dramatic places in Iceland. This geothermal pool is only accessible by four-wheel drive and in the summer because of dangerous weather and road conditions. We recommend you take a guided tour for this one; experienced and knowledgeable guides will get you there safely.
Landmannalaugar hot springs
This geothermal bath is located in the highlands of Iceland and warmed to the perfect temperature of 36-40°C year round. Surrounded by a 500-year-old lava field and mountains that change colour with the movement of the sun, it’s a truly unique spot to enjoy the wilds of Iceland. From this area in the highlands you can access hikes through the dramatic landscape, and there is camping and cabin accommodation on site. The area is only accessible by 4WD, so you’ll need to either take a tour or hire one for yourself.