One of the BIG attractions in Iceland are the many geothermal pools where have here. Quite a few are easily found and has an easy access. Some are well hidden, secret and holds almost an spell like need to find THE pool, the one off the beaten path. In very active geothermal areas, many of the hot pots are just way too hot to handle while others are perfect for bathing, to relax, to enjoy what Iceland is truly about. It’s easy to find any of the many swimming pools we have here but where are all those geothermal springs? Where are all those illusive, almost mythical geothermal pools so many talk so highly about? Here is a list of a few of the most enticing places not requiring a half day hike through rough terrain. Some might be harder to get to during winter:
GPS: 63°49’13.07″N 22°36’30.21″W
This one is located south of Keflavik airport, out on Reykjanes peninsula. It’s a naturally shaped pool and back in the day it was called Oddnýjarlaug due to a troll woman used to use it as her own pool. If you are in Grindavik, take road number 425 going west. It’s about a 9km (5.6 miles) to the pot. The road is unpaved but is usually pretty decent. Unfortunately there is no, up to date, sign showing where to take the left turn to the spring so you need to use the GPS coordinates or keep an eye on the distance you have been driving. If you have rented a GPS for you camper van rental, we suggest you use it!
IMPORTANT UPDATE 25/7, 2017 You may not swim in this hot spring anymore!!!!! It’s too cold and the currents & undertows has proven to be dangerous!
There is no official campsite close to the spring but there is an excellent one in Grindavik!
GPS: 65°52’55.88″N 19°44’11.80″W
This wonderful hot spring is to be found north of the town Sauðárkrókur. It’s very easy to find, a 40 minute drive north off the Ring road. The location is simply gorgeous with a view over the bay, the distant mountains and the big sky. The water temp is usually around 39°C (102F), a perfect temp for long soaks. There is also a campsite so you can relax and spend a night there or two. The area is also excellent for long hikes with tremendous views and you can always stock up with food and what not in Sauðárkrókur, making it an ideal stop while traveling around.
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GPS: 64° 1’21.13″N 21°12’42.86″W
The hot spring or maybe more of a hot stream of Reykjadalur is one of those closest to Reykjavik. Also easy to find. You take the Ring road going south, towards Selfoss and on. When you have passed the mountain pass, you’ll come down to the town of Hveragerði. When you reach the roundabout, take a left into town and drive straight on. You will find signs showing you to the parking lot. From there you need to hike for an hour or so (can be very slippery in the winter and rain). When changing your clothes, you have to do it under your towel for there are no facilities up there. It is more than worth it to hike up there and bathe in the many pools there.
GPS: 64°23’32.21″N 15°20’33.07″W
This is not just one hot pot on the edge of true wilderness but five. From these pots you have an absolutely stunning view of mountains and glaciers and despite its location, it’s easy access and easy to find too. Located by the southeast roots of Vatnajökull, in a valley where a glacier is creeping down makes it a unique experience indeed.
To get there to take road:984 just north of the town Höfn and drive just a few minutes for it’s only 3km (1.2 miles) off the Ring road. It’s not super obvious where to continue after that but aim for the middle road and look for a small, metal gate and a parking place. There are facilities where you can change and you are asked to leave 500ISK in a box there.
GPS: 65°37’31.32″N 16°53’4.28″W
Grjótagjá is probably one of the more famous ones, especially after it appeared in movies like Game of Thrones but the thing is, it’s too warm to swim in. But while driving up north, around Lake Mývatn, you really should check it out for you can visit the spring for it’s truly gorgeous. In the whole area, there are so many exciting places to visit like Krafla, Dimmuborgir, Ásbyrgi, Dettifoss and many more and despite you can’t take a swim in Grjótagjá, it’s definitely worth a visit and there is another one very close by where you can soak, it’s a very secret spring for it’s kind of hard to find but requires no efforts to do so. That spring is called:
GPS: 65°38’18.39″N 16°54’35.45″W
This is such a wonderful place. If you check out the video above (feel free to subscribe to our YouTube channel while you are at it), you can see what a great adventure it is to squeeze yourself between the rocks, climb down the ladder (bring a waterproof flash light if you have one) and then to swim, to float around in crystal clear water with the always perfect tempered water is just divine. There is no booth or anything where you can put on your swimwear but that’s fine for usually, there are not many people there, if any at all.
If you click on the picture to the left, you can see exactly where to park. It’s on the Ring road so you can’t miss it. After you have parked, walk south and look to your right. It’s not a long walk at all so keep your eyes open. Last we heard there is a sign there but we don’t have that confirmed. Don’t forget to bring your towel and swimwear!
GPS: 65°50’22.83″N 22°40’38.74″W
This lovely little hot spring is found in the Westfjords and the history of it goes all the way back to the 12th century when the bishop Guðmundur the good blessed it. It’s a short walk from Hotel Heydalur and you cross the river to get to it. The temperature is usually around 40°C (104F), depending on weather. It lies about 10km (3.9 miles) in the fjord of Mjóifjörður. You take road:633 until you come to a sign pointing to the right, on to the road to Heydalur, road:6336, turn to that road and drive for maybe 2km and you will see the hotel there. Park and ask for directions. There is a small hut there you can use for changing your clothes.
GPS: 65°55’1.78″N 22°20’31.29″W
Another small little spring in the Westfjords. It lies about 3.55km (1.4 miles) on road 635, off from road 61 in the Westfjords, on the eastern most shore of the fjord Ísafjarðardjúp. There is also a shack you may use to change your clothes. This one is a few degrees warmer than Galtahryggjalaug featured above and is not far from it either. There is a church on the left side of the road but you take a small gravel path going to the right, about 300m (984ft) up the path and there you will find the spring.
GPS: 64°39’50.44″N 21°17’28.09″W
Snorralaug was one of the ten first protected heritage sites in Iceland and is one of the 13 known hot springs used in ancient times and one of four still in use. It’s named after Snorri Sturluson, a famous politician and poet. The spring is also mentioned in a few of the Icelandic sagas.
The spring lies in the village of Reykholt and is about an hour and twenty minutes from Reykjavik. You can find exact directions here. In the area you will also find great camping and other beautiful places like Hraunfossar and Barnafossar. A lovely country life experience. Summer weekends can be buzzing with life due to different events and festivals.
GPS: 64° 8’2.64″N 20°15’25.76″W
This hot spring is a classic one and have been around for a long, long time. It lies in the countryside of south Iceland, When driving to Hrunalaug, you aim the camper towards the village Flúðir and it’s very close by.
The spring lies on private property and lately, too many visitors have been treating the place badly. leaving trash behind, vandalism, driving where it’s not allowed etc. so the landowner is considering to close it for the public so please, like any place you visit, treat lightly and leave nothing behind.
The spring itself is lovely with a steady temperature and there is a shed where you can change too.
Whatever hot spring you decide to visit. Please try the water temperature carefully so you won’t burn yourself. Make sure you leave the place as you found it. Better yet, if there where people leaving trash behind, pick it up and make it a better place.
Below is an interactive map with more or less all hot springs in Iceland. We hope you will really enjoy your baths for they do us all so good!
Interactive map with all hot springs in Iceland
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