It’s bath time around Iceland!
We are two Quebecers, friends and nurses who decided to travel in Iceland for our two weeks vacation. We were looking for adventure and this is why we chose to rent a camper van for our journey around the country, to discover all the beautiful landscapes, glaciers, geothermal sources on our own.
We heard so many stories and myths about Iceland, and the one we were mostly concerned about was being watched while taking our shower naked. In Quebec, people are really prude and in public areas there are usually private showers.
Our journey started from Reykjavik, from where we took the road heading south. After long hours on the road, our favorite moment of the day is to enjoy the swimming pools, especially the hot tubs.
Here, we are mostly talking about public pools that are less touristic and more popular for the Icelandic people and their families. In each public pool, you will find hot tubs, big pool to do laps, saunas and usually a place for kids to play. It’s well organised, so all the family members can appreciated the experience. Every pool we went had free swim-aid for kids, some balls and games for the pool.
In Iceland, before going into the pool, the main rule to follow is to take a shower naked, and properly wash head, armpits, genitals and feet with soap. At the end, you have to dry yourself in the indicated area. This way, the locker room is always dry and clean. So appreciated!
1. Reykjavik – Vesturbærjarlaug
During our first night in Reykjavik, we met a friend from Quebec who now lives in Iceland. She brought us to her favorite swimming spot in the city. Once we arrived there, we felt kind of shy to be naked in front of each other and we were nervously laughing about the situation. Despite this fact, we realized that no one was watching us neither judging us. From this moment, we started to really enjoy our Icelandic bath experience. The place was crowded, everybody was talking to each other. It was really cozy. The pool was really clean compared to the ones we’re used to in Quebec.
2. Grindavík – Blue Lagoon
Of course, we’ve been to this famous pool which is known around the world. We enjoyed the free mud bar, and even did face mask three times during the evening. Despite the fact that it’s a really touristic pool, it was well organized, very clean and the experience was really worth it. During bath time, you can order some drinks to the bar. There is also many fountains with fresh water. Be careful and book your place in advance!
3. Seljavallalaug near Skógar
When we first arrived in Selfoss, pool was closed for the night so we were kind of disappointed, but the day after we discovered nearby Skógar a pool filled with a natural hot spring in a remote mountain. After only a 10 minute walk, we arrived at that beautiful pool. Many people were already there, including Icelanders. Fortunately, we had the chance to see the sunset going down by the mountains. The temperature of water varies according to the geothermal source. Water was not that hot, but still it remained a good and free experience.
We arrived in Vík too late in the evening, so we had to come back in the morning at that small but nice swimming pool. It was quiet with some families. What’s better than a little hot tub to start our journey?
Read more: Travel Apps for Iceland
5. Höfn – Sundlaug Hafnar
After taking a couple of showers naked in front of everyone, we became really used and didn’t mind about seeing each other naked. It was the first and only time that a staff woman was looking around in the showers to make sure that everybody was following the rules, but remained really respectful and non-judgmental towards women. It was a nice place, crowded with both tourists and Icelanders.
6. Egilsstaðir – Sundlaug og íþróttahús
A swimming pool with a sport center, full of kids, which make a really funny atmosphere.
7. Akureyri – Sundlaug Akureyrar
Definitely our favorite swimming pool! Such a good idea to try the toboggans. We had a lot of fun. Also, there was a door that connected the pool from the inside to the outside, so we were not freezing to get out of the pool at the end. The main pool to do laps was way hotter than the other pools that we’ve tried during our journey.
Maybe because it was a Friday night, we enjoyed our time at the pool almost alone! The quiet environment provided us peace after a long day driving through Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Without the winter wind, we would have thought we were in Greece for few seconds. It was really a beautiful place to see the sunset by the ocean in the hot tubs. We also enjoy the little toboggan and hot waterfalls.
For our last night in Iceland, we went back in Reykjavik spending our time at the same pool. During bath time, we were talking about all the road we did in Iceland, felt lucky and grateful! Sadly, it was our last bath in Iceland, going back to our cold and simple Canadian pools.
Things to know before going in a swimming pool in Iceland:
- Bring your moisturizing creme
- Check the opening hours carefully because during weekends, it’s really a shorter period.
- Excluding Blue Lagoon, swimming pools costed us between 400-900 ISK.
- It’s nice to bring a waterproof case for your phone to take pictures. But in public pool, it’s forbidden for the privacy. As you can see it, we used it in the Blue lagoon and Seljavallalaug.
- Have an open state of mind towards culture and habits of Icelanders.
We need to mention that our trip in camper van was exactly what we expected at first sight; easy to travel around Iceland at our pace and the best/cheapest way to discover on our own. We really loved and enjoyed our journey, but at the end of the day, Icelandic bath time is the best time!
Marie & Marie
Read more: Icelandic Magic
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