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There is little argument that The Blue Lagoon is the premier hot spring destination of Iceland. With its blue waters, luxurious facilities, and world class service; it is a hard destination to beat for a day of rest and relaxation. But this wonderful getaway is not alone in “The Land of Fire and Ice.” Iceland’s abundant geothermal activity, combined with the ample supply of glacial ice, combine to make Iceland one of the top hot springs destinations in the world. As you work your way down the list (that has been set in no particular order), you will come across hot springs that are more rustic, remote, and adventurous, than the Blue Lagoon. Please below find the Top 10 Best Hot Springs in Iceland:
The Blue Lagoon, the crown jewel of Iceland’s precious gems, is a short fifteen-minute drive from the airport. It boasts of over 700,000 visitors per year, and is the gold (or should I say blue) standard of comparison for all Icelandic hot springs. A variety of spa packages are available to visitors from the basic (hey, here’s your towel), to the premium (have a drink, a robe, some slippers, and a stay at the hotel). The waters are great for the skin, but hard on the hair. Be prepared to take a shower, and douse your head with lots of conditioner, which you will wisely leave in during your soak/swim. This is a premiere destination that comes complete with a swim up bar, mud masks that leave your skin smooth for days, and the comradery of lots, and lots of other bathers. So hit the shower, condition up your hair, slather on the mud mask, order a drink as you float by the bar, take the obligatory selfie, and have a great time!
Blue Lagoon - Quick Facts
- Location: Located between Keflavik International airport and Reykjavik, just 23 km from the airport.
- Cost: Four separate packages offer varying levels of luxury and access.
- Hours of operation: Hours of operation vary dependent upon the time of year, per the following:
|Hours of operation|
|1st January – 25th May||8:00-22:00|
|26th May – 29th June||7:00-23:00|
|30th June – 20th August||7:00-00:00|
|21st August – 1st October||8:00-22:00|
|2nd October – 31st December||8:00-20:00|
|(Holiday hours will vary)|
|Standard Package||5,400 ISK|
|Comfort Package||7,400 ISK|
|Premium Package||9,500 ISK|
|Luxury Package||53,000 ISK|
Situated on the shores of Laugarvatn lake, this hot-spring and geothermal baths are nothing but luxurious. With expansive views, and soothing waters, this place is a stress-free zone of extraordinary pleasures. Steam baths, saunas, pools, and fresh geothermal baked rye bread combine to make this stop on your journey a cornucopia of pleasant sensations. Some daring patrons even take a dip in the adjoining lake. Feel free to take a dip if you want but be warned - it is really, really, cold!
Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths - Quick Facts
- Location: Hverabraut 1, 840 Laugarvatn.
- Cost: Adult admission is 3,800 ISK, 13-16 year olds are 2,000 ISK. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Family rates are available at 9,500 ISK for a single visit. Visit the geothermal bakery for just 1,500 ISK.
- Hours of operation: Open year round, winter hours are from 11:00-22:00, while from June 9th through August 20th the summer hours are from 10:00-23:00
Less than an hour and a half drive from Reykjavik is the village of Fludir. There, nestled into the idyllic country side, under the rising steam, is the oldest lagoon in Iceland. Made in 1891, The Secret Lagoon, is a beautifully restored alternative to the larger, more renowned (and more expensive) Blue Lagoon. This increasingly popular destination has new, albeit simple, accommodations where visitors can change and shower prior to entering the pool. Food is not served every day, but snacks are available in a small eating area, and an on-site bar provides an assortment of reasonably priced drinks. This may not be the lap of luxury, but once you slip into the steaming pools under the Icelandic sky, you will believe that it is. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak in these wonderful waters while waiting for an eruption from The Little Geyser, just a short distance from the pool which erupts several times an hour, adding to the ambience of this amazing destination. The Secret Lagoon is located conveniently near The Golden Circle, and offers a great finale to finish off a day of hiking and sightseeing.
The Secret Lagoon - Quick Facts:
- Location: Gamla Laugin, Hvammsvegur, Fluoir 845.
- Cost: Just under 7,500 ISK can cover transportation from Reykjavik as well as your admission to the Secret Lagoon. Package prices may vary.
- Hours of operation: Open year round.
Unless you are impervious to the effects of extreme heat, you will not be bathing in these waters, but they are a sight to behold none-the-less. Bathing used to be permitted in this cave-enclosed hot-spring, but late 20th century geothermal activity caused the waters to rise to uncomfortable levels. Though you cannot bathe here anymore, the Grojotagja Hot Spring was made famous by its on-screen appearance in an episode that hit series Game of Thrones, where a couple of the characters did a lot more than soak in these waters! If you are in the region, the cave is well worth the stop, just save your soaking for a trip to the nearby Myvatn Nature Baths, described below, and you will have the best of both worlds.
Grojotagja - Quick Facts
- Location: Road 1, Reykjahlid, Lake Myvatn
- Cost: Free
- Hours of operation: No posted hours
Under the glow of the northern lights the Myvatn Nature Baths are a breathtaking blue pool of warm relaxation. Sometimes referred to as, “The Blue Lagoon of Northern Iceland” it attracts only a seventh of the visitors of the actual Blue Lagoon, and offers a less touristy feel than its world-renowned predecessor. Steam rooms, placed directly over a geothermal area, offer a luxurious form of relaxation that can be followed up with a swim in the lagoon. The Kvika Restaurant offers lunch and dinner options including a generous salad bar, as well as hot drinks and snacks throughout the day; but, if you really want the salad bar, don’t go in the winter, because it is only offered seasonally.
Myvatn Nature Baths - Quick Facts:
- Location: 660 Myvatn.
- Cost: From May 5th to September 9th admission for a single adult is 4300 ISK; the rest of the year admission for one is 3800 ISK.
- Hours of operation: Open year-round. Hours vary depending upon the season, as does the cost of admission, per the following:
Hours of Operation From mid-May to the end of September 9:00 - 24:00 From October to 14th May 12:00 - 22:00
It might seem strange that this tiny little pool in the Westfjords would make this top ten list, for it is as tiny as The Blue Lagoon is large. Hidden away, between a rock and the sea, this tiny natural pool has room for about eight people to comfortably bathe. There is a small parking lot by the road where you can pull off, and as you go around a rocky bluff you will discover this cozy little pool with a beautiful view of the nearby ocean. While this pool, near Flokalundur, is not nearly as majestic as the larger, spa-like resorts, it is representative of the smaller, more intimate hot springs in Iceland, that can be found in abundance throughout the region.
Hellulaug - Quick Facts
- Location: Under a rock, near an abandoned farm called Hella, just off of the road called Barðastrandarvegur near Flokalundur.
- Cost: Free
- Hours of operation: No set hours of operation.
This eccentric spot, situated on private property, with an entrance fee of as little as $4.00 per person appears to be little more than a rock ringed swimming pool, but the near 100 degree Fahrenheit waters are as soothing as can be. What’s more, this is a hot-spring with a story! According to legend, sometime in the first half of the 11th century, and outlaw and anti-hero by the name of Grettir Ásmundarson, swam through the icy ocean waters from the island of Drangy some seven kilometers away, and it was in this very pool that he soaked to recover from his harrowing adventure.
Grettislaug - Quick Facts
- Location: Reykjabraut, Reykholar. It is accessible by car.
- Cost: 100 ISK; just put it in the box beside the spring.
- Hours of operation: No set hours.
A twenty-minute drive, and a forty five minute hike, will take you from Reykjavik, to Reykjadalur; a hot spring in the middle of the picturesque landscape of Southern Iceland. The trail from the road is well marked, and will take you through several steam filled hotspots before you arrive at your destination. The hike isn’t too strenuous except in a couple of places, and the vastness of the scenery, filled with streams, a waterfall, hot pots, and a beautiful landscape under an enormous sky will give you plenty to look at along the way. Once you arrive at your destination, however, you will find the rewards well worth the trek. This is a remote spot, and there are no showers, or changing rooms to speak of, so you may feel like you are roughing it a bit, but don’t worry, civilization isn’t too far away!
Reykjadalur Hot Spring - Quick Facts:
- Location: Near the town of Hverageroi, park at a little restaurant called the Hot River Cave, a great place to stop before or after your visit. You’ll want to park near here as this is where the trail begins. The hike itself is just under 4 km.
- Cost: Free
- Hours of Operation: Summer
Located in the Icelandic Highlands, the Landmannalaugar hot spring is located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. If your heart yearns for adventure, physical challenge, and a beautiful hike, then this is the destination you seek. Surrounded by mountainous and snowy crags, with areas of grass carpeted fields of green, a smattering of Icelandic ponies, and the occasional sheep, the waters of this hot spring flow freely, and offer a warm respite to the weary hiker. The canyon stretches on for close to eight miles, and is best accessible by a four-wheel drive. Hiking, and horseback riding, are two great activities to fill your days in this beautiful place, but be sure to at least dip your feet in the geothermally heated waters, and see if you can resist the allure of a quick dip, or a long soak, in this mountain ringed retreat.
Landmannalaugar Hot Spring - Quick Facts
- Location: Fjallabak Nature Reserve
- Cost: There is no price of admission but getting there requires a 4WD-vehicle, and it is recommended that you go with a group. Transportation by tour bus is approximately 16,400 ISK.
- Hours of Operation: June through September.
This volcanic crater, filled with waters as blue as the sky, offers a well-deserved reward for those who accept the challenge of reaching it. As you cross barren volcanic fields of Eastern Iceland, you may suspect for a moment that you have landed on the surface of some inhospitable planet, but rest assured, your feet are on the terra firma of planet Earth. This is one hot spring in Iceland where a 4x4 and a good pair of hiking boots are going to be more valuable to you than a bath robe and mud mask! Surrounded by black sand dunes, and larger, neighboring craters that you wouldn’t want to swim in, the Viti crater, formed in 1875 by volcanic activity in the region, may not be for the faint hearted, but soaking in its waters under the Icelandic sky will fill your heart with wonder.
- Location: About 176 km from the town of Myvatn. You can get there on your own if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, and are willing to taking winding roads and ford a few streams, but it is recommended that you go as part of a tour group. Once you reach the car park it is about 2.5 km on foot to reach the crater.
- Cost: There is no cost to visit or swim in the hot spring, but getting there can be a little costly. Chartered transportation will vary by package and provider.
- Hours of Operation: July and August only, weather permitting.
Whether your interests lean toward the lap of luxury, or living life on the edge, from a hot springs spa, to a Spartan hiking adventure, Iceland has something for everyone! Choose your own adventure, and start planning to make your dream a reality!