Iceland is the country that has had a bathing culture for centuries. The geological and volcanic activity just beneath the surface of its breathtaking landscapes means the country is blessed with countless hot springs. In fact, one of the country’s most famous attractions for tourists and locals alike is the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The Myvatn Nature Baths are another popular destination. And what about smaller, more intimate pools like the hidden Landbrotalaug? Or the hot springs that you find scattered throughout Landmannalaugar and its hiking trails? Iceland has something for everyone, so let’s dive in (pun 100% intended) and discover Iceland’s best hot pots and hot springs.
First things first, what is exactly is an Icelandic hot pot? Well, it’s basically a small pool that pipes in geothermally heated water. It’s essentially any structure that holds water and can be used for soaking. They can be made of concrete or even stone and gravel. You’ll find them all over Iceland, and the Outdoor Swimming Society has compiled a pretty comprehensive list. You can view it here.
The Secret Lagoon Near Fluidir
Well, it’s not really that secret! The small pool is Iceland’s oldest geothermal pool and hot spring. Bathers have been coming here since 1891! Looking at the beautiful landscapes surrounding the hot pot, it’s easy to see why. Facilities have been updated to include a bar, showers, and an eating area. There’s a small geyser nearby that erupts every 5 minutes or so. The same geothermal activity is used to heat the pool, which stays at a constant temperature of 100-104 ºF (38-40 ºC). Be sure to pack your swimsuit when traveling the Golden Circle and make this one of your stops.
Landbrotalaug Hidden Geothermal Pool
Yet another “secret” hot pot that’s not so secret. This tiny hot spring is tucked away behind an old, abandoned farm. It’s so small that it can only fit two to three people at a time. While it used to not be very well-known, over the last few years, it has grown in popularity. It even appears on Google Maps. You’ll want to get here either early in the morning or visit during the low season, as you won’t be the only one looking to take a dip. It’s located on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, so if you’re spending time in West Iceland, try your luck in finding it!
Lake Mývatn Nature Baths
While I am a big fan of the Blue Lagoon, I have to be honest about something. With the passage of time, it has slowly morphed from a genuinely cool Icelandic experience to an oversaturated tourist trap. Many people on travel forums rightfully complain the large crowds of people who come here to try to relax for a day. It’s a bit hard when you’re surrounded by the masses of humanity all trying to capture that perfect selfie. While I don’t recommend skipping it all together, I would definitely advise going during off-peak hours. If you come to Iceland during the low season, even better.
That being said, there’s an even better alternative in the northeastern part of the country along the Diamond Circle route. The Lake Mývatn Nature Baths are a smaller, less crowded version of the Blue Lagoon. You’ll have a much better, more relaxing time when you don’t have to struggle against the hordes of tourists, each fighting for their own piece of real estate in the water.
Hofsós Swimming Pool
This beautiful hot pot in North Iceland is out of the way hasn’t yet been discovered by the masses. While immersed in the warming waters, you enjoy a view that looks almost as if you are sitting in an infinity pool. Overlooking a bay and fjords, it’s the perfect relaxing backdrop and will certainly be one of the more memorable highlights of your trip.
Top 4 Hot Pots and Hot Springs in Iceland
I hope these suggestions can give you some ideas for a few off-the-beaten-path hot pots to look for in Iceland. If you’re traveling in the summer, there are also all of the natural hot springs located in the Landmannalaugar hiking area, so give those a try as well. Wherever you go, remember your Iceland bathing etiquette and soak up the good times.