Basics,  Travel

Lagoons & Spas

What could be nicer than relaxing in the warm water and letting your soul dangle? An overview of the island’s lagoons and spas.

Blue Lagoon / Bláa Lónið

Location: between Keflavík Airport and Reykjavík

Price: varies depending on the time of day, from 10,990 ISK / approx. 78 $, free for children up to and including 13 years

Good to know: the silica can turn your hair into straw for weeks, so never get your hair wet and rinse it out several times with conditioner, towels are included

The Blue Lagoon is certainly one of the symbols of Iceland. The water is first pumped through the turbines of the Svartsengi power station to generate energy before being fed into the pools. The first bathing facilities were created as early as 1987. The water is particularly rich in salts, minerals and silica, which on the one hand gives it its blue color and on the other hand has been proven to help alleviate psoriasis and other skin diseases.

There is a large pool, bar, sauna and steam room. At least one face mask is also included in the price. This is handed out at a small bar, you rub it on your face and after a few minutes it is simply washed off in the pool water. You don’t really have a view, but the feeling of being in the middle of the lava field in the blue water is certainly extraordinary. The whole complex also offers a large spa with a wide range of massages and treatments, two hotels and three restaurants.

Conclusion: if you want to have the full tourist program, this is the place for you

Location: Kópavogur, 7 km south of Reykjavík

Price: 6,990 ISK / approx. 50 $ (pool only), 9,990 ISK / approx. 71 $ (incl. ritual), 13,900 ISK / approx. 100 $ (private changing room)

Good to know: towels are included, often discounts on first and last entry times

The Sky Lagoon opened in April 2021 and is in direct competition with the Blue Lagoon. The building is elegant and decorated in dark colors, the changing room is very large, the lockers work with a bracelet. In the shower room, the individual showers are separated by half-height walls. The large pool is lined with artificial stones and has a great view of the bay and the city. There is a bar and various alcoves and seating areas and even a waterfall.

The main attraction is the «7-step ritual». After the warm pool, you briefly dive into an ice-cold pool, warm up in the sauna and walk through a cold mist. Then you get a salt peeling, with which you scrub yourself, then you stay in the hot steam room until the peeling has dissolved, a shower completes the ritual. Your skin will feel super smooth for days afterwards. Then you can go back into the large pool and stay as long as you want. A bistro and a shop complete the experience.

Conclusion: Absolutely great, my favorite!

Location: Laugarvatn, in the Golden Circle between Thingvellir and Geysir

Price: 4,500 ISK / approx. 32 $, bakery tour 2,500 ISK / approx. 18 $

Good to know: if you stay at Héraðsskólinn Guesthouse in Laugarvatn, you get 10% off the entrance fee

The hot springs around Lake Laugarvatn have been used by the locals for cooking, bathing and heating for almost 100 years. The spa in its current form exists since 2011. The Fontana Spa consists of several rather shallow pools with different temperatures, a Finnish sauna and three traditional steam saunas where you can hear the bubbling of the natural hot springs below. A jump into the approximately 4 degree cold lake is also possible. What I find a bit unfortunate is that you can hardly see the lake from the beautifully stone-lined pool and you have to look through gratings from the hot tub.

A special extra are the twice-daily tours to the “geothermal bakery”. According to an old recipe, bread is buried and baked in the hot ground for 24 hours. Of course, a tasting of the bread is also included.

Conclusion: relaxing spa with interesting extras

Location: Flúðir, in the Golden Circle between Selfoss town and Gullfoss waterfall

Price: 3,000 ISK / approx. 21 $

Good to know: a tour around the pool to the bubbling springs is possible free of charge

The Secret Lagoon, or “Gamla Laugin”, is Iceland’s oldest swimming pool. As early as 1891, the water from the hot springs was dammed up in a basin for the first time, before which the water ran directly into the cold Litla-Laxá river. The old house to change clothes is still there today and in the lobby area you can see old pictures. The pool still consists of a single pool, and there are pool noodles for fun. A boardwalk runs around the pool through the area. There is steam and bubbles coming from various holes in the ground, there is even a mini geyser that rises about a meter every few minutes.

Conclusion: an ideal place for bathing, no frills but with a lot of historical significance

Location: by Lake Urriðavatn, just a few minutes outside of Egilsstaðir

Price: 5,990 – 9,990 ISK / approx. 42 – 70 $

Good to know: The water used is the only geothermal water in Iceland that is certified as drinking water

The east of Iceland has no hot temperature areas, so the discovery of this small hot spring was all the more astonishing. The baths opened in 2019. There are two approx. 38 degrees hot pools and two “swimming” pools in the lake, approx. 40 degrees hot, it is also possible to jump directly into the cold lake. For further refreshment, you can walk through a “cold rain” tunnel or have a drink at the pool bar. You can warm up in the sauna or with the special herbal tea offered.

Conclusion: As the only larger lagoon in the whole east definitely worth a visit

Location: by Lake Mývatn in the north, around 80 km from Akureyri

Price: 5,900 ISK / approx. 42 $

Good to know: there is a 15% discount with the “Icelandic Coupons” app

The Mývatn Nature Baths are the little sister of the Blue Lagoon. Opened in 2004, the water also comes from a bore hole and is milky blue in color due to the minerals. There is no face mask, but the price is significantly lower and the lagoon is less crowded with tourists. But here too, do not get your hair wet and wash it several times with conditioner. There is a pool with different areas, seating options and a steam sauna. The view of Lake Mývatn is also great. The infrastructure is a bit rustic, the lockers work with a key instead of an electronic bracelet and there is a large shared shower for each gender. A bistro with some hot and cold dishes invites you to strengthen yourself after a swim.

Conclusion: the perfect alternative to the Blue Lagoon

Location: Húsavik, about 1 hour from Akureyri

Price: 5,500 ISK / approx. 39 $

Good to know: There is a 10% discount with the “Icelandic Coupons” app

Geosea in the whale watching capital of Húsavik is a chic little bathing pearl. In the middle of the 20th century, warm, salty seawater was discovered during construction work, which was then used for bathing. The current facility exists since 2018. The changing rooms are modern, the curved border of the three pools blends wonderfully into the landscape. The infinity pool right on the cliff and next to the yellow lighthouse is amazing, if you’re lucky you can even spot whales in the ocean. A small steam sauna and a pool bar complete the experience.

Conclusion: great pool in the far north with a fantastic view over the fjord

Location: just outside of Akureyri

Price: 5,990 ISK / approx. 42 $

Good to know: occasionally there is a bus to the lagoon, the schedule can be found on the website

During construction work on the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel, two water ingresses of cold and hot water occurred. However, the latter was not hot enough to serve as a heat supplier for the city of Akureyri and so the idea of ​​a new geothermal swimming pool was born around 2019. The Forest Lagoon was finally able to open in spring 2022.

The path to the changing rooms leads directly past the rocky mountainside, and the changing rooms are also kept in dark colors. A large and a small, slightly elevated infinity pool invite you to relax, through the trees you have a wonderful view of the city. A cold pool, sauna and two pool bars are also available. A bistro offers Icelandic dishes and there are even occasional concerts.

Conclusion: light elegance, perfect when on a city trip in Akureyri

Location: Reykholt in the west, about 1.5 hours north of Reykjavík

Price: 5,400 ISK / approx. 38 $

Good to know: You get a 15% discount on the admission price with the code in the “Icelandic Coupons” app

With up to 180 liters bubbling out per second, the Deildartunguhver hot spring is the most water-rich spring in Europe. The water is mainly used to heat the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes. A small part also feeds the wonderful Krauma thermal baths, which opened in 2017.

There are five pools with different temperatures, a cold tub, a steam sauna, an infrared sauna and a relaxation room, which I found particularly pleasant. The view is somewhat blocked by the outer walls, but you can still see the bubbling spring directly in front on a small hill. The chic restaurant offers modern Icelandic cuisine with local ingredients.

Conclusion: small and rather inconspicuous, but still a great bathing pleasure; ideal for those who like it a bit more quiet

Location: in Hvalfjördur, just 50 km north of Reykjavík

Price: 6,900 – 7,900 ISK / approx. 49 – 56 $

Good to know: be sure to book in advance, as entry sometimes works via a barrier

The complex around the “Hvammsvík Nature Resort & Hot Springs” was only reopened in summer 2022 and is amazing! The changing rooms are not particularly large, but are adequate and chic, the showers are separated from each other with frosted glass and there are even outdoor showers (sometimes a bit cheaper). A total of eight (!) pools, connected by beautiful wooden walkways, invite you to relax. They have different temperatures and one is situated on the beach in such a way that the sea water floods it at high tide. There is plenty of seating in the pools, drinks (e.g. the cool Yuzulaði) can be bought at the bar at the top pool and paddle boards can also be hired when the weather is good. Of course there is also a sauna.

Occasionally events are also organized, e.g. concerts or accompanied sea swimming. The “Atlas Challenge” is about lifting extremely heavy stones (75-170 kg), with free entry as a reward. A visit after the strenuous hike to the Glymur waterfall a little further back in the fjord is particularly recommended.

Conclusion: beautifully designed and in a great location with a fantastic view, a must!

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