The world-famous Icelandic hot springs
Iceland has become world-famous for its beautiful nature, its geothermal activity, and most of all, the wonderful combination of these two: the natural Icelandic hot springs. Check out 10 Icelandic hot springs that aren’t the Blue Lagoon as an introduction to this article. As Iceland has a seemingly endless amount of them, here are 10 more Icelandic hot springs that aren’t the Blue Lagoon. If you are interested in the Blue Lagoon itself, you can find more on our Blue Lagoon page.
The best way to get to most of these pools is to rent a car and drive yourself, so we’ve included driving instructions. To get to some of them, though, you would need a pretty serious vehicle, so it may be more advisable to arrange a private jeep tour – to do this, just email us. Finally, some pools are available on day tours, so we’ve included that information where appropriate.
Please note that some of these pools are on private land. Be sure to treat these natural wonders with respect; leave them as you found them, don’t leave trash around and be fairly clean when you enter them as the springs are for relaxation, not bathing.
The Newest Icelandic Hot Spring in Holuhraun
Following Iceland’s most recent eruption in the Bárðarbunga Volcano there are now hot streams of water flowing from underneath this brand-new lava field! The streams at Holuhraun aren’t deep but it’s a surreal landscape to sit in while enjoying the water, which is heated by this fresh geothermal heat.
Please note: the effects of the water on the human health have not been assessed, so visitors enter at their own risk. It’s also hard to access, as you need a big 4×4 car, and even then your car rental might not insure you for some of the roads, so all in all you may be better off on a tour.
That said, for those able to get there, it’s quite amazing to enjoy Iceland’s newest hot spring.
When driving north from Egilsstaðir on route 1, turn right on Möðrudalsleið. This part is accessible with any car, but when you get past Möðrudalur to route 905, that’s when things get a bit rougher.
F905 is a right-hand turn when you pass through Möðrudalur. Route 905 is an F road so you need a 4×4 car to drive it. You follow the F905 for while before getting to route F910.
Bonus Pool: When driving the F910 you can also get to Askja, which is a natural pool – but be careful, as it can be too hot to bathe in.
*This place is so new, it’s hard to say exactly how it’s going to develop. This information is accurate at the time of writing, but we recommend checking in with us closer to the date if you’re headed up there, getting in touch with the information office at Snæfell or simply booking a tour, because they will know where to go.
Vígðalaug – the “Blessed Pool”
Vígðalaug, or “Blessed Pool” in English, is a small pool located in Laugarvatn and has historic relevance in Icelandic history.
When Icelanders took up Christianity in the year 1000, the pool was blessed by Norwegian priests and used as a christening pool after that. A short distance from the pool there’s a historic site called Líkasteinar (dead-body-stones), which is said to be the last resting place of bishop Jón Arason and his sons. They were famously beheaded in 1550, when Iceland converted to Protestantism, and their bodies were washed in Vígðalaug before burial.
Laugarvatn is a tiny village located in the south, about one hour from Reykjavík. To drive there from Reykjavík, you take route 1 north, and then you turn right on route 36 towards Þingvellir National Park. Once you’ve passed Þingvellir, road 365 will take you straight to Laugarvatn. GPS: N64°12.938 W20°43.782
Landbrotalaug is a tiny pool in the Snæfellsnes peninsula – it can only fit 2-3 people but it’s deep enough to cover you to your neck. The unofficial rule is if you see a car at the parking lot, assume the pool is taken and wait a bit for your turn to enjoy this relaxing little gem.
From Borgarnes, take road 54 towards Stykkishólmur. After about 40 kilometres, make a turn by the farm Skjálg, and then after about 1 km from the turn, you can park the car. Then it’s only a few minutes walk to the hot spring. GPS: N64°49.933 W22°19.110
Located by the shoreline near Flókalundur, Hellulaug is arguably the most famous hot spring in the West Fjords. The spring is loaded from rocks and concrete so the surroundings are quite different from what you see in other hot springs.
The water temperature is about 38°C and it’s the perfect place to end your day if you plan to do some sightseeing or hiking in the West Fjords.
Take route 1 from Reykjavík for about 4 hours. Then take a left onto route 60. From there it’s just about staying on that road all the way to Flókalundur. It’s a long road but takes you there! You can also go to Stykkishólmur and take the ferry over to Brjánslækur, which is next to Flókalundur. GPS: N65°34.629 W23°29571
The Borehole (Borholan) in Kerlingarfjöll
The Kerlingarfjöll mountains have been a popular destination for those travelling to Iceland, especially for those wanting to go a bit off the beaten track and see the Icelandic wilderness.
The pool was made around a well that was supposed to be used for heating of houses. It’s a rugged place, since there are no changing facilities, but that’s exactly what gives it that natural feel and look that so many of you are looking for!
Kerlingarfjöll, (meaning “the Old-Lady Mountains,” named for the numerous trolls in the area), is a popular destination among hikers, and many choose to put up a tent for a few nights. Great spot to relax after a day of hiking!
In the summertime, there are buses up to this part of the highlands.
If you are coming from south- or west of the island drive route 35 to Gullfoss. When you get there, you continue further on to the highlands via route F35. Please remember that from this point on you need a 4×4 drive car. Then follow F35 until you can make a right turn at road F347 to the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort.
If you are coming from the north of the island, turn off route 1 onto F35, close to Varmahlíð. GPS: N64°40.415 W19°17.605
Hrunalaug – South Iceland
This pool has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, but landowners have also reported that visitation has been so bad that they’ve considered closing the pool and removing it.
So, please be mindful of the fragile nature when visiting this site (and all the others for that matter). That said, it’s a fantastic spot to enjoy Iceland’s relaxing hot water. It can sit a few people and there’s a changing facility located next to it.
Bonus pool: Hrunalaug is located close to the town Flúðir, in the south of Iceland. Flúðir is where you will also find the Secret Lagoon, which you can use with the full permission of the landowners for a very minor fee. You can even see it on this handy day tour.
Heydalur Geothermal Pool – the West Fjords
This is really a three-for-one deal as there is a natural pool located outside, a hot tub, and also a beautiful indoor pool in a greenhouse.
At Hotel Heydalur, there is a absolutely mesmerizing pool and hot tub inside a greenhouse, in which the geothermal energy is also used to grow vegetables and fruits. And lastly, there is a natural hot tub outside the hotel, where hot water is pumped from the ground. All in all, this spot is perfect for bath lovers.
Heydalur is in the West Fjords, between Hólmavík and Ísafjörður. It is at the bottom of the fjord Mjóifjörður, 12 km away from route 61.
To get there from Reykjavík, take route 1 north from Reykjavík for about 4 hours. Take a left onto route 60 towards the West Fjords. After passing the Tröllatunguheiði trail, take a right-hand turn onto route 61. Stay on no. 61 with all its twists and turns until you get to the farm/country hotel at Heydalur.
GPS: N65. 50.626 W022°40.706
Galtahryggjarlaug – the West Fjords
This one is a nice one! It’s also near the hotel at Heydalur, but merits its own entry since it’s a natural pool a short walk from the farm. This pool has been known since the 12th century and is surrounded with captivating scenery for a relaxing bath.
The pool is located in a meadow, with sides that are built up of turf and rocks, but otherwise it’s completely natural. It’s not big or deep but still seats a few people.
Follow the instructions for #7 to get to hotel Heydalur. You should definitely ask permission to use the pool, since it’s on their land, and you have to drive right past the farm to get there.
You go through the farm-area through a gate on the other side, crossing the Heydalsá river. A short distance above the bank of the river you’ll find the pool. It’s above a little shed that’s used as a changing room.
GPS: N65 50.881 W22 39.530
Gvendarlaug near Klúka
Gvendarlaug is, like many other hot pools, located in the West Fjords; in Bjarnarfjörður to be precise.
Bjarnafjörður is in Strandir, which is an important place in Icelandic history, being mentioned in many old Icelandic sagas such as Njála, and it was also one of the main places in Iceland’s witchcraft history.
Gvendarlaug is one of many pools with this same name, which are usually said to be blessed by Guðmundur “the good”, bishop at Hólar. To add to the adventure, travellers can visit the nearby Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft.
From Reykjavík, take route 1 and then turn onto route 60. Follow that road until you can get on road 61. Follow 61 to Skarð and turn to route 643 (Strandvegur). The pool is located close to the road just after you pass the Sorcerer’s Cottage. GPS: N65°46.867 W21°31.148
Map of the Icelandic Hot Springs
So, there you go! A list of 10 more Icelandic hot springs to get you started – hopefully you can find some little secrets ones that even I don’t know about.
And finally my personal tip! When you to bathe in hot springs, go late at night. You can either enjoy the midnight sun, or enjoy the warm water surrounded by snow – and maybe even see the northern lights!