Iceland truly is the Land of Fire and Ice, offering everything from glacier lagoons to fiery volcanoes and geothermal hot springs. In fact, bathing in natural hot springs has long been tied to Icelandic culture, dating all the way back to the 12th century.
Nowadays, there’s several jaw-dropping hot springs spread across the country, some of which are much bougier than the primitive pools of the Middle Ages, while others remain in their wild and natural state. Here’s 10 of the best hot springs in Iceland that should absolutely be on your bucket list when exploring this incredible country.
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Pssst… if you’re headed to Iceland, you may want to check out our other posts all about the land that brought us Björk and Sigur Rós: — What to Pack for Iceland (Including Exactly What to Wear!) — Reykjadalur Hot Springs: Everything You Need to Know About Hiking to This Thermal River in the Icelandic Highlands
So why are there so many hot springs in Iceland?
Geothermal hot springs are small pools, whose waters are naturally heated by subterranean volcanic activity. And Iceland is absolutely filthy with ‘em, thanks to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Range, smackdab between two tectonic plates.
Because the springs are heated due to volcanic activity, they stay warm year round, so you can enjoy them whether you’re sitting under the midnight sun in the middle of summer or chasing the Northern Lights in wintertime.
Another awesome benefit? Sitting in Mother Nature’s hot tubs is actually good for you! Beyond just the relaxation that comes along with sitting in cozy, warm waters, Iceland hot springs are rich in minerals, like silica, which can soften the skin and even help alleviate certain medical conditions, like psoriasis. Amazing!
Best Hot Springs in Iceland
So where are these unmissable natural hot springs in Iceland? Let’s get into it!
1. Sky Lagoon
- Location: Kópavogur (10 minutes south of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: Sky Lagoon offers several packages, ranging from ISK 7,990 ($60), which just includes admission, access to changing rooms, and a towel, to ISK 13,900 ($104), which comes with private changing rooms and a “journey though the Seven-Step Ritual” (including a misting room and body scrub).
You can book your pass (including the schmancy Seven-Step Ritual!) here.
- Where to stay nearby: Exeter Hotel, which offers modern and moody furnishings, friendly staff, and an excellent location in downtown Reykjavik
Sky Lagoon is the newest geothermal spa in Iceland and conveniently located just a short drive from Reykjavik. This man-made spa was inspired by, and incorporates some Icelandic traditions, like the aforementioned Seven-Step Ritual.
While the spa is manmade, it’s been artfully constructed to seamlessly blend in with the Icelandic landscape, from the huge boulders lining the pool, to an Icelandic turf house and, best of all, an infinity pool and sauna with jaw-dropping views of the Kársnes Harbour. In fact, you can even see Bessastaðir, the home of the Icelandic president, as you relax in the infinity pool! Besides the obviously epic (and toasty) infinity pool and sauna, you’ll also get access to a cold pool and steam room.
Sky Lagoon is unique in that it restricts entry to individuals over the age of 12 and requires chaperons for anyone under the age of 15. Unlike some of the more family-friendly Iceland hot springs, it feels a bit more adult (it’s got the prerequisite swim-up bar!) and thus, at times, more quiet and relaxed.
So while this lagoon is awesome for all types of travelers (excluding kiddos), this may be one of the best options if you’re looking for romantic hot springs in Iceland.
Recommended by Mayuri of ToSomePlaceNew
2. Blue Lagoon
- Location: Grindavík (40 minutes southwest of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: Packages start at ISK 8,490 ($63) for entrance to the Blue Lagoon, a silica mask, one beverage of choice and a towel all the way up to ISK 59,000 (an eye-watering $440!) for five hours in a much more exclusive and private hot spring and spa.
- Where to stay nearby: If you’re looking to splurge, the swanky Silica Hotel is literally onsite at the Blue Lagoon, offering its own private bathing pool and rooms with balconies overlooking the dramatic lava fields.
Alternatively, the Northern Light Inn is otherwise the closest you can stay to the Blue Lagoon (you can see the steam from the spring from the rooms!). This impeccably clean hotel is more moderately priced than the Silica Hotel and still provides frequent shuttles to and from the hot spring.
Inarguably its most famous hot spring and reportedly the most popular tourist attraction in all of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is known for its incredible blue, milky waters and rugged volcanic landscape.
While it’s incredibly picturesque, this hot spring is much more commercialized than some of the others in the country, with a steep price tag to match).
But there are definitely some big perks that come with the lagoon’s more established nature. For example, you can indulge in a number of spa treatments here, from a couples massage to float therapy, which is believed to promote relaxation and the release of endorphins. There’s also fun amenities, like a swim-up bar and a “mud bar” where all visitors can slather on a silica mud mask.
While this may be the most well known hot spring here, it’s actually not naturally occurring- the water you’ll be bathing in is runoff from a nearby geothermal power plant. The water is perfectly safe to enjoy and is actually full of minerals, like silica, that are beneficial for your skin.
It’s also conveniently located on the way from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik, so it’s an excellent pitstop on your way to or from the airport, to either shake off some nasty jet lag or have one final adventure before departing Iceland! Alternatively, you can simply book a shuttle to and from Reykjavik, like this one, or book a tour that combines the Blue Lagoon with other popular attractions in the Golden Circle, like this one, this one, or this one.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Blue Lagoon prior to visiting- in fact, my husband, Justin, and I have friends who went and said that it felt overly touristy and expensive.
And you know what? I LOVED it.
Every moment of the experience is well thought, from the second we checked in to when our car rolled out of the parking lot. We just had so much fun- from taking photos in the turquoise waters to drinking ice-cold Icelandic beer to slathering mud all over each other’s faces.
If you have the money and time in your budget, the Blue Lagoon is definitely worth adding to your Iceland bucket list.
3. Reykjadalur Hot Springs
- Location: Reykjadalur (41 minutes southeast of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: Free!
- Where to stay nearby: The Greenhouse Hotel is full of hip touches (like an indoor food truck and rooftop terrace) and offers clean rooms with eco-conscious furnishings.
Reykjadalur Hot Springs are one of the most picturesque places to relax in the country, offering panoramic views of the rolling hills of Iceland from its steamy waters.
To get to this thermal river, you’ll need to hike a moderate 3 km (or 2.5 mile) trail up and through the impossibly green mountains. This is one of those hikes where the journey is almost as good as the destination (but, I mean, we’re hiking to a gorgeous hot spring so.. almost)- you’ll pass jaw dropping waterfalls, shockingly blue hot springs, and even some adorably weathered Icelandic sheep!
You’ll have reached the river when you see a wooden boardwalk along the river’s edge. Here, there are some wooden dividers to provide some modicum of privacy (although I’d recommend wearing your swimsuit under your clothes here if you don’t like strangers seeing your bum) and some stairs leading down to the warm waters.
The farther upstream you go, the warmer the water will get, so wade around and find a spot that’s just right for you. Once you’ve settled into the impossibly cozy waters, sit back, relax, and soak in the incredible views around you!
When Justin and I were enjoying Reykjadalur, we seriously had the most magical experience. As we sat chest-deep in the steamy waters, it started hailing, with tiny bits of ice gently bouncing off our faces and shoulders (I promise it felt refreshing and not, like, scary ice chunks hurtling at us) and making the green mountains surrounding us even more vibrant. It perfectly exemplified why this place is called the Land of Fire and Ice!
4. Laugarvatn Fontana
- Location: Laugarvatn (one hour east of Reykjavik)
- Entrance Fee: 4,500 ISK ($34 USD), which includes your entry and access to changing rooms and lockers. Book your entry here!
- Where to stay nearby: Hótel Laugarvatn, for a warm, cozy hostel with spectacular views of Lake Laugarvatn
Laugarvatn Fontana formally opened in 2011, but the locals have been using the hot springs in that village for over 100 years! And luckily, these springs are super conveniently located, just a short detour from a drive along the popular Golden Circle.
There are three outdoor mineral springs for relaxation, varying in size and temperature. The hottest of these tubs is built higher than the other pools and provides a beautiful panoramic view of the neighboring Lake Laugarvatn and beyond, the soaring mountains.
In addition to these pools, Laugarvatn Fontana also offers steam baths, where steam, from the hot springs, is piped through a vented floor of a cozy cabin you can relax in. Steam baths are extremely popular in Nordic cultures and are believed to improve circulation and cardiovascular health.
Want something even hotter? The facility also offers a much hotter Finnish sauna- and if you want a truly Nordic experience, you can cool off after your sauna session by jumping into the chilly waters of Lake Laugarvatn!
Psssst… while you’re in Laugarvatn, make sure to book a rye bread tour, where you get to see the baking process- and more importantly, taste- geothermally-baked rye bread!
Recommended by Michelle of Moyer Memoirs
5. Secret Lagoon
- Location: Hvammsvegur, Flúðir (one hour and 20 minutes east of Iceland)
- Entrance fee: 3,000 ISK ($22). You can also rent a towel or a swimsuit for 900 ISK each.
- Where to stay nearby: Skyggnir Bed and Breakfast. This cozy bed and breakfast, with spectacular views of the rolling green Icelandic mountains, feels like you’re staying at a family farm- in the best way possible.
The Secret Lagoon is considered by some to be the oldest hot spring in Iceland, dating all the way back in 1891. In fact, it’s believed to have offered some of the very first swim lessons in the entire country (which is a bit wild, given that Iceland is full of fishermen)!
In 1947, though, the man-made spring was relocated to its current location in Flúðir and was largely forgotten for almost half a century. In the last few decades, though, the spring has been renovated and, once again, both locals and visitors alike flock to its warm waters.
Although the Secret Lagoon is no longer too much of a secret, it’s a wonderful alternative to the more popular hot springs near Reykjavik, like the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon, thanks to its lower price point and more natural, local feel.
And extra bonus- given Flúðir’s remote location, it can be an excellent spot to spot the Northern Lights (from the comfort of the spring’s cozy waters), if you happen to be visiting Iceland in winter!
Recommended by Paulina from Ukeveryday
6. Hrunalaug Hot Spring
- Location: Flúðir (one hour and 22 minutes east of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: 1000 ISK ($8), which is paid in cash by the honors system.
- Where to stay nearby: Mosas Cottages. You’ll get your own cottage that overlooks the Icelandic countryside and has awesome perks, like a full kitchen and hot tub.
Hrunalaug is a natural hot spring, run by a local Icelandic farmer. The springs are fairly undeveloped, simply consisting of three small stone-walled pools and a sheep shed that serves as a changing room. This isn’t exactly the most private changing experience, so wear your swimsuit under your clothes here!
What the hot springs lack in facilities, it makes up for in views- the beautiful rolling hills in the background make it a perfect spot for photos.
Due to their small size and the proximity to the Ring Road, the springs can get crowded very quickly (they feel quite packed with just 10 people!), so if you’d like the springs all to yourself, your best bet will be to come early in the morning or late at night.
Recommended by Ruma of The Holiday Story
7. Seljavallalaug Pool
- Location: Vik and Myrdalsjokull (2 hours southeast of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: none (woohoo!)
- Where to stay nearby: Volcano Hotel, a countryside hotel with comfy beds and views of the ocean
Seljavallalaug Pool is located in southern Iceland, just a short drive from the famed Ring Road and just 20 minutes west of Vik and the famous Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.
Beyond its convenient location for visitors, Seljavallalaug is notable for being one of the oldest pools in Iceland- and, if we’re talking about pools that have operated continuously in the same location, beats out the Secret Lagoon for the “oldest pool in Iceland” title!
It was built in 1923 by a local man who wanted to ensure that all Icelanders knew how to swim. Fun fact- now it’s mandatory for every student, from first grade to tenth grade, to take weekly swim lessons!
To reach Seljavallalaug, there are two parking lots available: the Swimming Pool Car Park and Seljavallalaug Bílastæði. Regardless of which lot you park in, you’re in for a bit of a hike- but if you park in Seljavallalaug Bílastæð, you’ll only have about a 20 minute hike along a grassy and rocky path, as opposed to a 35-minute one from the Car Park. Although the trail to Seljavallalaug is not always the most straightforward, simply follow along the river and it’ll be impossible to miss the pool.
Seljavallalaug is absolutely gorgeous, nestled away in a valley of the rolling green mountains of Iceland- but it’s not without its problems. For one thing, the water is more on the warm side than hot (usually ranging from 20° to 30°C or 68 to 86°F). For another, the water usually looks almost green in color- the pool is only cleaned about once a year and thus, usually has some pretty intense algae growing in it. Finally, while there are changing rooms, tourists have unfortunately left tons of trash here and largely have made them unusable (friendly reminder to always follow the Leave No Trace principles!).
Nevertheless, Seljavallalaug is one of the most picturesque pools in Iceland- so if a little bit of algae doesn’t bother you, put on your swimsuit, take a dip, and capture some amazing photographs with the mountains in the background. If you really want to up your photo game, plan on coming in the early morning or the evening, so you’ll have a better chance of getting the spring all to yourself.
Recommended by Alaina of Beyond the Moments
8. Hellulaug Hot Pools
- Location: Flókalundur (4 hours and 10 minutes north of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: Free, although there is a donation can near the parking lot to help upkeep the spring
- Where to stay nearby: Hótel Flókalundur is a cozy, family-run inn with thoughtful extras, like a bathrobe or a separate towel to take to on your trip to Hellulaug!
Hellulaug Hot Pool is a hot spring nestled on a beach in the scenic West Fjords, overlooking the ocean and Vatnsfjörður fjord. Because of its remote location, this naturally formed spring tends to stay quiet year-round, but if you want the best shot of getting the springs to yourself, arrive here early.
Hellulaug is fairly remote and a completely natural hot spring, so there’s no facilities- including a bathroom or changing room here. As such, I’d recommend wearing your swimsuit under your clothes. In a similar vein, many roads in the West Fjords aren’t paved or well-maintained, so it may be challenging to reach in the snowy winter months.
Otherwise, though, Hellulaug is one of the most unique natural hot springs in Iceland and well worth the trek to the West Fjords!
Recommended by Aaren of What Do You Sea
9. Hoffell Hot Tubs
- Location: Höfn (5 and a half hours southeast of Reykjavik)
- Entrance fee: 2000 ISK ($15 USD). Payment is by cash only via an honesty box.
- Where to stay nearby: Hoffell Guesthouse– the hot tubs are free to use for guests!
Hoffell Hot Tubs are located approximately 20 minutes northeast of the small fishing town of Höfn, next to Hoffell Guesthouse, and just a 5 minute detour off the well-trodden Ring Road. Here, you will discover five geothermal tubs sunken into the ground to choose from, all of which remain piping hot year-round.
Despite being such a short detour, though, they are nowhere near as popular as many of the other hot springs in Iceland. Therefore, you can typically expect a far more tranquil experience and it’s not uncommon to be able to have them all to yourself!
Although the tubs themselves are man-made, the tubs are not as commercialized as some other springs, only with a small cabin onsite with a changing room and toilet, and thus, have a more natural vibe.
Plus, they offer absolutely spectacular views over the countryside and distant mountains, making them one of the best places for photographing Iceland.
Recommended of Sophie and Adam of We Dream of Travel
10. Mývatn Nature Baths
- Location: Mývatn (5 hours and 50 minutes northeast of Reykjavik)
- Entrance Fee: Starting at 5,900 ISK ($45) for the entrance fee and a locker, although you can get add-ons to the package (for example, 8,900 ISK ($67 USD) will get you a bathrobe, towel, and drink)
- Where to stay nearby: Arnarnes Paradis, which mixes hippie touches, like yoga classes and free organic breakfast, with a hearty dose of Icelandic folklore (the hotel offers elf tours!). Sign me up!
Mývatn Nature Baths shares several similarities with the Blue Lagoon, including the fact that it’s a manmade geothermal pool (with a swim-up bar!), its incredible milky blue waters, and surrounding lava fields. However, unlike the Blue Lagoon, given its more remote location, Mývatn is smaller and much less crowded, making this an excellent place to unwind in a serene setting.
Because of its quiet nature, Mývatn is a photographer’s dream come true- it’s much easier to get stunning photos in the vibrant waters- without a bunch of other tourists in the background- than the more popular hot springs.
The baths do get a bit busier in the summertime (so I’d recommend making a reservation here ahead of time), but if you’re really looking for tranquility, I’d suggest checking out the springs in the wintertime.
Not only are you most likely to get them largely to yourself (and let’s be real, who doesn’t like relaxing in hot springs in chilly weather?), but Mývatn is actually renowned as the Northern Lights capital of Iceland, given its limited light pollution. What could be dreamier than floating in the baths’ warm turquoise waters while the Aurora borealis light up the sky overhead?
While you’re here, make the short trek to Húsavík, along Iceland’s northern coastline. It’s a charming fishing town and just so happens to be one of the best places to see puffins in Iceland. So consider booking a tour, like this one or this one to see these adorable creatures- and, if you’re lucky, some new whale friends as well!
Tips for Visiting Iceland Hot Springs
- You’ll be asked to shower before getting in the hot spring. Most commercial hot springs will ask that you shower in the provided facilities before entering the pool- and it’s likely expected (if not required) that you shower naked. And many of these showers don’t offer a ton of privacy- there’s often even an attendant in the locker room to remind visitors of the spring’s rules.
Don’t let this skeeve you out, though- nudity is a lot less taboo in most European countries than in more conservative ones (hi, like my home of the United States!) and I promise that everyone is more worried about themselves than you (yes, even the attendant- I promise!)!
- Swimsuits are required. So you know what I said about nudity being not that big of a deal in Europe? The same does not hold true for Iceland hot springs- it is definitely not local custom to bathe in the nude here, so please be sure to include a swimsuit on your Iceland packing list. And don’t be that guy at the hot springs!
- If you have long hair, bring a hair tie and try not to get your hair wet. Some of the springs, like Blue Lagoon, have water rich in silica, which will absolutely DESTROY your hair for a couple days (like, your hair will audibly crunch), especially if you have curly or color-treated hair.
I’d recommend trying to avoid getting your hair wet or even bringing along a super cool swim cap to protect those luscious locks.
- Leave no trace. Iceland, its hot springs, and the rest of its stunning landscape are unfortunately being loved to death. Please be a good steward of this incredibly beautiful place and follow the leave no trace principles, like picking up any waste you create at the hot springs and leaving any cool volcanic rocks that you see where you found it. Let’s keep Iceland wild and beautiful!
With that, I hope you get to explore- and soak in the beauty- of some of the best hot springs in Iceland! Do you have any questions about these spots? Let me know in the comments below!
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