Did you know that Iceland has somewhere in the vicinity of 45 hot springs and 200 pools for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for heated rooftop pools open all year long, remote springs surrounded by hillsides or luxury bathing, Iceland will have something for you. So before diving into the Blue Lagoon let’s talk about all the options Iceland has! I was first introduced to Iceland’s bathing culture in 2019 when I, along with a group of photographers, decided to make pools and hot springs part of our Icelandic adventure. And while I don’t have any pictures I went to a rooftop swimming pool to soak in a hot tub for a few hours right in Reykjavik. For less than $10 you can swim, soak and enjoy their sauna right in the heart of the city. And many cities in Iceland have public pools and they’re worth enjoying, especially after days of hiking in cold temperatures and if you’re on a budget. Next time you’re in Reykjavik check one out!

Sundholl Pool

Another option are more remote pools and hot springs. These come with a certain amount of adventure and can be a very fun way to take in the beauty of Iceland all around you. The most memorable for me was Seljavallalaug, which you may have seen photos of while perusing Iceland’s most iconic sites. Picture a rustic pool surrounded by mountains and waterfalls with one lone white building at the end. It’s magnificent to look at and claims to be the oldest pool in Iceland. The parking lot is located at the end of a long unmarked gravel road. From there you take an easy 20 minute hike along a stream until you see this 1920’s era pool. It’s free to park and swim and it has ‘changing rooms’ though I caution don’t drop anything on the floors as they’re wet and dirty. It’s definitely rustic and the water isn’t hot, warm enough to keep you warm though. To me, you go here for the experience and yes the pool is natural so there’s algae at the bottom and you can’t see your feet but if you’ve ever swam in a lake it’s really no different except this is heated from a hot spring. I say go for it, laugh the entire time and enjoy your adventure!

Seljavallalaug Pool Map

If you’re looking for more natural hot springs there’s definately plenty of those dotting the scenery, you just need to know where to go. We visited one on private property so for a small fee ($10) you can swim and bask in the peaceful countryside. Hrunalaug Hot Spring consists of 3 small pools and it’s not a place tourist buses stop so there typically are not throngs of people there. This is a family owned private spring with 1 small changing room. I myself did not swim here but as you can see it is truly something to behold!


Before you dive into the most touristy or fancy hot pools you do have an in between option, still outdoors and heated, still with sweeping views but also with food, showers and less rustic than natural springs. Once such option is Laugarvatn Fontana, less than 90 minutes outside Reykjavik on the Golden Circle. As we’re moving into the more upscale options this one will cost you between $35-$40. This oasis is situated on a beautiful lake allowing you to hang out in the pools, steam room or jump in the refreshing lake when you’ve had enough warmth. I did it and immediately sought refuge back in the heated pools! In addition to the soothing waters is a small cafe where you can experience Lava Bread. This geothermally baked rye bread is fascinating and worth a try, I mean how many times can you say you’ve eaten bread cooked under ground?

Laugarvatn Fontana

The Blue Lagoon

I’ve showed you public pools, rustic mountainside baths and geothermal getaways, now I’ll show you the wonder of the Blue Lagoon. When I travel I generally try to steer clear of tourist attractions. They’re more expensive and more crowded but seeing as how this trip was solo I thought I’d indulge and see what the fuss was all about. Prices begin at $65 dollars and include use of the lagoon, a silica mud mask, drink of your choice and a towel. My recommendation is book a time early morning! Some people did it as soon as they landed in Iceland and while it’s a great soothing way to begin your trip I chose to indulge at the end, after I had walked over 40 miles!

Arriving for my 10am appointment I was met with no line at all! You breeze through, grab your wrist band and head for the showers. A word of caution ladies (and gents with longer hair), smother your hair in conditioner, leave it in, wrap it up and don’t get it wet! The silica in the water will turn your hair to hay! As I walked out of the baths and into the chilly morning air I could see that this place was massive with beautiful nooks and crannies all over. It wasn’t overly crowded and you could walk around with your phone enjoying every moment. Along the sides they have lifeguards and greeters. These greeters are there to answer questions, take your pictures and generally lighten the mood for you and they do it well!

As part of my entry fee I was allotted 1 free drink of my choice. I waded my way toward the bar and due to a smaller crowd had a very short wait. I chose a hard cider because it’s 10am afterall so let’s at least have some juice. 😉 They give you a 20oz drink to walk around the lagoon with and to my amazement when you’re through you place it on the side walkways and it’s neatly cleaned up. I spent time drinking my cider and chatting with a couple from North Carolina who were thoroughly enjoying their morning. If you decide you’d like another drink you simply order and they scan your wristband for you to pay later, genius, convenient and no I stuck to my one drink in case you’re wondering.

As you walk through the lagoon you’ll notice a waterfall, mud mask bar, quiet area and wide open spaces. I spent 2 hours relaxing here and easily could have spent the day. They have a cafe, restaurant, lockers, showers, hair dryers, you name it. You can smother yourself in lotions to hydrate your dry skin and pamper yourself with their products for purchase on the way out.

While I love Iceland’s public pools and many outdoor baths the Blue Lagoon was a memorable experience and amazing way to close out my trip. What will you choose when you go?

The Blue Lagoon