5 Amazing Natural Hot Springs in Iceland

Bathing in a hot spring.

Iceland has many scenic natural hot springs and geothermal hot baths. (Image: Anna Om via Dreamstime)

Hot springs are an amazing natural phenomenon in Iceland. The country has many scenic natural hot springs and geothermal hot baths. Currently, there are about 45 of them across the country. Some are free, others are not, and some are even swimmable.

Why are natural hot springs in Iceland so special?

Iceland is one of the most volcanic countries in the world, which has led to the formation of several natural hot springs across the country. These hot springs are warmed by geothermal energy from the earth’s crust.

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Additionally, the country also has geothermal pools, which are mostly artificial. These pools still use natural geothermal energy to heat the water, but the water is sometimes cooled as well to achieve the ideal bathing temperature (34°-40°C). Examples of geothermal pools include the famous Blue Lagoon and the newly-opened Sky Lagoon.

There are many benefits of soaking in natural hot springs. They include relaxation, improving blood circulation, treating eczema, and relieving musculoskeletal pain. 

So what are the best natural hot springs in Iceland?

Top natural hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland

Reykjadalur hot spring hike

Reykjadalur means the “Valley of Steam,” and you’ll see why once the valley opens up for you. This place offers a natural experience with its mud pools, hot springs, and a naturally geothermal heated river safe for swimming.

The Valley of Steam offers a natural experience with its mud pools, natural hot springs, and a naturally geothermal heated river.
Iceland’s ‘Valley of Steam’ offers a natural experience with its mud pools, hot springs, and a naturally geothermal heated river. (Image: Dalibor Kantor via Dreamstime)

Boiling water from hot springs in Reykjadalur combines with glacier water that cools it, providing an ideal temperature to soak in. Better yet, different parts of the river have different temperatures. So you can move up or down the river to find the perfect temperature for you.

It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Reykjavik to Reykjadalur. And you’ll have to hike for an hour or less from the parking lot. But the hike is worth it.

Landbrotalaug hot spring

Landbrotalaug is a tiny hot spring near Eldborg — an old volcanic crater. This secret lovers’ paradise may not be so easy to get to, but it offers peace and serenity. It is an amazing romantic spot because it can only fit two to three people.

Located off the main route of the Snaefellsnes peninsula, it is about a two-hour drive from Reykjavik. While soaking, you can also take in the surrounding wild trails, mountains, and clear sky.

Since it’s free, it’s recommended that you visit during the low season or in the morning or late evenings when there are fewer people around.

Landmannalaugar hot springs

Located in Iceland’s Southern highlands, Landmannalaugar has fantastic geothermal-warmed hot springs. The name translates to “the people’s pool,” and it has lived up to its reputation for centuries.

Landmannalaugar hot springs with tourists in Iceland.
Landmannalaugar has lived up to its reputation as ‘the people’s pool’ for centuries. (Image: Giovanni Gagliardi via Dreamstime)

For many years, Landmannalaugar has offered a sanctuary for weary travelers and hikers looking for a rejuvenating dip in mineral-rich waters. Here, they would take a relaxing soak before resuming their journey.

The Landmannalaugar hot springs are not easy to access. You have to drive or hike through a terrain full of mountains and lava fields. But the southern highlands of Iceland offer some of the most picturesque views in the world. 

Besides the geothermal hot springs, you can enjoy colorful landscapes, fantastic hiking trails, volcanic rocks, and sand with an unusual blend of red, blue, purple, black, yellow, and green.

Sky Lagoon

Sky Lagoon pairs modern hospitality with ancient Icelandic bathing culture while offering visitors amazing ocean and sky views. This geothermal pool was opened in 2014 and is the country’s newest hot spring attraction. You might also see the dazzling Northern Lights.

Sky Lagoon is located in Kársnes Harbor, just a few minutes from Reykjavik city center. It offers the optimum 37°-40°C temperature all year round. 

Other amenities include a sauna, cold pool, and steam room.

The Secret Lagoon

This is the oldest man-made geothermal pool in Iceland, located at Hverahólmi near Flúðir. It was made in 1891, but it was abandoned for many years until it was reconstructed and reopened for the public in 2014. 

Today, the Secret Lagoon is a popular tourist destination for visitors traveling the Golden Circle route. This geothermal pool offers a rejuvenating temperature of 38°-40°C plus lovely scenery to boot. 

Remember, in the summer months you may have to pre-book your tickets because of the pool’s popularity.

Preserving Iceland’s natural hot springs

Icelanders are pretty serious about their hot springs because they offer serenity, healing, and relaxation. So maintain hot springs etiquette and respect nature, other guests, and natives.

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