17 Best Hot Springs & Spas in Iceland You Need to Try Now

Picture of Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Svanhildur Sif Halldórsdóttir

Unwinding in warm, geothermal water is just one of the many benefits you get when visiting Iceland. Here, you'll find both natural hot springs and luxurious geothermal spas such as the Blue Lagoon, Landmannalaugar, and Mývatn Nature Baths. Read on to find out which hot springs and spas you should visit on your trip to Iceland.

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Are Hot Springs in Iceland Good For You?

Woman enjoying the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Unwinding at the Blue Lagoon.

Icelanders have used their hot springs for over a thousand years, since the days of the Viking settlers. We know this because the Icelandic Sagas often reference these geothermal pools.

Hot springs are made from geothermally heated groundwater that has emerged onto the surface from the ground. The water is heated when it flows through faults to hot rocks in the Earth’s crust or by proximity to magma.

During the times of the Vikings, bathing in hot springs was not only a means to get clean and relax, but it was considered beneficial to one’s health. The Vikings were definitely on to something because when the groundwater reaches the surface, it contains large amounts of minerals that are good for your skin. In addition, the heat helps to alleviate the sensation of pain.

Benefits of bathing in a hot spring include:

  • Relaxation and rejuvenation
  • Helps circulation
  • Relieve musculoskeletal pain
  • Treating eczema, psoriasis, and other skin conditions
  • Improves sleep

Are Hot Springs in Iceland Safe?

Two blue mud pools on yellow ground at Hverir geothermal area in Iceland, blue sky with clouds above.
At Hverir Geothermal Area.

Hot springs in Iceland are safe if you are careful. Dotted around the country are geothermal areas such as Geysir in Haukadalur Valley, Námaskarð near Lake Mývatn in the North, and Seltún on the Reykjanes Peninsula. All of these areas have hot springs that produce boiling water, which is not safe for bathing.

When visiting a geothermal area, you should stay on the marked paths. Take extra precautions if you are traveling with children. You will find warning signs at these geothermal areas, but if you are still unsure, look for the Icelandic word “hver”, which will indicate a geothermal area.

The geyser Strokkur erupting in Iceland.
The geyser Strokkur erupting. Photo: NordicSoul

But can’t you bathe in a hot spring? Yes, you can. Not all, of course. When geothermally heated water reaches the surface, it is not always boiling hot and thus safe for bathing. It also sometimes mixes with a cold glacial river, which helps create the perfect temperature for bathing.

However, before jumping in a natural hot spring, make sure to test the water temperature first. Nature is unpredictable, and the water can change. Not long ago, North Iceland’s Grjótagjá Hot Spring was ideal for bathing. But after an earthquake, the temperature rose to an uncomfortable degree. Though you can’t bathe there, the place is still worth a visit for its surreal beauty.

Are Hot Springs Free in Iceland?

Woman swimming in a hot spring in Iceland
Geothermal Spas are popular in Iceland.

Visiting some hot springs in Iceland doesn’t cost anything, but others might ask you for a small donation, usually between 500 and 1000 ISK. Though these are natural hot springs, they need to be maintained, which is why there is a price to visit.

Not everybody is respectful and, unfortunately, many tourists leave behind rubbish or damage the property. Your donation helps keep these sites clean and helps build additions to these sites, such as toilets or showers.

Some landowners have turned natural hot springs on their property into spa resorts. Of course, those will cost you a little more. But in return, you usually get more luxury, including private changing rooms, showers, and drinks.

Are Iceland’s Hot Springs Natural?

A woman relaxing in a natural hot spring in Iceland, surrounded by mountains.
Relaxing in naturally heated water.

Most hot springs in Iceland are natural. The water either comes straight from the ground (which is why you should test it before jumping in) or the water is diverted from a nearby geothermal source. In the latter case, the water temperature can be better regulated, providing the perfect bathing conditions.

One notable exception to this is the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon, though impressive, is not a completely natural phenomenon; it is a byproduct of a nearby power plant. The plant extracts a superheated mixture of fresh and seawater 1,981 meters (6,500 feet) below the surface. It uses the water to run turbines that generate electricity for nearby towns before feeding it to the Lagoon.

An aerial photo of Iceland's Blue Lagoon in the winter.
The Blue Lagoon from above.

I admit bathing in runoff water from a power plant does sound strange. However, this process creates extremely clean water. During extraction, the water captures salt, silica, and other minerals that are not only good for your skin but help keep the Lagoon’s water naturally bacteria-free. So natural or not, it is still worth a visit.

Hot Springs & Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights over Seljavallalaug Pool, South Iceland. Snowy mountains in the back.
At Seljavallalaug in South Iceland.

Iceland is known not only for its geothermal activity but also for its Northern Lights. This beautiful natural feature can only be seen in Iceland during the winter months and only when the sky is clear of clouds. 

Hot springs provide heat on cold winter nights for those wanting to see the brilliant Northern Lights. Geothermal Spas are often open late into the night in the winter, providing guests with warmth, luxury, and great sky views. 

Which Hot Springs are the Best?

If you are looking to relax, rejuvenate, and take in Iceland’s spectacular scenery, then a visit to a hot spring will do the trick. Below are some of my favorite hot springs and spas in Iceland for bathing. 

You can pick out the ones you like the most, and we can create a custom itinerary proposal for you free of charge. Click here to find out more.

1. The Blue Lagoon – Iceland’s Most Famous Spa

A woman floating on her back at Iceland's Blue Lagoon.
Relaxing at the Blue Lagoon.

Yes, I’m starting this list off with the Blue Lagoon. Of course, I am; it is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, with over 700,000 visits a year.

Despite this many visitors, it is surprisingly not too crowded. There might be a long queue in the reception area, but once inside, you’ll see that the Lagoon is huge, with plenty of room for everybody.

The spa was named one of the “25 Wonders of the World” by National Geographic, and it is easy to see why. Its geothermal blue waters are not only great for relaxation, but the minerals in them will do wonders for your skin. So much so that the active ingredients in the water are patented and used in a line of skincare products.

two women with silica face masks enjoying a drink at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Enjoying the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon is located midway between Keflavík International Airport and Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík. It is a fantastic place to visit after a flight to get rid of any jet lag or before a flight if you want to arrive at the airport relaxed and refreshed. 

The Blue Lagoon is open year-round, and tickets need to be purchased in advance. 

2. Landmannalaugar – Remote Relaxation in the Highlands

A man having fun in a warm river at Landmannalaugar, Iceland.
Having fun at Landmannalaugar.

Landmannalaugar is a geothermal valley in the remote Icelandic Highlands. It is famous for its colorful mountains, made from rhyolite rock, and its natural hot springs.

The name translates roughly to “People’s Pools” and was given to this area by this country’s Viking settlers. In the past, it provided much-welcome relief for weary travelers, and I guess it still does. However, we have now exchanged horses for 4×4 vehicles.

Colorful volcanic landscape with lava flow in Landmannalaugar, Iceland, Europe
Colorful volcanic landscape at Landmannalaugar.

Visitors can enjoy natural hot springs in a picturesque setting, surrounded by volcanoes, colorful mountains, and lava fields. The water temperature reaches a comfortable 40º C (96º F).

The Icelandic Highlands are only accessible in the summer months by a 4×4 vehicle. However, visiting in the winter is not entirely out of the question; a select few tour providers have permission to visit the Highlands on specialized vehicles. 

3. Secret Lagoon – One of Iceland’s Oldest Pools

A couple in a loving embrace at Iceland's Secret Lagoon Pool.
The Secret Lagoon can be romantic.

Located close to the Golden Circle sightseeing route is the little village of Flúðir. Here, you’ll find a man-made pool fed by a naturally occurring hot spring.

The place is known as the Secret Lagoon, and it is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. Therefore, it is often nicknamed “Gamla Laugin” or “Old Pool.” The area around it, including changing rooms and showers, has been kept natural and simple in line with its historical setting.

Surrounding the pool are smaller hot springs, including a tiny geyser. The temperature is at a constant 38/40 °C (100/104 °F) throughout the year. This means you can lie there on a cold winter night for hours while gazing up at the sky and searching for a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

The Secret Lagoon is a fantastic spot for those who want to unwind after a long day exploring the attractions of the Golden Circle, but it is also great for a day tour from Reykjavík.

4. Hvammsvík Hot Springs – An Ocean Bath (with Seals!)

A pregnant woman at Hvammsvík Hot Springs, West Iceland, mountains in the bakcground and cloudy sky above.
Relaxing at Hvammsvík Hot Springs. Photo: Lorna Twidle

I’m not sure what my absolute favorite bathing spot is, but I’m sure Hvammsvík is somewhere near the top. It’s got great facilities—modern changing rooms, a steam bath, a swim-up bar, and an on-site bistro—but so do many of the entries on this list. So what’s so special about this place? It’s probably how they utilize the ocean in the hot spring experience. 

You can find Hvammsvík in Hvalfjörður Fjord in West Iceland, not far from Reykjavík. Hvalfjörður is often overlooked by visitors, but it is stunning, and the spa’s eight naturally heated pools face its majestic mountains and glistening ocean.

A man looking at a seal in the ocean at Hvammsvík Hot Springs, Iceland.
See the seal in the ocean? Photo: Lorna Twidle

The hot spring pools are located on the oceanfront. So close, in fact, that when the tide comes in, some of the pools are submerged in seawater. This interplay with the ocean is what makes this spa so unique. I’ve been to Hvammsvík twice, and both times, I felt more connected to nature than I did in the other spas on this list. The fact that a curious seal showed up both times definitely helped. 

Aside from relaxing in the geothermal pools, you can join experienced ocean swimmers for a dip in the sea, take part in an introductory session to Wim Hof Method breathwork, or go paddle boarding. All for free!

5. Sky Lagoon – The Infinity Pool in Reykjavík

A woman in sunglasses looking over the edge of an infinity pool, black rocks behind her, at the Sky Lagoon, Iceland.
Chilling at the edge of the infinity pool at the Sky Lagoon. Photo: Sólrún Sandra

You can find the Sky Lagoon in my hometown of Kópavogur, which is just a few minutes’ drive from Reykjavík’s city center. When I first heard about the spa, I was surprised at its location in the town’s industrial district. However, the Lagoon is located on the waterfront and, thankfully, faces out onto the ocean, serving as an oasis within the town.

The Sky Lagoon’s 70-meter (230 ft) infinity-edge blends into the sea and provides you with a fantastic view of the North Atlantic Ocean. When I visited, I could also see the Presidential Residence at Bessastaðir as well as tufts of smoke from the erupting volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

A woman sitting inside the sauna at Iceland's Sky Lagoon, looking at the blue ocean through a window.
Inside the Sky Lagoon’s sauna. Photo: Sólrún Sandra

You can book a ticket that includes the 7-step Ritual, a series of hot and cold treatments based on the traditions of Icelandic bathing culture. It combines saunas and steam rooms with cold mists and reinvigorating scrubs, all designed to leave you refreshed and rejuvenated. After the treatment, you can continue to unwind in the Lagoon, perhaps with a drink from the swim-up bar.

The Sky Lagoon is fast becoming a popular attraction for both summer and winter visitors to Iceland.

6. Reykjadalur Hot River – A Completely Natural Experience

A blonde woman bathing in a hot river on a sunny day at Reykjadalur, Iceland.
Enjoying the warm river at Reykjadalur.

Hveragerði is a small town about a 30-40-minute drive from Reykjavík. When approaching the settlement from the city, you’ll first notice puffs of white smoke coming from the mountains surrounding this tiny settlement. The smoke is actually steam from the geothermal region of Reykjadalur Valley.

The valley’s parking lot is on the outskirts of Hveragerði. There, you’ll find a path that leads you 3.5 km (2.1 mi) uphill to the hot river. En route to the river, you’ll pass steam vents, bubbling springs, and beautiful mountain scenery.

Though the hike isn’t extremely long, you do end up spending quite a long time in the area. I’ve only been there in the summer, so the midnight sun lit up the sky for my return journey. But my friend went there in February, and she recommends going only during daylight hours or bringing a flashlight since there are no streetlights along the path.

Once at the river, there is a small wall behind which you can change, and then there is nothing left but to find a suitable spot in the river. Keep in mind that the higher up the mountain, the warmer the river gets.

Reykjadalur offers the best of both worlds. Here, you’ll find a great natural hot spring without human interference (save for a wooden safety path). But it is close to Hveragerði, which provides amenities such as a supermarket, gas stations, and a food hall with great restaurants.

7. Mývatn Nature Baths – The Healing Waters of North Iceland

Blue pool & one building at Myvatn Nature Baths in Iceland on a bright day.
Mývatn Nature Baths in North Iceland.

Visitors to Lake Mývatn and its surroundings have often described the area as “otherworldly.” You can spend an entire day here exploring labyrinths of lava rocks, steam vents, bubbling mud pools, and pseudocraters. After a day in lunar-like landscapes, what better way is there to unwind than with a dip in geothermal waters?

The Mývatn Nature Baths will provide you with such relief. With fantastic views, warm water, and the option to purchase drinks, the Mývatn Nature Baths are the perfect place to relax and recharge when exploring the Mývatn Region.

A woman in blue water at Mývatn Nature Baths.
Photo: Sólrún Sandra

It is often compared to the Blue Lagoon, and not without reason. It is a luxurious spa with mineral-rich waters that are good for your skin. However, the main difference is that the Mývatn Nature Baths is generally less crowded and thus feels calmer and quieter. It is also not as expensive as the Blue Lagoon.

8. Pollurinn Hot Tub – The Secret Gem of the Westfjords

A woman in a blue bikini sitting on the pool bank at Pollurin Hot Tub in Iceland's Westfjords on a cloudy day.
Pollurinn in the Westfjords. Photo: Lový Lára

There are many amazing natural pools, hot tubs, and geothermal baths in the Westfjords. In fact, I could write a whole new article listing only the best ones in the region. But for this article, I’m only including one—my favorite—Pollurinn.

Hidden away in Tálknafjörður Town lies a gem known as Pollurinn or “The Puddle,” but it’s more than just a puddle. This oasis is the perfect spot to relax and unwind after a day of adventure in the Westfjords. It’s located on the West side of the peninsula, not far from the bird cliffs of Látrabjarg.

Unlike crowded tourist spots, this place is cherished by locals. You’ll find here one large(-ish) hot tub and a cold pool. But what makes The Puddle so special is the amazing view over Táknafjörður Fjord and the surrounding mountains. It is a fantastic spot to lie while sunbathing in the summer or unwinding under the Northern Lights in the winter.

9. Krauma Thermal Baths – Where Fire Meets Ice

Deildartunguhver in West Iceland is Europe’s most powerful hot spring. On a visit, you’ll see a thermal river of bubbling 97°C (206.6°F) water that creates a vast amount of steam that can be seen miles away.

Obviously, Deildartunguhver is far too hot to bathe in. However, on a hill nearby is the luxurious Krauma Spa, which utilizes the water from Deildartunguhver in its hot tubs. To cool down the boiling water and create the perfect bathing temperature, Krauma gets water from a nearby glacier, Okjökull.

At Krauma, you’ll find several hot tubs of varying degrees, as well as a cold tub. There is also a steam room and a relaxation room that is so relaxing that I fell asleep in their comfy chairs the last time I was there.

10. Laugarvatn Fontana – Geothermal Baths & Hot Spring Bread

Laugarvatn Fontana is located between Reykjavík City and Þingvellir National Park, making it an excellent place for a quick city break or to unwind after a tour of the Golden Circle. The gorgeous spa sits on the banks of Lake Laugarvatn, in a town of the same name.

The three outdoor mineral baths all vary in size, depth, and temperature, so each visitor is sure to find a pool suited for them. Here, you’ll also find a Finnish-style sauna and three steam baths that utilize geothermal heat straight from the ground (you can hear it simmer through grids in the cabin floors).

Those looking to cool off can take a dip in the cool lake, either by following a wooden pier or by walking on a black sand beach. Cold baths are believed to have good health benefits for those who brave them, such as improving blood circulation.

Here, you can also partake in a rye bread baking tour where locals show you how they bake bread by burying it in the geothermally heated sand. Yes, you get to taste the bread afterward.

11. Laugarvellir Hot Waterfall – East Iceland Gem

Laugarvellir (also known as Laugavallalaug) is quite a hidden attraction. It is so hidden that you won’t find it in most tour guides. Located in the Eastern Highlands, this natural hot spring not only consists of a warm pool but a hot waterfall as well.

You can find Laugarvellir about 100 km (65 mi) Southwest of Egilsstaðir, the largest settlement in East Iceland. Accessibility depends on what time of year you visit and what kind of vehicle you are driving.

A woman bathing in a hot spring waterfall in East Iceland
Chilling in a hot waterfall. Photo: Nanna Gunnars

If you have a 2WD or are visiting in the winter (when a 4WD is necessary), make your way to Kárahnjúkar dam and walk roughly 10 km to the waterfall. With a 4WD in the summer, you can continue on an F-road to a small parking lot approximately 3 km from the pool.

Though Laugarvellir might be hard to visit, it is well worth it. Its surroundings are bright green in the summer, a stark contrast to the dark lava fields associated with the Highlands. It is a great place if you are looking to immerse yourself in the wild Icelandic nature, far away from any crowds.

12. GeoSea – Geothermal Waters & Whale Watching

People relaxing at the Geosea Spa in Iceland.
Chilling at the SeoSea Baths.

Imagine yourself immersed in warm waters, surrounded by snowy mountains, while looking at whales breaching the blue waves of the North Atlantic Ocean. Sounds good? Then you should check out the GeoSea Spa in the northern town of Húsavík.

Húsavík is known as the Whale Watching Capital of Iceland. This is because it sits by Skjálfandi Bay, home to over 20 species of whales and dolphins. And the sighting rate on whale-watching tours from Húsavík Harbour is around 98% in the summer and 90% in the winter.

The GeoSea Baths have an infinity-edge pool that overlooks Skjálfandi Bay, and it is not uncommon for guests to spot a whale or two while unwinding in the geothermally heated waters.

The tail of a humpback wail breaching the ocean in Iceland, mountains in the background.
A humpback whale.

And speaking of water, unlike the other entries on this list, GeoSea uses naturally heated seawater rather than freshwater. But the waters at GeoSea are still rich in minerals that are great for the skin, especially for people with skin problems such as psoriasis.

If you are on the road, you can store your luggage at GeoSea before entering the baths. Once there, you will find a built-in waterfall, swim-up bar, sauna, and organic, environmentally-friendly skin-care products in the showers. There is also a restaurant on site where you can have a snack after your soak.

13. Vök Baths – Lakeside Relaxation

An aerial footage of Vök bath in East Iceland, including two floating pools in a lake.
Vök Baths from above.

Centuries ago, people living near Lake Urriðavatn in East Iceland noticed that certain spots on the lake would not freeze in the winter. The reason for that is underwater hot springs and not a lake monster… which is what the people initially believed.

The Vök Baths utilize these underwater hot springs and have created a series of floating pools on the lake. Here, you can unwind in the hot spring water surrounded by the cold lake. You even have the option to go into the lake itself via ladders leading down to the water. But be warned, it is very cold!

On the shore are two hot pools and a pool par. There is also a sauna and a cold tunnel with a mist shower. Once you’re out of the water, you can enjoy refreshments at the Vök Bistro or Tea Bar.

Hot springs are pretty rare in East Iceland (which might be the reason why the underwater hot springs in Lake Urriðavatn were mistaken for monsters). This fact makes the Vök Baths a unique experience for anybody traveling to this beautiful region.

14. Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool– Hidden Away in South Iceland

A man standing on the banks of Seljavallalaug pool in Iceland, surrounded by green mountains.
The stunning Seljavallalaug Pool in South Iceland.

Seljavallalaug is one of the most Instagrammable spots in the country. However, though you might have seen countless photos of this public pool, it is still quite secluded as mighty mountains hide it. And people often miss it when they rush between South Iceland’s attractions, such as the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.

Fed by naturally hot water, Seljavallalaug was built in 1923, making it the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. Not much has changed since the 1920s, so visiting this remote pool is like stepping back in time. On-site are changing facilities but not much else.

Entry is free! But that also means that the facilities are quite basic. There are no showers nor a bathroom. Volunteers clean the pool, but unfortunately, that means it is not always in tip-top condition. And bad tourists often leave behind rubbish in the changing rooms. The pool also isn’t very hot, with temperatures around 20° to 30°C (68 to 86°F).

So why is it on this list? Because of the setting. The mountains and waterfalls around this pool are breathtaking, and the 20-minute, easy hike from the parking lot to the pool is fantastic. Any photo you take here is sure to get a lot of attention on social media. 

14. Húsafell Canyon Baths – A Picturesque Oasis

The Húsafell Canyon Baths are two hot spring-fed pools nestled in a canyon in the Icelandic Highlands. This secluded spot is so off the beaten road that we can safely call it a hidden gem.

To get to the Baths, you need to make your way to the tiny settlement of Húsafell in West Iceland. There, you need to find a guide to drive you to the Highlands and lead you to these private baths. If you book your tickets in advance, your guide will be waiting for you, ready to take you on this fantastic adventure.

The route to the baths is stunning. Along the way, you’ll pass a two-tiered waterfall, canyons, and the glacier Okjökull. The hot tubs are modeled after a historic pool mentioned in the Sagas and blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment.

Tours to the Húsafell Canyon Baths are available year-round. The thermal baths are of varying temperatures between 30-41°C (86-105°F), and for the adventurous, there is a cold-water spring nearby at 10°C (50°F).

16. Forest Lagoon – An Intimate Spa Amongst Trees

My curiosity was immediately peaked when I first heard the name of this lagoon. The Forest Lagoon? In Iceland, a country known for its lack of trees? This must be something special. And it was! 

Though there aren’t many trees in Iceland, we do have a few forests, and Kjarnarskógur is one of those. It is a lovely little wooded area just outside of Akureyri, the largest settlement in North Iceland. Here, amongst the birch and pine trees, you’ll find the Forest Lagoon.

Before my visit, I was sure I wouldn’t feel like I was in Iceland. After all, a forest isn’t exactly quintessential Icelandic nature. But the trees in Kjarnarskógur are quite young and, therefore, not very tall. And the geothermal pools look over Eyjafjörður, a beautiful mountainous fjord that’s very Icelandic-looking.

Here, you’ll find two outdoor pools, one with an indoor entry, a Finnish dry sauna, a cold pool, two swim-up bars, and a bistro that serves amazing pancakes. The Forest Lagoon also offers a free shuttle service from downtown Akureyri, so you don’t have to worry about parking. 

17. Beer Spa – Combining My Two Favorite Things

A tub filled with beer and a faucet next to it at Iceland's Beer Spa.
A tub of beer!

Okay, this technically isn’t a hot spring, but it is a spa, a Beer Spa! And it is a fantastic place for adventurous people looking for a fun and quirky experience. At the Beer Spa in North Iceland, you’ll unwind in a tub filled with beer, allowing yeast, hops, water, beer oil, and beer salt to caress your skin. To make this experience even more pleasurable, you can enjoy it with a cool beer in your hand (if you are of legal age, that is).

The beer in the spa is at the early stages of fermentation and has a low pH value. That means it can tighten and soften your hair follicles, leaving your hair silky smooth. In addition, the yeast during this stage is an excellent source of Vitamin B, which has a revitalizing effect on hair and skin. It is also a great source of protein, potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

The hops are rich in antioxidants and alpha acids and can soothe and relax your muscles. On top of that, the oils and minerals in the beer water are considered to have anti-inflammatory effects. Who knew beer could be this good for you?

Aside from the inside beer tubs, you can find a sauna, an on-site restaurant, and a big outside area with two hot tubs containing regular water.

Map of Hot Springs & Spas in Iceland

Below is a map of the hot spring mentioned above, as well as a few others that didn’t quite make the list but are still worth a visit.

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