Iceland is well-known for its dramatic landscapes, lava fields, and popular hot springs. These defining features have inspired generations of folklore, fantasy, and art. It’s a country that offers beautiful experiences to travelers across the world.
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Iceland is famous as a hotbed of geothermal activity. Its unique location between two tectonic plates makes it the perfect place for volcanoes to form. There are 32 volcanic systems in Iceland and 130 volcanoes, 27 of which remain active today.
This geothermal activity is the driving cause for over 45 hot springs dotted around the country. The Iceland hot springs’ healing properties have become a big drawcard for locals and travelers from all around the world.
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What are Natural Hot Springs
A natural hot spring is formed when groundwater that has been heated geothermally breaks through the earth’s crust. If the water has not come into contact with magma, it is cool enough for bathing while still providing a rich source of heat. The high mineral content of heated water is known to have several health benefits.
Since Iceland has such a high number of active volcanic systems in a relatively small land area, the country is considered to be a geothermal hotspot. This is why there are so many hot springs on the island. Most hot springs in Iceland are natural, but not all are suitable for bathing, though, and some can even be dangerous. So if you are going off the beaten path, make sure to only bathe in hot springs noted as safe for bathing.
It’s important to note that not all Iceland hot springs are natural. Take the Blue Lagoon, for example, one of the most famous hot spring in Iceland. Despite being one of the most well know and popular hot springs in Iceland, it is not natural. The blue water that the Blue Lagoon is famous for is actually a byproduct of a geothermal power plant next door. Despite this fact, it is still one of the most popular hot springs in Iceland.
But don’t worry, there are so many gorgeous, natural Iceland hot springs where you can bathe in natural hot waters without the crowds!
Benefits of Soaking in Hot Springs
Soaking in the hot springs is not just fun but also beneficial to your health.
Some of the benefits of soaking in the hot springs include:
- Improving blood circulation
- Reducing stress levels
- Reducing feelings of anxiety
- Improving sleep
- Reducing pain levels
- Relief for arthritis symptoms
- Relaxing muscles and soothing joints
- Aiding in the healing of skin problems
It’s incredible what even ten minutes in hot water can do. It’s easy to see why visiting Iceland hot springs is such a popular activity among the Icelandic people and those who visit the country.
Best Hot Springs in Iceland to Visit
After spending a few weeks soaking in natural hot springs all over Iceland on our recent trip, we’ve simply had to share our findings with others! If you’re looking for the best hot springs in Iceland, our list is a great place to start.
Every set of hot springs in Iceland is slightly different from the rest. And not just in terms of their setting and their locations. The amenities vary, with some locations offering spa treatments and meals using local ingredients while others are in their natural state, with no amenities and free admission.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Location: Just outside of Reykjavik
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal pools
Entrance Fee: ISK 7,990+
Best for: Relaxation, groups
About Sky Lagoon: Found in Kópavogur, Iceland, the Sky Lagoon offers incredible ocean views and is one of the most visually appealing hot springs in Iceland. Guests visiting in the summer are especially impressed, as they are often treated to the unrivalled views of the Icelandic midnight sun from the water.
The hot pools at Sky Lagoon fluctuate between 38°C and 40°C, depending on the weather. You are allowed to soak in the springs for up to two hours so long as you remain hydrated.
Facilities: The hot springs and facilities are fully wheelchair accessible and carry a strong sustainability ethos. In addition to the expansive hot spring, there is also a plunge pool for those participating in The Ritual. Gender-neutral changing rooms are available to ensure all guests feel comfortable. Also, every package comes with a towel for you to use after your soak.
The Lagoon Bar is available all day and guests may take their drinks with them in the water. It’s tucked into a cave near the water’s edge, making it the perfect retreat. The Sky Cafe located inside the main building, has hot coffee, bagel sandwiches, and soup for light bites Alternatively, the Smakk Bar is perfect for a quick bite, offering local cheese boards and traditional Icelandic snacks like gravlax and pickled herring.
Unique Offering: In addition to the general hot spring pools, the Sky Lagoon is famous for its Ritual Circuit. The Ritual Circuit consists of seven steps that reflect Icelandic traditions. At its core, the package is about the ultimate wellness routine. The steps are as follows:
- Relax in the hot springs
- Cool down in the cold tub
- Unwind in the sauna
- Refresh with a cold mist
- Reinvigorate with a sky scrub
- Receive the benefits of the steam room
- Shower in the lagoon
The Ritual is not included in the general price of admission but is included in the Pure Pass and Sky Pass. It’s well worth the extra!
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal sea baths
Entrance Fee: ISK 6.290+
Best for: Relaxation in a natural setting
About Vök Baths: Found in East Iceland, these Iceland hot springs are truly unique, due to their rare location – inside a lake! The geothermal spots in the lake were discovered centuries ago when the locals noticed a number of areas in the lake that did not freeze in the winter. Vök Baths opened in July 2019 offering a collection of serene geothermal floating pools with an amazing view.
No chemicals are used in the water at Vok Baths, which means you can relax and soak for a couple of hours and know that you are receiving all the natural benefits of geothermal pools. There are several packages available, giving everyone a chance to enjoy the experience.
Each pool at Vok Baths offers infinite views of the lake and surrounding scenery. The wooden walking zones are made from local and sustainable wood, and the bathhouse has a strong focus on sustainability and ethical farming to help maintain the natural environment.
Facilities: Five pools or hot tubs are available inside the Vök Baths, each one set at a slightly different temperature. Despite being natural hot springs, none of them are extremely hot. The geothermal pool closest to the bathhouse is set at around 37°C, while the one furthest out reaches temperatures of 41°C.
The pool bar is available all day, and some packages include a free drink. Guests are also welcome to use the steam bath and cold mist tunnel after their soak. Towels and changing rooms are also available for visitors. The bistro and tea bar serve incredible Icelandic cuisine with locally sourced ingredients from neighbouring farms.
Unique Offering: One of the most unique features of Vök Baths is that the water in the hot springs is certified for drinking. All guests at the springs will enjoy a complimentary tea that uses water from the springs.
For your peace of mind, note that the water comes directly from boreholes just a few hundred meters away from the baths. The holes go as deep as 2000m, where the water reaches temperatures around 75C.
Mývatn Nature Baths
Location: Near Lake Mývatn
Type of Hot Spring: Man-made hot pools
Entrance Fee: ISK 5,900+
Best for: Relaxation and skincare
About Mývatn Nature Baths: Opened in June 2004, Myvatn Nature Baths are a hidden gem of North Iceland. The baths offer the same magical “Blue Lagoon” experience thanks to its blue water and high silica content, supplied straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. Much like the Blue Lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths are also man-made but offer plenty of health benefits.
The pool generally maintains a temperature between 36°C and 40°C, containing approximately 3.5 million litres of water. Due to its chemical composition, bacteria and vegetation do not thrive in the lagoon, making it free of chlorine or other disinfectants.
Facilities: Mývatn Baths consist of one large pool with several nooks and crannies for those that want to be completely alone. guests also have the opportunity to visit the steam bath on site. The temperature in the steam bath is around 45°C, and the windows that were recently installed allow you to get a good view of the surrounding area.
The changing rooms can fit up to 400 guests at one time. It is a requirement for visitors to take a thorough shower (without a swimsuit) before entering the springs. Towels are available for guests, but you can also bring your own if you’re more comfortable.
The cafe is perfect if you want a light lunch or dinner after your soak, and it offers incredible views of the hot spring and the surrounding landscape. There is also a lovely selection of refreshments to keep you hydrated.
Unique Offering: Mývatn Nature Baths offer a less touristy alternative to the Blue Lagoon and are located in the heart of Myvatn Geothermal area with many other attractions worth visiting.
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal pool
Entrance Fee: ISK 5.990
Best for: Relaxation, great views
About Geosea: Geosea is not just a geothermal pool, but an experience that taps into the historical roots of a small fishing town in North Iceland. Discovered in the mid-20th century, this area has long been used by Húsavík residents who enjoyed the health benefits of bathing in hot seawater. Today, the water at Geosea hot spring comes from two geothermal holes that were drilled into the ground years ago. The water remains at an optimal temperature, ranging between 38°C and 39°C, depending on the weather.
Overflow from the hot springs drifts into the sea seamlessly, providing a gorgeous view and an eco-friendly way of dealing with excess water. The springs are replenished naturally through drill holes, with the constant stream of water keeping the bathing area clean.
Facilities: There are two pools available, and guests must shower thoroughly without a swimsuit before they can enter. This keeps the water clean and safe, allowing everyone to benefit from the healing warmth of this geothermal pool.
Changing rooms are available on the side and towels are available to rent for an additional fee. There are also storage lockers for any valuables, or you can leave them with reception.
You can purchase alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy while you soak. A modern dining space with snacks and refreshments offers a great place to reenergize after a few hours in the hot springs. The dining room offers an outstanding view of the surrounding area.
Unique Offering: The origins of this hot spring are what makes it so unique. This is one of the newer hot springs in Iceland, but it was actually discovered in the mid-20th century when the people of Húsavík were drilling for hot water. When they found the hot water they were looking for, it turned out to be seawater and was unsuitable for use in the home. However, they didn’t want the natural source of hot water to go to waste and devised a plan. They installed an old cheese barrel so that the locals could bathe in hot water and benefit from it. They found relief from painful skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, and still, today, the old cheese barrel is in place.
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal pools
Entrance Fee: ISK 5.400
Best for: Rejuvenation, modern set up
About Krauma Natural Geothermal Baths: Located just 60 mins outside of Reykjavik, the Krauma Natural Baths are fed by water originating in Europe’s most powerful hot spring Deildartunguhver. The hot springs here are the most powerful in the continent, pumping 180 litres per second with water at 100°C before cooling to between 38°C and 40°C in the springs.
For hundreds of years, the springs were used for healing, bathing, and washing clothes with the hot water providing a rejuvenating experience. It is also the only place in the world where the Tunguskollakambur fern grows – a rare and protected species that is quite beautiful.
Facilities: There are six baths in total at Krauma Baths, five of which are warm and one of which is cold. The Relaxation Room and saunas are perfect spots to unplug and fully relax and maximize your visit.
Changing rooms and showers are available to all visitors, and taking a shower is required, before entering the pools. With the inclusion of towels, additional extras such as bathrobes are available to purchase or rent for an additional fee.
The restaurant serves a selection of traditional Icelandic dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients. Vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes are also available.
Unique Offering: The natural hot springs here are known as the most powerful in Europe, and they have proudly held claim to that title since the facility’s inception. The design of the pools is unique and unlike anything else in Iceland, with a very modern vibe.
The pool enclosures are constructed from volcanic rock, and they have been designed to remain shallow in depth so that visitors can enjoy them safely The plunge pools are deeper, allowing visitors to submerge in the cold water completely.
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal infinity pools
Entrance Fee: ISK 5.990+
Best for: Relaxation, stunning views
About Forest Lagoon: The Forest Lagoon is one of the newest Iceland hot springs in Akureyri, Northern Iceland. The Forest Lagoon is a natural hot spring fed from the Vaðlaheiði mountain. Left untapped for years, the water in Vaðlaheiði mountain was discovered during a tunnel project before being transformed into geothermal pools.
The focus on sustainability is obvious everywhere here, with ‘green’ roofs on all structures and native trees on islands in the pools. Forest Lagoon blends into the environment beautifully.
The hot springs are famous for their therapeutic powers, rejuvenating skin and helping to ease pain in those who visit. The temperature in these natural hot springs can fluctuate depending on the time of year. But, it remains between 37°C and 40°C and provides a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all guests.
Facilities: There are two pools at the Forest Lagoon, a cold pool, and a sauna. It gives visitors everything they need for a fully relaxing experience. The pools can accommodate as many as 200 people at a time, offering a spacious place to soak and rest.
There are changing rooms available for guests but without the inclusion of towels in the admission price. If you have not brought your own, it is possible to rent one from Forest Lagoon for a small fee. There is also a fire inside where guests can warm up on chilly days.
Also, there is a bistro on site serving delightful Icelandic cuisine with locally sourced ingredients. Forest Lagoon also features two swim-up bars, allowing visitors to enjoy a few beverages while they benefit from the warmth of the springs.
Unique Offering: The setting of Forest Lagoon is very unique. The geothermal pools are abundant in surrounding trees that offer a natural escape in the heart of Icelandic nature. The pools overlook the city of Akureyri but make you feel like you are a million miles away.
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal pool
Entrance Fee: ISK 6.900
Best for: Relaxation, ocean swimming
About Hvammsvik: The pools at Hvammsvik are completely natural and built on the foundations of old hot springs that stood on the location for decades. Some traditions were continued with the new construction, like the stone walls surrounding each natural hot spring.
The hot spring facilities are built on an old WWII bunker and the owners are proud to preserve important parts of Icelandic history. The springs can reach temperatures of 42°C. But, these can go lower in the winter months and change with the weather.
Facilities: Visitors to Hvammsvik Hot Springs can enjoy unlimited access to eight natural on-shore hot pools /hot tubs, a steam bath, and outdoor and indoor facilities, and can even jump into the ocean or use paddle boards. Each hot tub can comfortably accommodate 4-6 people. The changing rooms are also located outdoors, providing visitors with an opportunity to shower under the open sky like the locals. With water levels and temperatures of some pools fluctuating with the tides, the facility promises a unique experience every time.
There is a bistro and bar available to visitors, offering a good variety of light snacks and meals. Traditional Icelandic dishes, snacks, and vegetarian options are available, all using ingredients available locally. There are also alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. The food at Hvammsvik is impressive! We can say that you can enjoy some of the best Icelandic food here at the bistro. Well worth adding a lunch here to your visit!
Unique Offering: The fact that these hot springs naturally merge with the ocean makes this a very unique location from other hot springs. Just a friendly tip; bring wading shoes with you (or rent them from reception) as the ocean rocks can be harsh on your feet.
Depending on the weather conditions, you may also be able to rent a free paddleboard and push a little further into the ocean. Note that the seawater can be very cold (as low as 10C), in comparison to the warmth of the hot springs.
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River
Type of Hot Spring: Geothermal river
Entrance Fee: None
Best for: Relaxation, budget, exploration
About Reykjadalur Hot Spring: Reykjadalur is a different kind of natural Iceland hot springs, due to its unique location and setup.
The name “Reykjadalur” translates to “smoky valley,” which is fitting as the area is known for its active geothermal vents, hot springs, and steaming streams. These hot springs are situated in the beautiful valley of Reykjadalur, and the hike to the hot springs offers visitors a chance to experience some of Iceland’s stunning landscapes. The well-marked hike takes 45 mins to an hour to complete and leads to the hot springs.
The hot spring itself is a 100% naturally heated river with temperatures of about 38–40°C (100–104°F). Guests can relax in the warm water while taking in the breathtaking views of the valley below.
Facilities: There are no facilities on site, aside from a small wooden privacy structure for changing. You can find wooden pathways around the most popular bathing spots to make the river more accessible. It also adds an element of safety to the area while protecting the local environment.
Bring your own towel, drinks, snacks and pack good walking shoes for the hike to and from the hot springs. There are no restaurants available close to the hot springs. You can find them in Reykjadalur, which is only a few kilometres away.
Unique Offering: This is the only free hot springs in Southern Iceland – and a cool spot to visit for those traveling to Iceland on a budget.
Visiting hot springs in Iceland is a unique and unforgettable experience. Iceland hot springs are not only a great way to relax but also offer numerous health benefits. Additionally, many of the hot springs in Iceland are in remote areas. This offers you a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. Whether you’re looking for romantic hot springs or an adventurous hike leading to hot springs, Iceland has something for everyone!
Visiting hot springs in Iceland is a great way to experience the natural beauty and unique geothermal features of this incredible country.