While there are more reasons to visit Iceland than you could ever count, the country’s collection of hot springs ranks high on that list. And lucky for travelers, there are plenty to visit across every region of the country. Each one — whether it’s a remote valley of hot springs in the mountains or a small hard-to-find spring alongside a river— has its own stunning vista, so it’s pretty impossible to get tired of hot pot hopping while on your trip.
Each hot spring may be a bit different, but there are a few hot spring etiquette rules that are very important to the local culture. Always bathe before entering the hot spring, don’t bring any glass into the spring (plastic cups only!), and, if you’re visiting a remote hot spring, bring everything out that you brought in.
From the Instagram-famous Seljavallalaug and Blue Lagoon to the lesser-known Landmannalaugar and the geothermal lake Viti, here you’ll find 10 Icelandic hot springs to add to your bucket list and everything you need to know about each one.
01. Gamla Laugin
Known as Gamla Laugin to locals, the Secret Lagoon is one of the oldest in Iceland. Its first function was to hold swimming lessons for the local children — you can even check out the original changing room from afar when you’re in the pool. Located near the town of Fludir, it will cost you around $23 to enter the hot spring and you can also purchase drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks from the cafe. They also rent towels and swimsuits if you find yourself underprepared. Make sure to walk around the perimeter of the hot spring — there’s a boardwalk trail that will lead you past some small geysers and a few adorable elf homes.
02. Myvatn Nature Baths
If you’re looking to spend a day relaxing in the northern city of Myvatn, the local baths are a great option. With a restaurant, steam baths, and an alkaline lagoon, Myvatn Nature Baths plenty to keep you busy all day long. There are on-site changing rooms and showers, as well as lockers for housing your items. The entrance fee will range between $35 and $40, depending on which month you’re visiting.
03. Blue Lagoon
This is the hot spring everyone should visit at least once. (Its blue waters have taken Instagram by storm for good reason.) The Blue Lagoon swimming area is massive, making it easy to find a quiet, secluded spot, despite the massive crowds that visit every day. On that note: visit early in the morning or later at night to avoid most of the crowding.
There’s a changing room, steam rooms, showers, lockers, and a public restaurant on-site. If you’re looking to upgrade your experience, you can book an in-water massage or a stay at one of the new Retreats — a super-luxe hotel where each suite has its own private lagoon. There are different levels when it comes to the entry fee, but the basic package starts at $55.
04. Fontana Geothermal Baths
Located on the edge of Laugarvatn, the baths at Fontana will give you a fantastic lake-view of the area. This hot spring is a one-hour drive from Reykjavik; the perfect day trip if you’re looking to take in some of the countryside. It’s located within the Golden Circle — home to other sites like Silfra Fissure, Gulfoss, and the Geysir, to name a few — meaning you can see some of Iceland’s most popular sights and end your day with a relaxing soak. The best part: If you find yourself at Fontana around 11:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m., you can watch the staff retrieve the bakery’s daily bread. It’s baked underground near the lake using the area’s geothermal energy. Entry to this hot spring will cost around $30. If you just want to experience the bread tour, you can do so for a $12 tour fee.
You’ll find this scenic hot spring nestled in a mountain ridge in southern Iceland near the town of Seljavellir. Built in 1923, this is one of the oldest pools in the country. But don’t let the term “hot spring” fool you — this pool is not nearly as warm as the Blue Lagoon or any other hot spring for that matter. A nearby hot spring does feed warm water into the pool, but it still remains pretty chilly during the winter months.
There’s no lifeguard on-site, so swim at your own risk, but there’s also no entry fee to this historic spring. The pool is cleaned by volunteers once a year, so you may spot algae growth depending on when you visit. Make sure and factor in a quick hike to your itinerary; you can park relatively close, but you will have around a 20-minute hike ahead of you before you spot Seljavallalaug. It’s all worth it: the mountain views are unmatched.
If you’re looking for a good hike with a hot spring at the end, add this to your plans. A 40-minute hike from the parking lot near Hveragerði (approximately a 40-minute drive from Reykjavik) will bring you up a small mountain and into the valley. Along the way, you’ll spot geysers, incredible valley views, and bubbling springs (perfect for filling your water bottle). You won’t see the hot spring river until you’re nearly upon it: The geysers add a layer of steam that gives it all a magical vibe. There’s a boardwalk along the calm river with various dividers that can be used as semi-private changing areas. Keep in mind that the water toward the top of the river is warmer than the first areas you’ll walk by.
During the summer, the Icelandic Highlands are easier to access and with that comes Landmannalaugar, a stunning area with waterfalls, basalt rock formations, and — you guessed it — a hot spring. After hiking around the region, you can take a dip in the popular pool, but do so at your own risk. While most hot springs are alkaline enough to prohibit bacteria growth, this particular pool has been known to give some people Swimmers Itch (similar to an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites that infect various birds) to a number of bathers. That being said, it doesn’t affect everyone and remains a very popular spot to soak. You’ll find the hot springs on the edge of the Laugahraun lava field where a handful of hot water and cold water streams meet in a small warm river.
08. Viti Geothermal Lake
Viti is a geothermal crater lake located in the Askja Caldera in Vatnajökull National Park. It’s surreal blue waters are completely safe to swim in for those adventurous enough to hike down the crater’s walls. The wind can be quite a struggle if you’re planning to walk along the rim and if you visit during on a rainy day, expect to track back a bit of mud. Note that there are really two lakes here and one of them is not warm enough to swim in. You’ll have to hike a bit to find Viti Lake, but you’ll know you’ve found it when you see it’s bright blue water (an indicator of more sulphur, meaning warmer water).
09. Heydalur Geothermal Hot Pot
This region in the Westfjords is full of spots to explore, with small manmade waterfalls and fields to explore. You can stay at the The Heydaliur Hotel and enjoy its manmade geothermal pool, which is located in a barn and surrounded by cherry trees and rose bushes. (There are also a few additional hot pots outside of the barn.) You could also go on the hunt for the more remote hillside hot spring, located on the other side of the river, opposite of the hotel. The small hot spring is surrounded by a small wall of rocks, which is one of the only giveaways. Located in a glacial valley, the pool is surrounded by flowers during the spring.
You’ll find Krauma in Reykholt, a city about an hour-and-a-half east drive from Reykjavik. Open year round, the geothermal water comes from Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. The smallest glacier in Iceland, Ok, cools down the 212-degree-Fahrenheit waters from Deildartunguhver, eventually making the perfect soaking water. Aside from the hot spring, Krauma also has steam baths and a relaxation room onsite. Entry into the hot spring will cost adults $30, and you can also rent towels and purchase refreshments from the cafe.