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Iceland Mag

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5 great geothermal pools in South Iceland

By Staff

  • The Secret Lagoon The pool’s natural surroundings gives the place a magical feeling. It's located close to the small village of Flúðir. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

South Iceland has many of Iceland’s best swimming pools, some made by man and other by the forces of nature.

Secret Lagoon
Secret Lagoon natural hot springs are located close to the small village of Flúðir. The area has been kept natural and authentic. Built in 1891, this is the oldest swimming pool in the country. The pool’s natural surroundings gives the place a magical feeling that is worth experiencing weaather on a warm summer’s day or during the dark days of winter. Additionally, there is a small geyser close by that erupts every five minutes, providing a fantastic show for anyone who ventures to this amazing area.

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Relaxing The hot streams in the valley are close to Hveragerði village.

The hot streams of Reykjadalur valley
Reykjadalur Valley is one of the most popular and beautiful hiking areas in and around the town of Hveragerði. Hot springs and colourful areas full of geothermal activity help define the beautiful landscape in this part of Iceland. Located only 30 minutes from the capital, the hiking trails starts in a parking lot just above Hveragerði town and continues around the historic Mt. Hengill. Bring your bathing suit for the hot streams of the valley or feel free to let it all hang out and take a dip in the buff.

NOTE: In the spring of 2018 the walking path to Reykjadalur was closed temporarily while the vegetation recovers. As the snow melts and the frost thaws from the ground the earth path leading to the valley becomes extremely muddy. To protect the path and the vegetation along the path the Icelandic Environment Agency closed the path until April 14, at which time the condition of the path will be re-evaluated.

Read more: Reykjadalur geothermal valley closed to hikers to avoid further damage to vegetation

Seljavallalaug is one of Iceland's most spectacular pools. Photo/Lily Stockman

The stunning Seljavallalaug pool
This is one of Iceland’s oldest swimming pools. Built next to a mountain on one side and right next to a glacial river on the other, it is one of the most spectacular bathing places of Iceland. It was opened in 1923, and at 25 meters long and 10 meters wide, it remained the largest pool in Iceland until 1936. The pool was abandoned some decades ago, but as the natural hot water kept flowing into it, people also kept coming. The hike to the pool is around two km (1.25 mi), the old dressing rooms are run down, and there are no showers, but it’s absolutely worth the visit. Admission is free.

NOTE: Seljavallalaug is maintained by local volunteers from the nearby farms. This means you MUST approach the site with respect and care. Unfortunately too many people seem to assume that their mother is following in their footsteps, picking up the trash and garbage they leave behind. Just a friendly reminder: You are a grown up person. You should therefore clean up after yorself, do not leave trash and help maintain this unique site. As always: Be part of the solution, rather than the problem. 

Read more: Travel blogger cleaned up Seljavallalaug pool in South Iceland

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Strútslaug hot spring A great way to unwind after a hike. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Hidden hot spring in the highlands
You will have to work a little bit for this one. Strútslaug is a hot spring that’s been used for bathing for decades, even centuries, in Iceland. It is located north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, in the remote interior where black sands dominate the landscape, with small slivers of lush green valleys and white glacier ice caps fading into the skyline. The hike to the pool starts from a small mountain cabin (Google Strútslaug) and takes about two hours. Please, as always, don’t leave anything behind.  

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Fontana Spa Located by Lake Laugarvatn the steam rooms of the spa are built directly above bubbling hot springs.

Icelandic Fountain of Wellness
Only an hour’s drive from Reykjavík and a short distance from Þingvellir national park, Mother Nature has created the beautiful surroundings of Laugarvatn Fontana Spa. Geothermal heat simmers up from the ground, and the landscape is painted with beautiful mountain ranges. This thermal bath and wellness center is on the shores of lake Laugarvatn, where the hot springs meet the lake’s blue water.

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