Extensive geothermal activity is one of Iceland‘s most distinctive features, with geothermal areas covering more of this country than any other. In fact, geothermal heat is known to be present at over 700 Icelandic sites. We were choosing 10 of the best pools, from the most accessible ones to the most remote but really worthy to try ones.
Ever since the settlement, Icelanders have used geothermal water for washing and bathing. This is often mentioned in the sagas, with the most famous instance probably being that of Snorri Sturluson at Reykholt, in Borgarfjör›ur, West Iceland. Snorri, who was a productive saga writer, enjoyed relaxing in the hot water and discussing the topics of the day, just as people still do in hot tubs at modern swimming pools all around Iceland.
The island‘s geothermal activity clearly caught the attention of the early settlers, as they referred to geothermal phenomena in their place names. Thus a great number of the original names include terms such as varm (warm), reyk (smoke / steam) or laug (bathing pool). It is estimated that at least 55 place names, or around 2% of all saga place names, are linked to geothermal activity.
At several places in Iceland, it so happens that geothermal water collects naturally at comfortable temperatures for bathing. In other places, people have come to nature’s assistance to obtain the right temperatures and amount of water. Finally, in modern times many special swimming pools, hot tubs, etc. have been constructed. Therefore, it is often difficult to distinguish which pools are natural and which are not. For instance, there was no geothermal activity at the surface when construction started on the Blue Lagoon. Its water is pumped up out of drill holes and the surroundings are entirely designed by people. Those places are categorised as spas.
At Reykir farm, in Varmahlíð, there are two small pools named Grettislaug and Jarlslaug. Grettislaug is named after Grettir the Strong and Jarlslaug after Jon Eiriksson, the ‘Earl of Drangey’.
Click here for further information about Grettislaug.
Hellulaug geothermal pool is located in Vatnsfjörður Fjord, on the the southern shore of the Westfjords.
Click here for further information about Hellulaug.
Hörgshlíðarlaug is a man-made thermal pool ,located in the Westfjords by road no 633, near the sea.
Click here for further information about Hörgshlíðarlaug
Hveravellir geothermal pool is located in the central highlands of Iceland, between Langjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers.
Click here for further information about Hveravellir
Kerlingarfjöll geothermal pool is man made and it appeared as a result of several attempts to drill for hot water in the vicinity of the hotel.
Click here for further information about Kerlingarfjöll
Klambragislaug is mostly known as “The hot river” from Reykjadalur valley. Reykjadalur, The Steam Valley, is located in Hveragerdi, only 45 km away from Reykjavik.
Click here for further information about Klambragilslaug
Kvika is a geothermal footbath, possibly the smallest and cutest hot tub in Iceland.
Click here for further information about Kvika
Pollurinn is a hot pool with a very nice view over the fjord, located very close to Talknafjordur town, in Westfjords.
Click here for further information about Pollurinn
Víti, translates as “Hell”, is an explosion crater and is located in the highlands of Iceland, northern side of Vatnajökull glacier.
Click here for further information about Víti
See also: Swimming Pools & Spas