5 Best Hot Springs in South Iceland

5 Best Hot Springs in South Iceland

Leah BIlquist Leah BIlquist
6. Dec 2022 (Updated: 9. Dec 2022) ∼ 11 min. read


South Iceland is known for its famous black sand beaches and volcanic rock formations. This is in addition to the area’s famous waterfalls and vast landscapes. But did you also know there are hidden hot springs in South Iceland for you to explore too? We are going to go over the best hot springs in south Iceland, how to get to them and what makes them so unique. 


  1. Landmannalaugar Hot Springs 

First up is the “Pool of the People”, one of South Iceland’s lesser-known natural hot springs.

Landmannalaugar Hot Spring

How To Get Here

These hot springs are located in the remote Highlands area in Southern Iceland. Which is roughly a 3.5-hour drive from Reykjavík.

The road to get here can be pretty rough once you turn off Ring Road. From there you will make your way down an F-Road, which is a gravel road with potholes and sometimes river crossings. 4X4 vehicles are the only ones allowed to drive on F-Roads.

The Pool of the People

The Landmannalaugar Hot Springs is also known as the “Pool of the People ''. It can fit over 40 individuals, due to the pool being so large. So you don’t have to worry about your space being too crowded. You will see a lot of hikers here soaking their bodies after completing one of the breathtaking hikes in the Nature Reserve Fjallabak.

The geothermal water is filled with healing minerals that your body will love. The temperature is very relaxing at 104°F or 40°C. If you want the water to be even hotter, then sit near black lava rocks. This is where the water temperature rises, so be careful when exploring the border of the pool.

The views make this hot spring even more special. You will be surrounded by lava fields and colorful mountains, including vibrant green moss around you. Marvel at the Brennisteinsalda volcano, also known as the Sulfur Wave, thanks to its red hue.

You can visit the hot springs year-round as they do not close at all. Visiting in winter can be impossible though due to the Highlands getting heavy snow. The best time to go is from June to September. 

The Landmannalaugar Hot Springs are free! The only added cost is the use of the changing rooms and showers which is only 500 ISK or about $3 for five minutes of use. 

  1. Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River

Are you ready to bathe in a hot spring river in Southern Iceland? If yes, get ready to explore Reykjadalur Valley!  

Rykjaladur hot river bath in Iceland

How To Get Here

The valley is located near the town of  Hveragerð, which is only a 54-minute drive south of Reykjavik. The river is not in the heart of South Iceland but it is definitely on the outskirts, which is perfect for those looking for a relaxing day trip, or overnight adventure away from the city. 

The Reykjadalur valley is part of the Hengill area. Which features Mt. Hengill, an active volcano that last erupted thousands of years ago. Thanks to the Volcanos, Reykjadalur means Steam Valley, which means hot springs are in the vicinity. 

You will be able to reach the hot springs by taking on the 3.6-mile easy roundtrip hike. The hike will start with you leaving the parking lot and heading up the gravel trail to the Rjúpnabrekkur Ptarmigan Slopes. You will pass different hot springs along your route and the Drottningarhola also known as the Queen's borehole. You will also pass the cascading Djúpagilsfoss waterfall. 

Once you enter the gorgeous vibrant green Reykjadalur Valley, which is filled with soda springs and small pools, your jaw will drop. You will see the small wooden boardwalk which will take you to the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River.

The Hidden Hot Spring River

The river is relatively small but it can still fit a decent amount of people. Be prepared for it to be crowded in the summer months, even though it has a remote location.

You will find more locals here than tourists at times because it is one of their favorite locations. The water is anywhere from 36°C or 96°F to 40°C or 104°F. If you want the water to be a bit cooler then walk further down the river. 

The hike itself is gorgeous and its scenery will blow you away. This is why we recommend planning some time to stop for photographs. With stops, the hike should take around one hour each way. 

  1. Hrunalaug Hot Spring

Located an hour and a half from Reykjavik in Southern Iceland is the intimate Hrunalaug Hot Spring. A smaller hot spring, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Small hot spring in Hrunalaug, winter Iceland.

How To Get Here

You will find this popular spot by taking road number 344 until you see a sign for Hruni. Continue on the road for two miles and then turn on road 345, continuing towards Hruni.

Then you will see a road sign for Sólheimar. Once you do turn toward the sign. Then it is just a short 0.2 miles until you reach the parking lot for Hrunalaug hot spring. 

There is no sign since it is a secret. However, you can look for the “No Camping” sign in the parking lot. That is how you know you are in the right place. From there it is a quick two-minute walk to the isolated hot spring.

A Small Hot Spring With Stone Walls

This is a special place since it was founded by locals a very long time ago. They even used it for healing purposes and to soak their bodies after a hard day of work. It is located on private property but the owners do allow you to use it. 

The spring itself is surrounded by a small stone wall. There are two pools, a small one and a large one. Even though the hot spring is smaller, there is plenty of space for multiple people to enjoy it.

The views from Hrunalaug Hot Spring are spectacular! If you visit in summer, enjoy the mossy bright green landscape. If you are making the trek in winter, you could be surrounded by blankets of snow. You can not go wrong soaking here any time of the year. 

The water in the hot spring is 40°C or 104°F. It is truly the perfect temperature for a hot spring!

  1. Secret Lagoon

Located just nine minutes from Hrunalaug Hot Spring is the Secret Lagoon. The interesting part is, Hrunalaug is known to be more of a secret! Yet the Secret Lagoon has gained the most popularity over the years and we will tell you why. 

Secret Lagoon in Iceland hot spring

How To Get Here

The Secret Lagoon is located an hour and a half from Reykjavik.  There are no crazy trails or gravel roads to get here either. You simply pull up to the lagoon and spend your day relaxing in the natural warm water. 

The Oldest Swimming Pool in Iceland

It is the oldest swimming pool in Iceland and was created in 1891 at Hverahólmi, which is a geothermal area near Flúðir. The pool is also known as Gamla Laugin by locals.

It has been a historic area since 1909 when the first swimming lessons in Iceland were held here. This continued until 1947. The lagoon became forgotten until 2005 which is when it became loved again. Then in 2014 the Secret Lagoon officially opened to the public

The warm water in the lagoon is filled with natural resources that come from the hot springs. So how does the water get here? Vaðmálahver, Básahver, or Litli Geysir is an active geyser that spouts every few minutes.

This provides 100% of the water supply in the lagoon. Guests can even watch the geyser spout during their visit. It constantly flows which means the water replaces itself within 24 hours, keeping the lagoon clean. 

The warm water sits at a comfortable 100.4°-104°F or 38-40°C all year round. Making it an immaculate Southern Iceland hot spring for you to enjoy. There is a cost to visit at 3000 kr or $20 per adult.

  1. Seljavallalaug Hot Spring

Is it a pool or is it a hot spring? Chances are you will hear Seljavallalaug referred to as both. Luckily no matter how you look at it, its geothermal waters make it a hot spring pool.

Panorama photo on Seljavallalaug, a beautiful, naturally heated swimming pool and hot spring in southern Iceland.

How To Get Here

This hot spring is even more impassive because you can only access it by hiking to it. First, you will need to drive to the parking area which is near Seljavellir and the Ring Road, in the valley below the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.  The pool itself is located about six miles east of Ásólfsskáli. Seljavallalaug. 

To get to the parking lot take road 242 which is marked as Rao Farfell, which is located off of The Ring Road. Then you will pass Þorvaldseyri and you will continue driving until you see a sign for Seljavellir. Once you are on that road you continue until you reach the parking area.

When you park you will realize there are also no signs for the trail. You will see the path where the hike starts. The hike is a total of 1.2 miles long, taking an average of fifteen minutes each way.

First, start hiking towards the bottom of the valley and keep going until you cross over a small flowing stream. After that, you will see the pool sitting in the distance on the side of the mountain.

A Local’s Hot Spring

The pool has a special past as it was created back in 1923 to teach the locals how to swim. Then the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and ash filled the pool, closing it down. Thanks to the help of dedicated Icelanders, the ash was eventually cleaned out and the pool reopened. Today, you can soak it in yourself free of cost. 

The hot spring is relatively large too, sitting 30 feet wide and 82 feet long. It was even the largest pool in Iceland until 1932.

Oh, and did we mention that the views from the spring are absolutely breathtaking? Large green mountains will surround you, becoming snow-capped during the winter months. The water in the pool is mid-warm than hot, with an average temperature between  66°-85°F or 18°-29°C.

This is a remote hot spring and there is no upkeep with it. Once a year volunteers will come in for maintenance. The best way to take care of this pool is to follow the “Leave No Trace” rule. Which simply means to leave it as you found it. 


What To Pack for hot spring

A Swimsuit

Most of these hot springs require bathing suits. While you may not see everyone wearing them all the time, it is important to be respectful to the other visitors of the hot spring. If you forgot your bathing suit you can purchase one at a clothing store in Reykjavik. 

A Towel

While it may seem obvious, a towel is so important when visiting the hot springs. You will be thankful you have one once you leave the warm water and enter the cold air.

Forgot your towel? That’s alright, you can buy one at Hagkaup. They have locations throughout Iceland that are the go-to for cheap towels.

Water

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water when visiting a hot spring. While the waters are healing and amazing for your body, they can also dehydrate you. It is important to drink water before, after, and during your trip to the hot spring. 

Iceland has some of the best natural drinking water in the world. Fortunately for you, it is free throughout the country. Bring, or purchase, a reusable water bottle that you can fill up during your trip.


FAQ

How much does it cost to go to hot springs in Iceland?

The average cost is about 4700 ISK or $30 per person. Luckily most of the remote natural springs are free!

Are hot springs in Iceland safe?

There are hot springs that are simply too hot to bathe in, those ones are not safe. Iceland has plenty of hot springs that are safe for bathing.

Who should avoid hot springs?

Older people who have heart disease, high blood or respiratory issues should not bathe in very hot water.