Geothermal Wonders: Discovering Iceland's Volcanic Hot Springs
Immerse your body in a volcanic hot spring when visiting Iceland. It is one of the most tranquil activities you can do when on vacation. Fortunately, this is entirely achievable during your visit to the land of fire and ice!
In fact, this Nordic country has around 45 natural hot springs and geothermal pools for you to enjoy. We are going to cover some common questions about these natural wonders. While also sharing some of our top picks for visiting Iceland's volcanic hot springs and geothermal pools.
What are volcanic hot springs and geothermal pools?
The volcanic hot springs are natural, thanks to the volcanic activity in the area. The water is heated by geothermal energy, which comes from beneath the earth's surface.
You can usually only find geothermal pools in locations that have volcanoes currently, or a long time ago.
Why does Iceland have so many hot springs?
Iceland is a volcanic zone and it lies across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This is the boundary area between two tectonic plates.
The hot springs sit above areas that have strong volcanic components. These locations are commonly referred to as a "hotspot "for volcanic activity.
What are the benefits of soaking in geothermal water?
There are so many benefits of soaking in geothermal water. Thanks to the water’s natural detoxifying minerals. First off, the heat from the water can help ease achy muscles and pains. Then the minerals can detoxify your skin cells and remove toxins from your body.
You will find many athletes and hikers in hot springs after long extensive workouts. Soaking in the water can heal your muscles quicker than not.
Studies show that those with skin conditions can benefit from using geothermal water. The detoxifying components can help heal dry or rough skin.
We also think it's great for your mental health. Because let’s be honest, there is nothing more relaxing than spending your day enjoying Iceland's natural hot springs. Breathe in the fresh air while admiring the views from the volcanic pool.
Best Volcanic Hot Springs in Iceland
Let's dive into some of the best hot springs and geothermal pools iceland!
Bathing in a forest sounds like a dream, and in Northern Iceland, you can make that dream a reality. All you have to do is visit the Forest Lagoon which is located near the city of Akureyri.
This hot spring is a relaxing resort. You can soak your worries away while enjoying views of Eyjafjörður. There are two swim-up bars on the property, a dry sauna, and even a cold tub. After, have lunch at their bistro which has delicious local food.
The Forest Lagoon is heated by natural geothermal water that comes from the mountain behind the lagoon. The water was discovered when the Vaðlaheiði Tunnel project started.
The water was used to create the Forest Lagoon and today you can soak in it. The temperature of the lagoon is 37-40°C or 100-104°F. An ideal temperature for relaxation.
Forest Lagoon Admission Fees
There is an admission fee to visit the Forest Lagoon. Adults pay 6,990 ISK or $45. Children aged 6-15 pay 3,290 ISK or $25. Children aged 5 and under don't have to pay.
Need a towel? You can rent one for just 900 ISK or $6.
Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure featured this world-renowned geothermal spa in Iceland! So you know the admission cost is going to be worth it!
How to Get Here
The Forest Lagoon is a 5-hour drive northeast of Reykjavik. It is an easy stop to add on if you are traveling along Ring Road. We recommend visiting when staying in Akureyri. If you are staying in downtown Akureyri, you can drive five minutes to Forest Lagoon.
Hrunalaug Hot Spring
If you are seeking a hidden and isolated hot spring to dip in then look no further than Hrunalaug Hot Spring! This geothermal treasure was founded a very long time ago by Icelanders who loved using it.
The hot spring even has two pools, Both are surrounded by views of the rich green landscape and snow-capped mountains. The pools are small compared to Iceland’s more famous hot springs. But that is what makes Hrunalaug so special!
The big pool, which is surrounded by stone, can fit up to seven people. The little pool can host four people comfortably. So no need to stress about sharing space.
The geothermal water is at a comfortable temperature of 38°C or 100°F. This means it is wonderful for soaking and doesn’t get unbearably hot.
Hrunalaug Hot Spring Admission Fees
There is no cost to enter Hrunalaug. The remote hot spring is actually on private property. The owners are nice enough to let everyone use the spring, at no cost.
Just remember to pack in and pack out whatever you bring with you. There are no changing rooms either, so wear your bathing suit and make sure to have a towel for after!
How To Get Here
You will need to drive an hour and a half drive from Reykjavík to reach the hot spring. It is located near the small town of Flúðir.
Drive road number 344 until you see a sign for Hruni. Continue driving for two miles and then turn on Road 345 towards Hruni. You will then spot a sign for Sólheimar. Turn at the sign and drive 0.2 miles until you reach the parking lot for Hrunalaug.
This hot spring is a secret so you won’t see a sign for it. Keep an eye out for the “No Camping” sign instead. Once you see that, take the quick two-minute walk on the trail to the hot spring.
Read our guide for more Iceland travel trips on visiting Hrunalaug Hot Spring!
Get ready to visit the oldest swimming pool in Iceland, also known as the Secret Lagoon. The pool was created in 1891 and it is actually a man-made pool built around a hot spring. The locals have been taking advantage of the lagoon’s health benefits for centuries.
The water is constantly filled and heated by an active geyser, which supplies all of its water. The Secret Lagoon’s water is filled with minerals, a benefit for your skin and mind. The temperature of the geothermal water sits comfortably between 38°C to 40°C or 100.4°F to 104°F.
The Secret Lagoon has amenities for you to take advantage of when visiting. This includes changing rooms, restrooms, and showers. You can even grab a bite at the cafe which is located right on the property.
Secret Lagoon Admission Fees
The Secret Lagoon in Iceland does charge an admission fee, but it is so worth it! Adults are 3,330 ISK or $25 and children are free to visit. A small cost to visit the “The Oldest Natural Pool in Iceland”!
The Secret Lagoon is not as crowded as the Blue Lagoon, but we still recommend making a reservation before visiting.
How To Get Here
This popular Iceland natural pool is located just an hour and a half from Reykjavik, near the Golden Circle. Many will add this stop to relax after a day of driving. A fun day trip to take with your Iceland rental car!
Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
If you are a hiker who wants to access a remote natural hot spring we got you covered. Get ready to discover the Seljavallalaug hot pool!
The pool has a historic past since it was built in 1923 by Björn Andrésson and others. It was created as a safe place for locals to be able to learn how to swim.
Then in 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, filling the pool with ash and leading to its closure. Fortunately, the locals banded together to clean up the pool and later reopen it. Thanks to them you can still soak your body in it today.
The pool is not as hot as other hot springs, but it's very enjoyable. The average temperature of the warm water is 18°-29.°C to 66°-85°F.
It is a refreshing dip to take on hot summer days and even more enjoyable on cold winter nights. You may even spot the Northern Lights!
You really can’t go wrong visiting Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool any time of the year!
Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool Admission Fees
Save money when visiting because this hot spring is free! Mainly because it is a secret and located in an isolated area of Iceland. The best way to pay for the use is to keep it clean.
Pack all of your garbage out with you and clean up after yourself. You always want to leave the hot spring as you found it. That way others can enjoy the same experience you had!
How To Get Here
The pool is located at Seljavellir and you will be driving a good portion of Ring Road to get there. Turn onto Road 242 from the Ring Road and pass Þorvaldseyri. Continue driving until you spot the sign for Seljavellir. Then keep driving until you reach the parking area.
Once you park, get ready to embark on your hike to the geothermal hot spring. There are no signs for the trail, but you will be able to see the trail from the parking lot.
The hike is 1.2 long and you will head to the bottom of the valley. Cross over a small stream and look for the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool.
We have put together a guide on Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool filled with Iceland travel tips!
Myvatn Nature Baths
Nestled in North Iceland are the breathtaking Myvatn Nature Baths. The area of Lake Myvatn is known for its geothermal activity, birdwatching, and hiking trails. Many make the stop during their road trip along Ring Road.
The Lagoon’s soakable waters are milky blue and surrounded by beauty. The spa also has a swim-up bar, and steam baths, where geothermal steam rises through vents in the floor.
This is a man-made lagoon. The water from the Mvatn Nature Baths comes from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. The temperature starts at about 266°F or 130°C when it arrives at the huge basin beside the lagoon.
Then the temperature cools down in the lagoon due to it holding around 3.5 million liters of water. The temperature of the lagoon then sits at a comfortable 96–104°F, or 36-40C°.
These geothermal waters contain a lot of sulfur, which is one of the most healing minerals. Sulfur is known to help with respiratory diseases and skin complications.
Myvatn Nature Baths Admission Fees
The Myvatn Nature Baths do require an admission fee to visit. For adults, it is 6,490 ISK or $49, for teenagers it is 3,190 ISK or $24 and children are free.
It is recommended to make a reservation due to the high demand of visiting the nature baths. It is one of the top visited natural hot springs in the North and you won't want to miss it!
How To Get Here
They are Located about 65 miles south of the Arctic Circle and near the famous Lake Myvatn. The Myvatn Nature Baths are easy to get to since they are located only a few minutes off Ring Road. You can expect to drive about six hours east of Reykjavik to reach them.
Landmannalaugar Hot Springs
Want to soak your day away in the “Pool of the People”? You can by taking a road trip with your Iceland rental car.
The pool is a natural wonder that can fit over 40 individuals. You can enjoy the colorful views of the surrounding mountains and lava fields. Be amazed by the Brennisteinsalda volcano, called the Sulfur Wave, with its red color, seen from the hot spring.
The temperature is very soothing at 104°F or 40°C. You can even find the hotter water near the black lava rocks for a toastier soak.
If you are feeling adventurous stay overnight in one of the Mountain Huts nearby.
Landmannalaugar Hot Springs Admission Fees
They say the best things in life are free and that is the case with Landmannalaugar Hot Springs!
There is no admission fee since the hot springs are unmaintained in the remote Icelandic HIghlands.
The only optional cost is 500 ISK or $3 for the use of the changing rooms and showers.
How To Get Here
If you are scared of tough roads this way not be the hot spring for you. They are located in Iceland's Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highlands. Which is a 3.5-hour drive from Reykjavík. You will be taking Ring Road for most of it until you reach an F-Road.
After you turn off Ring Road, the road becomes rough. You will make your way down an F-Road, which is a gravel road with potholes and river crossings. 4X4 vehicles are required to drive on F-Roads since it is illegal to not have one.
You will turn east on Miklabraut and then make a right onto the Vik exit. Continue driving on Ring Road and exit at Route 32.
Then drive down Route 26 until you reach Route 208. You will take this road until you’ve reached the pool. An exhilarating drive to one of Iceland’s most beautiful geothermal pools.
Krossneslaug Hot Spring
There is a volcanic hot spring in Iceland’s Westfjords that you have to soak in, Krossneslaug Hot Spring. The hot spring is located in the oldest part of the country, which is infamous for its volcanic rift valley. The infinity pool was built in 1954, making it a historic place.
The rectangle pool is a lovely place to soak. You can enjoy the views of the ocean right in front of you while breathing in the air of the sea.
There is even a small hot tub that sits next to the swimming pool that you can use. So feel free to go back and forth between the two.
The geothermal water comes from a hot spring at the top of the hill and it then filters down to the pool. The temperature of the water is about 34 °C or 93 °F. If you are wanting to soak in the hot tub, you can expect the water to be a bit hotter at 38°C or 100 °F.
Krossneslaug Hot Spring Admission Fees
Krossneslaug Hot Spring is very cheap to use. The cost is 700 ISK or $5 to use both the pool and changing facillity.
There is usually an associate at the hot spring who can take your payment. You can also visit at night, but make sure to put the money in the honesty box when you arrive.
Credit cards are accepted when the attendant is working. However, cash is needed if you are using the honesty box.
How To Get Here
The hot spring is a 5-hour drive from Reykjavik. Take Road 643 to reach Krossneslaug, as it's the only road leading there. It is a beautiful drive that will bring you along the coastline.
It is not a F-Road but it is rumored to be a tough road to drive. This is mostly because there are cliffy sections with large drop-offs.
We recommend reserving one of our 4x4 vehicles to drive this road. Just take your time and enjoy the views!
Want to learn more? We have put together an entire guide for you to enjoy about Krossneslaug hot spring.
We have to save one of the best hot springs in Iceland for last, The Blue Lagoon! This is Iceland’s most famous hot spring that is known by travelers all over the world.
It is estimated that over 700,000 people visit the lagoon every year, so you know you won’t be disappointed. Its turquoise blue waters are filled with minerals that have health benefits.
The lagoon was discovered in the 1980s by locals. It was established in a lava field located near the Svartsengi Geothermal Resource Park. Locals began bathing in the water and raved about all of its health benefits.
The Blue Lagoon is known for its bright and vibrant turquoise waters. The large lagoon even has a swim-up mask bar, so you can have a mini spa day while floating. Pair that with a tasty beverage from the swim-up bar and you will be in complete heaven!
The water sits at a relaxing 38° C or 100.4°F. A perfect temperature for floating around and taking in the views. After that, visit the Sauna and Steam Rooms to get the full spa day experience!
Blue Lagoon Admission Fees
The Blue Lagoon has different packages for you to choose from. The Comfort Blue Lagoon is the most popular package and it costs 8,872 ISK or $67. It includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, a silica mud mask, the use of a towel, and one drink of choice.
Other packages include the Premium: Blue Lagoon and Luxury: Retreat Spa. If you are feeling luxurious you can choose to stay overnight at the Blue Lagoon’s Retreat Hotel. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when visiting Iceland.
How To Get Here
The Blue Lagoon is conveniently a 20-minute drive from Keflavik Airport. Or a 50-minute drive from downtown Reykjavik. It is very easy to get to! Renting a car and hitting the road is the best way to get here.
Visiting the Blue Lagoon can seem overwhelming to some. No need to worry, we have a Guide to Visiting Blue Lagoon in Iceland!
We hope you picked your favorite volcanic Iceland hot spring from our list. Would you rather bathe in a green forest or soak in a remote geothermal pool?
Whichever one you choose, we are confident you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the snow-capped mountains in the distance while absorbing all of the healing minerals in Iceland’s volcanic waters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you shower after hot springs?
We recommend not showering after bathing in Iceland’s hot springs. This is because the minerals continue to work on your skin after you get out. To get the full benefits, avoid showering for 12-24 hours.
How long can you sit in hot springs?
We know it's tempting to soak for hours in geothermal baths, but don’t. The best way to soak is to sit for 15 minutes at a time and then take a break. Let the cool air hit your skin to bring down your body temperature and drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
Are hot springs good for your hair?
No, hot springs in iceland can dry out your hair because of the heat and minerals. Many will keep their hair tied up and try not to get it wet.
Ironically, the minerals in a geothermal pool are good for the skin on your scalp. So if you do get your hair wet, you are still reaping the benefits.
Latest Blog Posts
Exploring Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall in Iceland
Imagine a land where ethereal beauty and raw power collide, where towering mountains stand sentinel over roaring waterfalls, and where the secrets of the earth lie hidden beneath your feet. Welcome to Iceland – home to Kirkjufell Mountain and Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall, a realm of geological wonders, heart-stopping vistas, and the mysteries of the Northern Lights. Are you prepared to embark on a journey into the heart of this mesmerizing landscape? Read on and discover the marvels that await you.
Iceland in January 2024: A Complete Guide to Weather, Activities & Northern Lights
Iceland in January is a magical wonderland just waiting for you to explore. With its snow-covered landscapes, unique winter activities, and awe-inspiring Northern Lights, the experience will be unforgettable. Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Let’s dive into what makes Iceland in January a truly remarkable destination.
Exploring Iceland in November 2023: Weather, Northern Lights & Things To Do
Looking for a truly unique and unforgettable adventure? Why not consider visiting Iceland in November? With fewer tourists than the summer months, you’ll have the opportunity to experience Iceland’s breathtaking beauty in a more intimate setting. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the unforgettable experiences waiting for you in Iceland, along with practical tips for planning your November trip.