How to Enjoy Iceland Hot Springs, According to Explorer Chicks
Iceland is an extraordinary country with some of the most amazing natural scenery and skies in the world, so no wonder the home of the famous Blue Lagoon hot springs and many other mineral rich, amazing hot springs, hot swimming pools and hot tubs is so popular.
This post will tell you how and when to bathe safely, and where to find the best hot springs in Iceland including free hot springs.
Why visiting a hot spring is a must-do in Iceland
Iceland boasts some of the best hot springs in the world with geothermal energy creating bathing spots with health benefits and stunning views.
Most people have heard of the famous man-made Blue Lagoon but there are many other natural geothermal water pools of all sizes to enjoy across the island.
Some of Iceland’s hot springs have no facilities, not even a basic outdoor shower or changing room, whereas others are more developed. Choose from mountain, meadow, ocean or volcanic landscape views as you marinate in hot spring water.
Why does Iceland have so many hot springs?
They call Iceland the land of fire and ice because of the glacial and volcanic terrain offering some of the world’s most spectacular photo spots guaranteed to glow up your Insta game.
Iceland lies across a boundary point between two tectonic plates down as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and sits above an area of high volcanic activity so Iceland has numerous natural hot springs (also called geothermal pools) where water is heated by volcanic molten or super hot rocks underground.
How hot are the hot springs of Iceland?
The temperature of Icelandic hot springs depends on how deep underground the water was heated, whether it mixes with cold water and how fast the water flows. Most pools will range from 96° – 111° F (36° – 44°C), making some of them a little too hot for a cosy soak.
Some hot pools are extremely hot so stick to tried and tested pools like the ones listed in this post.
Where you can go to soak in a hot spring in Iceland
You can find natural Icelandic hot springs all over the country. Many are close to the capital city Reykjavik.
In the west you have the Krosslaug hot springs, a man-made swimming pool and a natural hot tub. In south Iceland, you have many hot springs including the Seljavallalaug hot springs (free), and the “secret” Hrunalaug hot springs.
Like this list of recommendations? Check out our recommendations on our Iceland Hot Springs map:
Some of the best natural hot springs in Iceland
With so many to choose from, which Icelandic hot spring do you choose to soak in? Here’s a list of some of the best destinations where you can be relaxed, rejuvenated and refreshed.
We love the hot springs in Reykjadalur Valley so much that this is where we stop on our Iceland adventure to soak in the sulphur-blue waters before tackling the glaciers. Hike around 3km up the Rjúpnabrekkur Ptarmigan slopes, leading to Reykjadalur hot steam valley and the Reykjadalur hot springs, hot streams and river.
Pass bubbling mud pools and a borehole called Drottningarhola (Queen’s borehole) and the Djúpagilsfoss waterfall to reach a unique hot river.
Admire milky blue water pools along the way but as many are dangerously hot stay on the path up to the river where you’ll see a boardwalk to enter the water from (free!).
Top tip: The further up the river you go, the hotter the water gets.
Where to get info: https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/regina/reykjadalur-hot-spring-valley-in-south-iceland
Location: Reykjadalur, Iceland
The sulphur-rich Secret Lagoon is one of the most popular iceland hot springs. It’s also the oldest natural pool in Iceland.
This beautiful natural hot spring has lots of facilities including a snack bar but retains a natural vibe. Active geysers keep this pool constantly refreshed at a comfortable 38-40° C (100–104° F).
Where to get info: https://secretlagoon.is/
Location: Hvammsvegur, Flúðir, Iceland
No guide to Iceland’s dreamy hot springs would be complete without mention of the Blue Lagoon on the Reykjanes Peninsula.
Many people swear by the regenerative qualities of the silica rich, sulphurous water and the silica mud for face masks.
Water temperatures average 37–39° C (98–102° F) and you can enjoy food, drinks (including cocktails—hurrah!) massages or a session in a steam room or sauna too.
Where to get info: https://www.visitreykjanes.is/en/service/the-blue-lagoon
Location: Norðurljósavegur 9 240, Grindavik, Iceland
The best time to visit a hot spring in Iceland
So when is the best time to visit Iceland if you want a hot spring experience? You can actually take a dip all year round. Just make sure you have a thick towel or robe to throw on when you emerge from the steaming water.
Average Temperatures by Month:
- January: 36 F (2 C) / 28 F (minus 2 C)
- February: 36 F (3 C) / 28 F (minus 2 C)
- March: 38 F (3 C) / 30 F (minus 1 C)
- April: 43 F (6 C) / 34 F (1 C)
- May: 48 F (9 C) / 40 F (4 C)
- June: 54 F (12 C) / 46 F (8 C)
- July: 57 F (14 C) / 49 F (9 C)
- August: 55 F (13 C) / 47 F (8 C)
- September: 50 F (10 C) / 42 F (6 C)
- October: 44 F (7 C) / 36 F (2 C)
- November: 39 F (4 C) / 30 F (minus 1 C)
- December: 36 F (2 C) / 29 F (minus 1 C)
Hot spring etiquette
Icelandic people take their hot spring bathing very seriously and there are a few points of etiquette you should know.
- Strip completely—yes, completely—and shower before entering the pool for hygiene reasons. Europeans generally are quite relaxed about nudity.
- Don’t splash, shout, spit or blow your nose in the water. It is also considered polite to keep your voice low and movements quiet.
- Swim calmly, preferably in an anti-clockwise direction which is the local custom Don’t dive or “bomb” into the water.
Bring your own towel and a bathing suit but not an expensive or delicate one as some of the local hot springs might contain algae and minerals which could damage your costume.
What are the health benefits of soaking in a hot spring?
Many believe that there are healing benefits to bathing in warm geothermal springs. Minerals in a geothermal pool can help with eczema, acne and other skin conditions and can help with blood circulation which increases cardiac output and improves metabolism.
Visit hot springs to soothe aching muscles and soak away stress and anxiety and help you sleep better.
Iceland, According to Explorer Chicks
Explorer Chicks who’ve been to Iceland say doing what sounds like dumb stuff like stripping naked and making a chilly dash to a famous hot spring, then sitting there with snow softly falling while sharing some fizz, is actually life affirming.
After all, as one explorer points out, life is for living and there’s nothing like feeling all the feels in hot streams to make you realise you are alive!
Ready to Go for a Dip in a Hot Spring?
Are you all fired up and already hunting out your swimming gear and waterproof wearable video cam? Good! Check out the exciting itinerary offered on this Icelandic Adventure with Explorer Chick, book now and start counting the days to your own luxurious hot spring experience.
Meet the Writer
Afra is an award winning journalist who has enjoyed many adventures including swimming with sharks, crewing hot air balloons and canyoning. She started creating online content ten years ago, diversifying after years writing for print publications. She loves travel, great food, and her family. Not necessarily in that order.
Favorite outdoor adventure: Snorkeling in the warm waters off the coast of Cyprus