With such an abundance of geothermal water in Iceland, it is no wonder that every town and village has a public-swimming pool of some kind; lap pools with hot tubs of varying temperatures and saunas can be found in the larger towns, and perhaps just a pay-by-donation hot tub overlooking the ocean in the smaller towns. The swimming pools in Iceland—including those listed here—are not only a place for relaxation and sport but also a customary social activity to engage in small talk and a bonding activity to catch up on the news with friends.
Built in 1937, Sundhöllin is Reykjavík’s oldest swimming pool. Its architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, also designed Hallgrímskirkja among other iconic Reykjavík structures. Located in downtown Reykjavik, the pool features an indoor-heated lap pool in an iconic Art-Deco interior as well as a rooftop hot tub and a sauna.
Located in Iceland’s West Fjords’ small-fishing town of Drangsnes, these three small-public-geothermal hot tubs rest right on the shoreline. They lie just below the road running next to them. Only the white changing rooms across the road mark their location. Enjoy three different temperatures of cold, medium, and hot while gazing at the fjord—especially a treat during the midnight sun or with the Aurora Borealis overhead.
Laugaskarði Pool in Hveragerði, an hour drive southeast of Reykjavik, has a lovely setting in which to relax. Sitting just on the edge of town and nestled against a hillside, the pool has great facilities, a few hot pots of various temperatures, a sauna, and a fitness center. The 50-meter-length swimming lanes were once the longest in Iceland. Hveragerði is known for its abundance of geothermal water, which is why the town itself is full of greenhouses. Laugarskarði pool, of course, is also geothermally heated.
Sundlaugar Laugarskarði, Reykjamörk, Hveragerði, Iceland, +354 483 4113
The parking lot for the gem of a pool is located between Hella and Fossvogar Campsites. There will be a small sign on the road for the turn-off leading to a parking lot, and the pool is a 20-minute easy hike into a valley. Perhaps Iceland’s most picturesque outdoor pool, the surrounding mountains reflecting in the pool’s surface like glass. Built in 1923 for swimming lessons. Seljavallalaug also has changing rooms and is free of charge.
This pool is the prototypical-neighborhood pool. Situated in the cozy West Reykjavik area of Vesturbær, the pool features both an indoor and outdoor changing facility, a lap pool, five hot tubs of varying temperatures, a hot and dry sauna, and an exercise room. There is also ample room for sunbathing when the weather permits. Conveniently located across the street is the cozy Kaffiwest coffee shop and bistro.
The Stykkishólmur Pool is set in the middle of the quaint-fishing village on Snæfelsness Peninsula. The indoor pool, 57 meters in length, is the second longest in the country. There are also two hot tubs and a lounging pool as well as an indoor pool of 12 meters used for physical therapy. The geothermal water supplying the pool has been certified for its quality by the German Institut Fresensius, who specialize in hydrology and environmental certifications.
Stykkishólmurlaug, Borgarbraut, 340 Stykkishólmur, Iceland, +354 433 8150