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The Ultimate Guide to Iceland's Hot Springs

Picture of Vala Árnadóttir
Updated: 28 March 2017

So, you are heading to the land of ice and fire with your towel looking for some hot springs? Of course you are! There must have been a reason the Celts chose to settle in there in the first place and it also gave the old Vikings a good spot to wash properly after the long cold boat ride.

The mid-Atlantic ridge, which is an underwater mountain chain that circles the earth, rises above sea level in Iceland, making it the ‘hot spot’ we all know the island for. The mixture of the geothermal activity and glaciers around the country result in numerous hot springs and geysers.

Don’t take your towel off just yet to jump in – only some of them are a comfortable temperature for doing that and some are extremely hot. Taking advantage of what nature has given them, Icelanders use the springs for outdoor swimming pools situated around the country. These are extremely popular, even on cold winter nights.

The most known hot spring to bathe in is the Blue Lagoon, which is located close to Reykjavik on the Reykjanes Peninsula, in a lava field. The Blue Lagoon is as well known for its silica mud, which people rub on as facial masks.

One of the most beautiful locations however, is Landmannalaugar. Its breathtaking multicoloured mountains and clear blue lakes offer spectacular views while bathing.

These are other lesser known spots around the country, if you are willing to look for them. For example, the Secret Lagoon which is located in Fludir town (near the Golden Circle area). There are several geothermal pools there and the water is at 38°–40° Celsius all year round. As you enjoy the warm natural bath, you can watch as a little geyser erupts every 5 minutes.

If you feel you still the need for more, you can always stop at Reykjavik’s white sand beach for some naturally heated ocean water.