Iceland is a stunningly beautiful country, with raw, untamed natural beauty its greatest attraction. It is home to more than 130 volcanoes. As the saying goes, where there is smoke there is fire, similarly, with all those volcanoes around, there are bound to be geothermal hot springs in abundance too. And that is just the case with Iceland hot springs.
Some of these geothermal pools are located in breathtaking locations like volcano craters filled with opaque, turquoise blue waters that you would want to just jump into. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. Some pools have scalding hot water, others have treacherous loose volcanic rocks that are dangerous to step on to and still others have such intense sulfuric steam coming out of them that it can cause people to pass out.
Here, we list out five of the prettiest Iceland hot springs you can actually bathe in. An added attraction is that these are all free. This caveat precludes the famous Blue Lagoon, where you have to pay a fee for enjoying the facilities.
Since Iceland is famous for its pristine natural beauty that has seen minimal interference from humans, it is important to not expect five star facilities at these pools. Most of them are located in desolate areas and many don’t have any changing rooms to speak of. With that said, let’s take a look a the pools!
This is the easiest to reach from Reykjavik. It takes a short drive to the town of Hverageroi, and from there it’s an easy hike to the pool. The water is a comfortable temperature most of the time, and you are likely to find other bathers there as well. There is no provision to change clothes.
This is actually a man made pool, but in its defence it is fed entirely by natural spring water. The temperature is again quite comfortable all year round.
Another claim to notoriety is that it is not too far from the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano! This is the volcano that caused the 2010 disruption in European flights with its massive ash clouds and smoke. In fact, that year the Seljavallalug pool was also covered in soot entirely and could not be accessed for bathing.
This pool has primitive changing provisions and a room to keep you clothes in. It is cleaned out only once in the summer, so the water might appear a little muddy. But it’s located in the middle of a gorgeous location amidst mountains and plains, so it’s well worth a soak in muddy waters to enjoy that exotic bathing experience.
This pool is situated 90 kilometers north of Gullfoss waterfall, which is a key stop on the Golden Circle Iceland route.
This is one of the ideal pools to bathe in. The water is on the warmer side, and a joy to step into. The river that feeds it is a fast-flowing one, which means that the water gets cleaned out pretty regularly, with the result that it is crystal blue to look at. It also has one of the fancier changing facilities. And in its desolate surroundings, you can expect to have the pool all to yourself for hours at a stretch. Sounds heavenly!
Actually, this pool ties in with Hveravellir as the most ideal to bathe in. It is quite spacious so as never to feel over-crowded, and it’s uniformly shallow throughout. The temperatures don’t vary beyond the range of 30-40 degrees centigrade, making it accessible all year round.
In the winters especially it’s a magical place to be in as the stark, peaceful surroundings are perfect to soak in from your vantage point in the pool, and a high possibility of a glimpse of the dancing northern lights is an icing on the cake.
Enjoy the Iceland Hot Springs With Respect
Nature is fair to a fault and will cut you down to size if you are not careful. If a pool has a sign that says it is unfit for bathing, you would do well to heed it.
Besides, many problems the earth is facing today is because of Man’s erroneous belief that we have a birthright on using its bounty as we please, which is not the case. We are but passing spectators of the miracles of this world, it is best to view and enjoy it from a distance, and leave things as we found them for the others after us.
Which is all a roundabout way of saying…don’t litter the pools please. Take only what you bring with you, besides your memories!