Iceland’s best geothermal bathing pools

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(CNN) — Spellbinding vistas punctuated by plumes of steam are common when driving Iceland’s winding fjords and gravel roads.

Marking the country’s geothermal activity, this form of energy also carries forward Iceland’s tradition of soaking in geothermal hot pools—an activity revered by locals and tourists alike.

From natural, stone-lined pools to luxuriously designed tubs, there are countless soaking spots for every type of visitor, no matter the weather.

So whether you’re driving the Ring Road or going off-road with a 4×4 vehicle, here’s a list of longtime favorite hot pools — some of them rarely visited — for your next trip to Iceland.

GOC

In the town of Húsavík in northern Iceland, Geocea is made famous by the Netflix movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”.

The combination of geothermal sea and rock water leaves your skin feeling refreshed, but it’s the views that linger.

With a drink in hand, take in the snowy peaks of the Flatijarskagi Peninsula and, if you’re lucky, a whale fluke or two. Be sure to book your 4,900 ISK ($36) ticket in advance.

The Blue Lagoon is Iceland's most popular and one of its best bathing spots.

The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most popular and one of its best bathing spots.

Maja Smijkowska/Shutterstock

This milky blue geothermal pool needs no introduction. Near Keflavík Airport, the gateway to Iceland, the country’s most popular destination for silica masks and soaks is often the country’s busiest.

If your wallet allows — to the tune of 59,000 ISK (about $435) — it’s worth booking a day pass. Retreat Spa For a significantly less crowded, more luxurious Blue Lagoon experience.

Hallelujah

This small pool is as natural as it gets in the Westfjords, with no modifications and an “enter at your own risk” sign to boot.

Just off Road 60, this beachside thermal pool won’t seat more than eight or nine people comfortably, so you’ll have to wait, but the 100-degree water is worth it.

Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

Known as the “People’s Pool”, these steamy and shallow springs are surrounded by some of the most dynamic mountains in the country. Located in the Highlands, Landmanlaugar is named for the region it is in.

Remember your own clothes and towels; The springs are free, but showers and changing rooms are accessible for a small fee.

Mývatn nature bath

There is a hot pool in the cave of Myawatan.

There is a hot pool in the cave of Myawatan.

Simon Danhauer/Adobe Stock

Open since 2004, this northern Iceland destination takes its name from the nearby volcanic lake.

Often compared to the Blue Lagoon because of its similar baby-blue waters, tourists can expect about half the crowds for about half the price.

The best time to visit here is at sunset, and if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights might make an appearance.

This West Iceland bath is less visited but only an hour from Reykjavík.

The breathtaking spa features five hot pools filled with geothermal water from Europe’s most powerful hot spring, Deildartunguhvar.

It includes a quiet relaxation room with pool and hot spring steam for 4,500 ISK. The local, fresh food served at the nearby Krauma Restaurant is exceptional.

Crosneslag

A favorite among locals, Krosneslag is a 1950s swimming pool filled with hot geothermal water that comes with an entrance fee of 1,000 ISK per person.

The ultra-remote Strandir region in the Westfjords is worth the drive, even when the road is muddy at the end. This pool at the end of the road is a reward.

Secret Lagoon

This lagoon is not so secret anymore. Gamla Login, as it is called locally, is a huge pool built in 1891, making it the oldest in the country.

Watered from nearby active geysers, it’s more of a local hot pool experience than other large baths and a bargain at 3,000 ISK.

So stop here after a bowl of tomato soup Friðheimar Reservations are highly recommended for both greenhouses.

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Hrinalag Hot Spring

A quick detour from the Golden Circle and a five-minute hike are required to reach this small local pool.

Travelers can change inside small, wooden turf-room huts and hit one of three small pools that vary in temperature.

Leave the 1,000 ISK entry fee in the box; A farmer who is on his land uses it to keep the area clean and to set up a changing room.

Seljavallaug

Seljavallaug is a secluded and remote valley pool.

Seljavallaug is a secluded and remote valley pool.

StolenPencil/Adobe Stock

Known as Iceland’s oldest swimming pool, dating back to the 1920s, this geothermal spot on the Ring Road in South Iceland is worth a visit for its moss-green surroundings.

However, tourists now report that the water is cold, and the changing rooms are not clean.

In the Westfjords, a 30-minute drive from Ísafjörður, is a farm called Heydalur. Guests can stay the night, camp, or try a puffin at this quaint country hotel’s restaurant.

It has a rocky, artificial enclave with a heated indoor pool and geothermal water.

But the best pool of all is outside the property’s meandering river. If the water is not too high, tourists can carefully cross to the other side and find a natural pool big enough for just a few people.

Previously opened in 2022, Forest Lagoon Well, outside the northern city of Akureyri, is surrounded by forest.

This attractive and sustainable spa is filled with natural geothermal water from the nearby mountains and features full spa facilities, a swim-up bar and tranquil tree views.

The Sky Lagoon Pool offers ocean views.

The Sky Lagoon Pool offers ocean views.

Visit Iceland

This new pool is a short taxi ride outside of Reykjavík, on a cliff face with ocean views.

Traditional touches like its turf-roof facade blend with New Age Scandinavian wellness practices, including a seven-step ritual. Reservations are required here, and the cheapest packages start at 5,990 ISK.

Located on the picturesque Troll Peninsula, Bjórböðin is the country’s first beer spa.

Conveniently located next door Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi Brewery, tourists can book one of seven beer baths filled with local beer, hops, yeast and geothermal water. Brew-enthusiasts have a never-ending tap next to their tub during a 25-minute soak, priced at 11,900 ISK.

Outside are two cedar tubs filled with geothermal water and beautiful mountain views. Afterwards, travelers can head inside for a top-notch burger.

Swim on the pool lake at Walk.

Swim on the pool lake at Walk.

Gunnar Freyr/Icelandic explorer

This East Iceland geothermal haven is known for having the country’s only floating infinity pool. Sitting on Lake Urriðavatn, it boasts uninterrupted views of the dramatic landscape and easy access to the icy lake waters — if you dare.

On the shore, there are spa facilities, cold-water spray tunnels, a tea bar and a heated pool, accessible for 5,990 ISK.

Lagawallalog

Hidden in the highlands on the east side of Iceland, adventurers will need an all-terrain car and perhaps even a local guide to help them find these remote, natural hot pools.

When and if tourists get there, they’ll likely be the ones to bask in these hot springs, complete with hot waterfalls.

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