If there’s one thing you need to know about Iceland, it’s that it has some of the most incredible hot springs… and a lot of them! If you’re on an Iceland road trip, there’s no better way to relax after a day of hiking or exploring than soaking in a natural hot spring. There are way more pools than I can list here, but this guide has 12 of the best hot springs in Iceland!
Some of them require a hike while others are easily accessible, so this guide will have information about the best hot springs in Iceland, a map of all of them, and everything you need to know!
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About These Best Hot Springs in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon is cool (probably… I won’t lie to you, I haven’t been), but this blog post isn’t about super developed, touristy spots! If you want a resort experience, places like the Blue Lagoon or Sky Lagoon are great and definitely have something to offer – but, I prefer hot springs that are in nature, where you can soak in the water surrounded by the incredible scenery of Iceland.
So, this guide lists some of the best hot springs in Iceland, and all of them are surrounded by nature.
Leave No Trace at The Hot Springs in Iceland
Anytime you’re outdoors, whether you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced adventurer, it’s essential that you practice Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT is a set of seven principles that help us understand our impact on the outdoors – because while we usually have good intentions, the environment is more fragile than we think, and one snap-second decision can cause damage to the environment that will take the earth years, even decades to repair.
While I firmly believe everyone deserves to enjoy these amazing spots, do your part to make sure the hot springs in Iceland stay clean and beautiful! Iceland is a popular tourist destination, so overcrowding really takes a toll on nature, especially when people don’t follow LNT. People not respecting the land has led to a lot of hot springs in Iceland being closed – so to make sure we can keep enjoying them, follow these principles!
Leave No Trace means enjoying the outdoors without disrupting nature, as much as it’s possible to do so. Here are the 7 principles of LNT, and how they apply when you visit the natural hot springs in Iceland!
- Plan ahead and prepare – before you visit any of the hot springs in Iceland, make sure you know what to expect. If there’s a hike, make sure you’re ready for it.
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces – when you’re at any of the hot springs, make sure to stay on established trails. Avoid stepping on grass and plant life!
- Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. Most of the natural hot springs in Iceland don’t have trash cans, so pack out anything you bring in.
- Leave what you find – I know it can be tempting to take a cool rock or leaf, but leave these things where they belong! Animals often use these, and if everyone takes one, the area won’t be as pretty.
- Minimize campfire impacts – campfires are not allowed at most of the hot springs in Iceland.
- Respect wildlife – never approach wildlife, and never feed the animals! There isn’t much wildlife in Iceland, but there are a lot of sheep – they’re really cute, but give them plenty of space. Don’t stress them out!
- Be considerate of other visitors – you’ll often be sharing the hot springs with other travelers. Be respectful, and don’t ruin the experience for others.
What to Bring to These Best Hot Springs in Iceland
When you visit some of the best hot springs in Iceland, here’s what you’ll need!
To bathe in the hot springs, you’ll need a bathing suit! Some of them have changing areas, but many natural hot springs in Iceland don’t, so make sure you know what to expect and you’re prepared.
Some of the best hot springs in Iceland require a hike to get to – and even if it’s just a short walk, the frequent rain often means mud, so good traction is a must!
My favorite hiking boots are my Danner boots – they’re cute, comfortable, and waterproof! I also love hiking in my Luna Barefoot sandals, and I wore them to pretty much all of these hot springs in Iceland. I like that they’re easy to slip on and off, and after you get out of the hot spring, you don’t have to put your wet feet in boots.
Rain boots are another great option for muddy or wet conditions, and are definitely the easiest to clean.
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The worst thing about the hot springs in Iceland… is getting out! It’s often chilly when you get out of the water, so having some layers to put on afterwards is a must, and also important if you’re hiking to a hot spring.
The Marmot Minimalist Jacket is a great lightweight, waterproof option. For the cold, I love my Columbia puffy jacket – it’s lightweight, but keeps me warm. It’s also water resistant! For added warmth and layering, a Patagonia fleece is always a good addition.
If you’re hiking to a hot spring, you’ll need a bag to carry your stuff, but even if there’s no hike, there might still be a few things you want to bring with you.
When I’m bringing my camera gear, my favorite backpack is the Alex Strohl Mountain Light. It’s definitely the best camera bag out there for hiking with photo gear. If you don’t need storage for camera stuff, I recommend an Osprey Hikelite. If you aren’t bringing very much and just want a day bag, I love my Topo Designs Y-Pack for carrying everyday essentials!
Keep in mind that many of the hot springs don’t have anywhere to keep your bag, so if it’s raining, it will get wet! The Mountain Light backpack is waterproof on it’s own, which is super handy. The Osprey Hikelite comes with a rain cover that you can put over the backpack. If your backpack isn’t waterproof or doesn’t have a rain cover, I definitely recommend bringing a dry bag for anything that can’t get wet!
Something a lot of people don’t realize about hot springs is that they can really dehydrate you. The hot water means your body is working hard to cool down by sweating, which you often won’t notice because you’re in the water. This means it’s really important to stay hydrated! Single use water bottles are, of course, terrible for the environment, so avoid that and bring a reusable one!
For hiking, the CamelBak water reservoirs are convenient and easy – they can fit in your hiking backpack for water on the go. Nalgene water bottles are great for day to day, and if you want an insulated water bottle to keep your water cold and refreshing, Hydro Flasks are the best!
The Best Famous Hot Springs in Iceland
There are lots of amazing hot springs in Iceland – some are pretty well known, while others are hidden and off the beaten path! In this guide, I’ll talk about both – we’ll start with the best famous hot springs in Iceland. These are pretty popular, and you’ll usually see some other people around. But, they’re absolutely still worth visiting! Make sure to keep reading because in the next section, I’ll tell you about a few places where you can have a little more solitude.
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River
The Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is a hot river that flows through the mountains of Iceland. There’s a 5 mile (8 km) hike to get here, but the trail is beautiful, taking you through the landscape to see geotehrmal springs, mountains, and lots of sheep!
Landmannalaugar Bathing Place
Landmannalaugar is one of the best places to go in Iceland’s Highlands. The hills look like they’ve been painted, and you’ll find some incredible hikes in this area, along with the Landmannalaugar Bathing Place – a natural hot spring that makes for a great place to relax after a hike. I especially recommend the Bláhnúkur trail, then soak in the hot spring afterwards and spend the night at the campground.
Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
This one is honestly kind of controversial – some people love the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, while others hate it. Personally, I liked it, and I think it deserves to be on this list of the best hot springs in Iceland! It’s conveniently located on the South Coast and easy to get to, and there’s a short walk from the parking lot to the pool, where you can swim and enjoy the scenery.
Drangsnes Hot Pots
In the town of Drangsnes, there are three hot tubs (although only two were filled when I was here) right by the ocean! You can enjoy the hot water and watch the sea and the birds pecking in the sand, and it’s a really magical place to be. Though this place is pretty well known, the Westfjords of Iceland are remote and tend to be pretty quiet, so I only saw a few people while I was at this hot spring.
Hellalaug is a gorgeous hot spring in Iceland, with a rock wall on one side and a view of the water on the other. This place is a famous hot spring in Iceland, but because it’s undeveloped, you can usually enjoy without too many other people around!
The Best Hidden Hot Springs in Iceland
Now, let’s talk about the best hidden hot springs in Iceland! The places on this list aren’t as well known as some of the famous hot springs, or they’re a little off the beaten path and harder to get to – which means you can often get them to yourself, or at least almost to yourself.
Hrunalaug Hot Spring
When I was scuba diving at Silfra, our guide told us about this place! Hrunalaug is a really cute hot spring that’s not far of the Ring Road, but not as well known. A local family owns this place, but for a fee, they let people use it. There’s a nice changing room and several pools of different temperatures, and the scenery is just incredible.
Deep in the Highlands of Iceland is a crater called Askja – and next to it is a smaller crater lake called Víti, where the water is turquoise blue and hot! Getting to Askja and Víti is an adventure in itself, and you’ll definitely need a 4×4 and some guts to drive on the F-roads. You’ll need to hike a little – 4.1 miles (6.6 km) – but the trail is pretty easy.
Just a head’s up though, while you usually can swim in Víti (and Askja too, but that one’s cold), when I was here, there was a sign that said that due to unpredictable geothermal activity, swimming wasn’t recommended at that time.
Hveravellir Hot Spring
Another great spot in the Highlands is the Hveravellir Geothermal Area, where there’s a gorgeous blue hot spring to soak in. There are several hikes nearby, and the scenery surrounding the hot spring is amazing!
Galtahryggjarlaug Geothermal Pool
This is probably my favorite hot spring on this list – and it’s the only one that I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have entirely to yourself! This hot spring in Iceland is truly a secret, and it’s kind of hard to get to. It’s located near the Hotel Heydalur (where you’ll also find some amazing human made hot springs too!), and when you get there, they can give you directions to this incredible secret hot spring.
Krosslaug hot spring
I was kind of surprised that Krosslaug wasn’t more popular, but there were only a few other people here! This is one of the best hot springs in Iceland, with a stone tub located by the ocean, along with a heated pool for swimming.
Guðrúnarlaug hot spring
This is one of the best hot springs in Iceland, and while we did see a few other people, for most of the time we were here, we were the only ones! Guðrúnarlaug is located in the middle of a grassy field, with a little changing room and a waterfall nearby.
Hörgshliðarlaug Hot Spring
I found this one by accident, just driving through the Westfjords. Hörgshliðarlaug is an amazing hot spring right by the water, and a great place to just realax and enjoy the views!
Map of the Best Hot Springs in Iceland
Here’s a map of all the best hot springs in Iceland that I mentioned in this post! The hiker icons represent hot springs that require a hike to get to, while the rest are places that are easily accessible and at most a short walk away from the parking area.
More Adventures Near the Best Hot Springs in Iceland
To find more things to do in Iceland, be sure to check out these Iceland itineraries! For more adventures, this post has some of the best waterfalls in Iceland.
- Everything You Need to Know About Driving in Iceland
- Guide to Camping in Iceland
- Iceland Road Trip Itineraries
If you’ve been to any of these best hot springs in Iceland and have any tips, or if you’re planning a trip and have any questions, leave them in a comment below!
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