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Hike to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool in Iceland

The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool in Iceland is a hot spring located on the South Coast, just off the Ring Road. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs with a short hike on an Iceland road trip, and a nice place to soak!

This guide will tell you all about the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool – what to expect on the hike, whether it’s worth visiting (people have some divisive opinions on this one!), and more.

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

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About the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

Here’s what you need to know before you head to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool!

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool Hike Stats

Distance: 1.1 mile round trip (1.8 km)
Elevation Gain: 170 feet (52 m)
Difficulty: easy

Is it Worth it To Go to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool?

So, when I read about this place before my trip to Iceland, people had some really divisive things to say about the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool! I’ll be honest – some people hated it.

We decided to go anyway, so I’ll give you my honest opinion and an overview so that you can decide if it’s right for you! I enjoyed this hot spring, and I’m glad we went, but I do also see why some people don’t like it.

The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, with a changing room and mountains behind it.
The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, with a changing room and mountains behind it.

I thought the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool was fun because it’s so big – it’s literally a pool! This is different from most hot springs in Iceland, which are small and you can really only sit in them. I love swimming and I always enjoy connecting with my inner child and playing in water :-). I also really liked the hike itself – it was easy and had nice scenery.

But, the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool isn’t very hot. It’s warm, but not as hot as some other hot springs. There are two pipes that bring water into the pool, and sitting next to them gets you some warmer water!

Another drawback is that the pool has a lot of algae. It’s harmless, but definitely a little bit gross. It wasn’t a huge deal for me, but I can see why some reviews of this pool said they didn’t like it!

The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, with a changing room and mountains behind it.

I also read reviews that said the changing area was awful, but it was actually being cleaned right as we arrived so it was very clean for us – I don’t have any complaints about it.

Overall, I loved this spot and while I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to get here, its location between Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss makes it a nice pit stop if you have some extra time!

Leave No Trace At the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

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.

This trail is really popular – and while I firmly believe everyone deserves to enjoy these amazing spots, do your part to make sure it stays clean and beautiful! Iceland is a popular tourist destination, so overcrowding really takes a toll on nature, especially when people don’t follow LNT. The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool is privately owned, but they let people visit for free – so consider leaving a donation in the box, and make sure to keep it clean so that it stays open to the public!

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 hike to Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool!

  • Plan ahead and prepare – read this guide, make sure you know have the right gear, and be prepared for the weather and for the hike!
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail to avoid trampling grasses and plants! “Social trails” are a big problem in Iceland – when a lot of people take short cuts off the trail, it kills the plant life and creates what looks like a small trail. Do not walk on these! Stick to the main trail to preserve the plants.
  • Dispose of waste properly – don’t leave trash, or anything else, behind. There are no trash cans at the hot spring, so pack it out!
  • 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 trail won’t be as pretty.
  • Minimize campfire impacts – no campfires are allowed on the trail.
  • Respect wildlife – never approach wildlife, and never feed the animals! There isn’t much wildlife in Iceland, but there are a lot of sheep along this trail – they’re really cute, but give them plenty of space. Don’t stress them out!
  • Be considerate of other visitors – yield to other hikers, and be respectful – no speakers or loud music.

What to Bring to Hike to Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

When you hike to Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, here’s what you’ll need to bring!

Bathing Suit

There is a changing area at the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, so you can pack your bathing suit with you, or just wear it under your clothes.

I love bathing suits from Aerie – every one I’ve owned has been amazing and super comfortable! Backcountry has cute bathing suits too, and I like to wear some swim shorts for extra coverage.

Hiking Shoes

Iceland is known for being wet, so shoes with good traction are a must for this hike! There is one section of the trail where you’ll cross a stream, so waterproof shoes are ideal.

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 for this hike. I know most people wouldn’t advise sandals in Iceland, but I prefer them! Just be prepared for sudden changes in weather.

Rain boots are another great option for muddy or wet conditions, and are definitely the easiest to clean.

Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry.  Download Lolli here!

Layers

Iceland is known for being unpredictable, and it’s always best to wear layers when hiking. It’s important to bring rain gear, since there’s a good chance you’ll get caught in a drizzle while you hike.

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.

Backpack

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!

Hydration!

Especially when you’re hiking or exploring outdoors, it’s 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!

How to Get to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

You will need to drive to get to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, but the road is easy, so you don’t need a 4×4.

If you’re coming from Reykjavik, you’ll be on the Ring Road, then turn left on Road 242, a little bit past the town of Holt.

The coordinates for the parking lot are 63.559044,-19.624225, and you can find it by putting “Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool Car Park” into your GPS. For some reason, Google Maps “couldn’t find driving directions” to the parking lot, even though there is a road on the map, so if you have this problem too, you can set your GPS to go to the Welcome Holiday Homes instead – when it tells you you’ve arrived, keep going straight on the gravel road, and you’ll reach the parking area in a few minutes.

There is no fee for the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, so park your car and start the hike!

A view of the river along the the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool trail.

Hike to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

When you’re ready to start the hike, you’ll walk on the gravel and get to a rocky clearing – keep to the left, because that’s where the trail is. The trail is short and easy, and mostly flat the entire way!

Soon, you’ll be walking next to the river!

A view of the river along the the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool trail.

There is one section of the trail where you’ll have to cross a stream – it’s shallow, so nothing to worry about, but your shoes may get wet! There are some rocks that you can use to hop across.

Me crossing a stream on the hike to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool.

Soon, you’ll start to catch glimpses of the changing area, and you’ll know you’re almost at the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool.

The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, with a changing room and mountains behind it.

When you get there, there’s a little trail behind the changing room that I recommend taking for a nice views (I would do this before you hop in the water, because you’ll probably be a little chilly after)!

A view of the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool from above.
A view of the river along the the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool trail.

Then, get in the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool and enjoy!

The Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, with a changing room and mountains behind it.

Where to Stay Near the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

Once you’re done hiking, you’ll need a place to stay – and there are plenty of options close to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool! You can find a campsite nearby, or stay in one of the hotels.

This hot spring is close to Skógafoss, so that’s a good place to end your night! The Hotel Skógafoss is right by the waterfalls, and the Fosstúnskogar Guesthouse is a short walk away. The Starlight Holiday Pods are just minutes away from the trailhead, and these cute cabins make for a perfect place to stay!

For more places to stay near the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool, check out this map! Be sure to change the dates and zoom out to see all the available options.

Booking.com

More Adventures Near the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

To find more things to do nearby, be sure to check out these Iceland itineraries! I recommend checking out Skógafoss, but make sure to also visit the less popular Kvernufoss. If you’re heading back towards Reykjavik, drive into Landmannalaugar in the Highlands!

More posts:

If you’ve hiked this trail 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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A Pinterest graphic that says "hike to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool in Iceland."
A Pinterest graphic that says "hike to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool in Iceland."

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