After a long day of road tripping or hiking, nothing feels better than sliding into some hot geothermal water. Pretty much every town in Iceland has a local swimming pool, each with its own unique character, atmosphere, and variety of facilities. Here are some of our favourites.
West: Stykkishólmur Pool
Stykkishólmur’s pool benefits from a local geothermal water supply that’s higher in some minerals than either the Blue Lagoon or the Mývatn Nature Baths, as signs at the pool proudly proclaim. The silky water feels soft on the skin, and when you’re done luxuriating in the hot pots there’s also a “warm” hot tub, where you can easily drift off without overheating.
Westfjords: Reykjanes, Ísafjarðardjúp
This one is technically the oldest natural pool in the country, is built like a swimming pool and has facilities like a swimming pool…so it must be a swimming pool. It is by far the greatest pool in the Westfjords, located in a beautiful valley midway between Ísaförður and Reykjavík, which makes it the perfect pit-stop. The water is also filled with green algae, which is probably good for you.
Westfjords: Krossneslaug, Westfjords
By far the most remote pool on this list, Krossneslaug is located at the very end of a precarious gravel road on the Strandir coast of the Westfjords. The facilities are basic, but the location is stunning: Krossneslaug is on a black beach, with mountains and silhouetted sea stacks visible on all sides.
North: Hofsós Pool
Probably the most picturesque municipal pool in Iceland, this breathtaking bathing spot sits high above Skagafjörður with an amazing view across the fjord. The layout gives you the impression of swimming towards the horizon, infinity pool-style. Worth the detour.
North: Akureyri Pool
Iceland’s second city is home to a modern swimming palace that’s the envy even of Reykjavík. There are various pools and pots for swimming or basking, and it has all the trimmings, including massage jets, a waterfall to lie under, a steam room, and a 43° pot that will relax even the tightest shoulders.
East: Selárdalslaug, Vopnafjörður
Constructed way back in 1949, this pool sits on the banks of one of Iceland’s best salmon rivers, near the northeastern town of Vópnafjörður. In summer, people make use of the large sun deck and deckchairs, but in winter, a dip in the hot pot might be best.
East: Neskaupstaður Pool
Iceland’s easternmost municipal pool is far from the beaten track of Route One, lying on the other side of a mountain pass from Reyðarfjörður. It’s a calm and relaxing place, full of chatting locals enjoying the hot pots, which have a perfect view of the immense mountains of Norðfjörður.
South: Selfoss Pool
Quite possibly the largest swimming pool in South Iceland, the Selfoss pool is the perfect spot for a family outing. It’s both indoor and outdoor, with kid pools, a slide, and grownup hangout tubs. It went through an extensive renovation in 2015, making it quite state-of-the-art.
South: Hveragerði Pool
Hveragerði is situated in a sheltered geothermal valley, with torrents of steam pouring from the ground in various places. The water has been put to good use at the charming, retro-style town pool, which has a steam room heated by a loudly bubbling hot spring right beneath the floorboards.
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