Stunning and unforgettable – the primary way to describe Sundhöll Reykjavíkur on Barónsstígur, Reykjavík’s longest running (and only) indoor swimming pool. Opened in March 1937, constructed for 650,000 ISK, it was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson, the state architect of Iceland, after his first proposal got dismissed due to it’s so called ‘theatrical nature’. Construction eventually commenced on a subsequent design in 1929. Guðjón’s other noticeable postcard scenarios include the National Theatre of Iceland and the church Hallgrimskirkja, also commissioned in 1937.
Apparently inspired by the natural geology of Iceland – explicitly the basalt columns of Svartifoss – the blank art deco Lego block structure is beautifully depressing. The changing rooms make you feel like you’re lost inside a labyrinth of lockers and white tiles. Constant reshape in the doorways and walls form simple melancholy softness.
The inside pool is substantial and welcoming with two high diving boards to polish off your acrobatic skills for the 2012 Olympics. The open-air hot tubes bring a sense of warmth and community amongst your fellow pool dwellers, maybe read a book, catch some rays or just drift off gawking into the artic yonder.
Prices are extremely reasonable, costing 360ISK for adults and 110ISK for children, with year passes at 24,000ISK per adult and 10,000ISK for minors. Brilliantly, Sundhöll caters for those of a forgetful nature and the odd tourist unclear of the vast swimming culture Reykjavík boasts with an offer of a swimsuit, towel and entrance for only 750ISK.
Open between 06:30 and 21:30 on weekdays, 08:00 and 19:00 on weekends, there is no reason to miss out.
- Where: Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, Barónsstíg, 101 Reykjavík