Where are the best pools in Iceland? Where are the best hot tubs? What do Icelandic swimming pools offer?
Iceland is filled with natural geothermal water so it should not be surprising that Icelanders love to go to swimming pools and soak in hot tubs. There are pools in pretty much every village and town in Iceland - and sometimes some of them are even located in the middle of nowhere!
Reykjavík has a number of great pools - but this list focuses on the pools in the countryside and doesn't include any pools in Reykjavík. Here you can find a list of the best swimming pools in Reykjavík.
Most of the swimming pools are heated outdoor pools and they most of the time have at least one hot tub nearby as well. The biggest pools have both an indoor and an outdoor pool, various hot tubs and saunas to choose from. All this for an entry fee of around 900 ISK or less! You can even find swimming pools and/or hot tubs with free entry.
You will also find many natural hot springs to bathe in - or geothermal spas such as the Blue Lagoon, Fontana geothermal baths, Mývatn Nature Baths and the Secret Lagoon. What follows is a list of some of my favourite pools and hot tubs in Iceland.
6. Westman Islands Swimming Pool
This swimming pool in the Westman Islands is great to take kids to - or just go with your friends if you want to try out different slides, a climbing wall or enjoy the various massage functions of one of the jacuzzis, such as standing underneath a 'waterfall'. If you still want more exercise, you can work out at the gym there.
The area has an inside pool and 3 hot tubs, a couple of water slides, and a sunbathing pool outside, adjacent to a very popular play pool. The water of the inside pool has 0,9% salt in it, the same as the human body, making it particularly healthy, light and easy to swim in.
5. Akureyri Swimming Pool
This is a very fun swimming pool with 2 great water slides, located in the town of Akureyri, the capital of the North. The pool is ideal for bringing children along that can play in the slides whilst the grown-ups sit by in a hot jacuzzi. There are in fact two outside pools and a third indoor one, an additional splashpool, a steam bath, and sauna. Water temperatures range from 27° to 42°C in the warmest tub.
The area also features a family play area that's open in the summertime. This includes golf, peddle cars and a playground. In short, the area has something for all.
This is a very beautiful swimming pool, located in Selárdalur valley, a short drive outside of Vopnafjörður in the North-East of Iceland. The pool is situated next to a river and is well sheltered from wind. A large wooden terrace makes it excellent for sunbathing. It is without electricity and is not guarded in winter - so at that time of year people bring candles to light it up. The swimming pool gets its water from a nearby hot stream and its temperature is around 30-33°C year round. There are two hot tubs next to the pool, 38°-40°C and 40°-42°C.
3. Hveragerdi - Laugarskard Swimming Pool
(Photo credit Hveragerdi)
This swimming pool is located in the town of Hveragerdi, - around 45 minutes drive from Reykjavik. The pool was once one of the biggest in Iceland and is still among the most popular ones. It is 50 meters long and 12 meters wide and has been used as a backdrop for several music videos, such as the one at the start of this article.
The water constantly runs through it and is heated through natural steam coming from the ground. The architecture of this pool, originally built in in the 1940s is also interesting. The pool is moderately designed and in addition features a warm, shallow sitting pool and a jacuzzi, as well as a natural steambath, a passage parlour and spa.
2. Drangsnes Hot Tubs
My absolute favourite hot tubs in the country can be found in Drangsnes in the Westfjords. Three hot tubs are located by the main road of the town, right by the seaside. There is no entry fee to the hot tubs and they are open 24/7. Across the road is a small changing room, one for males, one for females, including a bathroom - a novelty that was only made in 2011. Before that you had to change your clothes no matter the weather outside.
It is popular to clamber over the rocks into the sea just beside the hot tubs (beware: the rocks are slippery and the sea is FREEZING COLD) but then you can warm right up again in the hot tubs. Also, if you've already made it to Drangsnes, you might as well keep on driving for a couple of more hours until you hit Krossnes, close to Nordurfjordur and Trekyllisvik. The swimming pool in Krossnes is right by the seaside, with a breathtaking view like the one in Hofsos - just slightly more out of the way.
1. Hofsós Swimming Pool
(Image credit: Mike Kelley)
Arguably the most beautiful swimming pool in the country - and with the best view! - the Hofsos pool is located on a hillside by the fjord of Skagafjordur. It gives a great view over the fjord and its islands, notably Drangey, Malmey, as well as the Thordarhofdi peninsula and the mountains on the other side of the fjord, all adding up to a stunning scenery.
Come rain or shine, the vista from the pool is a combination of marvellous different shades of blue; the clear blue colour of the swimming pool itself, the green blue sea, the dark blue of the islands and mountains in the distance, and finally the blueness of the sky on a clear day. The size of the pool is 25x10.5 m and you‘ll have a hot tub to soak in, as well as a steambath and an infrared sauna.
The architecture of both the pool and the surrounding facilities is exemplary, attracting people from all over.