You will find several natural geothermal pools in the Westfjords of Iceland. I have visited most of them on my visits through the years to the Westfjords.
Hellulaug pool is a geothermal pool which is located right by the beach. It is lovely sitting there with the view of the ocean and Vatnsfjörður fjord.
Hellulaug cannot be seen from the road, but there is a parking lot above the pool and a good path down to the ocean. The pool is 60 cm deep and the temperature of the water is ca 38 degrees C. The geothermal water comes from a borehole above the pool.
On the occasion when my photos were taken there were 2 nude French tourists in the pool. Bathing nude in the hot pools is not customary amongst Icelanders, at least not when there are other people in the pool. And it is not comfortable sitting down naked on uneven rocks in these pools.
Bring a swimsuit and bear in mind that bathing naked in these hot pools is not a local custom here, like I have seen written in some blogs and even in the video "Inspired by Iceland", which was made as an official campaign to boost tourism in Iceland. I have always found this video to be silly, but that is only my opinion.
In the video you can see people dancing around on icebergs in the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon (which is dangerous and forbidden), dancing on and destroying the delicate moss in Iceland's nature (which is also nothing to imitate), dancing by mud pools (never do that), and bathing naked in a hot pool (which is ok if you are alone, which is not the case in Iceland any longer).
Unfortunately there are no changing facilities by the pool, apart from a stonewall. It is best to wear your swimsuit under your clothes, so you do not have to strip naked there. Let's respect nature and never leave litter behind by the pool.
The pool is always open and there in no entrance fee. But please leave some money in the canister by the parking lot for the maintenance of the hot pool and its surroundings. The pool is emptied regularly and cleaned and passes quality requirements for hot pools.
Hellulaug is located in Vatnsfjörður in the southern part of the Westfjords by Flókalundur on road 60.
You will find a natural geothermal pool in Reykjafjörður fjord, called Reykjafjarðarlaug pool.
There are actually 2-3 pools here. One of them is molten and is a swimming pool really, built in 1975 by volunteers. This pool is being painted and repaired and will be temporarily closed (2016). It is not yet certain when and if it will open again.
The temperature of the water in the pool was 32 degrees C, but much hotter water ran into the pool from a hot spring and a well in the vicinity, which is up to 52 degrees C hot.
The other pool is located just above the molten pool. It is a 6 meter's long sitting tub located in a hot stream which has been jammed by rocks. The temperature of the water is 45 degrees C.
When we visited it in July there were tourists in the pool, a young couple, and they were not happy to see us. I wanted to go in, but opted out as I did not want to disturb them. I understood them as it can be very romantic sitting with your loved one in a geothermal pool alone in nature. But I would have liked to sit down in this hot pool as well as I don't visit the Westfjords of Iceland that often.
The natural pools are open all year round and there is no entrance fee. Let's respect these gems in nature and leave them as we would like to find them. Leave no litter behind and bring a small resealable bag for used toilet paper. Apart from seeing litter in our beautiful nature there are few things that irritate me more than seeing used toilet paper all over the place. So I always bring a resealable bag with me for this purpose.
If you look closely, while visiting this natural pool, you will notice a turf shed inside this grassy hill :)
This geothermal pool is located the south-west part of the Westfjords in Reykjafjörður fjord by road 63.
Pollurinn in Tálknafjörður
Just outside of Tálknafjörður village there are very popular natural thermal pools up in a mountain side. They are called Pollurinn in Icelandic by the locals, or the Pool.
There are 3 concrete blue-painted pools here, 2 of them are a bit shallow and one deeper. And the temperature of the water varies up to 46 degrees C, if it gets too hot one can add colder water from a hose to the pools.
The view from the pools is amazing. There one has a clear view of the beautiful mountains of Tálknafjörður fjord. On our visit we watched the sun set and the mountains where bathed in beautiful red and golden light. Very romantic, it just warmed up my heart.
There is a borehole by the pools, dating back to 1977, and the water from it is also directed to the swimming pool in Tálknafjörður and heats up the school and gymnasium there. The pools were built in 1985.
On one side of the changing rooms is written in big letters: "Hugsaðu vel um náttúruna, dreptu á bílnum" meaning: "Care for the nature and turn off the car engine".
There are changing rooms by the pool and a shower. They are free of charge provided by the rural district. I was so sad when I read in our newspaper that tourists had been using the changing rooms as a free "hotel" to save money on accommodation :(
The changing rooms are only 4-5 sq.m. on each side and once 12 people were found sleeping in the changing rooms! Others have even used a primus inside the changing rooms! And so much litter is left behind :(
The pools are located just outside of town up in a hill called Sveinseyrarhlíð hill. Carry on driving on road 617 which then turns into a gravel road. The pools cannot be seen directly from the road.
If this keeps up something has to be done, and the owners of Hrunalaug hot pool in South-Iceland say they are ready to destroy their beautiful hot pool with a bulldozer if this dreadful behaviour doesn't stop.
The last 2 photos above are of Krosslaug hot pools in the Westfjords also called Krossholtslaug pools.
Gvendarlaug in Bjarnarfjörður
Gvendarlaug - the Pool of Gvendur the Good is a natural geothermal spring in Bjarnarfjörður at Strandir on the north-east part of the Westfjords. It is located next to Hotel Laugarhóll, where I stayed for one night.
This lovely little pool is one of my favourites - here you can soak in temperatures of 42°C and bubbles arise from a natural pot in the middle of it, giving you a natural foot massage.
Next to the pool is a hot creek and a man-made pool with a stone in the middle, where you can f.ex. take a foot-bath. It makes for such a lovely photo, in my opinion.
Next to these hot pools is a swimming pool also by the name of Gvendarlaug. The swimming pool is 25 meter's long with 32°C natural warm water coming from Gvendarlaug hin forna - Gvendarlaug the old, which is an old preserved pool which was blessed by bishop Guðmundur góði in ca 1237.
The pools blessed by the bishop are believed to have healing powers. There is no bathing in the old healing spring, but the other pools are open from 10:00-22:00 and the entrance fee, ISK 500 is payable at the reception of Hotel Laugarhóll.
I have written an additional travel blog on the Gvendarlaug pools in Bjarnarfjörður with road-directions as it is a very interesting place to visit - and here you can even visit the Sorcerer's Cottage!
I love hot pools and will be adding more more hot pools in the Westfjords of Iceland to my travel blog with time. But on the other hand I do not wish to add to the destruction of these pools by writing about them.
Unfortunately some of the pools without supervision have now become contaminated with bacteria and some of them have been measured to contain as much as 200 times as much bacteria as is permissible. This is caused by too many people visiting them.
Take that into account before you dip in. The pools which are under supervision and have a shower are ok, as long as people shower thoroughly before dipping in. Let us all join hands and preserve these beautiful gems of nature, so we can enjoy them for years to come.
To reach the Westfjords it is best to rent a car in Reykjavík.
You can also buy a 8 Day Self Drive Tour|Westfjords & Snæfellsnes Peninsula, a
Also check out the most popular guided tours of the Westfjords of Iceland. I have joined some of them and will try to join more each year to show you what they are like :) In the summer of 2017 I joined a tour of Kjaransbraut avenue, the most dangerous road in the Westfjords, which was a day to remember!
I have written several other blogs on the Westfjords of Iceland, f.ex. A Visit to the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur, Dynjandi Waterfall and the Natural Wonders of the Westfjords of Iceland - Látrabjarg Bird Cliff & Rauðasandur Beach.