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. I am going to show you some of them in my travel-blog as I love visiting them. But so many people are dipping into them nowadays that some of them cannot self-clean anymore. Just take that into account before dipping in.
Hellulaug pool is a geothermal pool which is located right on 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 about 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 very much 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 is 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 was being repaired on my last two visits to the Westfjords, so it might still be closed.
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-metre long sitting tub located in a hot stream that 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 Iceland's 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 southwest part of the Westfjords in Reykjafjörður fjord by road 63. Reykjafjörður is a part of the long Arnarfjörður fjord. See also:
Just outside of Tálknafjörður village there are very popular natural thermal pools up on a mountainside. 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. I have seen that new additions have been made to Pollurinn - it looks amazing now. You can see a photo of the new addition on the Facebook page of Pollurinn.
The view from the pools is amazing. There one has a clear view of the beautiful mountains of Tálknafjörður fjord. During our visit, we watched the sunset; the mountains were bathed in beautiful red and golden light. Very romantic, it warmed my heart :) The photos are taken earlier, and I didn't want to ruin that special moment by getting the camera.
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 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 on 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.
I know that most people respect their surroundings and fellow human beings, but there are always those few people, who behave in this dreadful manner and ruin it for the rest of us.
If this keeps up something has to be done, and the owners of Hrunalaug hot pool in South-Iceland said at one point that they were ready to destroy their beautiful hot pool with a bulldozer if this disrespectful behaviour didn't stop.
The last 2 photos above are of Krosslaug hot pools in the Westfjords also called Krossholtslaug pools.
Gvendarlaug is a natural geothermal spring in Bjarnarfjörður at Strandir on the northeast 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 around 1237.
The pools blessed by the bishop are believed to have healing powers. There is absolutely no bathing in the old healing spring, so make sure that you don't bathe in the wrong pool ;) 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!
In the remote Strandir on the east-side of the Westfjords of Iceland, you will find Krossneslaug swimming pool. This unique swimming pool has by some been called the best-kept secret in the Westfjords. This area is off the beaten path in Iceland, but so worth a visit.
Krossneslaug is located almost as long as the gravel road takes you. The swimming pool is on the beach at Laugarvík cove right next to the open North-Atlantic sea.
It is absolutely magical soaking in a warm swimming pool so close to the cold sea.
The geothermal water in the pool comes from Krossneshverar geothermal area on the other side of the road.
There is an entrance fee to the pool - ISK 500 last time I visited.
You can read more about the remote Strandir in my travel-blog the remote Strandir in the Westfjords of Iceland - Stillness & Sorcery.
The ever so lovely swimming pool Reykjaneslaug is located on the north part of the Westfjords, 50 x 12.5 metres. I stayed here for one night at the Reykjanes hotel.
There is an entrance fee to Reykjaneslaug, but if you stay at the hotel entrance is included. The pool can even become too hot so you are advised to enter at your own risk. Always check out the temperature of hot pools before jumping in as this is geothermal water from geothermal areas.
Unfortunately, some of the pools which are 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 due to too many people visiting them.
The pools which are under supervision and have a shower are ok, as long as people shower thoroughly before dipping in.
The pool inside the green shed was closed as it is in private use
I love hot pools, but on the other hand, I do not wish to add to the destruction of these pools by writing about them, so it is tricky. So I can only ask you kindly to treat them well.
Some of the hot pools are privately owned and the owners have had to close them as they cannot withstand this much traffic. As was the case with the hot pool in my photo above. The pool is owned by the state, but the locals rent it and built the shed.
One of the man-made geothermal hot pools at Heydalur
I only briefly visited Heydalur and checked out the surroundings, which were absolutely beautiful. The original hot pool is situated across the river and you can see it as a white dot in my photo above the man-made pool. The white spot is a towel of a visitor I believe.
I didn't have enough time to visit it, but it is one of the hot pools which were blessed by Bishop Guðmundur góði - Guðmundur the good in the 12th century, so I have to come back for a visit. But I had a look around and checked out the lovely swimming pool inside a greenhouse :)
The swimming pool at Heydalur is inside a greenhouse
To reach the Westfjords it is best to rent a car in Reykjavík and drive to the Westfjords in a couple of days. Allow for at least 4-5 days to visit the Westfjords.
All in all, I have stayed for 23 days through the years in the Westfjords.
You have to get permission from the farmer to take a dip in Hörgshlíðarlaug hot pool by the sea
Also, check out the guided tours:
I have joined many of the guided tours to show you what they are like. When I visit remote areas of Iceland I prefer to be guided by a local, as in that way I get invaluable information about each place.
Hörgshlíðarlaug by road 633
I have written several travel-blogs on the Westfjords of Iceland, as I have spent a lot of time exploring this beautiful part of Iceland. Here are some of the other travel-blogs with many more to come:
Have a lovely time in the Westfjords of Iceland :) Let us all join hands and preserve these beautiful gems of nature, so we can enjoy them for years to come.