Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-Iceland

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-Iceland

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-Iceland

Seeing that Iceland is a volcanic island then you will find several hot pools in Iceland with natural geothermal water. 

There is one in particular that I like, called Guðrúnarlaug hot tub. It is in an area of West-Iceland which is a pure Viking area.  

Top photo: Guðrúnarlaug and the changing room

Regína in Guðrúnarlaug in Iceland

Visiting Guðrúnarlaug in 2010

A landslide fell on the original hot tub so the original "laug" hot pool of Guðrún had been closed for 140 years, as it were.

A replica of the original hot pool was made close to where the other pool was and built to the liking of what we believe the hot pools of the Vikings looked like.

It was taken in use in October 2009, and I first visited Guðrúnarlaug in August 2010.By Guðrúnarlaug hot tub

The changing room

The Vikings from one of our old Icelandic Sagas, Laxdæla Saga, lived here more than a thousand years ago. I read Laxdæla Saga in college and fell in love with the colourful characters.

I reread it a couple of times much later on and would recommend it if you want to get to know more about the settlers of Iceland and their descendants.

There are around 42 Icelandic Sagas and Laxdæla is amongst the best-known ones.Regína at Guðrúnarlaug in Sælingsdalur

Visiting Guðrúnarlaug hot tub in 2015

Visiting this area makes me feel like stepping back in time. Here lived Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, the most noteworthy female character in Laxdæla Saga.

Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, Bolli Þorleiksson, and Kjartan Ólafsson made up the best-known love triangle in the Icelandic Sagas.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandLaugar in Sælingsdalur

Kjartan and Bolli were first cousins, but Kjartan's father, Ólafur pá, had offered to his half-brother, Þorleikur, to be Bolli's foster father. 

Kjartan and Bolli were thus raised together at Hjarðarholt in Laxárdalur and loved each other very much and were always together.

Guðrúnarlaug hot tub

Alone by Guðrúnarlaug very early in the morning after staying for the night at Dalahotel

It is written in Laxdæla Saga that Guðrún spent a lot of time in or by the hot tub by her home Laugar.

And Bolli and Kjartan visited her on several occasions and both of them fell for her.

And Guðrún fell for Kjartan. But when Kjartan was abroad Bolli asked Guðrún to marry him.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe swimming pool at Laugar in Sælingsdalur

When Kjartan returned to Iceland he was very hurt as he loved Guðrún and had meant to marry her. He had asked her to wait for him for 3 years.

This led to a chain of events where Bolli ended up killing Kjartan and the 49th chapter in Laxdæla brings tears to my eyes.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandHere Bolli killed Kjartan

As Kjartan didn't defend himself by telling Bolli that he was doing an evil deed, but that he would rather die by the hand of Bolli than kill Bolli himself. 

Written in Laxdæla is: "Bolli gave no answer to Kjartan's words, but all the same he dealt him his death wound.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThere were dark clouds over the Dalir area when Bolli killed Kjartan

And straightway Bolli sat down under the shoulders of him, and Kjartan breathed his last in the lap of Bolli." :(

This is one of the saddest moments in the Icelandic Sagas, if not the saddest. 

I have read them all and reading this chapter in the Laxdæla Saga always makes me cry.

Helgafell at Snæfellsnes

The historical Helgafell on the Snæfellsnes peninsula

Of course, this was revenged as was the tradition back then and Bolli was killed. Guðrún was pregnant with Bolli Bollason at the time and lived at Tunga in Sælingsdalur, where she had moved with Bolli after he killed Kjartan back in 1003.

Guðrún asked her good friend Snorri goði at Helgafell if he wanted to switch homes with her as she didn't feel at ease living in this area anymore after all these killings.

She was pregnant and with small children on her own.

Laxdæla, Draumar Guðrúnar

The information sign by Guðrúnarlaug - Gestur and Guðrún.

In Íslendingabók - the Icelandic database for the genealogy of Icelanders I see that Bolli and Guðrún had 5 children.

Bolli and Guðrún are my ancestors 28 generations back through Bolli Bollason.

Snorri goði was having some problems himself at Helgafell, so he agreed and moved to Tunga and Guðrún moved to Helgafell on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.

And later on, when Guðrún's son Bolli was 12 years old he helped in revenging Bolli his father.

The information sign by Guðrúnarlaug

The information sign by Guðrúnarlaug tells us about the 4 dreams of Guðrún

You will find an information sign by the hot tub about 4 of Guðrún's dreams, which the noted Gestur Oddleifsson from Hagi on Barðaströnd deciphered.

Gestur told Guðrún that she would be married 4 times - which came true.

She first married Þorvaldur Halldórsson. Her second husband was Þórður Ingunnarson and they had 2 children according to Íslendingabók.

Her 3rd husband was Bolli Þorleiksson, and her last husband was Þorkell Eyjólfsson who lived with Guðrún at Helgafell. They had 2 children.

The memorial stone for Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir at Helgafell

The memorial stone for Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir at Helgafell in Snæfellsnes

At Helgafell you can visit what we think might be Guðrún's grave north of the church.

The grave turns towards the church according to Irish tradition.

It is amazing to see 1008 written on the memorial stone, which is the date when Guðrún moved to Helgafell, but the memorial stone was put up in 1979 and is made out of rock from Mt. Helgafell.  

I love visiting Guðrún's grave, sitting by it pondering on the lives of the Vikings in the Sagas. I feel so close to the past on this spot. 

The memorial stone for Guðrún at Helgafell Snæfellsnes

The memorial stone for Guðrún at Helgafell

Kjartan Ólafsson is buried in the graveyard at Borg at Mýrar, but he was the grandson of Egill Skallagrímsson at Borg, whose story is written in Egilssaga - the Saga of Egill, which is another great Saga.

Dalahotel in Sælingsdalur

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe lovely couple who runs the Dalahotel in Sælingsdalur valley

At Laugar in Sælingsdalur valley you will find a hotel, which is now called Dalahotel - the Hotel in the Valleys. This area in West Iceland is called Dalir - the Valleys.

The hotel has had new proprietors, Karl Birgir Örvarsson and Halldóra Árnadóttir, since the fall of 2022 and they decided to keep the hotel open all year round.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandOur room at the hotel

I love that the hotel is now open in the wintertime and it must be heavenly sitting in Guðrúnarlaug watching the Northern lights flickering in the sky on a winter night.

The hotel is a former boarding school for this area, Laugaskóli.

We booked late in the evening on the day before our stay, a spur-of-the-moment thing, and got the last room in the hotel.

It was a room with a shared bathroom, which often was the case in the old boarding schools.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe view from our window

There are 21 double rooms like this with shared bathrooms, one quadruple room, and two singles I read on the hotel website, but I booked the room via

I prefer staying in rooms with a private bathroom, but as I was so late in booking the room, there was none left.

The hotel offers 22 rooms with private bathrooms and the day after our arrival there was a family reunion and the hotel was again fully booked for the weekend, as some of the participants had arrived early.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe beautiful communal area at Dalahotel

I guess that it was just a fluke that we were able to book this last room in the hotel.

The hotel is very popular with Icelanders, but many of us love to stay in the old boarding schools and have been used to this type of accommodation since we were young travelling around Iceland.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe lovely communal area

Since that time when we were alone travelling around Iceland, we have seen an increase in foreign visitors to our country, so there are now many more types of accommodation to choose from in Iceland, but staying in a boarding school still gives me a fuzzy feeling :)

My husband had to work in the room that evening, so I stayed in the lovely communal area and had a drink.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandRelaxing in the soft light in the cozy room

This is what I like the best about the old boarding school, the communal area, wandering around in the corridors, and the recreational areas.

The rooms with a shared bathroom are very basic, but the rest of the hotel is so lovely.

Here you will find a game room with billiard and tennis tables and a playroom for the kids. And a lovely cozy room with massage chairs, candles, and electric blankets.

I stayed out of the noisy playroom and opted for the massage chairs.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandKarl and Halldóra now run Dalahotel

I got to know the proprietors, Karl and Halldóra when I was leaving the next morning and asked them to pose for a photo for my travel blog.

Halldóra showed me around the hotel and told me about the renovations they had made and plans for the hotel.

This lovely couple ran the hotel at Reykir in Hrútafjörður valley for 21 years, so they have tons of experience. 

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandThe lovely Halldóra showed us around the hotel 

I love visiting family-run hotels and have written travel blogs about several family-run hotels through the years, f.ex. Hotel Breiðavík, the boutique hotel Ráðagerði, Hotel West in Patreksfjörður, Hotel Laugarhóll at Strandir, Hotel Laki at Efri-Vík and Guesthouse Hamrafoss.

I have stayed at the hotel at Laugar a couple of times before and visited Guðrúnarlaug hot tub late at night and early in the morning when nobody was around and I was there all by myself.

Guðrúnarlaug is open to the guests of the hotel and the campsite. You take off your clothes in a small changing room above the hot tub and get into the tub. It is warm and lovely.

Guðrúnarlaug hot tub

Guðrúnarlaug hot tub and the hotel, which has now got new proprietors and is called Dalahotel

On another occasion, I was here alone with my husband in a drizzle and very calm weather. 

It was just like out of this world, bathing outside in nature in a reconstruction of the hot tub of Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir. Pure heaven and very romantic :)

I hope Guðrúnarlaug isn't overly crowded now. The thing with the natural hot pools in Iceland is that so many visitors want to take a dip in them nowadays (which I fully understand).

Regína at Guðrúnarlaug hot tub

With my husband at Laugar in Sælingsdalur valley

Sælingsdalur is located in West Iceland, some 167 km north of Reykjavík, which is around 2.5 hours of driving. 

To reach Sælingsdalur turn from ring-road 1 and turn onto road 60 for Búðardalur village. Drive for 16 km as if you were going to Hólmavík town and turn left on side road 589.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandYou will see this flag for Dalahotel at the junction

Drive for 3 km on a paved road to Dalahotel. Up on a hill immediately above the hotel, you will find Guðrúnarlaug hot tub.

Here you can see the location of Guðrúnarlaug on the map. GPS: 65°14'42.5"N 21°48'09.8"W

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandVisiting Guðrúnarlaug when I stayed at Dalahotel in the summer of 2023

I love visiting this area. And there is an elf church in the valley as well Tungustapi in Sælingsdalur - the Church of the Elves in West-Iceland - Icelandic Folklore.

And other elf locations, like Ásgarðsstapi.

In the vicinity is Eiríksstaðir Viking longhouse, which is another Viking valley depicted in Grænlendinga Saga and Eiríkssaga, which I also recommend visiting.

And the Saga Circle of Iceland, about which I have written another travel-blog.

Guðrúnarlaug Hot-tub - the Saga Hot-tub in Sælingsdalur Valley in West-IcelandLaugar in Sælingsdalur valley

This is the first travel-blog I wrote on Guide to Iceland back in 2013 and since then I have written some 300 travel-blogs on my travels in my country. I hope you enjoy them.

Have a lovely time in Iceland :)

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