Grettislaug is a hot pool in North Iceland.
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Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Bromr. No edits made.
Grettislaug in the Sagas
Grettislaug got its name from the main character of one of Iceland’s most famous Sagas, Grettis Saga. The tale follows the life of Grettir, an enormous man who lived for twenty years as an outlaw in Iceland, and many places he is said to have visited have his name attached.
The law of the day meant that any declared an outlaw can be killed without punishment, and that it was punishable to help them; the feat of surviving twenty harsh winters, escaping constant assassination attempts, was thus quite a great one.
Grettir, however, was remarkably strong, as can be seen in the story associated with the pool. He lived on the fortress-like northern island of Drangey, and was said to have swam the the seven and a half kilometres (five miles) from its shore to these hot springs. He bathed in one to prevent himself from dying from the chill of the sea, and it has been named after him since.
History of Grettislaug
Grettislaug used to sit next to another pool used for washing called Reykjalaug. However, Iceland’s volatile climate is constantly reshaping the country, and in the early 20th Century, both of these pools were lost in a storm.
Due to the history associated with the site, however, locals decided to rebuild Grettislaug in 1992. A second pool was added, although this one did not retain its name; it was instead called the Jarl’s pool, after a local called Jon Eiriksson whose popular tours to Drangey Island earnt him the nickname ‘the Jarl of Drangey’.
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by JD554. No edits made.
Grettislaug is located in north Iceland, on the shores of Skagifjörður. It boasts excellent views of the surrounding mountains and sea, including of Drangey Island.
The pool is on private property, meaning you will have to pay a small charge to enter. There are changing facilities on site, and the water is approximately 39 degrees Celcius (102 degree Fahrenheit).