With 7 public pools around Reykjavik you can find a swimming pool and hot tubs in almost any neighbourhood. Make sure you join in for the soaking and socializing, since it's one of the top things to do in Reykjavik
Swimming in Reykjavik
The adult entry fee to all the public pools in Reykjavik is 650 ISK (around 3.25 GBP or just under 5 USD). Kids and seniors get a discount, and you can also buy tickets in bulk or a year pass to make it even cheaper. But at about 4 euros, this is the cheapest spa treatment you'll ever buy. It's a popular thing for locals to do, and it's one of the main reasons we stay so healthy and fresh, even as we age. All the water is geothermal or geothermally heated, so it's also a sustainable hobby!
The swimming pools in Reykjavik offer a very unique experience. First of all, most of them are outside and open all year round, so in the dead of winter, you have to tiptoe barefoot and dripping wet across icy or snowy patches to move between hot tubs. There are usually 1 or 2 lap pools, at about 28°, where you can get some exercise or practice diving. Then there are usually more than 1 hot tub to choose from, at various temperatures, ranging from 38°C up to around 45°C. Most pools have a steam room, and some also have a dry Finnish sauna. The changing rooms have free soap and a fancy machine to dry your bathing suit and the female changing rooms usually have blowdryers you can use.
If you're venturing outside of Reykjavík, then here's a list of the best swimming pools and hot tubs in the countryside.
Here's a list of the 7 public pools in Reykjavik:
Árbæjarlaug - Fylkisvegur, 110 Reykjavík
This pool has an awesome solarium building, housing the inside pool. You can actually swim out to the lap pool from the inside pool. Designed by Icelandic architect Jón Þór Þorvaldsson; the big slide, water fountain, water bridge and great hot tub area make this one of the most impressive pools in Iceland.
Sundhöllin - Barónsstígur, 101 Reykjavík
This pool is located in downtown Reykjavik, walkable distance from the main shopping and nightlife street Laugavegur. It has only an indoor pool, containing 2 diving boards, the higher one almost 3 meters. Outside on the other hand are 2 hot tubs and a steam room. It's fun to walk up the stairs to the hot tubs, as the stairs are always rushing with water if the hot tubs start to overfill.
Laugardalslaug is the biggest and most popular swimming pool in Reykjavik. It's located close to the only camping site in Reykjavik, in Laugardalur recreational area. It has a swimming competition stadium which is never used for spectators, but becomes useful for the boot camp trainees to run stairs. It has 5 hot tubs (one is filled with sea salt water) and a huge slide, so it's fun for the whole family. Laugardalslaug also has the longest opening hours on the weekends, so it can get pretty packed late on Sundays.
This pool is in the quiet neighourhood of postcode 107, in the west part of town. It is a walkable distance from downtown but it's closest to the University so there are always a few students or teachers bathing. Vesturbæjarlaug has the coolest steam room, a round, concrete, glass-walled cave perfect to do some yoga.
Breiðholtslaug - Austurberg, 111 Reykjavík
This pool is in Breiðholt, a suburb within Reykjavík, that is usually less crowded than the other pools because of its location. It has a great shallow kids pool, not quite hot enough to be a hot tub, but perfect to laze in its shallow water after swimming lots of laps.
This pool is also quite a way from downtown, but if you can figure out the buses, go here to find the best lap pool. If you're playful or have kids with you, try the super long slide, just make sure you're not afraid of heights as you climb the spiral staircase up!
Kléberg Pool - Kjalarnes, 116 Reykjavík
Kléberg pool is all the way out past Mosfellsbaer, but falls into the municipal jurisdiction of Reykjavik. It's hard to get to, but if you plan to drive out to hike Mount Esja, then it's the closest pool to jump into afterwards to soak your sore muscles.
It's only open on weekdays from 15:00 to 21:00, and weekends from 11:00 to 15:00
All the other pools are open Monday - Thursday 06:30 to 22:00, and Fridays 06:30 until only 20:00.
On weekends, most open at 9:00 and close at 18:00, with the exception of Laugardalslaug (8:00-22:00) and Sundhollin (Saturdays 08:00 to 16:00, Sundays 10:00 to 18:00)
Text by Katrín Sif Einarsdóttir