Sundhöllin is a swimming pool in central Reykjavík.
Even if you rent a car for your holiday, you should be able to walk to it from most places in the city. Those who purchase a Reykjavík City Card will be able to enter the pool for free, and receive free and discounted admission for a range of other attractions and services.
Sundhöllin is the oldest pool in Reykjavík, first having been opened as a public baths in 1937. It has been open since, although it didn’t undergo a major renovation until 2017, when it had a wealth of new features added.
It should be noted, however, that Sundhöllin is not the oldest pool in the country. That honour goes to the Secret Lagoon, which first opened in 1891 just outside the village of Flúðir in south Iceland. The Secret Lagoon, however, went through decades of abandonment before its recent renewal.
The architect who designed Sundhöllin, Guðjón Samúelsson, is responsible for many of the city’s other finest buildings. These include the National Theatre of Iceland, the University of Iceland, and Reykjavík’s most instantly recognisable feature, Hallgrímskirkja.
Hallgrímskirkja is, in fact, visible from the sundeck of the pool, as they are just a short distance apart. Sundhöllin is on the road of Baronsstigur, which intersects the shopping street of Laugavegur, just a short walk from the city centre.
The pool is used by locals more than tourists, though the abundance of hotels and hostels surrounding it make it more convenient than the much more famous Laugardalslaug pool in the city’s east.
Sundhöllin has both an indoor and outdoor pool, a children’s pool, three hot tubs, a cold tub and two saunas, making it one of the largest swimming complexes in the country. Prior to its 2017 renovation, it was much more humble, with just an indoor pool and two hot tubs.
The reason why Sundhöllin has such spa-like features is because of the abundant geothermal activity occurring around Reykjavík. The city’s name translates roughly to ‘Smokey Bay’ due to the fact that it was immediately noted for its many hot springs, which now fuel the city’s pools.