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Some Like it Hot - Complete Guide to Iceland Hotsprings

March 25, 2017

 

 

I was on a mission in Iceland...see all the hot springs! I studied and researched for months before leaving and while I got most of it right, THIS is what I wish I would have known.

 

Blue Lagoon

What to know:

  • You must make reservations in advance. How did I miss this? Thankfully I was able to make a reservation (on the LAX runway) for the very last day of the trip! Step 1, make your rezzy here: http://www.bluelagoon.com/blue-lagoon-spa/prices-and-packages/experience-packages/

  • Ticket packages: Consider your budget. The only difference between the Standard (5400 ISK) and the Comfort (7400 ISK) packages was the beverage and the algae mask. When you are there, the algae mask is only $3 more. I would recommend the Standard package and purchasing the algae mask once you are there (you definitely want to try it!). Then you can decide to buy a drink there or not.

  • Your wristband is everything! In addition to it being your locker key, it’s also your credit card. Once you’re in the lagoon, you can purchase drinks and masks with a swipe of your wrist.

  • Get Nekked: Full-body showering is common practice before you enter any hot springs you visit. But here, there are attendants who will direct you to the showers and remind you that you need to remove your suit.

Pros:

  • The Blue Lagoon is iconic Iceland.  

  • This spa is built for tourist. There are more things to do here (mud mask, algae mask, in-pool bar, sauna, steam cave, explore the different areas) than anywhere else.

Cons:  

  • This hot springs is the most expensive.

  • Probably the most crowded thing you’ll do in Iceland. Everyone has seen pictures and no one wants FOMO.

  • The water is not “hot”, it’s more of a comfortable warm.

 

Secret Lagoon

What to know:

  • Bring your flip flops. It is the least man-made and the rocks were icy cold.

  • These showers had the best soap. I don’t know what it was made out of, or if these even really matters, but S/O to Secret Lagoon for one of the best showers I took in Iceland!

  • The spring is h-o-t. It is fed directly from a spring and depending on where you move, it may be a little intense.

Pros:

  • This truly felt like a “hot” spring.

  • Very affordable! (2800 ISK)

  • Within the Golden Circle, this was as easy day trip.

  • The food was delicious and budget friendly.

Cons:  

  • This truly felt like a “hot” spring. If you have health conditions or just dislike the feeling of being scalded, you might want to skip.

 

Mývatn Nature Baths

What to know:

  • This was my favorite spring. The waters were milky blue like the Blue Lagoon, there were a fraction of the people, and entrance was a fraction of the cost (3800 ISK)!

Pros:

  • The sauna was incredible. Made of cedar and fed directly by a vent, it was the warmest and most soothing.

  • Because it so far away from the West coast, this was the least crowded bath.

  • Really tasty soups in the cafe!

Cons:  

  • None, really.

 

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

What to know:

  • Whew, this spring was breathtaking, but it was work. The hike from the parking lot to the valley was about an hour of mountain hiking. My advice? Start early in the day. We started far too late and made it there with just enough daylight to turn around and come back. If you’re not prepared, the hike can be a little brutal.

  • No entrance fee, just a hike.

  • If you do get in, bring plastic bags to set your clothes in so you don’t have to set them in the snow.

 

Seljavallalaug Bath

What to know:

  • Take a peek at the forecast before you go. We made it to this spring...right as it started raining.

  • No entrance fee.

Pros:

  • The landscape was beautiful. It was secluded and the white bath made for an amazing photo-op.

  • Getting there was simple. It was an easy 10 minute walk from the parking lot to the pool.

Cons:  

  • It may have been due to the rain, but the pool felt a little cold.

 

Brimketill

What to know:

  • How do people swim in this? (For real. If you have been, please send me a message.) We found it but the tide was too high and crashing into the pool. Even at low tide, I can’t imagine scaling the rocks into freezing sea water! Maybe you can only go during the summer?

  • It was really beautiful and would have made some awesome drone shots.

 

Grjótagjá Cave

What to know:

  • This was the cave that John Snow broke his vow in! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AzoG4I-04Y).

  • It was surprisingly easy to find. When we arrived, there were only a couple of other people there taking pictures. They left after 10 minutes and we had the pool to ourselves for about 30 minutes until someone else came.

  • You can’t actually swim in the cave. PSA: It is on private property and swimming here could close it down for everyone. Don’t be that person! Apparently it’s also scalding hot so, there’s that.

Pros:

  • The pool was gorgeous. The blue of the water was other-worldly.

  • Similar to Mývatn, because it is so far west, it was very secluded.

Cons:  

  • If you’re looking for a spa, this isn’t it. Otherwise, it was such a unique site, it’s a must-see!

 

Let's glow! Here's a map to your Iceland hot springs adventure. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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