Ever visited a secret hot springs at the base of a mountain? Read on for this and more hidden hot springs and geothermal pools all over Iceland
When we were planning our trip to Iceland, Pat had one request. Hot springs.
His perfect Iceland trip would involve visiting a hot springs every day of our trip. While we didn’t quite make all of his dreams come true, we did manage to visit a hot springs every other day – so not bad! In total, we visited four hot springs in Iceland over the course of eight days.
Looking back, I think these hot springs visits will be some of our best memories of Iceland. Each one was completely different and beautiful in its own way. One was at the base of a mountain, one was a tiny hot pot just big enough for two people, one was a misty green wonderland right out of a fairytale and of course there was Iceland’s most famous (and not secret) Blue Lagoon.
Read on for my hot springs guide and video!
Guide to Visiting Hot Springs in Iceland
Seljavallalaug Hot Springs in Southern Iceland
Part of the magic of Iceland is the hidden geothermal pools all over the island. Seljavallalaug is one of these secret spots that hasn’t been discovered by the masses. It’s an absolutely incredible hot springs at the base of a mountain. The day we went it was super windy, but we braved it because hot springs at the base of a mountain. We just couldn’t pass it up!
Unfortunately, the water wasn’t super hot. You may have a different experience – the wind was so strong I think it was blowing some of the heat off. The magic spot was in the far corner where the hot spring water was being piped into the pool. It was still 100% worth it – even the hopping out and changing back into our clothes part.
Seljavallalaug Hot Springs Travel Information
Seljavallalaug will show up in Google maps if you put it in. We missed the turn and ended up winding around a three house town. Many roads in Iceland are upside down U-shaped, starting and ending on the main Ring Road. We took the further south leg of the U, which lead us past these buildings:
There were lots of signs that said ‘private property’ and ‘hot springs —>’. I could just hear the locals annoyed with all the lost tourists looking to bathe in their secret hot springs.
Just keep driving and you will find the other side of the U. As you’re about to turn left to go back towards the ring road, you’ll see a right turn that will lead you to the springs. If you pick the correct leg of the U (the Northern one) the first time, it’s a straight shot.
It’s a twenty-minute hike to get to the springs from the parking lot. The hike looks like this:
You just wind your way along the left side of the river and follow it to the springs. There is a stream crossing (1 foot of running water when we went in May) involved in the hike so wear practical shoes! You will probably think you are going the wrong way at least three times but just be patient, follow the stream and you will get there.
The spring itself has a small bathhouse to change but no toilets. There is no entry fee or lifeguards. The geothermal spring is maintained by volunteers and donations. Alcohol use is forbidden.
Seljavallalaug Hot Springs Iceland South Coast
More photos of Seljavallalaug Hot Springs:
Landbrotalaug Hot Pot Snaefellsnes Peninsula
Even though we spent two days on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, you won’t find me talking too much about it on the blog. It was beautiful, but it didn’t stand out as a highlight for the trip. There were just so many other things about Iceland that we loved better! Landbrotalaug Hot Springs was the exception to that.
The hot springs, or hot pot really, are located on the eastern end of Snaefellsnes Peninsula, so it’s actually really easy to get there from Reykjavik. It’s about an hour drive from the capital and not too far off the Ring Road. Even if you don’t do anything else on the peninsula you should still think about visiting this secret spot!
Because there are only two hot pots and they really only fit 2-3 people, you should try to visit in off hours or come armed with patience! We sat in our car for an hour waiting for our turn and we visited at 10 am on a very windy day in early May (still off season). Still totally worth it though!
Landbrotalaug Hot Springs is unmarked so you need GPS coordinates to find it. The road to get there is in decent shape, so even a regular car should be ok in the warm months. If not, it’s about a 20 minute hike from the road. From the parking area it’s only a 5 minute walk. You do have to cross a stream to get there so make sure you have waterproof shoes.
Here are the coordinates for the little gravel road to get to the springs from off the main road:
GPS Coordinates for Landbrotalaug Hot Springs Road
and here are the coordinates for the actual hot springs:
GPS Coordinates for Landbrotalaug Hot Springs
Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin) Golden Circle, Iceland
Yes it’s called a “Secret” Lagoon, but the secret is most definitely out on the Secret Lagoon. I mean, most secret spots as a rule don’t have their own websites! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and the explosion of tourism, most of the ‘secret’ spots we visited in Iceland were also being visited by other tourists. About 30 seconds after I snapped the wonderfully serene photo above, a tour bus rolled up.
Who am I to judge though? It’s only through other people spilling their own secret spots that I would know about them anyway.
The water is very pleasant and you really can’t beat the surrounding with these small, steaming geothermal pools.
Even if you visit at the same time as a tour bus, you should still stop at this natural geothermal pool during your visit to the Golden Circle in Iceland. If you visit in off hours, you might get lucky and have the place to yourself. Even if you have to share it though, it’s still a pretty magical feeling to be outside with the green moss and mists rising up around you!
Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin)
Blue Lagoon Iceland
The Blue Lagoon Spa & Hot Springs is obviously not even the least bit secret, but it’s still worth mentioning on this list of Iceland hot springs.
There’s an ongoing discussion all over the internet on whether it’s worth it to go or whether it’s a huge tourist trap. It’s definitely, definitely a tourist trap, but it was definitely still one of the highlights of our trip! Luckily I wrote a whole post about it, which you can read here. It has everything you need to know about booking tickets, best times to go and what to expect when you’re there!
P.S. – Need more Iceland travel information? You’re in the right place! Check out these posts: