In deep waters: Iceland's best swimming pools
Is there anything more relaxing than lounging in a hot tub while enjoying amazing views? We think not. From brand-new infinity pools with unbeatable views, to ancient, stone-built pools, we’ve compiled a list of some of Iceland’s most fascinating pools.
On the beachfront in Krossnes, in the northern Westfjords, you’ll find Krossneslaug, a lovely little pool built by local farmers in 1954. The pool’s water comes from hot springs nearby, and the facilities are small but sufficient and clean. Because of the pool’s location, one can enjoy the beautiful ocean view and lively birdlife while bathing. Absolutely perfect!
2) Grettislaug geothermal pool:
This small, stone-built hot tub is located in North Iceland and is named after the 11th-century warrior, Grettir “the Strong” Ásmundarson, who is known as the country’s longest-surviving outlaw. The temperatures in Grettislaug are usually around a cozy 39° Celsius (102° Fahrenheit), but can vary depending on the season and the weather. Changing facilities and showers were recently built near the pool.
3) Gvendarlaug í Bjarnarfirði:
Gvendarlaug in Bjarnafjordur fjord, northern Westfjords, is a magical pool—quite literally. The tiny, stone-built pool was blessed by bishop Guðmundur “the Good” back in the 13th century, and the water is considered to have healing powers still to this day. Today, people are not allowed to bathe in the ancient pool due to its age and fragile state. However, in 1947, a new swimming pool was built just a stone’s throw away. The new pool bears the same name, Gvendarlaug, and its (magical!) water comes from the original pool.
4) Drangsnes hot tubs and swimming pool:
One simply cannot visit the small village of Drangsnes, in the Westfjords, without taking a dip in the hot tubs situated on the seafront. The tubs contain salt water and are open to the public free of charge. The tubs are very popular among locals. Those in need of peace and quiet arrive around midnight and enjoy the midnight sun or the Northern Lights. Others bring their children during the day. Drangsnes also boasts a new geothermal swimming pool that has a beautiful view of the ocean.
5) Patreksfjörður swimming pool:
The town of Patreksfjörður (named after St. Patrick, the spiritual guide of Örlygur Hrappson, who first settled the area), constructed a new public pool in 2005. The pool, conveniently located on a hillside, has a magnificent panoramic view over the Patreksfjörður fjord that one can admire for hours on end.
The public swimming pool in the village of Hofsós, North Iceland, was formally opened in 2010. This is the ultimate infinity pool—it seems to spill right out into the North Atlantic ocean. What’s more, from the banks of the pool guests have an amazing view over some of Skagafjörður fjord’s most famous natural wonders, including the three islands in the bay.
7) The Secret Lagoon, Flúðir:
This old and enchanting swimming pool is located near the village of Flúðir, South Iceland. The pool is located in the middle of an area dotted with several geothermal hot springs, of which “Little Geysir” is the most active. The Secret Lagoon’s facilities were recently refurbished and now include showers, a bar, and a lounge area.
8) Hveragerði swimming pool:
The geothermal swimming pool in the village of Hveragerði, South Iceland, was constructed in 1938 by local volunteers and members of the Ölfushreppur district Youth Association. At the time of its construction, the pool was the largest in the country.
The pool is surrounded by bubbling geysers and colourful mountains, which make for a wonderful backdrop while lounging in the warm water.
Other than the famous Blue Lagoon, Seljavallalaug is probably Iceland’s most well-known swimming pool. A popular subject for photographers, the extremely picturesque pool is built into a mountainside, and the water seeps directly into the pool from the rocks. The magnificent rocky terrain surrounding the pool also makes for a unique setting.
The original pool was built by local farmers from rock and turf in 1922. The following year, a larger concrete basin was built on the site, cleverly using the mountain rock as one side of the pool.
The pool is easily accessible by foot from the farm of Seljavellir.
10) Mývatn nature baths:
This is the North’s answer to the Blue Lagoon. The baths, located a stone’s throw from Lake Mývatn, opened for business in 2004. During the summer, guests can enjoy the midnight sun and the area’s serene beauty, while in winter, one can relax in the warm, turquoise-coloured waters while watching the Northern Lights dance across the dark skies. Pure bliss!
11) The swimming pool in Selárdalur, Vopnafjörður:
This humble little swimming pool was built by members of the local Youth Association in 1949 and is perfectly located in the middle of a shallow gorge on the banks of Selá River, East Iceland. The pool’s natural surroundings are simply stunning!
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