Iceland is the land of ice and fire, and no, I am not referring to the Game of Thrones! The country is situated on a ‘hot spot’ on the earth, resulting in a lot of geothermal activity, but there are also glaciers dotted all over the country. This mixture of geothermal activity, ice and fire, means that there are numerous waterfalls, lakes and hot springs all over the island that can be enjoyed all year round, no matter what the weather is very unpredictable yet very beautiful at the same time.
All warm water in Iceland is geothermal; it comes boiling hot, from the ground, and straight into people’s homes. Rather than needing to warm up the water it needs to be cooled down in order to enjoy it.
This results in dozens of swimming pools which are dotted all over the country – with a total of 17 in the greater Reykjavík area alone!
All of these pools will provide you with soothing, warm waters that are perfect to relax in.Unlike the swimming pools, the hot springs occur naturally.
Some of Iceland’s hot springs are boiling hot fumaroles, bubbling mud pits or spouting geysers, but others are calm pools of water that have the perfect temperature in which to bathe. Many of those have been transformed into popular bathing spots.
In some places, there is natural hot water coming from the ground but no suitable area to bathe in, so locals have built a pool to contain the water, and sometimes the water is too hot for a dip, but by mixing it with cold water it becomes just the right temperature.
In Iceland, you can find hot springs of all sizes and shapes, fully natural ones or natural ones that have had a little help. In fact, the term ‘hot spring’ is a little problematic. The best place to enjoy a warm bath is the geothermal stream that leads into a waterfall.
Laugarvalladalur Natural Thermal pool is located in Laugarvalladalur Valley, in the midst of East highlands, north of Vatnajökull Glacier.
Laugarvalladalur Valley is a true oasis in the middle of nowhere. Close to the ruins of the deserted Laugarvalladalur Farm there is a geothermal stream that flows into a warm little waterfall, falling into a small pond at the bottom of it.
There the stream has been dammed, turning the warm water into a perfect pond for bathing, with the waterfall itself serving as a shower.
Please remember to check the water temperatures before diving into it, since it might at times be a little too warm. This hot spring is well off the beaten path.
You need a 4×4 and weather conditions good enough for traversing the rough roads in the highlands. If you take the effort to go to the Laugarvalladalur natural thermal pool, you’ll be rewarded with a private bathing area for you and maybe a local or two.
It’s best to stop and get local directions so you don’t miss it, but here are the basic guidelines:
- At the end of 910, you have to pass over the dam then turn right. It’s a dirt road.
- At the four-way intersection, make a left.
- When you reach the river, park the car and hike the last 400 meters.
- A thermal stream flows over a waterfall into a natural pond for swimming in. So follow along the stream to the pool and enjoy.
Important note: check the temperature before diving in fully. Since it’s a natural hot spring the water temperature is not regulated and can be quite hot.
- 4×4 or normal car: You can still get there with a regular car, but it’s more and more demanding. The terrain might be challenging to novices but it is navigable
- Opening hours: It is open throughout the day
- Lifeguard: There is no need for a lifeguard
- Prices: It’s free of charge.
- Parking: Parking at Kvika geothermal footbath is free.
- Time; The most advisable time and season to visit the Kvika foot bath is around sunset and of course when Northern Light activity is high. It’s, in my opinion, the best spot in Reykjavik to catch a glimpse of the mystical Northern lights!
- Food: there are basic amenities near the pool, but you are free to bring something to eat and drink with you.
- Visit with children: The site is family oriented it is possible to take children
- Changing rooms: There are no changing rooms in the area.
- Showers and toilets: There are no showers and toilets.
- Footwear: When you are planning to visit . There is no need for excessive preparations, it is a walking distance from the town .