The Secret Lagoon

 

Picture this, soaking yourself in a pool that’s 48 degrees Celsius .Surrounded by rock formations made of molten lava, away from civilization and the hustle and bustle of city life. Every five minutes a spouting geyser shoots hot gas nearly 20 feet into the air. The steam that rises from the surrounding terrain into the air gives the place its distinct and magical atmosphere.

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This destination, tucked behind an unassuming building in the small town of Flúðir , an old, rough-edged swimming pool brimming with clean geothermal water. What is now known as the Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin in Icelandic, meaning “old pool”), was Iceland’s first public swimming pool having been created in 1891. The Secret Lagoon is at Flúðir in South Iceland 97.5 km from Reykjavík, 164 km and 47 km from Selfoss.

Location

Situated in the geothermally rich countryside not far from the famed Golden Circle route, alongside hot springs and spouting geysers, the pool was the recreational hub of the small town and the place where the townspeople learned to swim until a more modern pool was built in 1947. With the rise in popularity of the town’s more modern facilities, the old pool was long forgotten and ignored until being lovingly restored and reopened in 2014.

The scenery around the Secret Lagoon is very different from the stark and dramatic lava field landscapes around the Blue Lagoon. The area around the pool has also been left very natural, you can really enjoy the scenery and nature which this part of Iceland has to offer.

You do not have to be in Iceland for very long to realize this little island has certainly earned its reputation as a country with dramatically contrasting views. When you are bathing in the large pool you will be surrounded by the soft green vegetation which Flúðir, one of the most fertile areas of Iceland, is renowned for.

You will see shrubbery and trees, and in summer wildflowers, in the meadows around the pool. On dark winter evenings, the pool takes on a slightly different character. In the darkness of the countryside, many people feel as though they are floating in a womb-like place, where they can just allow themselves to be cosseted by the elements of nature. On cloudless nights laying back in the warm water to gaze at the stars twinkling in the velvet-like night sky may make you feel as though you have slipped through a portal and entered another dimension. How often is it in modern day life that we can truly be at one with nature? Such experiences are, for most of us, very rare and extremely precious in our fast-paced lives. On cold and frosty winter evenings watching your warm breath mingling softly with the frost-tainted air can be so relaxing, as vapor forms take on myriad shapes.

In winter the Northern Lights may show up, painting the sky with a colorful light show. You need a little luck, but this is a great place to see the Aurora Borealis. Summer evenings when the nights are bright, but the sun is low on the horizon are every bit as special. It is easy to lose all sense of time floating beneath surreal summer skies on nights which will bring no darkness.

Depending on your taste and preference you can enjoy a refreshing beer or a glass of wine as you soak in the blissful water or enjoy the poolside deck area in front of the café and bar. In summer it is lovely to alternate between sunbathing and bathing, although, in the winter sitting out of the water for a brief time can help you to appreciate the warmth of the water! Many tourists are surprised to see the locals sitting by the poolside or wandering the picturesque pathways in wintertime. Most overseas visitors are surprised how lovely this is, particularly when the afternoon sun is setting. Whatever the time of year the water temperature will be a comfortable 38 – 40°C.

The owners of the lagoon have thoughtfully built graceful pathways which will take you around the hot springs. Exploring, you get to see different views of the unspoiled countryside which stretches out as far as the eye can see. These paths offer great vantage points to see and photograph the hot springs and geyser, but always at a safe distance from the boiling water.

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