Iceland is a very unique country that has so many natural attractions for visitors to enjoy during their stay. You will be amazed by the outstanding number of memorable stops you could make while exploring the island on the famous route one. Traveling around the country by car is one of a kind experience recommended for most tourists.
Today, it is as simple as hiring a rental car to venture on your very own self-ride in Iceland. You should know that some roads may not be suitable to drive on a compact vehicle. If you wish to get to the most tourists sites, travel around the Ring Road (open for all type of vehicles). You will find the most captivating views from green valleys, waterfalls and if you are in luck, the northern lights.
If you are planning to head away from the main roads, think of a 4x4 vehicle to drive on Iceland’s mountain roads or as we call them, F-roads safely. You should know that most rental car insurances do not cover river crossing or underside damage so a day-trip tour is always an option. Always check with the company before driving off to your Icelandic adventure.
Prepare to be moved by the magical highlands of Iceland as you explore the country. This area has the most memorable views of the rhyolite mountains that are easy to spot when visiting Landmannalaugar, located on Fjallabak Nature Reserve. The shades of yellow, green and blue found on these mountains are a result of lava, rich minerals, and moss. You will find powerful waterfalls, lakes, and rivers along your way to this national gem hidden in the highlands.
Landmannalaugar is not only about incredible views, but visitors could also enjoy the different hiking trails in the area. Laugahraun lava field is one of the most popular trails, starting from the information hut.
You could experience the ancient lava remains first hand and discover its peculiar color combinations. Also, the contrast between the reddish hills surrounding the lava field will make a surreal setting for those avid hikers. The views from the fumaroles and the colorful rhyolite mountains are truly the most rewarding of all.
Landmannalaugar Hot Springs
The Icelandic people have a very deep connection with geothermal activity for centuries, so it is not a surprise to find many public pools in the country. Pools in Iceland are part of the country’s traditions, in fact, swimming education has been mandatory since the 1940s. For Icelanders, the pools and hot springs represent a place to interact with friends and family through the years. What a great way to relax after a long day’s work and before putting children to bed?
You should know that the geothermal activity is so intense that geothermal pools are open for everyone to enjoy. Natural hot springs have become more and more popular thanks to the internet and tourists that visit the island each year. These may be enjoyed all year round, not only during summer (most busy season) in different regions.
Most popular hot springs in the Landmannalaugar area
Landmannalaugar (close to the mountain hut)
Landmannalaugar was originally known by Icelanders as the “pool of the people” long before the days of the sagas. Most people enjoy it today since it's the perfect spot to enjoy a nice warm bath after a long day hike.
Picture yourself relaxing on a natural hot spring surrounded by incredible landscapes that include volcanoes colorful mountains and lava fields. The water is fresh and it has the perfect temperature that goes up to 40º C (96º F). You could enjoy it in summer or winter, it does not matter. As you get close to the edges of the spring, you will find some hot spots. Be careful! They may be really hot sometimes.
This pool is open to the public for free but access to the public. The showers and changing rooms have an additional fee of 500 ISK for 5 min. It is required to thoroughly shower (fully naked) with soap before entering the pool.
After arriving Landmannalaugar by car or your tour bus, follow the boardwalks from the information hut to take a dip into these natural hot waters. This is a very rustic and low-key hot spring, located in a very remote setting, so it is best to go there prepared with all your equipment and other supplies.
Reykjadalur (45 km./25 miles from Reykjavík)
Visit this gorgeous geothermal region located very close to Hveragerði in southern Iceland. If you enjoy hiking but also a relaxing bath after a day trip, Reykjadalur has you covered. Its name translates as "Valley of Steam” you could see the hot spring waters streaming down into a whole body. The views are delightful in either summer or in wintertime, all in a very pleasant way.
The hiking path is uphill most of the time, so bringing proper shoes is important. It is not a very hard trail, but some resistance or fitness level should be considered beforehand. You must be aware of the signs along the way. Some boiling craters next to the path could easily result in an unwanted accident. The trail has about 4 kilometers from start to end, so it should take about 1:30 to 2 hours to reach the hot spring.
You could continue walking to find a warmer spot along the river stream, simply go up or down depending on your preference. This place has very charming scenery that often includes roaming sheep when the weather is nice out. The green moss and the sulfuric color of the smaller mud pools make a perfect and unwinding setting.
There are no changing rooms in the area but you will find some wooden screens to change into your swimsuit. Most visitors go into the river for a while to then go back to the parking lot.
Hveragerði is the closest area to find services such as supermarkets, petrol stations, touristic information and more.
This is a free pool, no entry fee!
This is a man-created hot spring but with natural geothermal characteristics. Located approximately 97.5 kilometers (60,5 mi) from Reykjavík.
This is one of the very first pools in Iceland (founded in 1891), popular among locals living close to Flúðir village in the southern part of the island. Most people will simply call it “old pool” or "gamla laugin" in its mother tongue. Hundred of visitors come every year to this traditional pool to enjoy the warm and suiting hot waters on the Hverahólmi geothermal area.
Today, the Secret Lagoon has become an alternative to the Blue Lagoon, since the Flúðir hot spring is not as busy (or as expensive) as the spa resort airport. Nevertheless, you must place a booking in advance if you are planning to visit in the summer. The high season could be very demanding, even in remote locations.
Here are is a list of some of the prices so you could plan ahead:
Adults: 3000 ISK
Seniors and people with disabilities: 2200 ISK (67+, ID required)
Children (only with parents, up to 14 y.o.): Free
Swimsuit rent – 700 ISK
Towel rent – 700 ISK
Visit the Secret Lagoon if you wish to enjoy a nice bath surrounded by pristine green moss and nature. Plus, an erupting geyser that may be spotted from the bathing area. The warm waters of 38-40 celsius (100° F) await travelers looking for a deep connection with the untouched nature in the area.
During wintertime, you could even enjoy an even more magical setting as the auroras or northern lights often show in the dark. The constant steam rising from the water makes an even special setting for those looking for a romantic gateway.
This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a relaxed and laid-back stop along your way to the south or north of the country. For example, this hot spring is very close to the Gullfoss waterfall, one of the most popular spots in Iceland.
Remember that showering naked is mandatory before entering any hot spring or pool on the island. Some wooden pathways connect the different areas of the Secret Lagoon. You will find lockers, showers and changing rooms for your comfort.