A Soak for Healing and Relaxation
Iceland is covered with marvels all over the place. Everywhere you would look, you will find something glorious looking your way. It can be the midnight sun, the northern lights in a dark starry night, the volcanoes under electric blue ice-covered glaciers, huge plains covered in lush green grass, and highlands with their ever-challenging landscape to conquer. While the thrill-inducing options in Iceland seem never-ending, there are still times in between one needs rest and some time to blow the steam off, pent up from all the travels, trips, and tours around the country. Being a country that has it all, Iceland has made extra special arrangements for some healing therapy baths all across the country in form geothermal springs and baths.
Littered almost on every nook and corner, the water in Iceland’s geothermal pools are said to have healing properties – not magical, more like medical. The underground water in Iceland is naturally hot-boiling and that is what makes it proper for bathing. It is like a geothermal miracle to have boiling water running under the earth where there is snow most of the year. The underground water in Iceland contains a good serving of minerals which makes it a healing source for both the mind and the body. As the water finds its way above the ground, it reaches a good bathing temperature of 38-40° C and creates great bathing spaces. Taking this a step further, Icelanders have carved and developed places like springs, geothermal pools, and spas.
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About Geothermal Baths in Iceland
Geothermal baths, hot springs, and swimming pools in Iceland all get their water from the same source and almost similar in the making too. The water underground in Iceland gets heated up because of the volcanic activities in the area. The same water comes above the earth’s crust in several ways sometimes in the form of hot springs, other in the form of geysers. The difference is the geographical location of these formations and a special kind of plumbing system that it takes to make the water jump meters up in the sky. Geothermal spas have been designed on such hotspots with access to running hot water combined with a few added facilities like spas and sauna, a complete relaxation package for travelers and visitors.
Best Geothermal Baths & Spas in Iceland
While there are countless places to take a dip in the soothing warm water of a pool or a spring in Iceland, there are some special places that should be on your to-do list when you arrive in Iceland. If you think that there will not be enough time to visit each one of them, make sure that at least one is added in your trip schedule from the curated list that we have prepared for you. Each geothermal spa from the following list has a specialty that makes it suitable for a certain demographic so, you are sure to find at least one option that suits your needs and wants the best.
GeoSea Sea Baths
Imagine soaking in a relaxing pool of hot water with a view of the sea in front of you where you can see various species of whales breaching and flapping their tails above the water surface, sounds fantastic, right? This is exactly what you can expect from GeoSea Sea Baths located in Húsavík, the whale watching capital of Iceland. Húsavík is not only the best place to catch some magnificent whales working their way up from the depths of the ocean but, it is also one of the ultimate places in the whole world to watch whales having fun in their natural habitats. What makes GeoSea sea baths so special is that it is filled with warm salt water instead of fresh spring water like most geothermal spas in Iceland. Along with that, the GeoSea sea bath is the only geothermal bath that can take pride in the view that it presents to the users. Like most geothermal baths are inland, GeoSea lies out in the open on the shore of the ocean filled with sparkling waters, a view of mountains and fjords in the back.
The water in the bath is supplied by two nearby boreholes. The water is renowned for its mineral-rich healing qualities hence is a popular spot among tourists. Where Húsavík was known for the numerous species of whale species that nest there, now it is becoming popular for GeoSea baths. The bath does not have any spa or sauna services, it offers delicious refreshments and snack in its in-house restaurant and you can have drinks delivered to the pool.
Laugarvatn Fontana Spa
One of the most popular routes among tourists in Iceland is the Golden Circle. While the Golden Circle primarily consists of 3 main attractions, there are several other places which one can access by making small detours. One of these destinations is Laugarvatn Fontana Spa. It is located in the small village of Laugarvatn which falls somewhere between Þingvellir National Park and Geysir geothermal area. If you are on a self-driving tour of the Golden Circle Route then this is going to be more than just worth your time if you make a stop there. Fontana is located on the shore of the lake after which the town was named. The lake is popular for its geothermal activity. When you enter the lake, you will find a small area where the ground emits the hot water. The rest of the water in the lake is pretty much cold. The same lake is the source of hot water in the Laugarvatn Fontana Spa.
The spa itself contains two pools in the vicinity. Both are filled with mineral water at a normal bathing temperature. A luxurious Finnish sauna works as an added attraction to the facility. The sauna has a huge window attached to it with a view of the lake. A gorgeous steam bath is constructed right over the hot spring area of the lake with a strong grill separating the users from the lake. The hot spring area of the lake has a temperature of about 80°C which is perfect to produce the steam for the steam bath. It is possible to walk to the lake from the Spa and have a dip in the colder part of the lake. Fontana Spa can be seen as the perfect example of the luxury spa, sauna, and baths in the country.
Krauma Spa is located in the west of Iceland while Laugarvatn Fontana Spa is to the south. A luxury bath and spa located in the west part of the country and is fueled by Deildartunguhver – the highest-flowing hot spring in the whole of Europe. This spa is much smaller than its other contemporaries in the country but the kind of facilities, design, and environment that this place offers is simply on a whole other level. Krauma spa flaunts a very chic design and boasts a very beautiful view of the plains in the distance. The spa has 5 small pools in a place of one or two big pools. A pool with cold glacial water is also included with the ones filled with hot water. Going further, there are 2 steam baths along with a relaxation room that has a beautiful fireplace.
One great thing about this spa and bath is that it falls close to many other top attractions of the west so it can be fit as a part of single-day trips. Destinations like Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfall, the village of Reykholt, Glymur waterfall, and Hvalfjörður fjords can be a part of your trip when you book a spot in the spa. Even though Krauma spa is located in the west, it is fairly to close to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. So if you are going on a trip of ‘miniature Iceland’ then you can easily squeeze making a stop at the place.
Blue Lagoon Spa
The azure-colored water of this fantastic lagoon is probably the highlight of the place. Blue Lagoon is the most famous geothermal bath in Iceland and it is packed with literally everything one can imagine to have in a luxurious bath and spa. Not only that, but the lagoon is also famous for treating skin diseases like psoriasis. The range of facilities that the lagoon features include a water bar, a cave to explore, silica tubes on the poolside, a man-made waterfall, steam rooms, Finnish sauna, algae mask and in-water massages – name a facility that any other sap in the world has and the Blue Lagoon will probably come forward with it swiftly.
Luxurious facilities apart, the Blue Lagoon is popular for the exquisite views that it presents – the azure blue milky water of the lagoon ideally contrasts with the black rocks in the vicinity. The beautiful rocks around the lagoon are covered with grey moss for an enhanced mystical effect combined with volcanoes in the distance and other lava-ridden landscapes. While Blue Lagoon is very busy during both peak and off-seasons, it remains to be one of the most preferred locations for northern lights and midnight sun viewing. Not only that the lagoon is positioned conveniently for experiencing these wonderful phenomena, it is also placed at a very easy-to-travel distance from the international airport of Keflavík and the capital city. You can simply walk out of the airport and visit the lagoon first thing before even heading to your accommodation, given that you have made a reservation ahead of time.
Bjorböðin Beer Spa
Not technically a spa, but who can say no to sipping a cold beer while soaking in a warm soothing hot tub filled with mineral water, right? Taking this theory further up a few notches, Bjorböðin offers a bath in beer instead of warm mineral water – sounds weird and exclusive at the same time, right? You must have heard of beer shampoos and the rejuvenating effects it has on your hair, the same way, this exceptional; beer bath which is induced with yeast is supposed to rejuvenate your skin and act as a healing agent, much like the mineral water of geothermal springs of the country. And this is not even the best part of the place. While you enjoy a soothing soak in the warm beer, you get to sip some cold ones from the barrel – just when you thought it couldn’t get any better.
The beer tubs and the spa is small and can only fit about 2 people at a time so, the time that you spend here can also become of the most memorable and weird dates of your life if you are in the country with your partner. After spending some time in the yeast beer tubs, you will be taken to a relaxation room where you spend another few minutes for the yeast to take effect and work its magic on your skin making it as soft as cream. There is an outdoor drinking area on the deck for tourists to have a drink while they admire the view in the north. If you are driving there yourself, make sure you spend enough time away from the wheel for the intoxication to wear off since drunk driving is a serious offense and a very dangerous sport to play. Or, you can book a guided tour with an agency so that you don’t have to drive at all.
Located in the heart of the capital city, Laugar Spa is the definition of “royal treatment” when it comes to a luxury spa and health resorts. Not only that this place offers various kinds of massages, spas, and therapy sessions, it has an exemplary gym, yoga, and workout studio for the fitness enthusiast. Featuring a soothing outdoor thermal pool, thalasso jacuzzi, complete beauty packages including massages, body scrubs, eyes, face, hands and feet treatments, and several other beauty and salon facilities, Laugar Spa offers a complete package to its guest in every form one can imagine. When going to Laugar Spa you will have access to Laugardalslaug swimming pool.
Start with a nice workout session or yoga class at the gym section of the resort, head to the thermal pool for a soothing soak, and then proceed to the spa treatment that you have booked. After you are done with your appointment, get a refreshing bite to eat at Laugar Restaurant which is known for its healthy yet extremely delicious meals. You can enjoy your meal in your bathrobe, surrounded by the soothing, healing water of Iceland. The menu of the restaurant is also very diverse with both vegan and non-vegetarian options for everyone to have their picks. Several wines, sprites, and beers are also added for the ones looking to enjoy a few drinks in their me-times. This spa resort in the capital city is the perfect place to be if you are looking for a complete detoxing on your trip.
Hilton Nordica Spa
A doppelganger of Laugar Spa, Hilton Nordica Spa offers spa, massage, and beauty treatments in combination to soaks in soothing warm water hot tubs. Hilton Nordica Spa is a part of Hilton Reykjavik Nordica – a hotel chain in Iceland and is located in the capital city. It contains several kinds of massage and spa treatments for the customers. Ranging from full-body spas and massages to special treatments for hands, feet, and face, Hilton Nordica Spa is fully-equipped to help the tourists get of jet lag issues they are facing. Sauna, hot tubs, and beauty treatments are also included as part of the spa experience. Hilton Nordica Spa is more of an indoor luxury experience and creates a stark contrast with the usual outdoor experience of most geothermal baths and spas in Iceland so it can be a good change of pace for you and may turn out to be just what you want if you like indoors more than the outdoors.
A very recent addition to the list of geothermal baths in Iceland, Vök baths were opened for visitors on July 1st, 2019. The beautiful dual-pool wonder is located in the middle of a lake in the eastern part of the country known by the name of Urriðavatn. This geothermal area came into the light when some locals noticed that there was a part of the lake, somewhere in the middle, that never froze during the winters. Later it was found out that the area into consideration had a natural stream of hot groundwater sprouting inside which kept that one certain area of the lake in liquid form while the rest of the lake freezes during the winters. After that, Vök baths were designed and opened for the public. The bath is located in the middle of a beautiful natural landscape with low hills surrounding the area. The lake is at a very convenient distance from Egilsstaðir – the largest town in the east of Iceland.
Along with two pools with hot water, there is a sauna and a cold tunnel that is made inside the lake. The water in the lake is different from the kind that is usually found in geothermal baths. It does not contain any kind of minerals like silica or sulfur and is safe enough to drink. Vök baths follow a tradition of welcoming their guests with tisane tea – specialty brewed with local herbs and fresh spring water. A café is also located on-site which contains a delicious menu of sandwiches, soups, and other piping hot delicacies.
We highly recommend that you go on and check out the Geothermal Baths & Spas of Iceland. Share your photos with the #icelandtravelguide and we will gladly share them. If you are up for a challenge, try to visit all the geothermal baths on your way around Iceland.