Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries out there with gorgeous natural sites, breathtaking landscapes, and soothing hot springs. These beautiful sites and places have become some of the biggest tourist attractions in the country. But these naturally occurring beauties of Iceland are not the only things that are there to charm you. There are several man-made landmarks and places which are extremely popular not just among the tourists but also the locals. It may not be a common thing to visit man-made marvels in a country that is flooding with natural attractions, but given the extra-ordinary, a well-spread and infectious aura of the country but, it is safe to say that you will have more than just “a good time” if you indeed do so.
Some of these man-made marvels are the swimming pools of Iceland. Now, one may think that what makes some swimming pools so special in a country which is cold all-year-round. The answer is simple and endearing – the pools are filled with a natural supply of hot water in Iceland. Center of hefty geothermal activity, Iceland gets an unlimited supply of boiling water which needs to be cooled down to make it usable. Taking advantage of this fabulous opportunity, Icelanders have created some local swimming pools for citizens because traveling to remote hot springs is not very convenient every season. Some of these swimming pools are completely worth visiting your time – simply because they are located at very easy-to-reach places (probably only a short walking distance from your accommodation) and they are great places to blow off steam.
A Curated List for You
You are sure to find at least one swimming pool in every village and town in the country. Some of these pools are even located out in the open where there are no settlements for miles. The pools which are located in towns and villages have one advantage – they come with several other amenities. Some are loaded with rides and swings others have hot tubs, spas, and sauna in the vicinity. Most of the pools in towns and villages come with an entry fee which can go up to 900 ISK. The following is curated by some of the most beautiful and fun swimming pools in the country which every tourist must visit.
Hofsós swimming pool
With a view of the fjords of Skagafjordur and the mountains in the front, the open sky in the night with either the sun shining bright or the northern lights glimmering, Hofsós swimming pool is probably the best swimming pool of the country. Every single thing about this pool is divine, so much so that you would probably think that you are right there in the lap of raw, rugged nature. This beauty was a gift to the town from two heiresses who initiated the construction. After that, the town people took it in their hands and completed the construction. The swimming pool opened in 2010 to the public. The pool glimmers on a clear day and looks like a very carefully crafted, simple but exquisite work of art. But come rainy season and it turns into a completely different scenery. The sky becomes grey and blends in with the black mountains in the distance which overlook the calm waters of the fjords. A clear colorful evening brings certain colors to the vistas of the pool and the surroundings.
One can safely say that it is the best place to be if you want some time away from everything and everyone and indulge in the goodness of your own company. The pool itself 25×10.5 meters big so you do not have to worry about sharing your personal space with anyone if you do not feel like it. A gem of the north, Hofsós swimming pool is also known as the Infinity pool of the north because of the open view of the fjords, the mountains, Drangey and Malmey islands, and Thordarhofdi peninsula that it presents.
Selárdalur swimming pool
Drawing the water from a nearby hot spring that has been used for bathing and such purposes for a long time, Selárdalur swimming pool in the east is one of the things that you should be visiting when touring in the area. The pool is located near Vopnafjörður – almost 12 kilometers away from the village and almost 3.5 kilometers away from road number 85 that leads to the village. Selárdalur swimming pool is located on the bank of river Selá and overlooks the ravine. This swimming pool is best known for its surroundings and the view that it offers – like many other destinations in Iceland – which makes it quite popular among tourists.
Apart from wonderous sights, the pool has a beautiful sundeck with a few tables and chairs for the visitors to get a nice suntan, a small hot tub beside the main pool, and a small extended part in the main pool for kids to swim. Now, the swimming pool even holds swimming lessons for children in the summer and spring season. The pool was made in1949 and almost every worker volunteered for the construction instead of working on for a pay. It was opened in 1950 and has been kept in great shape since then.
Laugaskarð swimming pool
Ideal for those who are looking for a bit more than just a pool filled with hot water to bathe in and a beautiful landscape in the front, Laugaskarð swimming pool or Laugaskarð Thermal Baths in Hveragerdi is the perfect place to be. The pool is about 45 minutes away from the capital city so you can easily make it a part of your single day trip. This pool used to be one of the biggest pools in the country until recently and still holds a concrete place in the hearts of people. It is about 12 meters wide and 50 meters long. Laugaskarð swimming has served as a shooting location for many music videos for example ‘Heard It All Before’ by Emiliana Torrini.
The architecture of the pool is quite noteworthy. It is designed that it gets heated from the steam that comes directly from the ground instead of transferring hot water from a nearby hot spring or pool – like almost every other swimming pool in Iceland. This fact alone is enough for many to consider the water to be great for health. Apart from the swimming pool itself, the thermal baths include facilities like a fitness center, a natural sauna, hot pots (or a jacuzzi), and whirlpools. The setting around is beautiful containing lush green mountains, pine trees, and a clear sky.
Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool
Most people out there would tell you that this pool is the queen of swimming pools in the capital city and trust us, they are not wrong. Located in a very convenient location, the Laugardalslaug swimming pool is no less than a whole water park with slides and whatnot. It has seven hot tubes one of which is filled with salt water, one big indoor swimming pool, one 25 meters long outdoor swimming pool, a private sauna, beach volley court, sun lounges to get that tan and many water slides – the fun just won’t seem to end here. One of the hot tubs has manual massage jets and the slides are made to be child-friendly. An exquisite menu awaits you in the restaurant of the pool and a small hot dog stand is put right outside of the pools to grab a quick bite.
Sundhollin in Reykjavik
Located almost 5 minutes away from Hallgrímskirkja church, in the heart of Reykjavik, Sundhollin swimming is the oldest swimming in Iceland. It was constructed in 1937 by Guðjón Samúelson, then state architect who also designed many of the most important buildings in the country including the University of Iceland, The Church of Akureyri, Hallgrímskirkja church itself, and The National Theater of Iceland. The pool is only minutes away from the busiest and most popular nightlife street of Laugavegur.
Sundhollin used to be an indoor swimming pool till 2017 with 2 diving boards (one is 1 meter above the water while the other is 3 meters above water), sauna and hot tub facilities on the balconies. Now, some outdoor facilities have been opened in the pool which includes a 25-meter long swimming pool with jacuzzi, shallow tubs for children to enjoy, and sauna facilities. There are two separate balconies used for sunbathing and tanning. The balconies are separate because one is used by women and the other by men. People can lay naked there and enjoy the sun as much as they like.
Lágafellslaug swimming pool
If you are traveling with children then the Lágafellslaug swimming pool is one of the best ones to make a stop at. Lágafellslaug is known as one of the most family-friendly pools of Iceland. One can even say that the whole place is child-proofed in a very beautiful and professional way. The tiles around the swimming pools are designed with a soft rubber-like material to avoid slips and falls which can be a common occurrence in a place like swimming pools.
An additional shallow pool with slides is constructed for very young kids. The older kids and adults have three big slides, all of which are 12 to 43 meters long. Other amenities of the swimming pool include an indoor pool, a cold bath, several hot tubs, and a Finnish sauna – a special treat for the adults while the young ones enjoy themselves on the slides. Lágafellslaug is located in Mosfellsbær, a little bit far away from the city center in the capital. You can either take a car to the destination or take the bus from the city. The pool flaunts a beautiful view of mountain Esja.
Heydalur indoor swimming pool
A pool blessed by the bishop – this is a destination that you just have to cover in your travels because how many times does one come across something like this, right? Even though Heydalur is an indoor swimming pool, there is no way that you would not feel the original flair of nature here. It was blessed by Bishop Guðmundur góði – also known as Guðmundur the good, sometime around the 12th century. The interiors or the “greenhouse” is decorated keeping “nature” as the main theme of the process. There are several plants, creepers, grapevines, and trees with fruits around the pool in the vicinity – which make it kind of like personal heaven. And to top it all, the greenhouse or the inner pool also has a talking parrot. The pool also has a rope swing tied above it for playful activities.
This swimming pool is located in Westfjords. When you visit the place, you will also come across 3 outdoor hot springs of Heydalur. One of these three pools is natural and the rest two are set manually.
Akureyri swimming pool
The gem of the capital of the north, Akureyri swimming pool is one of Iceland’s finest and the most popular pools. The pool area has two 25-meter-long outdoor pools, an indoor pool, water slides, splash pools, hot baths, one cold bath, and one steam bath. The hot pools are heated by the natural hot water supply of Iceland. The temperature of the cold bath stays at 5°C approximately while the hottest pool stays at a temperature of 43°C. The temperature of other hot pools is kept above 27°C and lower than 42°C. The facilities and amenities of the swimming are kept in their best shape at all times and the pool is open in all seasons.
Conjoined with fine accessibility facilities for the disabled, the swimming pool contains something or other for people from every age group – whether they are tourists visiting the country for the first time or locals coming for their weekly trip. There is a family play area that is accessible in the summer season only. The play area includes a golf course, peddle cars, and a regular playground.
Swimming Pools are always fun to be at or around but make sure that you take care of all the common hygiene steps and stay safe around the water. Every swimming pool provides a locker room to store your valuable, clothes, and shoes. The pool can be accessed with your phones, towels, swimwear, and googles only. Shower before entering the pool. The necessary toiletries are provided by the pool authorities. Swimming in pools should be done while staying in your lane and following other traffic rules. When you are done with the pools, enter the shower area only after drying yourself. You can bring the towels to the deck and keep them at the designated place. It is considered quite rude to enter the shower and locker area all wet and dripping. Kids under 10 years of age should always be under complete supervision around the pool. Swimming pools in Iceland are an absolute delight and safe when all rules are followed. Safety should always be taken care of.