More than two million travelers every year visit Iceland to see some of the most incredibly beautiful landscapes spread all around the country. From volcanoes and ice-capped glaciers to hot springs and mighty waterfalls, the Icelandic landscapes will truly make you fall in love and inspire you to visit again and again.
The Westfjords or West Fjord is situated in an isolated, remote corner on the North Island. Although not a preferred choice for all sorts of reasons, those who visit the Westfjords leave the island with memory to cherish for a lifetime. This corner of the country is shrouded in mystery with Viking sagas, golden sand beaches, numerous hot springs, and traditional Icelandic fishing villages. There is a popular saying in Iceland – you haven’t seen Iceland if you haven’t visited Westfjords. The rough terrain and mountainous roads are although challenging but have some spectacular geographical regions you won’t find anywhere else. While visiting the Westfjords not only will you have the opportunity to explore these spectacular landscapes, but also to have a bath in some of the best hot springs in Iceland. If you are planning to visit this area, don’t forget to keep your swimsuit, towel and hiking shoes in your luggage.
Hot springs are a nature’s gift to Iceland. It’s a different experience sitting in a natural spa surrounded by a fairy-like landscape. The scene may remind you of a Disney movie or one of the visions from a dream. Locals in Westfjords often finish their day by taking a dip in one of the nearby hot springs. You can too join them or find your own hot spring, there is an endless number of natural hot springs in the Westfjords.
Many hotels and guesthouses are situated near hot pots. But the majority of thermal springs are located far from settlements, in pure wilderness. Finding them is quite an adventure, and some of them remain mysteriously hidden from the public eye. Who knows you might discover one of those hidden sparkling springs that even Icelanders didn’t know about. If you would like to read more about the hidden hot springs in Iceland, check out this article on the topic. You can become a hot spring detective to find a new spot for yourself. If you find one, do let us know.
There are many hot springs in the Westfjords. However, the list below includes only the best of the best pools that you must visit.
This geothermal pool is located just off the highway near the Vatnsfjörður beach. It provides a wonderful view of the beautiful ocean and majestic fjords. It is just 60 cm deep, a perfect depth to sit and enjoy the surrounding beauties. The pool temperature remains between 35 to 38 degrees Celsius.
As there can be many people inside the pool or nearby beach, wearing your swimsuit is certainly a good idea. There are no changing facilities at the hot spring, so it is better to wear your swimsuits under your clothes or change in your car.
The pool remains open all around the year, and there is no entry fee. But you can leave some amount in the canister by the parking lot, as donated money is used for maintaining the hygiene and cleanliness of the pool. Anyway, it is also one of the cleanest pools, water is emptied and cleaned regularly. If you travel around the winters, you might get lucky with a mesmerizing view of the Northern Lights too.
In Reykjafjörður fjord exists a beautiful natural thermal pool known as Reykjafjarðarlaug pool. 3 small hot spots are well connected. The water temperature in the uppermost pool is excessively high (more than 50 degrees Celsius). The second thermal pool is comparatively less warm; the temperature remains somewhere between 42 to 45 degrees.
Just below the two natural hot springs is a man-made forty-five years old swimming pool. The 6-meter-long pool has an ideal temperature of 32 degrees Celsius. You can swim too if nobody is in the pool. The views from the pool are breath taking.
The pool is visible from road No. 63 that runs across the Arnarfjordur fjord area. Here you will find changing facility by the swimming pool. The pool remains well maintained and open throughout the year. Just make sure that you follow the pool etiquette and avoid littering around the pool.
3. Pollurinn in Tálknafjörður
The temperature varies and sometimes it can go up to 45 degrees. It is not uncommon to see adding water from a hose if the temperature becomes too high. The villagers also maintain changing facilities by the pool. They have recently made few new additions to Pollurinn.
Sunsets provide a magical view from the pool. Mountains bathed in golden sunlight, and the surrounding bay area slowly disappearing makes the Pollurinn truly magical. The entry is free but visitors are expected to maintain the hygiene and cleanliness of the pool.
The pool area is easily accessible by Route 617. You will find a signpost indicating the Tálknafjörður Swimming Pool while driving on the route.
The cover photo for this article is take in Pollurinn hot spring, with northern lights dancing above the skies.
4. Heydalur Hot Spring
There are three hot pools in Heydalur. According to one legend, one of the thermal pools was blessed by Bishop Guðmundur in the 12th century.
The man-made geothermal Heydalur pool is at a walking distance from the Hotel Heydalur. The refreshing green surroundings make the pool a perfect choice to soak in hot water after a long day of travel. Locals say that Heydalur hot springs have some energy-boosting powers.
The second one is inside a Greenhouse, consisting of a traditional swimming pool and a hot tub.
And the last one looks like a hole in the ground but enough for 8 people to sit and enjoy the green surrounding. It is roughly 5 minutes’ walk from the restaurant. There used to be a changing room, but now nature has taken over the structure.
5. Krosslaug hot spring
On the eastern coastal region of Westfjords, you will find one of the best-kept secrets – the Krosslaug hot spring. Located in the far east from the mainland, reaching the pool in itself is an adventure. In front of the pool, there is you will see the mighty North Atlantic sea. What can be more pleasing than soaking in warm water in front of a cold sea? It is just magical!
The hot water comes from the Krossneshverar geothermal area. It is one of the well-maintained pools in the Westfjords and meets all the quality criteria of a pool. There is a small entry fee (less than $5), but it is worth every penny. Apart from this, there also exists a mysterious thousand years old pool known as the Hot Pool of the Cross.
The literal meaning of the Krosslaug in English is ‘Hot Pool of the Cross’. The name derives its origin from the story of the conversion of Vikings to Christianity that took place around 1000 AD. They were baptized in the hot spring Krosslaug. That’s why many locals believe that water has some healing powers. The pool is well protected and revered locally.
The road that leads to Krosslaug is Road no. 62. A path from the road will take you near the pools.
6. Hákarlavogur hot spring
The Westfjords are mountainous and has rough terrain, and only 1 out of 10 travelers reach this area. But the Westfjords are exceptionally well suited for those who love adventures. There are numerous magnificent natural structures dotted around the fjord and bay areas. One of the best-hidden gems of Westfjords is Hákarlavogur hot spring. Here you will find a beautiful hot spring, which remains unknown to even most locals.
The tiny geothermal pool is accessible from the road leading to Gjögur airport. Drive until the end of the runway that will lead you to Akurvik bay. On the sea cliff, you will find this amazing pool. Interestingly, the pool is inside a private property. So you need to ask permission at the Gjogur farm to explore the area. It is well hidden from the main road, tucked in between the rocks at the Atlantic Ocean.
Hákarlavogur means Shark’s Bay in English. The bay area of Gjogur used to be a shark fishing ground where more than 20 ships used to ply on its water until 1930.
The pool is large enough to accommodate a group of 10 people. The temperature can go as high as 65 degrees Celsius. Make sure that you measure the water temperature before diving in.
Around the pool area, you will find many stunning places. Djúpavíkurfoss waterfall is just around the corner, where you can also go for a hike and birdwatching. Abandoned shipwrecks in Djupavik gives a quirky, smoky atmosphere.
If you are planning to make a visit, take a 4×4 truck as the road to Hákarlavogur is a bumpy gravel road. Come prepared for this adventurous journey.
7. Nauteyrarlaug natural hot spring
Nauteyrarlaug is a great natural hot spring lcoated in the Westfjords. This hot spring is a secret gem and you will often find your self alone visiting this hot spring.
The hot spring is old and made out of stones and rocks. Therefor the water usually stays pretty clear when bathing in the hot spring. The temperature of the pool is around 40-42°C and the water comes from a borehole that is located close by.
Not many years ago a fish company drilled for their fish hatchery not far from the source of the hot spring. Because of the closeness to the source the water flow to the spring stopped. It was fixed by using pipe and now the water comes through the pipe and directly from the source to the spring.
When driving to the hot spring you should drive road 653 and make a right turn when you are approaching the location of the pool. Drive around 100 – 200 meters until you will see the pool. You will find a small house next to the pool that you can use for changing clothes.
Nauteyrarlaug GPS: 65.91711, -22.34193
8. Nauteyrarpottur hot tub
Nauteyrarpottur hot spring is a hot tub filled with geothermal water. The hot tub is located close to the Nauteyrarlaug natural hot spring. Nauteyrarpottur hot tub is a tiny warm water tub. The size of the hot tub is 1,5 x 1,5 meter and the temperature of the water is around 43 °C.
There are no changing facilities next to the hot tub but you can lay your clothes on the wooden platform that is located next to the hot tub.
To reach here, take road 635 and drive until Nauteyrarkirkja church. From here drive past a salmon farm, after taking a left turn you will see the gorgeous hot tub.
9. Hörgshlíðarlaug hot spring
Located in the picturesque Mjóifjörður fjords, the Hörgshlíðarlaug hot spring is one of the best-kept secrets of the Westfjords. Looking over the fjord, the pool provides a mesmerizing view of the cold mountains and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Those who dipped in say time makes a stop here. As part of the private property, the pool is very well maintained.
The serene natural settings around the pool make it a perfect spot to soak in with nature. There is also a changing room by the pool that you can use to change your clothes. The temperature always remains around 40 degrees Celsius. The 6 meters long and 80 cm deep pool is perfectly suited for a group party. The pool is fed with three water sources – two hot water and one cold water source.
The entry is free but you need to take permission from the pool owner. Don’t hesitate to ask, Icelanders like visitors but they are usually soft-spoken. Just make sure that you leave the pool as it was before you entered. Carry your swimsuit and a towel.
To reach the pool, take Route 663. The route is a gravel bumpy road with many twists taking you through several beautiful fjords. Follow the signboards place on the route, you will reach Hörgshlíðarlaug in no time.
Drangsnes is located in the far east corner of the Westfjords region. Dragsnes is a small town consisting of just 67-70 people. The town is surrounded by curvy cliffs. When you enter the town, you will find a signpost indicating a hot tub. The Dragsnes hot pots remain open for locals and tourists throughout the year. Perched on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, there is three side by side heated hot tubs. The entry is completely free to the pool. You will find locals sitting inside during the afternoon. In Iceland, the pool is often used as a small social gathering. So don’t be surprised if you find some of the locals relaxing by the tubs. What can be a better way than soaking in with them and talk about something or nothing?
If you are in Hellulaug, you may like to visit Birkimelur hot pool which is just 15 minutes away. Not easily spottable from the road, Birkimelur includes one swimming pool and a stone-lined hot pot. There is also a changing facility by the pool. The pool remains open for the public throughout the year, but changing and shower facilities are available between 12 to 7 PM.