Hot springs are an often-occurring natural phenomenon in Iceland and that is all thanks to the extraordinary geothermal activity that goes on under the earth’s crust of the island. The best part of this is that no matter where you are touring in the country, in which part you are cruising, you are sure to find a pool to soak in and leave your troubles and fatigue behind. There are hot springs which are turned into resorts like the Blue Lagoon and then there are some lesser-known beauties which are perfect for you if you want to spend some time alone, away from the chatter of the city and the crowd. Guðrúnarlaug hot spring, deep in the west part of the country, is one such place that is very close to nature and its rugged, untouched beauty. The hot tub itself has history dating back 1000s of years. It was closed for about 140 years after a horrific landslide but was reconstructed in 2009 and has been open since then.
What Does the Lore Says?
Icelandic sagas are one of the major parts of the culture of Iceland and there is a very famous story related to the Guðrúnarlaug hot spring that the lore has kept alive. It is said that a Viking named Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir from Icelandic saga, lived near Guðrúnarlaug. Her existence dates back to about 1000 years ago. The woman spent a lot on time in and near the hot tub. It is mentioned in the saga that Guðrún was a prophet and had the special gift of interpretation of dreams.
Another character named Gestur Oddleifsson – a man from the Icelandic Saga who was known for his exceptional beauty – told Guðrún that she will be married 4 times in her lifetime and all her husbands will die. This was deciphered from one of his dreams and turned out to be true.
Later when all four husbands of Guðrún had died, as was predicted by Gestur, she becomes a nun and spent the rest of her life in Helgafell church on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. She switches properties with Snorri Goði Þorgrímsson who constructed the church at Helgafell. If you visit the church, you can even find her grave – facing the church as Irish tradition directs. The gravestone of her grave was put up in 1979 and is marked with ‘1008’ – the year Guðrún died.
A Pool Out in the Open – Rebuilt
The pool itself has been reconstructed and rebuilt over the years after the landslide and now flaunts a beautiful circular shape. The insides of the pool are also lined with stones to make bathing easy. The surrounding land is covered with fresh green grass. The hot pool presents a beautiful view of the mountains far in the back and a green-white painted hotel in the foreground. The hotel is just next to the hot tub so you can stay there when visiting and go to the pool at any point in time – whenever you like. There is a small shed-like place near the pool. It is not a proper changing room but you can use to change into your bathing suit. The pool is completely out in the open and is seldom cleaned as it is not managed by anyone but still worth the dip.
How to Get There
The pool is about 167 kilometers away from the capital which means it will take you about 2.5 hours to get there. Take the ring road and drive until you get to road number 60. Make the turn on road 60 and head to Búðardalur village. Drive forward in the direction of Hólmavík for about 16 kilometers. Turn left on the side-road numbered 589. You will reach Hotel Edda after driving for about 3 kilometers. Look up towards the hill right in front of the hotel and you will be able to spot the hot pool.
If you are planning to visit this hot spring then it is best if you rent a car to travel because there are no guided tours available for this certain destination. Almost all roads are paved so you do not have to worry about renting a 4×4 to visit the place. One of the best things about this place is that there is a great accommodation option right in front of the hot pool so you will not have to travel a lot in search of lodging.