Geothermal pools in Iceland – Hvalfjarðarlaug

Geothermal pools in Iceland – Hvalfjarðarlaug

There is so much more to geothermal pools (otherwise known as hot pots!) in Iceland than the blue lagoon! I mean, I am sure the blue lagoon is awesome too…but once I found out that it is basically runoff from the Svartsengi geothermal plant, I was a little less keen. I wanted to experience a more traditional geothermal pools in Iceland. If you fancy relaxing in hot pot surrounded by beeeeautiful snow covered mountains, read on!! I’ll share how we found this mini wonderland, so you can probably find some even more stunning Icelandic geothermal pools! Just remember to come back and tell me about them! 😀

How to discover geothermal pools in Iceland

My secret for finding geothermal pools in Iceland was the awesome website Hot Pot Iceland. We used that website to find possible hot pots and places to swim. We decided to try Hvalfjarðarlaug geothermal pool because it was only an hour from Reykjavík in the direction we needed to drive anyway.

Driving in Iceland

I am not an expert at this at all because our friends did all the driving. We hired a car in Reykjavík and drove up to Ólafsfjörður, so the geothermal fun was just a fun stop on our journey. If you’d like some better advice about driving around Iceland, have a peek at this perfect post by my blogging friend Becky the Traveller: All you need to know about driving in Iceland. Or have a peek at this post from Justine, from Wanderer of the World.

Getting to your chosen Hot Pot

Once you’ve decided which geothermal pool to visit, you have to find it! We found that many of them do not show up on google maps, even if you search their name. BUT the awesome Hot Pot website I mentioned above gives you their GPS coordinates. We put those coordinated into our sat’ nav’ to find the route to the pool. (The GPS coordinates for Hvalfjarðarlaug are +64° 22′ 25.21″, -21° 33′ 50.02″ )

On the way from Reykjavík we crossed the most icy river and lake that I have ever seen! This has nothing to do with the geothermal pool, but it’s so pretty I had to include some photos of our journey!

Hvalfjarðarlaug geothermal pool

I have heard that this hot pot is actually closed off to the public now, (nooo!) and the road up to the Hot Pot is closed. So, although when we went, you could just drive up, park and dip into the pool, I’m afraid you may have to skip this one. You can get the idea of local Hot Pots though. This was a small pool with concrete sides. It is filled by natural water from a hot spring, fed by a pipe. So, if it cools down, you can add extra hot water with the pipe.

Hvalfjarðarlaug was a looovely place to bathe. Most of the time we were hidden in the shade, but then the sun peeked out over the mountain and we were suddenly bathed in sunlight! Nice eh!? Hopefully they’ll reopen it soon!

We also loved the way the beach was steaming! How could we not get a steamy jump shot!?

Hot Pot etiquette

Many of the hot pots / geothermal pools are on private land. If there is a money box by the pool, then do give a donation to help the owners with the upkeep of the pool. Always be respectful and leave no trace that you visited! This means you need to take all rubbish with you, and never use soap or detergents while you are bathing. If there is a car park, use it. Be careful not to drive off road as you might upset the delicate natural habitat around the pools.

This hot pool was a little too hot for us when we first arrived. I am used to very hot water in Japan, but this was truly steaming! We added in some snow, and then Kendra jogged around to mix the colder water at the bottom with the hot surface water. That made a perfect temperature so we could finally take off our coats, jumpers and ear muffs to bathe!

Extra views because it is sooo pretty

We were soooo snug and warm after our dip in the hot pool that we were ready to keep exploring the stunning Icelandic countryside! These views were after we made it back onto the main road after being toasty-warm from the geothermal pool. Isn’t it stunning!?

These are from later in our drive, but I had to include them too. Iceland has such beautiful light in wintertime.

I hope this helps others build up the courage to explore and find some natural geothermal pools! Please do let me know if you find a good’un!

Extra ideas for Iceland

As we only visited this gorgeous country for a long weekend, I can’t help much with information about Iceland BUT take a peek at these posts if you’d like some more ideas:

  • Mona from Mona Corona For ideas about what to visit off the beaten track
  • Rachel from Rattles Ramblings You can see her 5 day-long adventure
  • Jane from A taste of Koko For gorgeous pictures of her road trip around Iceland’s ring road


30 thoughts on “Geothermal pools in Iceland – Hvalfjarðarlaug

  1. ah ha, lesson absorbed; we’re there in October so now i know… mind you the transition from freezing outside to hot pot will be the challenge for a wimp like me!

    1. Oooh yay! I didn’t know you had a trip planned to Iceland too Geoff! Angela (from the you are awesome blog) mentioned she was going…that is why I started this post. 😀

      It’d be amazing if you bump into blogging friends in Iceland!

  2. Your pictures of Iceland are stunning! The pools you visit seem less touristy than pictures of the Blue Lagoon I’ve seen online. A “hidden gem” :)?

    1. Thanks Sanne!

      Yeah, this kind of thing is waaay less touristy than places like the blue lagoon because they won’t be on thousands of people’s bucket lists.

      Having said that, I’m not an expert on Iceland and it was very easy to find! You only have to scratch a *teeny* way below the surface to find these less famous but equally awesome places!!

    1. Thanks Sarah!
      Yeah, Iceland is doing a good job of letting the world know how lovely it is!! I hope you make it over there!! <3

  3. We had looked up a bunch of geothermal pools but due to time constrains, only had time for the Blue Lagoon on our trip in February. Would love to check out some others on my next visit – as I’d love to see the country in spring/summer.

    1. Me tooo!!

      Visiting in winter was amaaaazig, but it made me really keen to go back and see the same scenery in summer! Thank you for your comment. I hope we both make it back there!!

  4. This all looks so amazing! I really want to visit Iceland but I don’t want to rush it, so I’m making sure I plan it properly first. definitely saving this for later.

    1. Oooh that is a better way! We sort of planned everything in a rush and then just went with the flow as we explored.

      Your way sounds better to ensure you don’t moss anything!

  5. What a fun experience! This definitely seems more up my alley than visiting a very touristy place like the Blue Lagoon. Man, I can’t wait to go to Iceland!

  6. I want to go back to Iceland just to explore the hot pots! Being out in nature with gorgeous views can’t get any better. Gonna check out the Hot Pot Iceland website.

  7. Oh this sounds like so much fun. I love such adventurous spots, we have similar things in Georgia too 🙂

  8. Such a great place to visit, we loved our time there in June! Im so glad you found some hot pots, we only heard about them a bit later in our trip so didn’t manage to get to any. Next time!!!

    1. Oooh we both have excuses to go back then!!

      We knew about hot pots before we arrived, but I am sure we only managed to visit one because we stumbled across that Hot Pot website! Otherwise they would be too hard to find for clueless iceland newbies like us!

  9. The only time I’ve been to Iceland is a stopover at the airport flying back to the UK one time 🙂 I don’t know why we haven’t visited it yet – even my parents have been! 🙂 Lovely mountain shots and the steaming beach is awesome!

    1. I have a feeling you’d like it more in the summer with all the waterfalls and hikes. It was pretty awesome to see those scenes in the snow though!!

    1. You can David!! Visit Iceland… or Japan. There are lots of amazing hot springs there too. I have heard there are lots here in Canada too, but I didn’t find them yet!

    1. Thanks lovely!

      I need to go back too…I’d like to see all these views in the summertime, and visit some of the waterfalls!!

    1. Oooh you found it! Thanks for taking a peek!!

      I am still hoping they’ll re-open it when things in Iceland calm down. But there are plenty more to find. I reeeeally need to go back to Iceland!

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