10 Icelandic Hot Springs You Haven't Heard Of

The Blue Lagoon might be the most well-known hot spring in the entire world. But if solitude and nature are what you're looking for, you're not likely to find it there. Check out these other spas and natural springs on and off Iceland's Ring Road for a more serene adventure.

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Myvatn Nature Baths

The powder blue water of the Myvatn Nature Baths is reminiscent of the Blue Lagoon, but the price tag is not. Head to the Nature Baths, in north Iceland, after a day of hiking on steaming lava fields in the volcanic region of Krafla. If you're #vanlife-ing it with a camper, spend the night right on the Myvatn lake at the Bjarg campground.

Secret Lagoon, Fludir

Iceland's first swimming pool was mostly forgotten until just a few years ago. It was built in the late 1800s and fell out of use when concrete swimming pools became more common. Now, you'll find rustic luxury at the Secret Lagoon, which features a large soaking pool and a few smaller "hot pots," as Icelanders call them.

Reykjadalur Hot Springs, Hveragerdi

Hike from Hveragerdi to a hot river in the middle of a steaming mountain valley. Watch where you step along the 2.4-mile hike, as hot springs start to gurgle out of the ground when you get close to the river. You likely won't find privacy on this popular hike, but you'll relax instantly thanks to the piping hot river and stunning scenery.

Gudrunarlaug Natural Hot Pool, Laugar, Saelingsdalur

Legend has it that this hot pot was the ancient bathing spot of Gudrun Osvifursdottir, one of the few female protagonists in Iceland's ancient sagas. Today, it's a small pool built into a hillside in the small town of Laugar in western Iceland. It's free to visit, and it's an easy walk from the Hotel Edda in town. A quaint stone and turf building serves as a changing house and warming hut on chilly nights. Come at the right time of year — late summer through winter — and you might catch the Northern Lights from the comfort of the hot spring.

Grjotagja Cave, Myvatn

Even though swimming is prohibited in these hot spring caves, it's worth popping by for a peek, especially if you're a Game of Thrones fan: Grjotagja made it into an episode in season three. It doesn't look like much more than some toppled rocks from the outside, but once you scramble over a few boulders to get in, you'll find a cozy, steamy paradise with crystal-clear water.

Viti, Askja

"Viti" means "hell" in Icelandic, but don't let that deter you. The views in the Askja highlands are epic and otherworldly, and the warm, milky-blue waters of the Viti crater are a popular bathing spot. Consider booking a backpacking trip or a jeep tour with Icelandic Mountain Guides instead of navigating Iceland's rough mountain roads in a high-clearance rental car.

Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach, Reykjavik

You'll find swimmers at the Nautholsvik Geothermal Beach in Reykjavik even in the winter. The beach features hot tubs and a man-made lagoon where the cold Atlantic is mixed with heated water.

Fontana Spa, Laugarvatn

Not far from the Golden Circle of waterfalls and geysers, visiting Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths is the perfect way to relax after a day on the road. Come here to soak in pools overlooking Lake Laugarvatn and to recharge in the geothermal saunas. Make a whole day out of it by booking a Golden Circle tour through the spa.

Seljavallalaug, Skogar

This naturally-heated pool of algae soup was built into the mountainside near Skogar and Vik in 1923. Aside from the Blue Lagoon, it might just be the most Instagrammable of them all. The hike to the pool and changing rooms is roughly a mile long. You'll know you're close when you start seeing steamy puddles.

Public Pools, Reykjavik + Beyond

Soaking in hot springs and heated pools is the thing to do in Iceland. When you're driving along the Ring Road, you'll often see highway signs for pools right alongside signs for lodging, gas and food. They'll likely be some of the best public pools you've ever visited, complete with amenities like lap lanes, saunas, hot pots of varying temperatures, clean showers, waterslides and snack bars. If you're spending at least a full day in Reykjavik, the City Card is a no-brainer: It's $35 for a 24-hour pass that gets you unlimited access to public pools and transportation, a long list of museums and other discounts.

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