hot springs

List of all Hot Springs

List of all Hot Springs

Enjoy our unique and detailed list of all Icelandic hot springs! Currently 59 hot springs. Note: the page is still a “work in progress” and we are adding new and new info every day. If you think some info should be updated, feel free to contact usAlso, please, if you know of any hot spring not listed here, let us know and we will give you all the credit for that one! 🙂

Below we list all the wild hot springs, man-made hot springs, hot pools and mountain hot tubes. We only list all the hot springs you are allowed to bath in, unless otherwise stated. We exclude hot caves like Stóragjá, because it’s forbidden to bathe there. We also exclude classical public pools. The borderline is sometimes pretty thin in Iceland, so it’s impossible to create a perfect classification 🙂

Yes, there is Laugafell, there is Laugarfell, and there is also Laugavallalaug! All of these are different hot springs at different locations, each one differently amazing! And that is not all. There are actually two different hot springs with the same name – Krosslaug, located completely elsewhere! And then that’s also Krosnesslaug to make it easier to remember. That being said, hopefully this list will help you to find your favorite one. Below is our map of hot pots in Iceland:

Map of all hot springs in Iceland

Askja hot spring

swimming in askja crater

Me swimming in 25°C sulphuric water of Víti crater in Askja

Askja definitely isn’t a typical hot spring. It’s a big warm crater lake. It’s often known as Askja caldera. The road leading to Askja is long and challenging but really worth it. We wrote an entire guide about how to visit Askja.

Askja hot spring type

Askja warm lake is a completely natural and wild crater where warm sulfur water created this unique “blue hot spring lake”. There are no changing rooms at all, you are in central highlands here. Bathing is free of charge and requires a hike down the crater, which can be challenging. Water is not especially hot, actually much colder compared to typical hot springs, but still warm, with around 28°C / 82°F.

How to get to Askja hot spring

We wrote a detailed guide on getting to Askja. Roads to Askja are open only during full summer (July and August) and require at least a medium-sized 4wd car. The bigger, the better. “Can we do it in a Suzuki Jimny?”, yes you can try and you may succeed, but you may also not. Jimny is considered to be a small-sized SUV, which, when driven in the right way and in good weather may be enough. It may also not be enough if the opposite is the case.

In short, You can either come from the north via F88 or from the east by F905. You will then connect to F910 and lastly to F894. After parking your car, you will still have to hike/walk for another 30 minutes one way. If you don’t feel like driving to Askja, you can take an epic Askja tour!

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Video of Askja hot spring

Tips about Askja hot spring

Pick a day with good weather, or take a guided tour. A drive in rain and fog will usually bring you no joy and no views just stress. If you decide to drive to Askja, read carefully both our Askja guide and Askja F-roads descriptions. Last but not least, please choose a proper car, so that you don’t have to call 112 for rescue.

Once you reach Askja, to get down to the warm lake, you need to take a short but steep descent. In bad weather, this may get dangerous. We recommend taking the descent to Askja only in good weather. Better also use hiking poles for stability. Moreover, it’s not allowed to bathe in all parts of the lake. There are signs that you cannot cross, please watch out for them or you may get yourself injured!

To sum up, bathing in Askja is more challenging and more adventurous compared to most of the other hot springs out there. Adjust your expectations and prepare accordingly 🙂

Biskupslaug – Reykir

Blue Lagoon

blue lagoon iceland

The famous Blue lagoon by Epic Iceland archives

Brúarpotturinn

bruarpotturinn hot spring

Brúarpotturinn hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Djúpavogskörin

Djúpavogskörin hot spring

Djúpavogskörin hot spring, Djúpivogur

Closed as at April 2022. Should be repaired and reopened in the following weeks/months.

Djúpavogskörin hot spring, is virtually a hot bathing tank. It’s located right on the ring road next to Djúpivogur, as the name suggests. Yet, Djúpavogskörin is still nicely hidden away from the main road and you have to keep searching for it for a few minutes.

Djúpavogskörin hot spring type

Djúpavogskörin hot spring is basically a man made stone block with a really hot water flowing into it. When we visited Djúpavogskörin in summer, we were unable to bathe there, because the water was simply too hot, definitely more than 43°C (109°F). In the winter, though, the temperature seemed to be considerably lower and just right for soaking up 🙂 Based on this finding, we better recommend a winter visit.

How to get to Djúpavogskörin

You don’t need any special car to get to Djúpavogskörin, any car can do that. The only tricky part is a bit cumbersome parking. The hot spring is located right next to the ring road, where cars drive around 90km/h, so you need to slow down, find the right detour and don’t block other cars. The car park is just a worn-out grass field that can easily get icy or muddy.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Once you leave your car at this unmaintained parking area, you need to walk for around 5 minutes via an unmarked path to find the Djúpavogskörin hot spring. There’s a little hill right next to the parking area and the hot spring is hidden right below this hill. The easiest way is to follow the prior footsteps of someone, but even without it, you should still be able to find the hot spring, because it’s really close by.

Video of Djúpavogskörin

Tips for Djúpavogskörin hot spring

Hot spring is free of charge, there was no donation box at the time of our last visit. There are also no changing rooms, but there’s a clothes-hanger. The short path leading to the actual hot spring can be really muddy when it’s wet, so get ready for that with your footwear.

Drangsnes hot pots

drangsnes hot pots iceland

Drangsnes hot pots. Image courtesy to: www.love-iceland.at

Forrest Lagoon

New luxurious lagoon soon to be open.

forrest lagoon iceland

Forrest lagoon iceland. Image courtesy to: www.forestlagoon.is

Foss

foss hot spring waterfall akureyri

The Foss. Hot spring waterfall next to Akureyri. Image courtesy to Instagram @libertadoo

Fosslaug

fosslaug hot spring iceland

Fosslaug hot spring

Fosslaug hot spring is a beautiful stop when driving near Varmahlíð, definitely worth a little detour. There’s also a waterfall – Reykjafoss – and the whole place is magical especially during the sunset.

Fosslaug hot spring type

Bathing in Fosslaug is free of charge. We couldn’t find any money box, as is the case with many other Icelandic hot pots. There are no changing rooms, so just don’t be shy 🙂 Hot spring can accommodate up to 10 visitors, however comfortably maybe only up to 5. Fosslaug is a natural hot spring (man maintained) so naturally, the water isn’t entirely clear, but we think it belongs to the better ones when compared to other Icelandic hot springs. Water in Fosslaug is pleasantly hot with a temperature of around 38°C / 100°F.

How to get to Fosslaug

In summer, you can reach Fosslaug with any 2wd car. In winter a 4wd car would be better. Finding Fosslaug is part of the adventure. Although Google maps do show its location, it’s not that straightforward to find it anyway. We firstly turned right a few tens of meters earlier and ended up parking our car at the wrong spot, which we however didn’t realize at that time. After a few minutes of walking around, we eventually reached a dead-end and came back to our car.

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

We realized we should have taken the next turn right. This turn will take you to the small, but pretty well visible car park. There you may leave your car (probably along with several other visitors, because Fosslaug is pretty popular and easily accessible). After parking your car at Fosslaug car park, it takes about 10-15 minutes of walking through the easy trail to reach the actual hot spring. As far as I remember, there are 1 or 2 gates which you have to open and then also close after you pass.

Video of Fosslaug

Tips about Fosslaug

On your way to Fosslaug, you will also pass the beautiful Reykjafoss. One of the smaller Icelandic waterfalls, Reykjafoss, is especially picturesque during sunrise and sunset, which we were lucky enough to experience.

What we liked the most about Fosslaug is that it overlooks a river and if you are lucky, you may observe a beautiful sunset over the river! Despite not being remote and thus possibly a bit touristy, Fosslaug is definitely one of our favorite hot springs.

Galtahryggjarlaug

galtahryggjarlaug hot spring

Galtahryggjarlaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Geosea geothermal sea baths

husavik geosea geothermal baths

Husavik Geosea geothermal baths

Geothermal Goldfish Pond

Gjörvidalslaug

May be open, may be locked. It’s recommened to ask locals for permission.

gjorvidalslaug hot spring

Gjörvidalslaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: Harpa Hreinsdóttir

Grafarlaug

grafarlaug hot spring

Grafarlaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Grettirs pool – Grettislaug

grettislaug hot spring

Grettislaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Guðlaug baths

gudlaug baths

Guðlaug Baths. Image courtesy to: www.facebook.com/Gudlaug.NaturalPool/

Guðrúnarlaug

gudrunarlaug hot spring shelter

Shelter for changing clothes and Gudrunarlaug hot spring

Guðrúnarlaug is one of the most picturesque hot springs in Iceland. It’s very well accessible.

Gudrunarlaug hot spring type

Guðrúnarlaug hot spring is man-made and man-maintained. It also has a cute little “cottage” changing room. Bathing was free of charge, we didn’t notice any donation box, but one may have been added in the meantime. The water was around 38°C / 100°F hot at the time of our visit, i.e. very pleasantly hot.

How to get to Gudrunarlaug

In summer, Guðrúnarlaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Guðrúnarlaug

Tips about Guðrúnarlaug

Guðrúnarlaug is definitely a bit more touristy compared to, for example, Lýsuhólslaug. The reason for that is its proximity to ring road and to Westfjords, i.e., it’s quite easily accessible. The same is true when it comes to access to the actual hot tube – it’s a 2-minute walk from the car park, which sits right next to it. Google Maps are also quite precise about the location of Gudrunarlaug, so feel free to orientate according to them.

Guðrúnarlaug is located next to the small rural campsite (we didn’t see anyone camping at the time of our visit, during Covid-19 times) and something which looked like a school.

Gvendarlaug

gvendarlaug hot spring

Gvendarlaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.laugarholl.is

Hauganes hot pots

hauganes hot springs

Hauganes hot pots

What’s probably best about Hauganes hot springs is their location. They are situated just few meters from the actual fjord. This guarantees you an amazing view over the fjord while enjoying pleasantly hot water.

Hauganes hot spring type

Hauganes hot springs consist of 4 pools. The first pool (and the most legendary one) is shaped like a boat and definitely is pretty cool to bath in. In summer, the “boat-pool”, however, has the coldest water out of all pools (around 30°C), so it’s more a “warm spring” rather than “hot spring”. The other 3 pools (not that cool looking) have higher temperature though (35°C+). To us (and to our local Icelandic co-visitors) it seemed like the hottest pool was the rightmost one, that’s why we spent almost all our time there.

In winter, temperatures of the pools changed, however. The boat-shaped one felt just right with about 35°C, while the other two hot tubes were unbearably hot with more than 40°C.

There’s also a changing room, so you don’t have to do it outside in the cold as is the case with many wild hot springs. Price for Hauganes hot springs is 1000kr/person (ca. 7Eur/8USD). When the owner is present, you can pay it directly to him. If he’s not present, and you have cash, there’s a cash box right next to the pools. And thirdly, if you don’t have cash, you can pay by card at the nearby restaurant Baccalá.

How to get to Hauganes hot pots

Hauganes hot pot is easy to find (e.g. on Google maps, surprisingly in Hauganes). Hauganes hot springs are easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Hauganes hot pots

Tips for Hauganes hot pots

Hauganes hot springs are located just next to the little campsite, so there’s a high chance, you won’t be alone in here, given the hot pots are not that remote, nor hard to access. At the time of our visit, there were 2 groups of visitors, plus us and the place didn’t feel crowded at all. A capacity of one pool is around 8 people, therefore it’s not that easy for hot pools to become crowded. For those interested – you may even rotate between hot springs and sea, which lies right next to hot springs. Just don’t forget to shower yourself before each hot spring dive (the sea is dirty and salty).

Hellulaug

hellulaug hot spring

Hellulaug hot spring

Hellulaug is a nice hot spring situated in one of the fjords in the southern part of Westfjords.

Hellulaug hot spring type

Hellulaug hot spring is a man-made and (not that much) man-maintained rocky hot spring. Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one. There’s no shelter, nor changing room, you have to change your clothes either in a car or just next to the hot spring. The water is pleasantly hot, with some 37°C / 99°F.

How to get to Hellulaug

In summer, Hellulaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

The distance from the nearest car park to the hot spring is around 2 minutes of walking. You can get to Hellulaug from the main road 60. Just be sure to finally turn on Hellulaugavegur and end up here, because there’s one other (wrong) spot on Google maps. You will leave your car at a small, gravel parking lot. From there you have to descent about 2 minutes to reach the pool itself.

Video of Hellulaug

Tips about Hellulaug

Hellulaug is situated right in the heart of the fjord. If you are into “sauna style” bathing, you may even alternate between bathing in the hot spring and bathing in the ice-cold sea. Water in the hot spring is very pleasant though, having some 37°C (according to my professional, read as „guessed“, assessment).

If it rains, since there’s no shelter, some of your things will probably get wet, unless you cover them with something. We didn’t mind, though, because Hellulaug was probably the last stop of our trip.

Heydalur

heydalur hot spring

Heydalur hot spring. Image courtesy to: http://kitiniceland.blogspot.com/

Hjalteyri Hot Tub

Run by Strýtan dive centre, ask for permission / pay for access.

Hoffel hot tubes

hoffel hot pots

Hoffel hot tubes. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Hörgshlíðarlaug

Horgshlidarlaug hot spring

Hörgshliðarlaug hot spring in the heart of fjord

Hörgshliðarlaug is a nice remote hot spring hidden in one of the fjords in the northern part of Westfjords. This is one of our favorite hot springs in Iceland.

Horgshlidarlaug hot spring type

Hörgshliðarlaug hot spring is a man-made and man-maintained seaweed hot spring. Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one. There’s an old shelter next to the hot spring, which serves as a changing room. The water is pleasantly hot, with some 37°C / 99°F.

How to get to Horgshlidarlaug

In summer, Hörgshliðarlaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Not only tough to pronounce, but also tough to find, that’s Horgshlidarlaug. At the time of our visit, road 633 was closed, so we had to use the northern part of road 61 and make a detour south (left) right before crossing the Mjóifjörður fjord. The distance from the nearest car park (next to the road) to the hot spring is around 2 minutes of walking.

Video of Hörgshlíðarlaug

Tips about Hörgshlíðarlaug

Horgshlidarlaug is a dirty, old, full of seaweed hot spring with a true Icelandic atmosphere. It lies right in the heart of the fjord, so you will be able to watch the fjord while soaking in the hot pot. If you are lucky enough, there may even be seals around (we haven’t seen any though).

If you are into “sauna style” bathing, you may even alternate between bathing in the hot spring and bathing in the ice-cold sea. Water in the hot spring is very pleasant though, having some 37°C (according to my professional, read as „guessed“, assessment).

Hrunalaug

hruni hot spring

Tranquil scenery of Hruni hot spring

Hrunalaug is one of the most picturesque Icelandic hot springs. Although it’s nowadays already really touristy, it definitely belongs to the top Icelandic hot springs.

Hrunalaug hot spring type

Guðrúnarlaug hot spring is man-made and man-maintained. There’s an authentic wooden shelter (similar to the one next to Guðrúnarlaug) serving as a changing room, right next to the pool. There’s a donation box at the wooden shelter and a recommended donation is at least 8 USD / person. The water was around 38°C / 100°F hot at the time of our visit, i.e. very pleasantly hot.

How to get to Hrunalaug

Hrunalaug (or Hruni) is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Use Google maps. They were quite precise about the location. There’s actually a car park near the hot spring. From the “car park” it’s about 3 minutes of walk. You shouldn’t get lost, as far as I can remember there’s even a sign pointing towards hot spring.

Video of Hrunalaug

Tips about Hrunalaug

There are actually several pools, some of them smaller, some of them bigger. All pools do contain heated water, but each one has a different temperature. The hottest one is also the smallest and is the one right next to the shelter. It’s ideal for 2 people, and if you are OK with some squeezing even for 4.

I can confidently nominate Hruni hot spring for winning the award of the most authentic Icelandic hot spring. It is, without doubt, one of the best hot springs we’ve ever been to. Thanks to many aspects. Firstly, it’s a place secluded from anything else with no buildings or roads around. Secondly, the landscape surrounding it is truly peaceful and picturesque. Thirdly, the hot pot itself looks like to be from some kind of fairy-tale. And, importantly, the water (in the main one) is pleasantly hot with some 38°C according to my professional (read amateur) assessment.

The main downside of Hrunalaug is that it’s getting really crowded. It’s easily accessible and beautiful at the same time. I recommend either coming here off-season or during some weird times (like really soon in the morning, or during the night).

Hvammsvík hot springs

hvammsvik hot springs iceland

Hvammsvík hot springs SPA. Image courtesy to: https://hvammsvik.com/

Húsafell canyon baths

This is a paid hot spring on a private property. You have to buy the package to visit it.

Húsafell Canyon Baths

Húsafell Canyon Baths. Image courtesy to: www.husafell.com

Hveravellir hot spring

Hveravellir hot spring

The only Hveravellir hot spring for bathing. Image: courtesy of hiticeland.com

Hveravellir is a hot spring area in the middle of F35 road with one nice free hot spring available for bathing.

Hveravellir hot spring type

Hveravellir hot spring is man-made and man-maintained. It has an uncovered exterior changing space. Bathing is free of charge, we didn’t notice any donation box, but one may have been added in the meantime. The water is pleasantly hot, with some 38°C / 100°F.

How to get to Hveravellir

You need a 4wd car to access the Hveravellir area. Road 35 leading there (former F35), a.k.a. Kjölur or Kjalvegur is open for tourists without super jeeps only from June to September.

In summer, the road F35 (Kjalvegur) is not hard to drive on, though. You may rent basically any 4wd car to drive it. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Once you leave F35 towards Hveravellir, it’s just a short, easy drive and you will soon find a parking lot in front of a small restaurant. Almost next to the parking lot lies a nice, public, free hot spring. The distance from the nearest car park to the hot spring is around 5 minutes of walking.

Video of Hveravellir

Tips about Hveravellir

Since it is so close to the car park, there’s a high chance someone will be inside most of the time. Nevertheless, the hot spring is big enough and the water is pleasantly hot, with some 38°C (according to my professional assessment). On the other hand, the air temperature felt really cold, something like 7-8°C even in the middle of August. So again – be prepared for that – you are in the middle of Iceland, in highlands.

I guess my expectations for Hveravellir were too big (read further to find out why). When planning our trip, I had read that there are “several hot springs in the Hveravellir area”. Moreover, seeing pictures like this had instantly made me a Hveravellir enthusiast. Well, the reality was a bit different. We were hiking for 1 hour around the entire area, but we haven’t found any hot springs, other than the main one near the parking lot.

We finally also asked the local at the restaurant who just confirmed our realization by saying: “you can bath only in this hot spring, next to the car park. There may be also some other hot springs further away, but you shouldn’t bathe there”.

Kerlingarfjöll hot spring

kerlingarfjoll hot spring

Kerlingarfjöll hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Krauma Natural Geothermal Baths

krauma hot springs

Krauma hot baths. Image courtesy to: www.krauma.is

Krauma hot spring type

Long story short, Krauma is a nicely-maintained modern hot spring / hot spa with all the facilities you could probably need – showers, restaurant, café, changing rooms – all being new and with a glamorous touch. There are several pools of various (hot) temperatures and also an ice-cold “dip pool”. It is located in the exterior and has a view over nearby lands, which are not special anyhow, but not bad either.

How to get to Krauma baths

A normal road leads to Krauma, you can make it with any car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Krauma baths

Tips for Krauma baths

For me Krauma is too expensive and without a wild touch I prefer, but if you are into more glamorous hot springs with all of the facilities, services and comfort and you don’t mind paying for that, you’re gonna be satisified. As was my wife 🙂

Krosslaug hot pot

krosslaug hot pot

Krosslaug hot pot

Krosslaug hot pot type

Krosslaug is a natural hot spring (man maintained). Bathing in Krosslaug is free of charge. We couldn’t find any money box, as is the case with many other Icelandic hot pots. There are no changing rooms, so just don’t be shy 🙂

Krosslaug is pretty little, suitable comfortably maybe for 2 people, and less comfortably for 4. The temperature is pleasant, though, with around 38°C according to my (non) professional estimate. The water is not entirely clean with some plants floating in it, though much clearer compared to some not well-maintained algae pools like Seljavallalaug.

How to get to Krosslaug hot pot

Krosslaug is located right next to road 52. You can leave your car at the little car park and from there it’s just a 2-minute walk. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Krosslaug hot pot

Tips for Krosslaug hot pot

Beware, there’s also another hot spring called Krosslaug 🙂 This one is located in Westfjords, though. See below.

Krosslaug hot spring Westfjords

krosslaug hot spring westfjords

Krosslaug hot spring in Westfjords. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Krossneslaug

krossneslaug

Krossneslaug

Krossneslaug is a really unique, one-of-its-kind hot pool literally at the end of the world (or at least all Icelandic roads).

Krossneslaug hot spring type

Krossneslaug is a man-made and man-maintained hot pool. There’s an access fee of around 8 USD. For that price, you can use the whole infrastructure around – changing rooms, showers, toilets, etc. There is 1 big “infinity” pool with a view over the fjord and 1 small hot tube as a bonus. The bigger, rectangular pool has a water temperature of around 34°C / 93°F and a smaller, more modern hot tub with a temperature of around 38°C / 100°F.

How to get to Krossneslaug

Although officially any 2wd car is allowed in here, I do recommend a 4wd car and some guts to reach Krossneslaug. Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug could easily be classified as an Icelandic F-road. It doesn’t contain any river crossings but it contains almost everything else an F-road may contain. Potholes, gravel, narrow passages, steep parts, driving on the edge of the cliffs, …

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Google Maps mark Krossneslaug quite precisely. They just don’t show that the “car park” (or better said the place next to the road where you may leave your car) is tens of meters above the pool. That means, you have to leave your car up, next to the road and you have to walk down the path to Krossneslaug itself. Only the owner of the pool has an access to reach the pool by car.

Video of Krossneslaug

Tips about Krossneslaug

Bathing in Krossneslaug is again a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It definitely belongs to the Top 5 of Icelandic hot springs. Once in the pool, you will again feel like being in some kind of fairy tale. Just you, a hot pool and a view of the endless sea. The smaller, hotter bathtub even has a windshield (I guess for cases of severe weather?).

Before our departure, I asked the owner whether it does make economic sense to maintain such a pool at the end of the world. He just smiled and replied that from June till 1st half of August usually hundreds of people come per day. So this hot spring may get a bit touristy in the full season.

Kualaug

Kvika Footbath

kvika footbath hot spring iceland

Kvika footbath hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Landbrotalaug

Closed as at October 2022.

Landbrotalaug hot pot

Landbrotalaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Landmannalaugar hot spring

Landmannalaugar hot spring

Landmannalaugar hot spring. Picture courtesy of https://www.foodiebaker.com/day-4-iceland-travelogue/

Landmannalaugar hot spring (sometimes called Brennisteinsalda) is the only hot spring suitable for bathing in the main Landmannalaugar area. It is located right next to Landmannalaugar campsite.

Landmannalaugar hot spring type

Landmannalaugar hot spring is one of the few 100% real natural hot springs (without any human interference) we’ve seen in Iceland so it’s definitely worth trying. It’s basically a stream of some really hot water (>50°C / 122°F) flowing into the small river and you may bathe in this river. The water temperature gradually goes down the more you go away from the source. The hot spring is free to use. It has an uncovered exterior changing space.

How to get to Landmannalaugar hot spring

You need a proper 4wd car to reach Landmannalaugar and Brennisteinsalda hot spring. However, there’s a huge difference between whether you come from the northern side of F208 or the southern side. The distance from the nearest car park to the hot spring is around 5 minutes of walking.

Read more about these different routes in our F-road guide. Read also about how we chose our car, as this is essential for your Icelandic trip. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Landmannalaugar hot spring

Tips about Landmannalaugar hot spring

The river you firstly need to jump in actually isn’t so hot, maybe around some 26-30°C / 79-86°F which doesn’t feel so fantastic when it’s really cold outside. But the more you approach the actual hot stream, the warmer it gets. The warmest place is, of course, just near the place where the stream flows into the water. This is the place you want to aim for (but so will all your fellow co-campers). You will probably have to wait some time in a queue to get to that source. There’s also another smaller stream a few meters to the right, so these 2 streams flowing into the river are the hottest spots.

The river is also really shallow, only some 40-70cm deep, so you basically have to lie in it to be covered by water. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the experience and it’s a really cool thing to try as Brennisteinsalda hotpot is one of the very few “wild” hot springs not artificially modified by locals.

Laugafell

laugafell hot spring

Laugafell hot spring

Laugafell hot spring is an enjoyable, spacious and pretty remote hot spring located in the central highlands of Iceland. Laugafell lies right next to the road F752 – Skagafjarðarleið and is a part of the Laugafell mountain hut and campsite area.

Laugafell hot spring type

Laugafell hot spring is a man-made and man-maintained hot spring lake. The temperature in summer was pleasantly hot with about 38°C (100°F). There’s a huge changing room with toilets, as a part of the Laugafell campsite area. There’s also a wooden path leading to the hot spring, so Laugafell definitely belongs to one of the really well-maintained hot springs.

How to get to Laugafell

Laugafell hot spring is located in the central Icelandic highlands, so you definitely need at least a small 4×4 car to reach it. Then, it depends on what season and what road you choose, whether small 4×4 is enough or whether you would need a large 4×4.

Option 1 is to arrive from the north, first via F821 – Eyjafjarðarleið and then via F752 – Skagafjarðarleið. This is the easiest way to reach Laugafell. F821 is a beautiful road without any considerable river crossings, only some small streams. Some parts of F821 are pretty steep and bumpy, though, especially the final parts in the direction of highlands. F752 up to Laugafell doesn’t contain any major river crossings, I remember only smaller streams. If you go in summer and the roads are officially open, you should do fine also with smaller 4×4 cars like Jimney or Duster.

Not sure what type of car to choose? Feel free to read how to choose a proper car or how to pick the best Icelandic car rental insurance. We also collaborate with Icelandic car rental companies to give you a discount and us a small commission at no extra cost to you.

laugafell mountain hut iceland

Laugafell campsite and hot spring near the sunset

Option 2 is to arrive from the south, firstly via F26 – Sprengisandur, a.k.a. Sprengisandsleið and then via the aforementioned F752 – Skagafjarðarleið. Both these roads, if you come from the south, contain medium to big-sized rivers to be crossed. We definitely recommend at least a large 4×4 SUV, and ideally a super jeep to drive the roads safely. Under extremely good conditions it’s possible to drive the roads also in medium 4×4 cars, but I would not rely on that!

Option 3 then involves driving also the F881 – Dragaleið. Up to our knowledge, there’s no river crossing on F881. Then, it depends whether you connect to F881 from the northern F26 or southern F26. Southern F26, as described above, contains one medium to big-sized river called Hagakvislar, next to Nyidalur, that needs to be crossed. You need a large 4×4 for that and at least some river crossing experience.

Video of Laugafell

TBA soon.

Tips for Laugafell

Price for bathing was 500ISK per person at the time of our last visit. You have to pay for bathing to the warden located in one of the huts. The hot spring is huge enough to accommodate for 20+ people so do not worry about it being crowded.

Laugarfell

laugarfell hot spring

Laugarfell hot spring

A nice remote hot spring in the middle of nowhere, yet still easily accessible by any car in full summer, with a hotel next to it.

Laugarfell hot spring type

The hot spring is private and it’s a part of a Laugarfell hotel. If you want to use only the hot spring, price is 1500ISK (10Eur) per person. There are actually two hot pools – one with a water temperature of around 38°C and the other one with around 43°C, which is already VERY hot and not many people are able to stay there 🙂

How to get to Laugarfell

Laugarfell is easily accessible by any car via a fully paved road 910. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Laugarfell

Tips for Laugarfell

There are also several beautiful hikes available around the area, so there’s definitely stuff to do for an entire day, if not longer. Some beautiful waterfalls also lie nearby, such as Kirkjufoss, Stuðlafoss and Faxi waterfall.

Laugarvatn Fontana

laugarvatn fontana hot spring

Laugarvatn fontana hot spa. Image courtesy to: www.fontana.is

Laugavallalaug

laugavallalaug hot spring

Laugavallalaug hot waterfall spring

Laugavallalaug hot spring really positively surprised us and it definitely belongs to one of our favorite Icelandic hot springs, probably even to the Top 3 🙂 Maybe you’ve been to hot springs already, but have you ever been to a hot spring waterfall? Well, that’s exactly what Laugavallalaug is!

Laugavallalaug hot spring type

Yes, Laugavallalaug is a hot spring with your private hot waterfall! This can happen only in Iceland, right? Water in Laugavallalaug is pleasantly hot (my professional assessment would say around °37C to °39C). Water is also pretty clean, at least compared to other wild hot springs (several levels cleaner compared to e.g. Seljavallalaug).

How to get to Laugavallalaug

There are several options how to reach Lagavallalaug:

  1. If you want to avoid F-roads as much as possible, you can come from the Hallormsstaður direction – via road 910. Road 910 is very well maintained and fully paved road. It’s probably one of the best 3-digit roads I’ve driven in Iceland. 910 ends at Kárahnjúkar dam and then you have to drive a bumpy F910 for a few kilometers. No river crossing, though.
  2. If you want to see the Stuðlagil canyon along the way (which we highly recommend), then come via road 923 (semi-paved, easy-to-drive road). Google labels 923 as just “Jökuldalsvegur”. The correct names are here https://vegasja.vegagerdin.is/eng/. Afterwards, you will have to drive F910 in the southern direction (Google again has a wrong name – “Karahnjukar”). This part of F910 is very bumpy, but contains no river crossings (maybe some small streams that I don’t even remember).
  3. If you want to see Askja area first (as we did), the longest and the most difficult access road to Laugavallalaug leads also via long part of F910 coming from the crossroads with F88. The road is definitely doable in a medium-sized 4×4 in good weather and road conditions. There are one (or two) medium-sized river crossings.

Access to Laugavallalaug is thus is a bit cumbersome, but manageable. The last part of F910 close to Laugavallalaug is really bumpy, but doesn’t contain any river crossings. Still, it’s advantageous to have a good ground clearance of car for it. Coming from the north-east, you then have to turn right and drive the dirt track to Laugavallalaug for approximately 1.5km to arrive at the small car park.

Several visitors left their car just before the turn. The reason is, after taking this detour, the road turns into a steep, narrow and bumpy track, making it not that pleasant a drive. Nevertheless, we’ve seen even cars much smaller than ours (like Dacia Duster) making it to the car park as well, so it’s definitely doable. Just a lifespan of your car’s bumpers would probably be a bit shortened after this drive 🙂

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Video of Laugavallalaug

Tips for Laugavallalaug

Laugavallalaug is also surrounded by picturesque, green hills and a few pretty hungry sheep. The place is quite hard to access, so we expected almost no visitors. We were surprised to arrive at the car park and park our car along 5 other cars. Nevertheless, these car owners were probably only chilling in their cars, because we met only one couple in the hot spring.

What we liked the most about Laugavallalaug was its remoteness, amazing surrounding countryside and, of course the waterfall experience! It was more than just worth the drive!

Lýsuhólslaug

lysuholslaug hot spring

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring

Lysuholslaug or Lýsulaugar is a nice hot pool “spa”, hidden in the southern part of the Snaefellsnes peninsula.

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring type

Lysuholslaug is a man-made and man-maintained hot pool. There’s an access fee of around 8 USD. For that price, you can use the whole infrastructure around – changing rooms, showers, toilets, etc. There are 2 small hot tubes and 1 bigger pool. All of them are the so-called “sea-weed baths”. That means, they look to be dirty, because of the sea-weeds everywhere. The ground and walls of the pool are also slippery, because of sea-weeds.

The big pool has water with a temperature of around 32°C / 90°F. Water in the small hot tubes is much hotter, around 36-38°C / 97-100°F  in the first of them and around 39-41°C / 102-106°F in the hottest one. It’s definitely not recommended to stay in the hottest one for too long.

How to get to Lýsuhólslaug

Lysuholslaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental. The distance from the nearest car park to the hot spring is around 1 minute of walking.

Tips about Lýsuhólslaug

Bathing in Lysuholslaug is definitely a very pleasant activity when the weather sucks. We really enjoyed it, despite the place not being anywhere near as picturesque as Hrunalaug or some other “wilder” hot springs. So, it depends on your preference, weather (and who knows what else), whether it’s worth making a detour for you. For us it definitely was.

Marteinslaug

Marteinslaug hot spring

Marteinslaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: http://losangelesswimmin.com/

Mývatn nature baths

myvatn nature baths

Mývatn nature baths. Image courtesy to: www.myvatnnaturebaths.is

Nauteyrarlaug

nauteyrarlaug hot spring

Nauteyrarlaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.love-iceland.at

Nauthólsvík beach lagoon

nautholsvik beach iceland

Nauthólsvík beach lagoon

Pollurinn hot pool

pollurinn hot spring

Pollurinn hot pool. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Reykjadalur hot river

reykjadalur hot river

Reykjadalur hot spring river. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Reykjafjarðarlaug

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Reykjafjardarlaug is a nice hot spring in the middle of nowhere, right next to the Road 63 in Westfjords.

Reykjafjardarlaug hot spring type

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot spring is man-made and man-maintained. It also has a changing room. Bathing is free of charge, we didn’t notice any donation box, but one may have been added in the meantime. The water was around 35°C / 95°F at the time of our visit, i.e. not that hot but still pleasant.

How to get to Reykjafjardarlaug

In summer, Reykjafjardarlaug hot spring is accessible by any 2wd car. Although road 63 leading there is zig-zag and secluded, it should be alright to reach with a bit of careful driving. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental. The distance from the nearest car park to the hot spring is around 5 minutes of walking.

Video of Reykjafjarðarlaug hot spring

Tips about Reykjafjarðarlaug

There are actually 2 places for bathing in here. The first one is the man-made artificial pool with regulated water temperature. The second one is the actual source of the hot water itself – a wild hot spring with varying temperatures (usually much hotter). This secret Reykjafjardarlaug hot spring lies nearby.

We made just a quick stop at the hot spring because we had already visited several of them at that time and headed elsewhere on that day. Reykjafjardarlaug is nevertheless nice and pleasant, just maybe not that exceptional compared to some other ones in Iceland. As someone had put it: “3 out of 5 Icelandic stars, i.e. 5 out of 5 anywhere else in the world”.

Reykjanes geothermal pool

reykjanes geothermal pool iceland

Reykjanes geothermal pool. Image courtesy to: http://reykjaneswestfjords.is/

Sæberg hot tubs

Saeberg hotpot

Sæberg hot tubes. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Secret Lagoon

secret lagoon iceland

Secret lagoon. Image courtesy to: www.secretlagoon.is/

Seljavallalaug

seljavallalaug hot spring

Seljavallalaug hot spring

Just a short hike from the ring road lies a popular, yet not very neat, hot pool, a.k.a. Seljavallalaug. You need to take around 30-minutes long hike to get there.

Seljavallalaug hot spring type

The pool is big, full of algae, slippery, and with water of a temperature of around 30°C+, which is not that much compared to several other 40°C+ Icelandic hot springs. It’s an old pool, not much maintained.

How to get to Seljavallalaug

Seljavallalaug is located on private land and to get there you need to walk. You can park your car also on the private land – there are 2 not very big car parks, which, however, weren’t completely full at the time of our visit. We parked the car at the one closer to the pool (but it really doesn’t make any difference, because they are both next to each other). Luckily for visitors, the landowners have not yet started to get money for the parking and visit of the pool. This may change in the future, though.

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

After parking your car it’s a 30 minutes (one way), non-demanding walk around a nice area. It’s not marked, but it also isn’t hard to follow because a) there’s no other route, b) you will probably meet several fellow tourists on the way there.

Tips about Seljavallalaug

There’s an old changing room at Seljavallalaug (actually 2 rooms, maybe supposed to be for men and women, but people mixed it anyway). As I said above – the pool is big, full of algae, slippery, and with water of a temperature of around 30°C+, which is not that much compared to several other 40°C+ Icelandic hot springs. Nevertheless, many other visitors seemed to enjoy the pool very much anyway. To sum it up, Seljavallalaug was still a nice experience, although we prefer other Icelandic hot springs and pools much more.

UPDATE from the local: “Seljavallalaug was cold when I wisited in August, no hot water coming out of the rock face into the pool anymore. Possibly the added tourism catering by the landowner has redirected the water for all those cabins.” Thank you Hákon Halldórsson for this info from 15.10.2022.

Video of Seljavallalaug

Skátalaug

Skátalaug hot spring iceland

Skátalaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Skátalaug advice from the local

“Skátalaug by Kleifarvatn is empty now, water is flowing another route, away from it. No sign of this being a result of intervention.” Thank you Hákon Halldórsson for this info from 15.10.2022.

Sky Lagoon

sky lagoon iceland

Sky lagoon. Image courtesy to: www.skylagoon.com/

Snorralaug

It’s forbidden to bath in Snorralaug. Photos only.

snorralaug hot spring iceland

Snorralaug hot spring. Image courtesy to: www.icelandthebeautiful.com

Strútslaug

strutslaug hot spring iceland

Strútslaug hot spring

Strútslaug is one of the most remote hot springs in entire Iceland. It’s located deep in the highlands, close to Maelifell volcano and Laugavegur trail. You have to firstly drive there pretty long and then hike for 1,5 hour one way, at best.

Strútslaug hot spring type

Strutslaug is a pretty big, totally wild natural hot spring that could easily welcome tens of visitors. I guess it’s never really full, given its total remoteness. It’s also pleasantly hot, with a water temperature of around 40°C according to my (non) professional estimate. It’s a very surreal and pleasant bathing experience in the middle of the total nowhere. One of my favorite Icelandic hot springs.

How to get to Strútslaug

Getting to Strútslaug is quite a challenge and you better use a super jeep for that or a guided tour. Under a good weather and road conditions, it’s possible to drive to the start of the hiking trail also by a large 4×4 SUV, like Land Cruiser. But as I mentioned, I better recommend a true jeep.

Strútslaug is located a 1,5 hour long hike from the end of Strútur track. Remember, Strútur track is not even an F-road, it’s even rougher, it’s just a dirt track. Now to get to the Strútur track, you have to arrive there by F210 – Fjallabaksleið syðri, which is not easy to drive either, from neither direction (west, nor east). There are several usually medium, sometimes big, river crossings. Please study this route carefully before going or just don’t go. Otherwise you can seriously hurt yourself. We described the drive in our detailed article about Strútslaug and also in our List of F-roads. We, however, take no responsibility for your drive.

This was the drive, and now the hike.

The hiking trail towards Strútslaug is roughly 5 kilometers long, not difficult at all, and it took us around 1.5 hours to finish it at a normal pace. It leads through nice valleys full of moss and along river streams. To hike to Strutslaug is a nice way to experience Icelandic highlands, even for families. The hike is pretty easy, just a bit long, but it doesn’t have any steep or exposed passages. It’s basically a walk through the moss valleys. Up until the last meters we were not sure where the end of the trail actually is. The Strutslaug itself is not well visible from the distance.

Tips about Strútslaug

There’s no changing cabin at Strutslaug. Anyway, we looked very much forward to bathing in Strutslaug, because the weather was very moody, with completely clouded skies and light drizzle throughout our entire hike. We put a bag on the wet ground, changed our clothes, covered them with waterproof clothes, and ran for the hot spring.

Video of Strútslaug

Sturlungalaug

sturlungalaug hot spring iceland

Sturlungalaug hot spring, sometimes called Guðmundarlaug

One of our favorite “hidden gems” hot springs in Iceland is definitely Sturlungalaug hot spring. Sturlungalaug, sometimes called by locals also Guðmundarlaug, is actually the only wild hot spring in Snæfellsnes peninsula. And not many visitors know about it. Don’t expect anything fancy, Sturlungalaug is basically just a big hole in the ground. But man, what a pleasant and remote hole!

Sturlungalaug hot spring type

In July, the water in Sturlungalaug was pleasantly hot, having around 38-39°C (102°F). We took a special care when entering the hotpot, because we saw bubbles in the water, indicating potentially dangerously hot water. We started by slowly trying the temperature at various spots, but the temperature was luckily stable, so we entered and enjoyed the soak. Sturlungalaug seems to be man-created but not often maintained and not much used. Hot spring water has been definitely here for hundreds of years, just someone took it above the ground.

How to get to Sturlungalaug

It’s not that easy to get to Sturlungalaug hot spring. There’s a dirt track leading to Sturlungalaug, which you will not find on majority of maps (including Google Maps). However, the track is displayed on one of the maps we use at Epic Iceland and the map is freely available to everyone else as well. The dirt track leading to Sturlungalaug is a 20-minute long bumpy drive on a not well maintained road.

map of sturlungalaug hot spring road

Map of the dirt track leading to Sturlungalaug hot spring

Technically it may be possible to reach Sturlungalaug by a 2wd car, but we highly recommend driving the Sturlungalaug dirt track with any proper 4wd car, due to bumpiness of the road and a possibility to damage your 2wd car. Sturlungalaug track leads through the old lava field and next to small and remote Icelandic huts, which is probably the only reason why there’s any road at all.

Tips about Sturlungalaug

Once you finish the road, there’s a little parking space about a minute of walk from Sturlungalaug hot spring and you just cannot miss it. We arrived to Sturlungalaug at around 7PM in the peak season in July and had the place all for ourselves. We highly recommend taking some kind of slippers to reach Sturlungalaug, because the grass leading there is pretty wet and you can get your shoes wet easily.

Bathing totally alone in a wild hot spring after a very long day, enjoying the scenery of the nearby remote surroundings, with the sun slowly setting down was a once in a lifetime experience even for myself, after having already visited Iceland numerous times in the past. Sturlungalaug hot spring was one of the highlights of our visit of Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Vök baths

Vök Baths hot spa iceland

Vök Baths hot spa

Posted by epiciceland in Guide, 5 comments
Best Icelandic Hot springs

Best Icelandic Hot springs

The ultimate guide to most beautiful Icelandic hot springs. How to find them, what kind of car do you need, our experience and many tips!

Want to know about ALL hot springs? We wrote a unique List of All Hot Springs that contains 50+ Icelandic hot pots!

9. REYKJAFJARDARLAUG

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Reykjafjarðarlaug hot pool

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes
Time spent at: 30-45 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Reykjafjardarlaug is a nice hot spring in the middle of nowhere, right next to the Road 63 in Westfjords.

How to get to Reykjafjardarlaug

In summer, Reykjafjardarlaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Although the road 63 leading there is zig-zag and secluded, it should be alright to reach with a bit of careful driving. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Our experience with Reykjafjardarlaug

We made just a quick stop at the hot spring because we had already visited several of them at that time and headed elsewhere on that day. Reykjafjardarlaug is nevertheless nice and pleasant, just maybe not that exceptional compared to some other ones in Iceland. As someone had put it: “3 out of 5 Icelandic stars, i.e. 5 out of 5 anywhere else in the world”. 

Tips about Reykjafjardarlaug

There are actually 2 places for bathing in here. First one is the man-made artificial pool with regulated water temperature. The second one is the actual source of the hot water itself – a wild hot spring with varying temperature (usually much hotter). This secret Reykjafjardarlaug hot spring lies nearby.

Bathing is free of charge, we didn’t notice any donation box, but there may be one.

8. HVERAVELLIR

Hveravellir hot spring

The only Hveravellir hot spring for bathing. Image: courtesy of hiticeland.com

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes (hot spring) 
Time spent at: 1 hour
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 3 – nice (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hveravellir is a hot spring area in the middle of F35 road with one nice free hot spring available for bathing. 

How to get to Hveravellir

You need a 4wd car to access the Hveravellir area. The road F35 (Kjalvegur) is not hard to drive on, though. You may rent basically any 4wd car to drive it. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Once you leave F35 towards Hveravellir, it’s just a short, easy drive and you will soon find a parking lot in front of a small restaurant.

Our experience with Hveravellir

Almost next to the parking lot lies a nice, public, free hot spring.

Since it is so close to the car park, there’s a high chance someone will be inside most of the time. Nevertheless, the hot spring is big enough and water is pleasantly hot, with some 38°C (according to my professional assessment). On the other hand, air temperature felt really cold, something like 7-8°C even in the middle of August. So again – be prepared for that – you are in the middle of Iceland, in highlands.

I guess my expectations for Hveravellir were too big (read further to find out why). When planning our trip, I had read that there are “several hot springs in the Hveravellir area”. Moreover, seeing pictures like this had instantly made me a Hveravellir enthusiast. Well, the reality was a bit different.

Tips about Hveravellir

There were supposed to be “several hot springs” so let’s go find the other ones, we told ourselves. Hopefully with no people inside

hveravellir trail sheep

Sheep around Hveravellir trail

We were hiking for 1 hour around the entire area, but we haven’t found any hot springs, other than the main one near the parking lot. We don’t have anything against walking, but the entire area was pretty uneventful, with nothing interesting to observe. We said hello to several sheep along the way, but even those didn’t know where the other hot springs were.

We finally also asked the local at the restaurant who just confirmed our realization by saying: “you can bath only in this hot spring, next to the car park. There may be also some other hot springs further away, but you shouldn’t bath there”.

7. LYSUHOLSLAUG

lysuholslaug hot spring

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 0 minutes 
Time spent at: 0,5 to 2 hours
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Lysuholslaug is a nice, man-made and man-maintained hot spring, hidden in the southern part of Snaefellsnes peninsula. 

How to get to Lysuholslaug

Lysuholslaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Don’t get fooled by Google that you have to walk to Lysuholslaug. You don’t have to. There’s a road leading right next to the hot spring area. It’s just not marked on the Google Maps (see below).

Lysuholslaug hot spring map

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring as indicated on Google Maps. The road to it does exist, though.

Our experience with Lysuholslaug

Bathing in Lysuholslaug is definitely a very pleasant activity when the weather sucks. We really enjoyed it, despite the place not being anywhere near as picturesque as Hrunalaug or some other “wilder” hot springs. So, it depends on your preference, weather (and who knows what else), whether it’s worth making a detour for you. For us it definitely was.

Other than us, there was just one other couple using the pools at the time of our visit. We guess the main reason was, once again, Covid pandemic, rather than the place being unpopular.

Tips about Lysuholslaug

There are 2 small hot tubes and 1 bigger pool. All of them are the so-called “sea-weed baths”. That means, they look to be dirty, because of the sea-weeds everywhere. The ground and walls of the pool are also slippery, because of sea-weeds.

The big pool has water with the temperature of around 32°C (according to my professional assessment, i.e. read “just guessing”). Water in the small hot tubes is much hotter, around 36-38°C in the first of them and around 39-41°C in the hottest one. It’s definitely not recommended to stay in the hottest one for too long.

The hot spring is a paid one – 1000ISK/person, i.e. some 6-7eur.

6. LANDMANNALAUGAR

Landmannalaugar hot spring

Landmannalaugar hot spring. Picture taken from https://www.foodiebaker.com/day-4-iceland-travelogue/

Summary

Distance from car park: 5-7 minutes from both car parks (in camp and before camp) 
Time spent at: 20-40 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little to medium
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Landmannalaugar hot spring (sometimes also called Brennisteinsalda hot spring) is the only hot spring suitable for bathing in the main Landmannalaugar area.

How to get to Landmannalaugar hot spring

You need a proper 4wd car to reach Landmannalaugar and Brennisteinsalda hot spring. However, there’s a huge difference whether you come from the northern side of F208 or southern side.

Read more about these different routes in our F-road guide. Read also about how we chose our car, as this is essential for your Icelandic trip. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Landmannalaugar Brennisteinsalda campsite

Landmannalaugar Brennisteinsalda campsite on the summer evening

Our experience with Landmannalaugar hot spring

Landmannalaugar hot spring is the only real natural hot spring (without any human interference) we’ve seen in Iceland so it’s definitely worth trying. It’s basically a stream of some really hot water (>50°C) flowing into the small river and you may bath in this river.

The river actually isn’t so hot, maybe around some 26-30°C which doesn’t feel so fantastic when it’s like 5-10°C outside. But the more you approach the actual hot stream, the warmer it gets. The warmest place is, of course, just near the place where the stream flows into the water. This is the place you want to aim for (but so will all your fellow co-campers). You will probably have to wait some time in a queue to get to that source. There’s also another smaller stream a few meters to the right, so these 2 streams flowing into the river are the hottest spots.

Tips about Landmannalaugar hot spring

The hot spring is free to use. There’s no place to change your clothes, just a wooden structure to put leave your clothes on, which also serves as an entrance to the hot river.

The river is also really shallow, only some 40-70cm deep, so you basically have to lie in it to be covered by water. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the experience and it’s a really cool thing to try as Brennisteinsalda hotpot is one of the very few “wild” hot springs not artificially modified by locals.

5. HORGSHLIDARLAUG

Horgshlidarlaug hot spring

Hörgshliðarlaug hot spring in the heart of fjord

Summary

Distance from car park: 2 minutes 
Time spent at: 10-30 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hörgshliðarlaug is a nice remote hot spring hidden in one of the fjords in the northern part of Westfjords.

How to get to Horgshlidarlaug

In summer, Hörgshliðarlaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Not only tough to pronounce, but also tough to find, that’s Horgshlidarlaug. At the time of our visit, the road 633 was closed, so we had to use northern part of the road 61 and make a detour south (left) right before crossing the Mjóifjörður fjord.

Once we arrived at the point indicated on Google Maps, there were just a few rural settlements with old houses next to them and we didn’t see any hot pot. At one of the settlements, we spotted an old bath-tub, with the big sign “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. Hmm, maybe this is Hörgshliðarlaug? I stepped out of the car and headed towards the bath-tub. On a halfway there a local guy stopped me with a huge smile on his face. I asked whether this is Horgshlidarlaug and he just casually replied that this is his house and the hot spring is another 2 kilometres down the road. I guess we were not the first, nor the last tourists sneaking around his courtyard.

horghslidarlaug map

The actual hot spring Hörgshliðarlaug is 2 kilometres south from the spot indicated by Google Maps

Nevertheless, the guy was right (of course). So, in case it will not be corrected yet on Google Maps (and you couldn’t see any hot spring), just continue 2 kilometres south down the road. You will definitely see it on your right (when coming from the north) or on the left (when coming from the south). There’s no real car park, you have to stop next to the road (but there’s a wider part of the road near hot spring).

Our experience with Horgshlidarlaug

Horgshlidarlaug is a dirty, old, full of seaweed hot spring with true Icelandic atmosphere. It lies right in the heart of the fjord, so you will be able to watch the fjord while soaking in the hot pot. If you are lucky enough, there may even be seals around (we haven’t seen any though).

Horgshlidarlaug westfjords

Horgshlidarlaug hotpot and a changing room

At the time of our visit, there were 2 groups of tourists already bathing in the hot spring. Hence, we waited 10 minutes, and afterwards, the hot spring became empty. Hörgshliðarlaug is definitely an original and picturesque place, nevertheless, we liked some other (see below) hot springs even more.

Tips about Horgshlidarlaug

There’s an old shelter next to the hot spring, which serves as a changing room. If you are into “sauna style” bathing, you may even alternate between bathing in the hot spring and bathing in the ice-cold sea. Water in the hot spring is very pleasant though, having some 36°C (according to my professional, read as „guessed“, assessment).

Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one.

4. HELLULAUG

hellulaug hot spring

Hellulaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 2-3 minutes 
Time spent at: 15-45 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Hellulaug is a nice hot spring situated in one of the fjords in the southern part of Westfjords.

How to get to Hellulaug

In summer, Hellulaug is accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

You can get to Hellulaug from the main road 60. Just be sure to finally turn on Hellulaugavegur and end up here, because there’s one other (wrong) spot on Google maps. You will leave your car at a small, gravel parking lot. From there you have to descent about 1 minute to reach the pool itself.

hellulaug hotpot

Hellulaug hotpot

Our experience with Hellulaug

At the time of our visit, it had already started to rain. We changed our clothes inside our car and virtually ran in the rain towards the pool. There were two local girls (this time without cocaine) already bathing there (didn’t seem to leave any time soon). 

The entire bathing experience was very nice. The water was pleasantly hot, but not too hot (some 34-36°C). It felt really comfortable to soak in the pool, while the rain poured down. Additionally, view from the hot spring is very nice, because of its location in the fjord. So you’re basically sitting in the hot spring looking at the fjord.

Tips about Hellulaug

Hellulaug is situated right in the heart of the fjord and it’s a man-made hotpot (water is being brought there by a pump). There’s no changing room, nor any shelter, but the hot spring is free of charge.

Well, if it rains, since there’s no shelter, some of your things will probably get wet, unless you cover them with something. We didn’t mind, though, because Hellulaug was probably the last stop of our trip.

3. KROSSNESLAUG

krossneslaug

Krossneslaug

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 30-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Krossneslaug is a really unique, one-of-its-kind hot spring literally at the end of the world (or at least all Icelandic roads). 

How to get to Krossneslaug

Although officially any 2wd car is allowed in here, I do recommend a 4wd car and some guts to reach Krossneslaug. Road 643 heading towards Krossneslaug could easily be classified as an Icelandic F-road. It doesn’t contain any river crossings but it contains almost everything else an F-road may contain. Potholes, gravel, narrow passages, steep parts, driving on the edge of the cliffs, …

Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Google Maps mark Krossneslaug quite precisely. They just don’t show that the “car park” (or better said the place next to the road where you may leave your car) is tens of meters above the pool. That means, you have to leave your car up, next to the road and you have to walk down the path to Krossneslaug itself. Only the owner of the pool has an access to reach the pool by car.

Our experience with Krossneslaug

Bathing in Krossneslaug is again a once in a lifetime experience. It definitely belongs to Top 3 of our Icelandic hot springs. When we arrived, there was no one else in the pool, only the owner performing maintenance of the place.

krossneslaug hot spring

Views from Krossneslaug

Once in the pool, you will again feel like being in some kind of fairy tale. Just you, hot pool and view of the endless sea. The smaller, hotter bathtub even has a windshield (I guess for cases of severe weather?).

Before our departure, I asked the owner whether it does make economical sense to maintain such a pool at the end of the world. He just smiled and replied that from June till 1st half of August usually hundreds of people come per day. Even during Covid times, just their structure changed to more locals. OK, that surprised me, I guess it makes sense then.

Tips about Krossneslaug

Krossneslaug is a paid (1000ISK, i.e. 6-7Eur/person), man-made, hot water pool, utilising nearby hot spring water. It has a long history (1954) and 2 pools available for bathing. The bigger, rectangular pool with a water temperature of around 34°C and a smaller, more modern hot tub with a temperature of around 38°C. It is well maintained by the owner of the place, who also resides there usually from June until August each year. The entrance fee includes a changing room, toilets and showers, of course.

2. GUDRUNARLAUG

gudrunarlaug hot spring shelter

Shelter for changing clothes and Gudrunarlaug hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 30-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Guðrúnarlaug is one of the most picturesque hot springs in Iceland. It’s very well accessible.

How to get to Gudrunarlaug

In summer, Guðrúnarlaug is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Our experience with Gudrunarlaug

When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw just one couple bathing in the hot spring. We were already spoiled by travelling during Covid pandemic, in the sense that we had been alone at every other place we had visited. So, we decided to wait a bit once the couple finishes its bathing, which took about 5 minutes.

Yep, once again, we were alone in Icelandic hot spring, in August at 4 pm. The rain had already been pouring when we got out of our car. We really enjoyed Gudrunarlaug bathing, even despite (or thanks to?) rain getting heavier. The place with its surroundings is pretty cool and the water is pleasantly hot (some 36-38°C). Definitely worth visiting. It was one of the best hot springs we’ve bathed in.

gudrunarlaug hotpot neighborhood

Neighborhood of the Guðrúnarlaug hot spring

Tips about Gudrunarlaug

Guðrúnarlaug is definitely a bit more touristy compared to, for example, Lýsuhólslaug. The reason for that is its proximity to ring road and to Westfjords, i.e., it’s quite easily accessible. The same is true when it comes to access to the actual hot tube – it’s a 2-minute walk from the car park, which sits right next to it. Google Maps are also quite precise about the location of Gudrunarlaug, so feel free to orientate according to them.

Guðrúnarlaug is located next to the small rural campsite (we didn’t see anyone camping at the time of our visit, during Covid-19 times) and something which looked like a school. There’s an authentic wooden shelter (similar to the one next to Hrunalaug) serving as a changing room, right next to the pool. Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one.

1. HRUNALAUG

hruni hot spring

Tranquil scenery of Hruni hot spring

Summary

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 20-60 minutes
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, definitely
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

How to get to Hrunalaug

Hrunalaug (or Hruni) is easily accessible by any 2wd car. Read about how we chose our car. Or just get free discounts for your Icelandic car rental.

Use Google maps. They were quite precise about the location. There’s actually a car park (see attached picture) near the hot spring. From the “car park” it’s about 3 minutes of walk. You shouldn’t get lost, as far as I can remember there’s even a sign pointing towards hot spring.

hrunalaug car park

Hrunalaug “car park”

Our experience with Hrunalaug

I can confidently nominate Hruni hot spring for winning the award of most authentic Icelandic hot spring. It is, without doubt, the best hot spring we’ve ever been to. Thanks to many aspects. Firstly, it’s a place secluded from anything else with no buildings or roads around. Secondly, the landscape surrounding it is truly peaceful and picturesque. Thirdly, the hot pot itself looks like to be from some kind of fairy-tale. And, importantly, the water (in the main one) is pleasantly hot with some 38°C according to my professional (read amateur) assessment.

Once we got in, we really got carried away by the surrounding atmosphere. Just a slowly pouring rain, few sheep, endless grass and besides that just silence. Everything was tranquil, only until the new guest arrived at the hot spring. If you are into stories, feel free to read ours about meeting a naked Icelandic teenager possibly under drugs.

hrunalaug bathing

The main and the hottest hot spring in Hrunalaug

Tips about Hrunalaug

Once you arrive at the hot pot itself, you will realize there’s also a covered shelter for changing clothes! A very authentic one 🙂 The entire place is maintained by locals and works on a basis of free donation. There’s a donation box next to the hot spring.

There are actually several pools, some of them smaller, some of them bigger. All pools do contain a heated water, but each one has different temperature. The hottest one is also the smallest and is the one right next to the shelter. It’s ideal for 2 people, and if you are OK with some squeezing even for 4.

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Posted by epiciceland in Top Places, 0 comments
Day 10 – South Snaefellsnes to Westfjords

Day 10 – South Snaefellsnes to Westfjords


On day 10 of our journey, we had planned to make a few stops around Snaefellsness peninsula and then head towards Westfjords from the northern part, starting in Drangsnes.

utnesvegur in snaefellsnes

The westermost road on Snaefellsnes peninsula – Útnesvegur in Snæfellsjökull national park

We adjusted our plans according to the weather. The next day was supposed to be without rain in the northern part of Westfjords and the day after that was again supposed to be clear in the southern part of Westfjords.

Saxhóll crater

8:30-8:50

Distance from car park: 0 minutes 
Time spent at: 10-20 minutes 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: no, probably
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 3 – nice (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

saxholl crater

Saxhóll crater in the distance

Our first stop was Saxhóll crater, mostly because we had it right on our way towards the south part of Snæfellsnes. It’s a nice little crater, which you may ascent to the top thanks to the artificially built staircase. Compared to other sites in Iceland it’s not that interesting, but it’s still a nice and easy place to see.

saxholl crater staircase

Saxhóll crater – staircase

Londrangar cliffs

9:10-9:30

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 5-20 minutes 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

londrangar cliffs

This is how Londrangar cliffs are supposed to look like on a beautiful day. Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/EarthPorn/comments/afac1w/londrangar_sn%C3%A6fellsnes_peninsula_iceland/

At one of the southernmost points of Snafellsness lie Londrangar cliffs. There’s a car park pretty near the actual viewpoint for the cliffs. So, it’s a quick stop which you should take when driving around the area.

Weather on day 10 of our journey was very unstable, with some parts of Snæfellsnes being cloudy, some clear and some really foggy. Londrangar cliffs belonged to the last category, that’s why we even didn’t take any pictures. We were able to observe only their silhouette, but I admit, they seemed to be really picturesque when the weather is nice.

Stóri Kambur horse riding

10:00-11:00

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 1 to 1,5 hour 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little to medium 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Icelandic horses – what is this all about?

Icelandic horses are smaller compared to “regular horses”, so it’s a bit easier to ride them. Icelandic horses, or in other words, Icelandic ponies are quite different from all other horse species around the world. More specifically, it is a unique breed of horse, exclusive solely to Iceland.

icelandic ponies landmannalaugar

Icelandic ponies in Landmannalaugar

There’s even a law which states that it’s not allowed to breed any other type of horses in here. And once the Icelandic horse leaves the island, he’s even not allowed to come back. So – it’s some kind of a secluded, exclusive VIP horse club, here in Iceland.

What horse-riding tour we chose and why?

The only “paid tour” we opted for in Iceland was a horse-riding tour. Why? Well, my girlfriend is really into horse-riding and she longed for trying it also here in Iceland.

I tried to combine our horse-riding tour with seeing some nice landscapes as well. That’s why I chose the Stóri Kambur horse-riding tour. They offered a tour which leads along the Snæfellsnes beach, which sounded really nice. And, for a reasonable price of 50eur/person for the 1-hour lasting tour.

stori kambur horse riding

Stóri Kambur horse riding on the Snaefellsnes beach

I booked the tour just the day before, in the afternoon, by phone, found on their website. However, that was during Covid-19 times. Maybe during normal times, you would need to book more in advance.

Our horse-riding experience

We can now assess our horse-riding experience from the point of view of a non-rider (me) and a slightly experienced rider (my girlfriend). The entire tour was really chill, and the better-suited name for it would be “horse-walking”. There were just 2 of us (me and my girlfriend) and two German students rode with us as guides employed by Stóri Kambur.

For me as a non-rider, this walking pace was just right, I definitely didn’t feel like going faster. For my girlfriend, it was probably too slow, but she was fine with that. Bear in mind, that if you go as one group, you can’t go at a different pace, otherwise, the horses could get confused. So then, it’s better to go either in separated groups (if you want to go at a different pace) or get used to the same pace for the entire group.

horse riding snaefellsnes beach

Horse riding on a Snaefellsnes beach

The scenery around and the atmosphere was stunning, however. The guides rode our horses via lake (yes, the horses were walking through lake) and finally we reached the beach right next to the sea waves. We rode on the beach for a while, made some pictures and then turned back. We were the only living creatures in that area. Very nice experience. Although we got wet (from the lake), cold (from the wind), dirty (from the mud) and stinky (from the horses), it was definitely worth it.

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring

12:00-13:15

Distance from car park: 0 minutes 
Time spent at: 0,5 to 2 hours 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 2 – great (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

lysuholslaug hot spring

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring

After finishing our horse-riding tour, we felt really cold. If only there was some hot spring nearby. Oh wait, you are in Iceland, let’s Google the nearest hot spring! And yes, luckily, the nearest hot spring was supposed to be a 15-minute drive by car away.

How to get to Lysuholslaug and what to expect

Don’t get fooled by Google that you have to walk to this hot spring. You don’t have to. There’s a road leading right next to the hot spring area. It’s just not marked on the Google Maps (see below).

Lysuholslaug hot spring map

Lýsuhólslaug hot spring as indicated on Google Maps. The road to it does exist, though.

This hot spring is the man-made one, man-maintained and paid (6-7Eur/person). This time we didn’t mind paying a few Euros for it and even sharing it with other visitors, because we really felt like going for the hot spring. It goes without saying that you may use entire infrastructure around, i.e. changing rooms, toilets and showers.

Lýsuhólslaug bathing experience

There are 2 small hot tubes and 1 bigger pool. All of them are the so-called “sea-weed baths”. That means, they look to be dirty, because of the sea-weeds everywhere. The ground and walls of the pool are also slippery, because of sea-weeds.

The big pool has the water of temperature around 32°C (according to my professional assessment, i.e. read “just guessing”). Water in the small hot tubes is much hotter, around 36-38°C in the first of them and around 39-41°C in the hottest one. It’s definitely not recommended to stay in the hottest one for too long.

road 55 heydalsvegur

Road 55 – Heydalsvegur

Bathing in Lysuholslaug is definitely a very pleasant activity when the weather sucks. We really enjoyed it, despite the place not being anywhere near as picturesque as Hrunalaug or some other “wilder” hot springs. So, it depends on your preference, weather (and who knows what else), whether it’s worth making a detour for you. For us it definitely was.

Other than us, there was just one other couple using the pools at the time of our visit. We guess the main reason was, once again, Covid pandemic, rather than the place being unpopular.

Guðrúnarlaug hot spring

16:00-16:40

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 30-60 minutes 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

gudrunarlaug hotpot neighborhood

The neighbourhood of the Guðrúnarlaug hot spring

As we had planned, next we headed towards Westfjords. On a halfway there, we made a detour to another cool hot spring – Gudrunarlaug.

How to get to Gudrunarlaug and what to expect

Guðrúnarlaug is definitely a bit more touristy compared to, for example, Lýsuhólslaug. The reason for that is its proximity to ring road and to Westfjords, i.e., it’s quite easily accessible. The same is true when it comes to access to the actual hot tube – it’s a 2-minute walk from the car park, which sits right next to it. Google Maps are also quite precise about the location of Gudrunarlaug, so feel free to orientate according to them.

Guðrúnarlaug is located next to the small rural campsite (we didn’t see anyone camping at the time of our visit, during Covid-19 times) and something which looked like a school. There’s an authentic wooden shelter (similar to the one next to Hrunalaug) serving as a changing room, right next to the pool. Hot spring is free to use, I don’t remember a donation box next to it, but there may have been one.

Guðrúnarlaug bathing experience

When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw just one couple bathing in the hot spring. We were already spoiled by travelling during Covid pandemic, in the sense that we had been alone at every other place we had visited. So, we decided to wait a bit once the couple finishes its bathing, which took about 5 minutes.

gudrunarlaug hot spring shelter

Shelter for changing clothes and Gudrunarlaug hot spring

Yep, once again, we were alone in Icelandic hot spring, in August at 4 pm. The rain had already been pouring when we got out of our car. We really enjoyed Gudrunarlaug bathing, even despite (or thanks to?) rain getting heavier. The place with its surroundings is pretty cool and the water is pleasantly hot (some 36-38°C). Definitely worth visiting. It was one of the best hot springs we’ve bathed in.

Drangsnes (closed) hot springs

18:15

Next, we aimed for Drangsnes. I had already realized a few days ago, thanks to a comment on Google maps, that they had closed Drangsnes hot tubes starting 1st of August. I.e. 10 days before our planned visit. Due to Covid. That was a pity because we were looking forward to trying them. Nevertheless, we already had 2 hot spring stops on that day, so we didn’t regret much not having the third one.

We made a short stop in front of the pools, just to confirm that they are closed. Next, we headed towards Drangsnes campsite, because I had planned a road trip to Krossneslaug for the following day.

Drangsnes camping

18:30-

Drangsnes campsite was the closest camping to Krossneslaug hot spring pool. It sits virtually on the edge of the fjord. Everything around is really picturesque. It takes a 3-minute walk from the campsite to reach the actual fjord and you have a view over fjord directly from the camping area. This was one of the most beautiful campsites we’ve camped in during our journey. Mostly, due to its short distance to the fjord.

drangsnes campsite

Drangsnes campsite next to the beautiful fjord

The camping facilities were OK as well, with 2 kitchen areas and showers. Weather in here seemed to be milder than anywhere else because the fjord seemed to soften the wind and rain.

Skipped places

  • Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge

We decided to skip Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge in Snaefellsness, although we had it on our list of places to see. Weather was very foggy and unstable at the time of us going nearby and we didn’t find the place so attractive to devote it a longer time slot (which it required because it’s a longer hike). On top of that, in our home country, we’ve already explored many gorges, so we don’t get so excited about them unless they are special somehow.

Posted by epiciceland in Our Journey, 0 comments
Day 8 – Across central Highlands: Hveravellir and Kerlingarfjöll

Day 8 – Across central Highlands: Hveravellir and Kerlingarfjöll


Our plan for this day was to drive the long F35 from north to south with several stops. The first highlight should have been Hveravellir hot spring area – only our 2nd hot spring bathing in 7 days. The biggest one was, naturally, supposed to be Kerlingarfjöll. Finally, we wanted to finish our day on the south end of F35 in any campsite nearby. And if we had enough time, to see Gullfoss and Strokkur as well. Weather was cloudy, but it didn’t rain, so – good Icelandic weather, I suppose.

ring road varmahlid svinavatn

Ring road no. 1 between Varmahlíð and Svínavatn

F35 towards Hveravellir

9:00-11:00

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes (not pleasant but should be ok to drive)
Interesting index: 3 – nice  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

f35 north end

North end of the F35 road, also called Kjalvegur

F35 is a long gravel road connecting north and south Iceland. Somewhere around the halfway through it lies the detour towards Hveravellir area and a bit further towards south lies a detour towards Kerlingarfjöll. There are better parts of F35 and there are worse parts of F35. Better parts mean you may drive quite fast (me around 100km/h). Worse parts mean a lot of potholes and turns, i.e. you have to drive slowly. Importantly, there are no river crossings on F35, only very small ponds doable even by 2wd car.

Having already seen roads like breath-taking F208 south of Landmannalaugar, out of this world F235 towards Langisjór or moon-like F905 and F910 near Askja, F35 was just an ordinary gravel road with nothing special to observe around. Bear in mind – it’s still Iceland folks – so surroundings will be nice anyway, just not that amazing compared to the best ones.

f35 kjalvegur

F35, aka Kjalvegur, near Hveravellir

We’ve also met probably the biggest number of cars on this F-road (read as “tourists”). This may be a bit annoying because some of them are too slow, some of them are too fast and, you know, Icelandic F-roads are not ideal for overtaking cars.

Hveravellir

11:00-12:30

Distance from car park: 2 minutes (hot spring)
Time spent at: 1 hour 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 3 – nice  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

I guess my expectations for Hveravellir were too big. When planning our trip, I had read that there are “several hot springs in the Hveravellir area”. Moreover, seeing pictures like this had instantly made me a Hveravellir enthusiast. Well, the reality was a bit different.

hveravellir trail

Hveravellir hiking trail. Pretty dull landscapes compared to other ones in Iceland

Once you leave F35 towards Hveravellir, it’s just a short, easy drive and you will soon find a parking lot in front of a small restaurant. Almost next to the parking lot lies a nice, public, free hot spring.

Since it is so close to the car park, there’s a high chance someone will be inside most of the time. Nevertheless, the hot spring is big enough and water is pleasantly hot, with some 38°C (according to my professional assessment). On the other hand, air temperature felt really cold, something like 7-8°C even in the middle of august. So again – be prepared for that – you are in the middle of Iceland, in highlands.

As there were already several people bathing in the hot spring even during Covid-19 times, we decided to be more adventurous. There were supposed to be “several hot springs” so let’s go find the other ones, we told ourselves. Hopefully with no people inside. We took one of the two hiking trails, which were fairly easy ones because they were just straight paths leading through grass fields. We were able to see quite far in the distance because there were no hills, but we were not able to observe any steam or hot spring. Thus, we continued to walk for 5 minutes, for 10 minutes, for 20 minutes and… still nothing!

hveravellir trail sheep

Sheep around Hveravellir trail

We don’t have anything against walking, but the entire area was pretty uneventful, with nothing interesting to observe. We said hello to several sheep along the way, but even those didn’t know where the other hot springs were. Finally, we reached a small hill, where I was able to climb up and observe the surroundings. As far as my eye could see there was no hot spring.

So, we turned back and chose a slightly different way back on one of the crossroads along the trail. We arrived back via the 2nd hiking trail and still no hot spring anywhere. Well, the hot spring picture I had seen on the internet looked incredibly beautiful, so I still felt determined at least to find out where it is. Hence, I tried my last option – went into the restaurant and asked the personnel. The guy at the desk replied “You can bath only in this hot spring, next to the car park. There may be also some other hot springs further away, but you shouldn’t bath there.” Ok, my enthusiasm ended at this point and we bathed at least in this first and only one.

Again, don’t get me wrong, it’s Iceland, so everything is beautiful (Hveravellir as well). We just had different expectations and were not that impressed at the end of the day.

F347 towards Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort

12:30-14:00

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes (not pleasant but should be ok to drive)
Interesting index: 2 – great  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

F347 between F35 and Kerlingarfjoll

The beginning of F347 between F35 and Kerlingarfjoll

Weather was so-so, cloudy with occasional little rain, and the visibility seemed to be so-so as well. We just hoped for good visibility in Kerlingarfjöll, please not like the one on Sveinstindur. F347 also doesn’t have any river crossings and is pretty similar to F35. The closer you approach Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort, the more the road starts getting more mountainous and more interesting.

f347 near kerlingarfjoll

F347 near Kerlingarfjöll mountain resort

Once you reach the mountain resort, the entire scenery gets really picturesque. There’s a map of the area next to the resort (this map). Also, if you plan to sleep in one of the mountain huts or just in the only campsite in here, mountain resort reception is the place to go and ask for details, like key codes of the huts.

f347 near kerlingarfjoll mountain resort

F347 near Kerlingarfjöll mountain resort

Oh, and one little note. In the first version of our Icelandic itinerary, we had planned to camp here, in Kerlingarfjoll. You can definitely do that. Just bear in mind, that on the 8th August, 3 pm in the afternoon (i.e. probably one of the warmest times possible) the temperature climbed to tropical 5°C. And the strong wind didn’t help it at all, making everything feel even some 5°C colder. Now doing the math that nights are additional 5°C-7°C colder compared to daytime temperatures, you’re going to be freezing for sure.

This is one of the coldest places in Iceland available for camping, so be prepared for that mentally, physically and with all your equipment. Given that my girlfriend had already been freezing during the past (much warmer) nights I decided to change our plans and not to camp here (and I’m satisfied with this decision).

kerlingarfjoll mountain resort

Kerlingarfjöll mountain resort campsite

Now coming back to the crux of the trip. As always, we wanted to see the best of Kerlingarfjöll and do it in a reasonable amount of time. I.e. we were not looking for a day-long hike, but rather for something like a few hours long trip. That’s why we decided to continue as close as possible to the epicentre of the area by car. That meant, to continue driving the steepest part of F347 to the end of the road, or, Hveradalir area.

F347 towards Kerlingarfjoll main area – Hveradalir

14:20-14:40

Worth visiting even with bad weather: no (the ascent may be really dangerous)
Interesting index: 2 – great  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

f347 near hveradalir

F347 road next to Hveradalir hot spring area in Kerlingarfjoll

This part of the road is the most challenging one and probably the steepest we drove on in Iceland. Again, there are no river crossings, just the road is really bumpy and towards the end quite steep. However, in good weather (read – no snow, no heavy rain) it’s definitely doable by any medium-sized SUV and better, like our Dacia Duster. If you feel unsafe, go slowly, turn 4×4 on or watch someone else go first in front of you.

Once you reach the end of the road, you will find yourself at the car park. This is the closest point to the central Hveradalir area reachable by car.

Kerlingarfjöll

14:40-16:20

Distance from car park: 2 minutes 
Time spent at: 1-3 hours (or more according to your hiking passion) 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: no, probably
Physical condition needed: medium to advanced 
Interesting index: 1 – amazing  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

kerlingarfjoll hveradalir stairs

Clay staircase in Hveradalir area of Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjoll hiking options

Once in Kerlingarfjöll, you have numerous hiking options. You may for example hike the red loop trail, getting to all of the biggest summits around the area, sleeping over at mountain huts. This is a very challenging hike, where you will be going to need very good gear (e.g. crampons) and be in a very good physical condition. And it will take you about 3 days. Nevertheless, the two most popular options to explore the area are the following.

The most popular hiking option

An option we chose – to arrive at Hveradalir geothermal area by car (steepest part of F347, past mountain resort) and to explore it from there. You may hike around the area as long as you want and as far as you want and turn back at any moment. I.e., you’re going to be returning the same way you came there. This is the most time-efficient option and allows you to see one of the most beautiful views of Kerlingarfjoll in quite a short amount of time.

kerlingarfjoll hveradalir trail

One of the numerous trails in Hveradalir area of Kerlingarfjoll

Another popular option is to start at Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort and hike to Hveradalir yourself. It will take you around an hour to reach Hveradalir area and you may enjoy some additional nice views on top of that of Hveradalir. You have to come back the same way you arrived in here (unless you are doing a big 3-day loop with sleepovers). The big advantage of this trail is a hot spring somewhere around the first third of the trail, where you may bath. The disadvantage is the time aspect, as you will be spending additional 2 hours just getting to and from Hveradalir.

Hveradalir hike

14:40-16:20

Hveradalir area is one of the most beautiful and breath-taking places I’ve ever been to in my life – together with Askja, Landmannalaugar and the F-roads south of Landmannalaugar. You literally feel like you’re on a different planet. This time it’s not rainbow mountains, no black sand, no green moss. This time, it’s orange mountains mixed with wild sulphuric hot springs and snow. A lot of snow. And cold. And the wind. Welcome to Hveradalir.

The ground is covered with clay (or something like clay) and with every step of yours it sticks to your shoes like glue. That means either take some shoes you don’t like that much or be prepared for some thorough cleaning. Hikes in here are not dangerous. At least not under normal wind conditions. And if you don’t go as far as snow-covered trails are. Then, they may be dangerous.

kerlingarfjoll hveradalir hike

One of the summits of the several smaller hills around the Hveradalir in Kerlingarfjöll

There are several smaller hills and there are also smaller wooden stairs-like steps almost on each of them to help you with the ascent. And I do understand why. If it weren’t for them, every 10th visitor would have slipped on the clay and injured or killed himself. The views and the atmosphere of the place is truly amazing. Hot springs with hot sulphuric steam are everywhere and they help create an occasional feeling of warmth. There are, however, no hot springs to bath in Hveradalir area. This is contrary to Google maps calling the location “hot springs” or “geothermal area”.

We hiked around the area for around 90 minutes and enjoyed every moment of it. Except for the cold windy weather. With regards to visibility, clouds of fog were being replaced by the somewhat clearer sky, and vice versa, every 5 minutes. So be patient, and you may get better scenery for pictures. Or be lucky and come when the weather is clear. We hiked about 4-5 smaller hills and turned back from each one either at the end of the trail or if the trail started to be covered by deep snow, or reached high enough to be completely covered by fog.

Hot springs

Well, if you put “Hveradalir” in the Google maps, the place with no road pops up, quite far from the car park. However, Hveradalir area starts right next to the parking lot so this data point is slightly mistaken. The second confusing thing is if you are looking for hot springs to bath in. You will not find them in Hveradalir. Although Google is saying this is a hot spring area, yes, it is, but you can’t bath in any.

And it’s not easy to find it where the hot spring available for bathing actually is. We’ve accomplished that by asking a receptionist at Kerlingarfjoll mountain resort. She told us that the only hot spring with the bathing option is roughly in the one-third of the trail from mountain resort towards Hveradalir. I.e. after some 20 minutes of walking. Well, we already had enough and the weather started to get foggy and rainy, so we decided to go on with our journey. But firstly, we had to clean our shoes for at least 15 minutes to get off the Kerlingarfjoll clay.

Gullfoss

18:55-19:15

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 10-20 minutes 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 2 – great  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

gullfoss in the evening

Gullfoss at the time of our visit, i.e. 7 pm

The rest of the F35 towards the south, starting in Kerlingarfjoll is about the same as the northern part of F35. That means no river crossings, a lot of potholes and countless acres of deserted highlands. The logical option when arriving at the south end of F35 is the famous Gullfoss waterfall. And we followed this logical option.

Despite being tired already, we decided to go for 2 last sights. First of them was Gullfoss, or typically one of the most touristy places. You’re going to notice it once you arrive at the gigantic car park next to the restaurant and souvenir shop. However, we arrived in the evening during Covid-19 times. This meant an empty car park and a closed restaurant with a souvenir shop. And also – almost no tourists.

The waterfall is very easily accessible, which probably explains why it’s usually so touristy. It’s also very picturesque. It wasn’t one of our favourites, though. We were already spoiled enough with all of the places we had seen already at that time. As someone on the Google maps had put it “3/5 Icelandic stars, that is 5/5 stars anywhere else”.

Strokkur

19:30-20:00

Distance from car park: 5 minutes 
Time spent at: 10-40 minutes 
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes
Physical condition needed: little 
Interesting index: 2 – great  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Being encouraged by the low number of tourists at the time of our visit, we decided to continue to our last point of interest on that day. Again, a logical choice, just a few minutes of drive from Gullfoss – legendary Strokkur. This time, we aimed for the undeniable number one in the ranking of touristy places. We arrived at this parking place and there were only 2 other cars. Maybe we are wrong? Too far away from the actual geyser? No, we were right.

Yes, at the time of our visit there were 6 other people than us near Strokkur. Now comes a little trivia window again. There are two geysers at this place. The old one – “Geysir” and the new one – “Strokkur”. The trick is, Geysir only erupts very rarely (if ever), whereas Strokkur erupts every 2 to 10 minutes. So better don’t wait for the Geysir to erupt.

What’s there to add? Watch the eruptions as many times as you’d like to and you’re good to go.

Flúðir camping

21:30-

I was planning to bath in the Hruni hot spring, the next day in the morning so I picked a Flúðir campsite for us, right next to Hruni. Well, the campsite was very simple and belongs to the worse ones from all of those we’ve been to in Iceland. Nevertheless, at least it had showers. I don’t remember any kitchen area though. Luckily, this day we had our only restaurant dinner, so no need for the kitchen.

Skipped places

• Fosslaug hot spring
• Secret Lagoon Hot Spring

Although Fosslaug hot spring seemed like a very cool place to soak in, we decided to skip it. Fosslaug is located near Varmahlid and would be a detour on our way to Kerlingarfjoll. And Kerlingarfjoll was our priority for that day, so we decided to go for more hot springs in the following days.

The same holds for the Secret Lagoon Hot Spring, with little addition of being touristy as well. We definitely preferred an experience of wild hot springs, rather than organized and touristy ones.

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