Hrunalaug

Best Winter places in South Iceland

Best Winter places in South Iceland

We wrote a short list of places we consider the most beautiful winter places in South Iceland.

South Iceland is undoubtedly the most touristy region, but for a reason. There are plenty of amazingly beautiful places, with most of them being well accessible also in winter. The aim of this article is not to list all of the beautiful places. We rather want to show you how some of our most favorite places in Iceland look like in winter. You can then decide for yourself, whether you want to visit a specific place or not, or whether you want to visit the place in summer or in winter, or at both times.

This post is part of our Winter Iceland articles series:

Reykjadalur hot river valley

reykjadalur river in winter

Beginning of a Reykjadalur hike in winter

Reykjadalur in winter is accessible during good weather and with proper winter hiking gear, see below.

reykjadalur hike winter iceland

Views from the Reykjadalur hike in winter

Hike to Reykjadalur hot river is a very easy hike in summer. In winter it’s still easy, but snow and ice complicate it a little bit. I admit we had underestimated hiking Reykjadalur in winter, because we used just regular hiking shoes. And that was a mistake. Definitely bring at least little spikes for your shoes. Hiking trails to Reykjadalur in winter are all icy and slippery and thus may be even dangerous if you fall.

reykjadalur hot river hike in winter

The most slippery part on the right with a steep fall to the left. In reality this was much more scary than in the picture.

Apart from the icy and slippery trails, hiking to Reykjadalur in winter is a nice and pleasant hike, with a hot river in the end as a reward. A winter hike to Reykjadalur is especially beautiful on a nice sunny day. In case of strong winds and/or stronger rain/snow, we don’t recommend doing the hike, nor any other hike longer than just a few minutes.

Discounts for the Best Icelandic Car Rentals and Tour Operators for our readers

reykjadalur hot river winter

Reykjadalur hot river in winter

It took us roughly 3-4 hours to complete a winter Reykjadalur hot river hike, which is naturally considerably longer compared to summer. We’ve already explained in our Iceland in Winter – What you need to know article that you should prepare for considerably longer and tougher hikes in winter compared to summer.

Here is a short video of our Reykjadalur hike in winter.

Kerid crater

kerid crater in winter

Kerid crater in winter

Kerid crater in winter is a nice short stop, though we think it’s nicer in summer.

Hrunalaug hot spring

hrunalaug in winter

Hrunalaug in winter

Hrunalaug in winter is probably are most favorite winter hot spring in Iceland. Most of the time it’s easy to get to Hrunalaug by car even in winter and the surroundings of winter Hrunalaug are simply amazing! Moreover, there are usually considerably less visitors compared to summer. Water in Hrunalaug is pleasantly hot also in winter, which is not always the case with Icelandic hot springs in winter. We write more about Hrunalaug in our List of all Hot Springs in Iceland.

Here is a short video of our Hrunalaug visit in winter.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

seljalandsfoss winter iceland

Seljalandsfoss in winter

Seljalandsfoss in winter is touristy as well, but for a good reason. In spite of tourists, Seljalandsfoss is one of our favorite Icelandic waterfalls in winter. Pretty often, a rainbow appears over winter Seljalandsfoss and the waterfall itself is simply picturesque in winter.

Here is a short video of our Seljalandsfoss visit in winter.

Gljúfrabúi waterfall

Gljúfrabúi waterfall in winter

Gljúfrabúi waterfall in winter

If you are visiting Seljalandsfoss, definitely go see also Gljúfrabúi in winter, a “hidden” waterfall just a few minutes of walk from Seljalandsfoss. Gljúfrabúi in winter is easily accessible and comparably, if not more, beautiful compared to summer.

Here is a short video of our Gljúfrabúi visit in winter.

Nauthuságil waterfall

Nauthuságil waterfall in winter is unfortunately not accessible for most of the time, due to snow.

hiking trail nauthusagil winter

Hiking trail to Nauthuságil waterfall in winter

Nauthuságil waterfall is in our opinion one of the most amazing Icelandic waterfalls in summer. Especially if you include in the ranking also a little adventurous hike to reach Nauthuságil. That being said, we tried to visit Nauthuságil also in winter, but it wasn’t possible. Nauthuságil in winter is inaccessible, once the first real snow settles down. The gorge leading to Nauthuságil is just full of snow and impassable.

Read How we fit all of these into a 2-week itinerary.

Skógafoss waterfall

skogafoss in winter

Skógafoss in winter

Skógafoss in winter is well accessible and totally worth the visit. Skógafoss definitely belongs to the most beautiful winter waterfalls in Iceland. We stopped at Skógafoss on a day with strong winds and clear skies. We were lucky to see the rainbow at Skógafoss, which occurs quite often on a sunny day, so be sure to go and see it too.

skogafoss winter iceland

Skógafoss with tourists cut out of the picture

There are stairs leading above Skógafoss, which are very slippery when covered with snow. Many visitors were struggling when climbing up and down the stairs. Some of them even wore sneakers and jeans – totally inappropriate shoes and clothes for Iceland – see section of our article How to dress properly for Iceland in winter. These stairs are another example of a place where shoe spikes come pretty handy.

Here is a short video of our Skógafoss visit in winter.

Waterfall way

waterfall way skogafoss winter

The waterfall way next to Skógafoss in a Fimmvörðuháls direction in winter

One of the most beautiful parts of the legendary Fimmvörðuháls hike (summer only) is called the waterfall way and begins exactly at Skógafoss. Is it possible to hike the waterfall way in winter? Yes, it is, on a nice day and with proper winter clothes and shoe spikes. The waterfall way in winter is accessible for visitors but much harder to visit compared to an easy summer hike.

We picked the Best Winter Guided tours in Iceland for you

We attempted to hike the waterfall way in February on a partially sunny day with some strong winds and we didn’t succeed. The wind was simply too strong making the hike too dangerous. We decided to stop and turn back after the first few hundreds if meters, because at times we felt like falling and not moving at all due to the strong wind. Additionally, we also made a mistake of not bringing shoe spikes, which made the waterfall way in winter impossible to pass.

Here is a short video of our Waterfall Way hike in winter.

Kvernufoss waterfall

kvernufoss winter

An easy hike to Kvernufoss in winter

Kvernufoss in winter is well accessible and we highly recommend a visit! Kvernufoss undoubtedly belongs to the most amazing winter waterfalls in Iceland. We were lucky enough to be alone at Kvernufoss and enjoyed Kvernufoss in winter actually even more than in summer! A roundtrip took us roughly 45 minutes.

Here is a short video of our Kvernufoss visit in winter.

Dyrhólaey

dyrholaey in winter iceland

Dyrhólaey in winter

Dyrhólaey cliffs are easily accessible in winter and make for a nice winter stop in the south.

Reynisfjara beach

reynisfjara beach winter

Reynisfjara beach can easily get crowded also in winter. This is one of the most touristy places in Iceland.

Reynisfjara beach, or the black beach in winter is also easily accessible in winter. Please take special care about the unexpected waves there, which may be deadly. Stay only where you see the dry ground.

Reynisdrangar beach

Horses Reynisdrangar beach Vik winter

Horses at Reynisdrangar beach in Vik in winter

Reynisdrangar cliffs in Vik are a beautiful stop during a winter trip in Iceland. We were lucky to witness a horse photo-shoot during sunset at Reynisdrangar, one of the most picturesque moments in the area.

Here is a short video of our Reynisdrangar visit in winter.

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon

fjadrargljufur canyon winter iceland

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in winter

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in winter is easily accessible to visitors. Although we prefer a lush green “summer” look of Icelandic canyons compared to a winter white one, Fjaðrárgljúfur is undoubtedly nice also in winter.

Here is a short video of our Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon visit in winter.

Svartifoss waterfall

svartifoss waterfall in winter iceland

Svartifoss waterfall in winter

Svartifoss waterfall in winter is easily accessible to visitors and totally worth stopping by. Svartifoss proudly belongs to the list of the top places to see in Iceland in winter. A hike to Svartifoss in winter will take you slightly longer due to snow, but on a nice day is very beautiful and pretty different compared to a summer one. A roundtrip took us roughly 75 minutes.

Here is a short video of our Svartifoss waterfall visit in winter.

Svínafellsjökull glacier

svinafellsjokull glacier walk winter

A walk to Svínafellsjökull glacier

Want to hike to a glacier in Iceland without a guided tour? There are a few possibilities to actually do this. Just remember, you should never walk ON the glacier without the guide, because you can die easily. But, you can still hike close enough to glacier to see the glacier and admire it.

Important: How to choose the best car for Iceland?

road to svínafellsjökull in winter

Road to Svínafellsjökull in winter

One of the best spots to see a glacier in winter in Iceland is Svínafellsjökull glacier. Svínafellsjökull is located very close to the ring road, thus it doesn’t take much time to get there, whether by walking or by car. There’s a road leading pretty close to the Svínafellsjökull glacier, but this road is usually covered by snow. We were able to drive roughly into the half of the road with Dacia Duster. Then the snow started to be thicker and wetter, so we rather decided to park our car on the side of the road and continue by walking.

svinafellsjokull glacier winter iceland

Svínafellsjökull glacier in winter

Why go and see glaciers in Iceland in winter rather than in summer? The trick is, glacier colors are much much more beautiful in winter, compared to summer. Due to cold and ice, glaciers will shine with azure blue colors in winter, making them an amazing target for all photographers.

Here is a short video of our Svínafellsjökull visit in winter.

Diamond beach

diamond beach winter iceland

Diamond beach next to Jökulsárlón in winter

Jökulsárlón lagoon

jokulsarlon lagoon in winter iceland

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in winter

Diamond Beach and Jökulsárlón are great winter stops. As I explain above, glaciers and ice look even more impressive in winter with their unbelievably blue colors. We recommend a short stop at these, usually rather touristy places, anyway.

Ice Cave and Glacier Hike

best ice cave in iceland

Crystal Blue Ice Cave near Jökulsárlón

Seeing an ice cave in winter is one of the most beautiful things you can experience in Iceland. Ice Cave tour combined with a glacier hike was undoubtedly our favorite winter tour in Iceland. We decided to do a Crystal Blue Ice cave tour combined with a Glacier hike and we were absolutely happy with the choice. A glacier suitable for hiking is actually right next to ice caves, so it makes perfect sense to combine these tours into one day full of amazing Icelandic adventure.

A PROMO CODE EPICICELAND will get you a 5% discount with Glacier Adventure, (in our opinion) the best Ice Cave and Glacier tour company.

We can highly recommend Glacier Adventure as a top-notch tour provider for Ice cave tours, Glacier hike tours and combo tours. They have amazing guides and even more amazing tours! The tours are fairly easy, even the full-day combo tour, and everyone, at least slightly fit should be totally able to make it.

glacier lagoon iceland

Glacier lagoon picnic stop

We started our full day combo tour in Hali, where we were picked up by an Icelandic monster super jeep. The super jeep drove with us close to an ice cave and glacier area. There we got off the jeep and headed towards glacier with our guide. A guide chose carefully the path so that we were the only group there, away from any crowds. The glacier hike led to a hidden fairy-tale like part of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, where you can’t get in any other way than by hiking the glacier.

secret ice tunnel iceland

Combo Ice Cave + Glacier hike tour by GlacierAdventure.is

After the picnic at the glacier lagoon we continued towards ice caves. Yes, ice caves, not just one ice cave! We started with a “hidden” dark blue ice cave, where we were again the only visitors. Then we continued towards an amazingly beautiful ice tunnel, hidden unbelievably under the ground. At that moment it started snowing, which actually made the entire experience even more magical.

hidden ice cave iceland

Secret ice cave

Finally, we headed to the most famous, most beautiful, but unfortunately also the most crowded, crystal blue ice cave. This is the ice cave where everyone goes, because colors of this ice cave are simply the most impressive with out-of-this world crystal blue tones. A typical ice cave tours would take you only to this ice cave, that’s why we strongly recommend to take a combo ice cave + glacier tour. This way you can visit not only popular crystal blue ice cave, but also much more remote glacier lagoon and smaller ice caves and ice tunnels.

Here is a short video of our Ice Cave visit and Glacier Hike in winter.

Super Jeep tour

thorsmork winter super jeep tour

Thórsmörk winter super jeep tour by www.glaciersandwaterfalls.is

Is it possible to go for a super jeep tour in winter? Of course, it is! And it actually makes perfect sense! Why? Well, in summer, if you rent a right car and have enough experience, you can drive to almost all amazing remote places in the highlands yourself. However, in winter, forget about driving to highlands. Everywhere is snow, often several meters/feet deep, and it’s simply too dangerous to drive to highlands alone, regardless of the car. Even Icelandic monster trucks not always make it in winter!

A PROMO CODE EPICICELAND will get you a 10% discount with Glaciers and Waterfalls, (in our opinion) the best small-group Super Jeep tour company.

Where to go for a super jeep tour from Reykjavik or in the south? The most beautiful winter super jeep tours in Icelandic highlands are definitely Thórsmörk and Landmannalaugar. Which one to choose if you can go only for one? Well, we rather recommend a Thórsmörk winter super jeep tour. Thórsmörk has slightly more versatile landscapes in winter, so if we had to choose just one, it would be Thórsmörk.

winter super jeep tour iceland

Winter super jeep tour by www.glaciersandwaterfalls.is

There are several super jeep tour providers and we researched all of them. In our opinion the best value-to-price super jeep tour company is called Glaciers and Waterfalls. They are actually a small family company and they give their full hearts into their tours. They also operate very small groups (usually max 6 people). That’s why we decided to partner with Glaciers and Waterfalls and we can offer our readers a 10% discount on all their tours with the discount code: EPICICELAND

Videos of South Iceland in Winter

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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 9 – towards Snaefellsnes and hot springs

Day 9 – towards Snaefellsnes and hot springs

We decided to finally get some longer sleep after 8 intense days in Iceland, so we woke up a bit late on day number 9. We’d also seen the weather forecast for the day beforehand and it was not very favourable. The rain was supposed to be our company in all of its forms throughout the day – light, normal and heavy. And the weather forecast was right. Weather-wise, this was the worst day of our trip.

We’ve still managed to see some cool places though. You may visit many nice places, even if it rains (check our “weather index”!), and yes, even outside, i.e. not only museums.

Hrunalaug hot spring

9:15-10:15

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)
hrunalaug hot spring

Amazing scenery around Hrunalaug hot spring

Without any overwhelming expectations, we headed out for our first stop for the day – “Hruni” or Hrunalaug hot spring. Weather was rainy as promised by forecast, which is an ideal time to soak up in a hot pot, right? This even lowered our expectations about the place, because we had thought that probably more people think like us and the little pool may get crowded. Usually, that’s right, but not during Covid times, we realized.

I could 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 it. 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.

How to get to Hrunalaug and how it works

Well, 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. 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.

hrunalaug car park

Hrunalaug “car park”

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.

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.

Meeting a naked Icelandic teenager possibly under drugs

If you are not into stories, skip this paragraph. For us, it’s the one definitely worth sharing. We were bathing alone in the small hot spring when we saw somebody coming. Another visitor, nothing special right? The guy whose age was quite hard to guess entered a shelter for changing clothes. T-shirt with a big skull and some chains around his waist, not looking very friendly at the first glance. He immediately approached us and asked: “do you have cocaine?”. Well, this question didn’t help us much to cope with the image of the guy. “No”, I naturally replied. Another question followed: “do you want cocaine?”. Same reply from my side.

At that moment, I started to be really careful about our clothes in the shelter and the guy’s movements. “Do you mind if I bath with you naked?” Even by asking this question, he didn’t make us very comfortable. “I mean with my penis out, is that OK for you?”, he added. Not any better. After quickly considering any risks associated with my negative answer I replied: “we prefer not, we can go away if you want to bath here naked”. Now I was curious about his reaction. “And if I bath naked in the hot spring next to you?” That seemed reasonable, why not. “Yes, you can bath anywhere else” I replied. And, so he did – got naked and jumped to the hot spring next to us.

I started to think, that maybe it would be a good idea to use a golden rule, which works anywhere around the world with anyone, – no matter what do you think about the person, try to be a friend with him. So, while (let’s call him HR) HR had been undressing, we exchanged a few basic questions about our names, where are we from and our age. We realized he was actually only 17 (looked much older) and he was a local. Once we told him we are 30, he followed by “oh I just fucked a 30 years old woman a few hours ago”. HR definitely had his unique style of getting people around him uncomfortable and he seemed to enjoy it.

hrunalaug bathing

The main and the hottest hot spring in Hrunalaug

Then he started talking about how he hates Iceland because of huge taxes and the country being totally boring. So, to be on the same level as him we complained about our country being boring too, that’s why we decided to travel. He continued by telling us that the only thing you can do in Iceland is taking cocaine and that he had a lot of cocaine a few hours ago and again asked whether we are sure we don’t want any. We assured him again with the negative answer. The golden rule seemed to pay off because he soon called us “very nice people”. Then he told us that Icelanders love to drive completely drunk or under drugs and that he drove here under drugs too. I don’t know whether this is only slightly true or not, but since that moment I definitely started to be more careful while driving.

What do you do for a living?”, he asked as next. My girlfriend replied she’s a lawyer – “oh I need a lawyer! I have like 13 cases going against me”. Oh really? We wouldn’t tell, we thought for ourselves. “Did you know that it’s illegal in Iceland to beat a police officer? Complete non-sense!”. We gave him a strange look at this one. “No, I’m kidding, I know I shouldn’t do it. But still, it sucks”. Then he actually gave us some recommendations about the nice places to see, mostly in Westfjords, which seemed to be his favourite part of Iceland. “There’s this beautiful house in Selárdalur” he told us. “It’s usually locked, but if you have a screwdriver you can get in. Just go inside, take a look and don’t steal anything. It’s OK.

After a while, a woman with a child approached the hot spring, so we said hello to them. They entered a shelter and started to change their clothes. We decided to leave at that moment. We’d already been there for almost an hour. We told HR about our departure, “wait, before you go, what about having a threesome?” We gave him a strange look again, “no, I was just kidding. But anyway, if you would like to, tell me.” We thanked him for his proposal and left the hot spring.

The woman with the child, apparently already having heard part of our conversation, better opted for a hot spring located few metres away. They seemed to be quite scared of HR. Just before we left, HR asked us “do you think they are afraid of me?”, we smiled and replied: “yes I think they are afraid”. “Oh great!”, he replied and jumped to their hot spring immediately (naked of course).

We don’t have any idea what followed, because we left the place, but HR didn’t seem to be dangerous, so we felt fine about leaving. He just definitely had some dry sense of humour. And the entire experience was, without doubt, the most memorable experience we’ve ever had with an Icelander.

Long drive towards Snaefellsness peninsula

10:15-14:45

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, totally safe
Interesting index: 3 – nice (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

Meanwhile, the rain got stronger. One of the best ways to spend your Icelandic time when it rains heavily is transfers. You may still drive, even when the weather sucks and by doing that you may save time for seeing other distant places during better weather. I had already planned to make a 1-day trip around Snæfellsnes, so we headed that way. And it was a long drive, especially in the rain.

We took a southern route via roads 30, ring road 1 and road 54. Length and duration of this southern route should be about the same as the northern route of roads 359, 35, 37, 365 and 36. We chose the southern one, because of the better infrastructure (we wanted to have a hot lunch and do some shopping along the way). All of the roads we drove on were high-quality paved roads, so nothing to point out about them.

Landbrotalaug hot springs

14:45-15:10

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

Closed Landbrotalaug hot spring, resembling a mud hole

The rain was not getting any better, so we decided to make our first non-shopping and non-eating stop as far as at the border of Snaefellsnes peninsula. When it rains, it’s very enjoyable to jump into hot spring, so why not go for another one? The closest (and accessible by car) one on our list of the coolest hot pots was Landbrotalaug hot spring. We arrived at the place marked on Google maps only to realize that the hot spring is closed (now Google correctly marks it as closed).

I later read that they closed it because of over-tourism and gradual devastation of the place. At the time of our visit, we didn’t know why it was closed though. Because of closure, we just examined the place and took some pictures. Well, the place looks a bit like a mud hole, so definitely not such beautiful scenery as with hot springs in Landmannalaugar or Hrunalaug.

Nevertheless, if it wasn’t forbidden I would take a bath anyway. On top of that, there was no place to leave your clothes and it rained quite heavily. I didn’t want to have everything wet while being at the hot spring, so I decided to turn back, get into the car and leave. Never mind, maybe next time. Some other tourists coming after us didn’t seem to care much about the “it’s forbidden to enter” sign and they took a bath anyway. I don’t regret not taking it though.

Road 54 – north or south?

15:15-18:00

Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, safe
Interesting index: 3 – nice (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)

For our next stop, we were planning to see Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfoss. As I already mentioned, this was our worst day of the trip when it came to weather. The rain was still intense, even in the afternoon, around entire Snaefellsnes and the forecast for later hours looked pretty much the same. We also knew we needed at least 2 entire days for our planned Westfjords trip. Thus, we decided to do at least a road trip around Snaefellsnes and see it mostly from inside our car.

Google Maps advised that the quickest way from Landbrotalaug to Kirkjufell is road 54 in the south. We, however, decided to take road 54 in the north. The reason was, that we had enough time and the road seemed to be more interesting in terms of surrounding landscapes. Well, we didn’t see much of it, because of the cloudy and foggy weather. The little pieces we saw, however, seemed to be really picturesque, so we are planning to come back one day during better weather.

Kirkjufellsfoss, Kirkjufell

18:00-18:10

Distance from car park: 10/0 minutes
Time spent at: 10-20 minutes each
Worth visiting even with bad weather: yes, probably
Physical condition needed: little
Interesting index: 2 – great  (1-amazing, 2-great, 3-nice)
kirkjufell in rain

Kirkjufell on a rainy, foggy summer day

Legendary Kirkjufell is a really picturesque mountain. We saw only its silhouette, though, thanks to rain and fog. Kirkjufellsfoss is situated a few minutes of walking from Kirkjufell. We decided to skip seeing it, because of already having seen many beautiful waterfalls and because of unpleasant weather.

Hellissandur camping

19:45-

For the next day, we were planning horse riding on the beach and a long drive towards Drangsnes in Westfjords. On the other hand, we haven’t seen much of the Snaefellsness yet, because of the rain and fog. Hence, I decided to adjust our plans, so that we can see at least some of the Snaefellsness peninsula the next day in better weather. That’s why we decided to camp in Hellissandur.

hellissandur campsite

Hellissandur campsite on a foggy, rainy evening

Hellissandur camping is the westernmost campsite in Snaefellsness peninsula, slightly more to the north. That means we were still able to drive a big part of Snaefellssness the next day, via Útnesvegur in Snæfellsjökull National Park and southern part of the road 54.

hellissandur road Útnesvegur

Útnesvegur road near Hellissandur

Apart from having a convenient location, Hellissandur campsite is a nice little campsite located literally in the middle of the lava field. So, it’s a pretty cool place to stay at. Facilities in the camping are simple with a small kitchen and, luckily, also showers. Nevertheless, during Covid-19 times this was just enough for us. Its proximity to the sea is a nice bonus as well.

Skipped places

  • Grundarfoss

We decided to skip Grundarfoss for the same reason as Kirkjufellsfoss – the bad weather and already having seen several magnificent waterfalls.

There are also some beautiful Virtual Reality tours of Snaefellsnes to help you find more beautiful places and to have an idea of how Snaefellsnes looks like from a bird’s eye view!

Posted by epiciceland in Our Journey, 0 comments