I have to admit, my recent addiction has to be hanging out in the thermal pools at the local swimming pool, Laugardalslaug. About 10'c outside, a soak in 38'c and upwards is just bliss to re-energise and help you relax. Though the Blue Lagoon is the more obvious choice, especially for tourists, the local pools are fantastic and tend to close at 10pm so are a perfect way to end the day!! Iceland takes swimming pools seriously - there's one in every town. It's a social thing where people hangout and put the world to rights. So I put together a little list of local pools for you to visit (plus some guidelines too).
The Best Local Pools
Adult 18+ 1000 ISK / Kids 160 ISK (under 6 & Senior Citizens free)
Laugardalslaug | a local pool with a huge indoor lanes pool, outdoor pool, kids flume and a variety of hot pools - including a salt water pool. Make sure to walk around and try out all the different round pools as they offer different temperatures. Steam room too.
Vesturbæjarlaug | a good outdoor pool and a big hot tub where locals meet to chat, and where I've previously spotted Bjork - twice.
Sundhöllin | a downtown pool with both indoor and outdoor pools, and a hot tub. Cool building and very handy if only spending a short time in Reykjavik.
Árbæjarlaug | a great pool (yes, it’s my fave) mainly because you can swim from the indoor pool to the outdoor and then get straight into a hot tub. There’s a kids pool inside and out, the slide and lanes pool are outdoor. Steam room too.
Breiðholts | a very local pool offering an outdoor lanes pool, kids pool, slides and hot tubs.
Shower Before The Pool
When you arrive, you may be required to take off your shoes and socks, leaving them on a shelf in the entrance lobby, before entering the changing rooms. Once in the changing room, find a locker (you might need a small padlock) and get undressed - take everything off. Walk over to the shower with your towel and shampoo, leave the them in the shelving by the showers and go for a wash.
The rules state that every guest is required to wash thoroughly, without a swimsuit, before entering the pools. Be warned, there are often strict Icelandic pool staff keeping an eye out for shy foreigners who just shower and go. To be honest, no one’s looking and everyone does it. Once you have washed, put your swimming costume on and head out to enjoy the pools.
TIP: If bathing in the Blue Lagoon, put a handful of conditioner in your hair before you go in as the water is very drying.
Natural Pools & Lagoons
Blue Lagoon | not for swimming but it’s thee bathing experience and very relaxing (if you can grab a bit for yourself and that all important Instagram shot. Pricey but a once-in-a-lifetime experience - can be very romantic too. Opt to try the masks and grab a drink at the swim up bar.
Secret Lagoon | A toasty semi-natural lagoon with modern changing rooms, showers, and a small cafe. Again, not for swimming but the waters sooo good. Grab a noodle to help in floating around this lagoon. Kind friendly. Wander around the site after to see the bubbling geysers and old changing hut.
Seljavallalaug | one of the first manmade pools in Iceland, it was built originally for teaching local kids how to swim. A naturally heated algae pool (my favourite ‘secret’ pool, hmm, shhh), this pool is build on the side of Eyjafjallajökull volcano and is a short hike from the car park.
Other Natural Pools | head to the West Fjords to explore and find hidden pools all over the place - but keep them to yourself!!