Best Blue Lagoon Alternatives

Soaking in a hot thermal bath and taking a dip in a swimming pool is an integral part of Icelandic culture. Although the geothermal waters (naturally heated water) offer therapy, an outdoor soak is a recreational activity that many locals enjoy. In Reykjavík (Iceland’s capital), there are 17 public swimming pools, but nearly every Iceland town has at least one. And although the luxurious Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular geothermal pools in Iceland, there are many Blue Lagoon alternatives to check out, including hot springs and swimming pools.

Fun Fact: Learning how to swim is mandatory in Iceland from the ages of 6-14.

Iceland Swimming Pools vs. Hot Springs

Iceland Hot Pots

Natural hot springs (hot pots) in Iceland are sourced from geothermally heated groundwater. Some hot springs are boiling, while others are perfect to bathe in. And while some hot springs in Iceland are easy to find, others may require a hike off the beaten path. Hot springs range from free to an entry fee which usually includes access to on-site changing rooms and showers.

Iceland Swimming Pools & Thermal Pools

Swimming pools (sundlaugs) are open year-round. They are often outdoors and heated with geothermal water. Although some lack the spa-like amenities, many feature hot tubs and cold tubs, water slides, wave pools, steam baths, a jacuzzi, and saunas.

Fun Fact: New research shows that swimming pools are cleaner than natural hot springs since they use chlorine.

Get the right gear for your Iceland trip, including camping, hiking, and swimming accessories like swimming headphones and snorkels at globosurfer.com.

Alternatives To Blue Lagoon Iceland

If you are on a budget and plan to skip the Blue Lagoon, but you don’t want to skimp out on experiencing a warm outdoor soak in Iceland, plan to visit these less expensive (but quality) Blue Lagoon alternatives where you can unwind, socialize, and admire the landscape.

Vesturbæjarlaug

Vesturbæjarlaug is a traditional outdoor thermally heated swimming pool in a suburban neighborhood right outside of Reykjavík. Although it’s a lot smaller than the other popular swimming pools in town, it offers plenty, including two outdoor pools, six hot tubs, one cold tub, two saunas, and a steam room.

Highly recommended by my CityWalk Reykjavik guide, Vesturbæjarlaug is a local swimming pool where locals hang out. Less than half an hour walk from the city center, I enjoyed Vesturbæjarlaug’s hot tubs and steam baths for 900 ISK ($8 USD). Before entering the pool, I had to shower naked in front of other female patrons (there are no curtains).

Although this was one of the most relaxing experiences I had in Iceland, I must warn you, be ready to run for your life when you’re getting out of the water. Yes, it’s that cold.

Landbrotalaug Thermal Pool

by The Pink Backpack

Tucked away in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the all-natural Landbrotalaug thermal pools are a stunning, affordable, and secluded alternative to the infamous Blue Lagoon. Only 40 km away from Borganes and a stone’s throw from the Gerðuberg Cliffs, you will find the road to Landbrotalaug.

(photo by The Pink Backpack)

At first glance, the hot pool appears to be a communal spring with a pipe feeding water into it. However, what makes Landbrotalaug so unique is its hidden, smaller hot pot on the parking lot’s opposite side. The secret Iceland hot pot is the perfect size for the solo traveler, making it a great option to unwind after a long day of driving or warm-up before bed while watching the northern lights. During my first visit to Iceland, I enjoyed it so much that I went again on my second visit.

Landbrotalaug

(photo by The Pink Backpack)

Since Landbrotalaug is a natural Iceland thermal hot pot, there is no fee to access the area.

There is currently no sign to indicate whether the property is privately owned or wildland. Be mindful of preserving the area and leaving it as you found it.

Seljavallalaug Pool

by Travel Hacker Girl

Seljavallalaug Pool

(photo by Travel Hacker Girl)

Swimming in the Seljavallalaug pool has been on my bucket list for a long time. It’s a fantastic Blue Lagoon alternative because it has a 5-star hotel view, yet it is free to visit. You will need to get off the main Road 1 and drive on 242 for a short while until you find a small parking place. It will be a bumpy ride, but well worth the effort.

Seljavallalaug Pool

(photo by Travel Hacker Girl)

From here, you can set off on a 15-minute hike to the pool. You will be amazed by the scenery. A gorgeous river is flowing next to the trail, and you are surrounded by mountains and numerous waterfalls. There are some changing rooms at the pool, where men and women change in the same room. Unfortunately, these changing rooms were in terrible condition. Lots of rubbish and mud. But do not let this deter you from having a dip in the pool.

It was a rainy day on our visit, and it was quite chilly; however, the water was a pleasant temperature. We splashed around in the water for about 30 minutes. It was great fun in a magical spot. I highly recommend visiting Seljavallalaug pool. It is a truly unique experience.

Seljavallalaug Pool

(photo by Travel Hacker Girl)

Reykjadalur Hot Springs or the Reykjadalur Valley

by I’ve Been Bit 

(photo by I’ve Been Bit)

Just 30 minutes east of Reykjavík lies Hverager∂i, a quaint little town known for its greenhouses. Although for me, it’s known for the little slice of paradise just north of it.

Take the main road of Brei∂amörk to the end, where you’ll come upon the Reykjadalur trailhead. The route is mainly gravel, so be sure to have hiking shoes or some solid runners on your feet. It’s a bit of a hike, but trust me – it’s worth every step and stumble. The 3 km trail (round-trip) winds you through beautiful landscapes with a new breathtaking view at every turn. You’ll also spot a little waterfall along the way. Eventually, you’ll come upon the amazing natural hot springs, and if you’re lucky, you might have them to yourself. The higher up the river you go, the warmer the water is from the springs.

Quickly peel off your clothes and hop in as the wind can be chilly in Iceland, depending on what time of the year it is. Oh, and bring an extra towel as it’ll make changing a little easier later on since there are no change rooms here. Trust me, though. You won’t mind as you enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds you.

Iceland Blue Lagoon Alternatives

What are your favorite Blue Lagoon alternatives in Iceland?


Read Next: How Much Does A Week In Iceland Cost?

Listen Next: How To Travel To Iceland On A Budget

Grab copies of my eBooks!

5 replies
  1. Katie Dickinson says:

    This is great – I’ve been looking for alt ideas. I’ve heard things I don’t love about Blue Lagoon (mostly that it’s not naturally occurring, not fab for the environment, and pricey/crowded) – so the idea of going somewhere else is very appealing! Thanks for the great ideas 🙂

    Reply
  2. Taryn Eyton says:

    Great suggestions. I’ve been to a few of these and I can’t recommend Reykjadalur enough. It was the highlight of my first trip to Iceland… I couldn’t believe you could just walk up a valley and soak in a hot river!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *