The 4 Best Geothermal Spas in Iceland
Updated: Jan 24
A Luxury Travel Review
I am an active travel enthusiast and have now been to Iceland twice. And I plan on returning for a third trip. I am also a luxury travel lover, so after some of our exhausting physical endeavors, I enjoy a good meal, a glass of wine, a comfortable bed and little self-care at a nice spa. Iceland is covered with geothermal soaking opportunities, both simple and free as well as upscale and full-serviced at spas that charge an entrance fee. There are many blogs out there about the hike-in, free hot springs or caves. This review is of four of the full-service spas that are built around geothermal lagoons. They offer steam rooms, changing rooms and showers and some have restaurants as well. So read on. I paid for and experienced each one of these spas, and my hope is to guide you in selecting one (or more) that suits your needs and budget.
TIP - Bringing a towel will save you money, as all of the spas charged for renting one.
This little gem is the oldest swimming hole in Iceland. Its location is right on the Golden circle route, so makes for a easy-access stop midday soak.
The main pool itself has been left natural, with a fine rock bottom and algae on its sides. There are several geothermal areas along the river and around the property but the temperatures are too hot to soak in safely. The main pool supposedly stays at 38-40 degrees C (100-104 F) . When I was there it was comfortably warm but I found myself seeking the edges closer to the river where some of the hotter water was coming in.
There is no restaurant, but there are snacks available to purchase at the desk. There are separate indoor shower rooms for men and women with lockers available.
Spa entrance: 2800ISK summer season ($25 USD pp)
Towel rental: 500ISK
I liked this spa, as it felt like 'authentic Iceland'. It was the least crowded and the lowest priced of the ones I experienced. I would have like to see a small café on site. But that probably would increase the overall entrance cost.
Go here for more information.
This was one of my favorite spas and in my opinion, a serious competitor to the Blue Lagoon in Grindavík. The lagoon is man-made (as is the Blue Lagoon), built in 2004 and the water source comes from the Bjarnarflag Power Station.
The main pool is quite large and the surrounding views of Mytvan are wonderful. The water averages temperature of 36-40 C (96-104F) the bottom is sand and gravel and there several areas to sit around the perimeter. There is also a smaller, hotter spa area that seats maybe 10-15 people. I can’t remember the exact temperatures in the hotter tub but it felt closer to 104F and I could easily sit in it for 15 minutes.
There is a small café/ restaurant with really nice, tall window to enjoy the view. Thy serve simple menu items like soups, salads, rolls with ham and cheese. There is a bar that serves beer and wine as well, and lagoon-side staff are able to serve you if you pay ahead and get a wrist-band. There are two steams baths outside next to the lagoon.
The changing rooms are very nice, clean and offer hair product as well as hair dryers as needed.
Spa entrance: 4700 ISK adults summer season (~$43USD) - lower rates for teens and seniors
Towel rental: 700 ISK ($6USD)
Bathrobe rental: 1500 ISK ($14USD)
This was one of my favorite spas and I, personally, enjoyed it more than Blue Lagoon. It was less crowded, more scenic and had all the amenities I was looking for.
This is the most well-known, largest and most commercial of the lagoons. It's also the most expensive. If you are only going to be in Iceland a few days and traveling around the country, then give it a try. This honestly was not my favorite spa for a few reasons:
1. The crowds – this place is a major tourist attraction. And they have evolved to meet the needs of tour bus groups and to satisfy the large numbers of people wanting to get in a soak before going to, or after leaving the international airport. Gigantic, high volume shower areas and a turn-style type, roped off lines to enter and get set up. the words ‘intimate’ or ‘authentic Iceland’ don’t exactly come to mind.
2. The price – keep in mind, that whatever price package you select, most people only spend about 2 hours there. Other than soak, have the silica mask and the drink that comes with your entry fee, there is not a lot to do. So keep that in mind when you assess your overall Iceland budget. Lowest price is 54 euro ($63USD) per person and includes silica mask, and one drink. If you want a towel, robe, slippers, etc, the entry price can go as high as 77euro per person ($90USD). If you want to have a full experience, there is a full-service restaurant on site and even two hotel experiences ranging from 435-1811 euro ($507-$2000 USD) a night, if you want to stay over a night. Lagoon access is included with your room (thankfully!)
The Lagoon is man-made and fed from the run-off waters of the Svartsengi Geothermal power plant. It is the largest if the four spas that I experienced, and had two wade-up drink stations.
The changing rooms and shower are enormous and lockers, Hair conditioner and hair dryers are provided. There is a gift shop, skin care product shop and beautiful restaurant on site, that offers both al a carte items as well as a tasting menu. There are saunas and steam rooms and you can also purchase private in-water massage.
Price: 54-77 euro ($63-90USD) ** advance purchases recommended**Hotel rooms : 435-1811 euro ($507-$2000 USD)
I paid for the $90USD package, with towel, robe, slippers, one drink and one mask. I also had a meal at the LAVA restaurant, which was really good. I stayed about three hours in total. I spent over $150 for the experience. It was unique and I enjoyed it. So if you don’t mind the crowds, and have the money in the budget for it, give it a shot.
This is another, newer spa on the Golden Circle. Its small, but modern in design. This is also one of the only spas on this list that is family-oriented. There are several cooler, shallow water pools where small children can play. This may be an asset or a detriment depending on what you want your spa experience to be. For me, we were traveling as a couple. So when we first arrived, we were a little ‘put off’ by two things: the location of the café (directly at the entrance) and the fact that it was packed with school children. This is obviously a popular spot for locals.
The main adult pool does have a natural sand/gravel bottom. But the others hotter pools are tiled. Aside from the temperature of the water, this spa didn’t feel any different than a modern design public pool. I did like that you could take a dip in the lake off the dock (brr!). But the view of the lake was obscured by the style fence they selected. I was curious why they didn’t select a clear glass.
The showers rooms are small-medium size, segregated by gender (this may be new as old reviews state they were once co-ed), and hair dryers are provided. There is a small cafeteria-style restaurant. There are steam rooms as well as various temperature soaking areas.
Price: 3800 ISK ($35USD) adults, 2000ISK ($18) for teens and kids under 12 are free.
Towels: 800ISK ($7USD)
Upcoming New Spa in 2019
Geothermal Sea Baths – Husavik
I had been reading about this spa and originally it was scheduled to open in June of 2018. As of this writing, the website now says December. We drove by the site at the end of May, 2018 to check it out. Let me just say, it's got a LONG way to go to be open this year. But the design and location look promising. So go here to check out more digital generated images of the design. And If you are in Husavik, Iceland in 2019, go check it out!
Get more details here in our 11 day Itinerary for Photographers and Adventurers
Read How Expensive is Iceland? here
And see other Epic Journey itineraries here