Icelandic Pool. Kat Nickola

Icelandic Pool. Kat Nickola ()

Although the Blue Lagoon is on every tourist itinerary, it’s not the only place to swim in naturally heated water. Most towns have extensive local pools that are geothermally heated and include outdoor sections to be enjoyed year-round. These pools don’t have the silica content, the affiliated power plant, nor the high price that makes the Blue Lagoon famous, but they do offer a lot of warm water fun.

Swimming at local pools is a great way to warm up after a day on the road. As a bonus, swimming is great way for kids to burn off energy. The Icelandic word “laug” means pool and is the best keyword for finding a swimming pool on Google Maps while on the road. The website is also the most useful hub of information about all the heated pools and hot springs in the country.

Local swimming facilities will always have a pool and a hot tub. Many of them also have splash areas, relaxation pools with jets, and a few slides. Entrance fees usually hover around 260 kr. ($2) for children and 980 kr. ($7) for adults.

Our family visited a pool nearly every day of our Iceland circuit, and found some favorites sprinkled around the island:

  • Akureyri Swimming Pool in the northern town of the same name was our absolute favorite and even had my daughter declaring her intention to live there when she grew up. It was nearly a water park with lots of slides and indoor/outdoor facilities, plus the local swim team doing laps.

  • Sundlaug Neskaupstaðar is the best option on the east side of Iceland. Near a quaint, scenic fjord town and an amazing coastal hike, this pool is the perfect end to an active day.

  • If you are on your way back to Reykjavik from Thingvellir, the Lágafellslaug pool is a perfect stop-off. In a residential area, this pool has lots of slides and features.

  • In downtown Reykjavik, the largest city pool is called Laugardalslaug. It is a sprawling complex of pools, hot tubs, splash areas and a few slides.


After paying admission, follow signs for the locker rooms and place your shoes on the rack before entering.

  • Locker rooms are gender segregated, but there will be children of all genders with their parent.

  • Use of a locker, and the wrist key, is included in your admission rate.

  • Don’t expect changing cubicles or shower stalls.

  • Don’t use your cell phone in the locker room.

  • After removing your clothes, carry your towel and swimsuit to the shower area and bathe before donning your suit. There are sometimes humorous signs showing exactly what bathing needs done. You are expected to use the provided soap, or bring your own, and be thorough. Cleanliness is part of the experience.

  • Leave your dry towel, and any personal soaps, on the racks in the shower area so they are there for you when you are done swimming.

  • The pool area is usually accessed by exiting through the showers.

  • Most people don’t use footwear in the locker rooms or pools, but flip-flops are OK as long as you don’t track wetness into the locker room.

  • Goggles are welcome, and floaties are often available for non-swimmers to use for free.

  • After swimming, return to the locker room via the shower. Remove your swimsuit and bathe again. Towel off thoroughly.

  • Use the suit spinner to spin-dry your suit before heading to your locker.

  • Try to keep the locker room dry.

With more freedom to play and splash, the geothermally heated local Icelandic pools are a hit with kids. They are also perfect for budget travelers, or anyone who would rather swim and sit in a toasty hot tub daily for a week in exchange for a single Blue Lagoon trip.

author picture
Kat is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Kaiserslautern, Germany with a special interest in anything outdoorsy or ancient. She has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Penn State University and has been a travel writer for about 10 years. Currently, she is in the depths of dissertation research for an archaeology degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands. 

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