Swimming is one of the most popular activities in Iceland. In fact, all Icelanders are required by law to learn swim and there are hundreds of pools located all over the country, with dozens in Reykjavik itself.
Like the Blue Lagoon, these pool aren’t naturally occurring hot springs, but the water does come from sources deep below the ground. All year-round, Icelanders and tourists head to these pools to relax, rejuvenate, and soak and swim in the warming waters.
Pools in Reykjavik
There are over a dozen public pools in Reykjavik. Some are outdoors, some are indoors, and some offer both indoor and outdoor portions in case of bad weather. Though the thought of soaking in a pool in the middle of winter in Iceland may seem strange, many people do it. The pools are kept quite hot (usually between 84 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit) so you will stay warm in the pool despite the cold temperatures outside.
Some pools, like Árbaejarlaug, even have waterslides. Others, like Grafarvogs and Sundhollin offer services like hydro-massage.
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The pools are generally open from early morning until late evening. Admission costs just 110 ISk per adult, with rental of bathing suit and towel available for an extra fee.
Pools in Iceland have their own set of rules and customs. Hygiene at the pools is very important to Icelanders, particularly because the pools aren’t very chlorinated. All visitors are required to shower thoroughly (signs in the showers even guide on where to pay special attention) without a bathing suit. Don’t worry about bearing all in front of a bunch of strangers. The Icelanders don’t care and the tourists are just as self-conscious as you are. Keep your eyes down and don’t worry about everyone else.
After your dip, you’ll take another shower (be sure to condition your hair well, as the pools can be drying) and then towel off before heading back to the locker area. Getting the floor wet in this area is frowned upon, so do your best not to drip.
Photo by blue eyes