Swimming pools in Iceland

Posted on October 16, 2013


Swimming in Iceland is a wonderful experience – the geothermal pools are in every town, even the smallest and they are often the social hub of the community.

I would have liked to have experienced more Icelandic pools and it’s one (amongst many!) of the reasons I can’t wait to return.

The Blue Lagoon is the most famous. Situated an hour or so outside of Reykjavik I was worried it was going to be an over-rated tourist trap. Whilst it certainly was not over-rated, it was still quite touristy and not a regular haunt of Icelandic natives! That said I can’t recommend it highly enough.

We spent hours floating about in the gorgeous water, had fun putting the silica mud masks on our faces and swimming up to the little drinks area – you can run up a tab on the magnetic bracelets they give you!

Iceland - 141

I can’t recommend the Blue Lagoon highly enough, we really did enjoy our time here.

We also took a trip to Arbaejarlaug Geothermal Pool which is just on the outskirts of Reykjavik.

Iceland - 86

We had the BEST time here, swimming in the hot, warm and freezing waters which all run into each other so you never know what you’re going to come across. This was much more of a local, community pool and was full of teenagers catching up with each other, older people doing their exercises in the pool’s in-the-water gym area and mothers and small children. We loved it here – there were lots of fun inflatables for children to play on as well as water slides and hot pots (jacuzzi).

Arbaejarlaug is also great because it is partially indoors…you can swim outside or in through a little opening in the wall so if it starts to rain heavily you can easily just be in the inside portion.

Some tips to bear in mind when visiting Icelandic pools.

1. The most important. You will have to get naked! It sounds (perhaps!!) embarrassing but really, no one bats an eyelid. The pools don’t use chlorine and so it’s very important that everyone showers with soap (provided), fully, before going in the pool. At the Blue Lagoon you can easily find a private shower but at other, public pools like Arbaejarlaug they are completely communal and there simply isn’t room for modesty. If you just get on with it as if you do it every day no one will look twice at you!

2. Every child under the age of 7 has to wear armbands, whether they can swim or not. Arm bands are provided at most, if not all, swimming pools so it’s just a case of turning up with your swimming costume.

Iceland - 144

3. At the Blue Lagoon they provide you with lovely fluffy gowns as well as towels but many of the public pools provide towels too.

4. Leave your socks and shoes outside before you enter the changing rooms. They have little cubby holes for them usually just after you’ve paid to enter the pool building.

5. If you have long hair, remember to tie it up. The minerals in the water – particularly at the Blue Lagoon – can cause absolute havoc. I wasn’t careful enough and it took at least a week of intense conditioning to get mine even vaguely back to normal after our Blue Lagoon trip – it felt like I was brushing straw!

6. Don’t let any of this put you off. Swimming in Iceland is an amazing experience, one of those experiences that made me fall so deeply in love with the country.

Read more about our trip to Iceland HERE…and book your trip soon!!

Have you been swimming in Iceland? Which was your favourite pool? Or has this inspired you to go to Iceland?

Posted in: Europe, top tips