Iceland is famous for its swimming pools and natural hotpots. Seljavallalaug, just a couple of stone throws away from the N1 road, is very often missed by travellers. If some places are relatively famous, I think of the Reykjadal hot river for instance, other spots tend to be ignored or remain off the beaten track.
About the place:
It is true that Iceland’s southern coast is filled with beautiful landmarks and highlighted places. With the über-known Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Vik’s black sand beaches and the Skógafoss waterfall nearby, no wonder that lots of people don’t see the small sign pointing toward a dirt track leading into a remote glen. While traveling along the southern coast, Seljavallalaug can be a re-energizing break during a road trip. I have already talked about the wonders of the Icelandic hot water, but bathing in the middle of the moutains is incredible.
Originally built in 1922, during the time when every Icelander had to learn to swim, the Seljavallalaug swimming pool was built with help of local farmers and associations with the promise of free swimming lessons for the kids of the area. The pool has been rebuilt in the 1990′s, for you see, they built the first pool with turf and rocks, the only materials Iceland has plenty of.
And it’s even famous in some commercials…
This pool is located at the end of a valley in an isolated area. No one will come and disturb you, maybe some elves will peek from the rocks. When I went there, in June 2011, the whole valley was still covered with ashes of the Eyafjalljokull eruption of 2010. But gradually, vegetation is coming back and patches of grass are growing in this sand, creating strange patterns of black and green patches. Local youth organizations helped over the months to clean the location, the swimming pool was more of a ash pond than a swimming pool. I guess it can be great for the skin tough…. Also, please notice that Seljavallalaug isn’t regularly maintained, so the water might look not that clear and the facility not so new looking, but it’s free to go and to swim, so respect the area.