Why spend a lot of money on the Blue Lagoon if you can go to one of the many swimming pools in Reykjavik? Instead of drowning in a crowded hot pot with tourists, go and soak among Icelanders in the hot water instead.
There are quite a few hot pot opportunities in Reykjavik for a small entrance fee of 500 ISK (and all of the pools will have swimsuits and towels for rent too) . Or if you stay for a bit longer in Iceland, take the 10 or 20 times ticket. The beauty is that it is valid in all the pools of Reykjavik, meaning you are not bound to one pool but you can try them all.
We already explained the beauty of pools, in particular - hot pots in Iceland, here. So now I tell you about my favourite places to actually go swimming. I love swimming, and not only Icelandic style, which means sitting in the hot tub for 2 hours until you look like a raisin. Although I recommend it highly too. A brilliant cure for soar muscles, tiredness, hangover, or to soak away the effects of jet lag.
Wherever in Iceland you see a sign like this, it will lead you to the closest swimming pool.
And below are 4 pools and hotpots that I visit regularly. Best is, they are really close to downtown Reykjavik.
About 15 – 20 min walk from downtown in the direction of Seltjarnarness peninsula.
Mondays – Thursdays: 06:30-22:00
My favourite swimming pool, as it is outdoors and rather small and cozy. Besides a 25m swimming pool with 5 lanes, there is a smaller and warmer kids pool with floating toys and mini slide.
The pool area is surrounded by a stone wall on the one, and the building and changing rooms on the other side which gives it a bit of a wind protection.
Alongside the kids pool are four outside hotpots with varying temperatures, one with hydro massage (excellent for soar backs), a steam bath and two saunas, one for men and one for women.
And now that summer is coming or simply to get a chance to cool down, there are plenty of benches and sun chairs to relax between the hot pots and the steam bath. And yes, you can get tanned in Iceland. A lot faster as the sun seems to be stronger, but unfortunately it is also not that long lasting….
Almost next to Halgrimskirkja, the big church
Mondays – Thursdays: 06:30-22:00
It might not look that inviting at first but trust me, your visit will be worth it.
Located close to Hallgrims church this one is the most central swimming pool and also the oldest one in Reykjavik. It was designed by architect Gudjon Samuelsson and constructed between 1929 – 1937 and opened its doors for the first time on March 24th, 1937.
There´s a 25m indoor pool with four lanes and two spring boards on one end, where you can practice you water-bomb skills, and a smaller 1 m deep kids pool with balls and floating toys at the other end. Therefore it’s perfect for bad weather or if you don’t wanna freeze, walking in between pool and changing rooms.
Outside you find, built in a balcony like fashion, two hot tubs, one with hydro massages, a steam bath and a sun terrace where you can cool down and enjoy the Icelandic sun.
About 30 min walk from downtown. Situated in the Laugardalur valley.
Weekdays: 6:30 – 22:00
Weekends: 8:00 – 22:00
I really like this one, as it is awesome for swimmers who haven’t fallen for the Icelandic way of swimming yet.
Laugardalslaug is the biggest swimming pool in Reykjavik, with two 50m pools, one indoor with 10 lanes and the other one outdoors with 8 lanes. The outdoor one has a comfy temperature of roughly 28°C (82°F) and will guarantee that you wont freeze even in winter (that is, once you made it into the water).
Beside those two big ones there is a smaller 25m pool for children with only one metre in depth and warmer than the other ones, inviting for floating and games and stuff. A brilliant 86 metre long water slide is situated at its side. Give it a try, it is great fun.
If you are not the swimming type of person and want to do it the Icelandic way, of course there are numerous hot pots, Jacuzzi and a thermal steam bath, which are alongside the outdoor pool. Their hotpots have varying temperatures so you can find the perfect one for you.
“The Beach of Reykjavik”
Ylströndin Nauthólsvík, behind the domestic airport field
Walking distance from downtown, about 30min.
Behind the airport and next to the University of Reykjavik.
May 15th – August 31st: 10:00-20:00
FREE hotpot and ocean swimming! Nauthóltsvík Beach is located where people used to take sea baths.
The construction of the lagoon finished in the year 2000 and the adjoining service centre opened in 2001. Massive stone walls surround a white sandy beach and the small lagoon, protecting it from the cold sea water.
Just in front of the service centre is a long hotpot with comfortable 38 °C from where you can observe the artificial sandbeach and the bay. And, after soaking in the hot water you can dare each other to take a cooling swim in the ocean. I love to take a plunge in the cold water and it gets easier each time. Just start swimming right away instead of staying put in one spot.
Nautholtsvík has comfortable changing rooms with showers (for a small fee of 200ISK you can also store your clothes there) and a small shop/info desk where you can get info regarding the current water temperature. In addition you get coffee, candy and sweets, and during summertime the opportunity for DIY pylsa, the Icelandic hotdog. You get the sausage and bun at the shop and grill it yourself on the gas grill next to the hotpot and picnic tables. Almost like summer barbecue ^^
There is a second smaller hotpot located on the beach with a temperature of 25-30 °C and which is only in use during sunny summer days.
It can also get quite crowed and suddenly you might be wondering where the hell all the people came from. During sunny summer days (never mind the outdoor temperature) it feels like half of Reykjavík is on the beach, creating a southern beach atmosphere. Apparently last year about 120.000 people visited the beach.