As a visitor of Golden circle in Iceland, I never heard of the the local hot springs, which you can find in the heart of the most visited area there. But while driving to the geysir, our second stop in Golden circle, we found out there is are pretty nice geothermal baths called Fontana spa in Laugarvatn, which is a small town not far away from geysir.
We decided to give it a try and arrived to the Fontana baths in late Saturday afternoon and book tickets for us. Despite the windy weather, we were very suprised and I have to say, this hot spring is definitely worth it.
What is Fontana geothermal baths?
Fontana spa or Fontana geothermal baths are hot springs, built artificially by man using the hot springs available in the area. This area is built in the town of Laugarvatn right next to the lake of the same name, which you have a beautiful view of directly from the pools and hot tubs.
Similar to the Secret lagoon, which you can find a little further, in the town of Flúdir these are smaller and less famous hot springs, compared to the Blue lagoon, for example.
Thanks to this, the place is less visited by tourists, and if you are here at the right time (and off-season), the whole area will be shared with only a few dozen other visitors.
Pools and hot tubs and in the Fontana spa
These geothermal baths offer several more or less deep pools with different water temperatures. You will find one main shallow pool here, with a water temperature of 32-36 degrees Celsius.
Another, deeper pool with a direct view of the lake has a temperature of 36 and is probably the only one deep enough to swim in.
Next to it, there is a bath with natural water, located in a slightly warmer stony area, it is about 38-40 degrees and there is room for about 30 people.
The last pool is then a bit hidden, you can find it at the back top right and the temperature here is the same, also from 38 – 40 degrees.
In addition to the swimming pools, you can enjoy relaxation in 2 Finnish saunas and one dry sauna, which are located in a wooden house that you cannot miss right after you leave the changing rooms and showers.
The last “attraction” in Fontana geothermal baths is the lake itself. From the hot springs, there is a short wooden entrance directly to the lake, which is only a few degrees above zero, and you can cool down here after warming up in one of the pools or in the sauna.
Laugarvatn Fontana in Iceland has stable opening hours throughout the year. You can visit these hot baths every day from 11:00-21:00 and the entrance has an unlimited limit, you can spend as many hours as you want.
- Monday: 11am-21pm
- Tuesday: 11am-21pm
- Wednesday: 11am-21pm
- Thursday: 11am-21pm
- Friday: 11am-21pm
- Saturday: 11am-21pm
- Sunday: 11am-21pm
The prices for tickets at Laugarvatn Fontana are somewhere in between expensive hot springs as Sky lagoon or Blue lagoon (closer to Reykjavík and airport) and cheaper Secret lagoon (another hot spring in Golden circle).
Admission ticket for entrance for adults is 4 500 ISK and with that you can rent towel or swimsuit for another 1000 ISK. At the reception, you can also order some drinks and pick up them later at the bar with outside window to the pools.
There are few tours available in case you don´t want to visit Laugarvatn Fontana baths on your own. We recommend them especially in the winter season, when driving can be difficult due to a weather.
You can choose if you want to take a tour just to Laugarvatn Fontana, or do a Golden circle tour with a Fontana wellness in the end of the trip.
Golden Circle and Fontana Wellness Tour from Reykjavik
If you want to travel from Reykjavík, the capitol of Iceland, we recommend this tour on Getyourguide.com. It will take you through the must see places in Golden circle in Iceland and you will end your tour with baking lava rye bread under ground in Laugarvatn Fontana, finished with the warm dip in the hot springs.
This tour is provided one of the biggest icelandic tour company, it´s reliable and with many positive reviews.
Laugarvatn Fontana: Geothermal Bread-Baking Experience
If you want to do the bread-baking experience on your own, you can get this ticket on Getyourguide.com and travel to Laugarvatn Fontana without the tour bus and enjoy exploring Golden circle as you want, without any limitations.
Food in Fontana restaurant
Speaking about food at Fontana, the rye bread experience is definitely not only choice for those, who are hungry. Inside the main building of the wellness centre of Fontana is small restaurant/bistro, where you can eat.
Drinks and bar in Fontana
I think, almost all the paid hot springs in Iceland, which are man made, offers some kind of bar for visitors of pools and baths. The same goes for Laugarvatn Fontana geothermal baths.
The bar here is connected with the reception and it´s inside, but has a open window to the pool area. You can choose here from many sodas, beer, wine, etc. for reasonable (icelandic) prices.
You can order and pay for drinks before entering the changing rooms, you just make and order on your name and then ask bartender for paid drinks. You can also pay later, but unfortunately there´s no chip, you could have with you all the time, so you´ll need to have your credit card or cash with you in the baths area.
Showers and changing rooms
As in all pools and hot springs in Iceland, it is neccessary to take a shower NAKED before entering any pool. Fontana baths in Laugarvatn offers only one “package”, that means you will have to share changing rooms with all the other visiting this place.
The same goes with showers, there are no private showers or stalls, you can use to hide yourself, if you feel uncomfortable.
But there is a compromise solution, you can find at the last showers. There´s a curtain, you can use to cover your shower, so you will have some kind of privacy. Unfortunately, I noticed only one shower with curtain at male changing rooms, that means you might have to wait for this shower, in busy hours.
Laugarvatn Fontana: Pros and cons
We visited on our travels in Iceland most of the man made hot springs, so I can compare between them and tell you, what kind of pros and cons I personally find here.
- We all agreed that the mix of pools and saunas with different temperature will not let you get bored. It´s not like a Secret lagoon, where is only one main pool with same temperature everywhere, and you change places, take a cold dip in a lake and find the best spot you like.
- The view is definitely another plus, we really liked. The staff of Fontana light up a small fireplaces around the lagoon and when it got darker, it was really romantic and relaxing.
- For many of tourist, the price might be one of the pros as well. In compare to Blue lagoon or Sky lagoon, the price difference is really noticable. Also, because it´s not so fancy and famous, it´s more likely that you will not need to book a ticket ahead and just buy ticket when you arrive (as we did).
For me, from travelers point of view, there might be two cons of Fontana geothermal baths.
- The first is, they offer only one package. There is no possibility of having private changing rooms or shower, even though you can find a one shower with curtain, as we mentioned before.
- The second small dissapointment for me was the plastic band without the chip for payments. Everytime I wanted to get a drink, I need to go to changing rooms, open the locker, get my card, pay and go with the credit card back. The pocket or maybe some waterproof case would solve the problem, but I wasn´t ready for it, so it complicated the situation a bit.
Location and contact
The town of Laugarvatn is not very far away from Reykjavík. You can drive there 2 ways, through the national park Thingvellir (which we recommend) or through Selfoss, biggest city in south Iceland. The first road is probably better in the summer season, but it might be more difficult to drive through in the winter times, when snow and ice appears.
The second road, through Selfoss is more boring, but you drive at the main road, which is used a lot, so there road maintenance here is more often cleaning snow from roads and it´s more safe to drive here.
- Website: www.fontana.is
- +354 486 1400
- Instagram: @FontanaIceland
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laugarvatnfontana/
If you don´t like the Laugarvant fontana baths from any reason and you would like to enjoy hot springs while you visiting Golden circle, or Iceland in general, we have a few alternatives from you.
Laugarvatn fontana vs Secret Lagoon
The first alternative in Golden circle is Secret lagoon. I personally like this hot spring a lot mainly because it´s the more natural one. The main pool is very old and all the place is very authentic and have great atmosphere. Unfortunately I would not recommend it for people, who look for variety of services, private showers and modern facilities.
Laugarvatn fontana vs Sky lagoon
One of the newest man made hot springs in Iceland is Sky lagoon, biggest and most beautiful spas in Reykjavík. With the pool heading towards the ocean, it has one of the great views with possibility of enjoying northern lights while taking a bath.
It´s definitely more expensive than Fontana baths, but offers 7-step ritual with sauna, scrubs and much more. It´s also more crowdy and you will most likely need to book this place ahead, because it´s quickly selling out.
Laugarvatn fontana vs Blue lagoon
Blue lagoon is the most famous lagoon in Iceland. You can find it just and 20 mins from the main airport in Keflavík and enjoy the luxury experience in the blue water. The area is very big, but still can get crowdy and same as Sky lagoon, much more expensive than Fontana wellness centre.
We got to the Laugarvatn Fontana wellness centre in mid October, around 5 pm on Saturday afternoon. This time of year, it´s over season in Iceland, weather is getting colder so it was not so touristy as it might be in the summer months.
It was easy for us to find a main building of the spas – after you arrive to town, you will see sign pointing to down the hill to the lake and the hot springs. Eventhough the parking lot is not huge, we find our spot and got the reception.
We were welcome by kind receptionist from Portugal, who explained us how it works there, how many and which pools and saunas they have and asked, if we want to get some drinks.
We got our tickets, ordered drink and split to the changing rooms. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of lockers with keys, you take and put on your hand on a plastic band.
Unfortunately the band doesn´t have any chip (as it is in Blue or Sky lagoon), so you cannot use it for payments.
There were not so many showers, if I remember correctly in a male sections maybe just 8 of them, I almost had to wait in the line. And finally, after shower we got out and went straight to the pools.
We choose the first one, shallow pool with a perfect water temperature for long stay. I guess the water was around 36 degrees celsius and even it was a bit cold outside, we felt comfortable. At that time of day, we shared the place maybe with another 25 – 35 guest, mostly from Iceland.
We decided to try to other pools as well.
I personally like the warmer one upstairs, there were maybe just 2 people and you can enjoy calm view at the lake. With the same water temperature is the more natural pool, next to the lake with rocks, but it was more crowdy, so we get back to the shallow pool and stayed there for most of the time.
The bar there works pretty simple – you need to get out of the water and walk just a few meters to the window, where is a receptionist/bartender who gets you drinks. I remember only price for beer, 1300 ISK for 0,4l (in plastic glass), which is normal price for Iceland.
Later we tried one of the sauna´s, unfortunately the dry sauna, closest to the pools.
For me, it was not warm enough, but because of the time, we didn´t try any others, which are definitely warmer. We also skip the cold dip in the lake, because it was really windy and cold and this time, we just wanted to relax.
In the end, we spent in the Fontana baths around 3 hours, just chilling and watching the nearby lake. The atmosphere there was really great and we were in no rush, so I think it was the perfect amount of time for us (but more than 3 hours would be probably too much). By my opinion, the Fontana baths in Laugarvatn definitely worths the visit and we will come back soon again.
(Photos used from fontana.is)