Seljavallalaug hot spring
Seljavallalaug hot spring

Seljavallalaug hot spring

Seljavallalaug hot spring is famous with Instagrammers for its iconic photos, hidden away in the south Icelandic mountains, but it’s frequently passed up in favor of other nearby sights like the plane wreck and the aforementioned waterfalls.

It is Iceland’s oldest pool that is still in use. It was constructed by a group of visionaries who wanted to give the residents a place to practice swimming.

This is the starting point if you want to experience an authentic Icelandic pool. This is where the idea of contemporary swimming and bathing originated. Since the time of the Settlement, Icelanders have sat in natural hot springs, but it was right here in the middle of nature that the concept of everyone swimming in naturally heated pools was born.

About Seljavallalaug hot spring

In southern Iceland, there is a 25-meter outdoor pool that is protected. Built in 1923, the pool is among Iceland’s oldest swimming facilities. Seljavallalaug is one of those spots that many tourists to Iceland miss since they are preoccupied with seeing all the southern sights.

Opening time: Always open


My experience

“I was a bit put off by the many negative reviews I’d seen both on this page and the general web. But I’m so glad I decided to go. The changing rooms were basic but not dirty or smelly as I’d read previously. The pool did feel a bit slimy at the bottom, and I guess it’s not for everyone. My husband was happy to watch rather than get in. But the water was so warm and relaxing, and the views were absolutely breathtaking! It is worth it just for the views and pictures even if you do not swim. “

Hot to get to Seljavallalaug geothermal pool

When traveling out from Reykjavík, you leave the ring road (No. 1) and merge onto road 242, which is designated Raufarfell. After passing a sign that reads Seljavellir, you continue driving until you reach a new pool where parking is available.

Directions to Seljavallalaug hot spring

Where to park you car?

You need to walk for 15 to 20 minutes down the valley from the parking lot before you can see the pool peeking around a corner. If you believe you’re travelling in the wrong direction, you probably aren’t since you can’t see it until you get there.

How to prepare, what to bring and what to expect

  • All you need in the summer is a bathing suit or a pair of swim trunks. If it’s frigid outside, think about bringing a light long-sleeved shirt and breathable slacks to be warm without overheating.
  • For increased comfort when wandering around the pool area, you might also want to bring sandals or water shoes.
  • It’s crucial to pack the appropriate materials for a fun and secure trip to Seljavallalaug hot spring.
  • Make sure you have a bathing suit, towel, shoes, as well as items like sunscreen, bug repellent, and water bottles with fresh water in them.

The last thing to remember is to check the weather before going somewhere because Seljavallalaug hot pool is an outdoor pool, so you might want to dress appropriately.

Plan the hike well: As a safety measure, always let someone know your intended path and anticipated return time.

Hike to Seljavallalaug

When you park your car, you will find that there is no thermal pool nearby. That’s because you have to hike there! Isn’t that what makes it so intriguing? There are no trail signage either. It’s a “If you know, then you know” trail.

With a roundtrip distance of about 2 miles (3.2 km), the hike is rather simple. Depending on how quickly you travel, it takes roughly 20 minutes each trip.

Are changing rooms really as bad as reviews say?

Two changing rooms with cement flooring and a small seat are available. There are no restrooms. There will be no showers.

On their route to the spring, most people hike in their swimsuits under their hiking clothing. Using the changing room is an excellent idea because hiking back in damp clothes is not ideal.

However, there have been reports that the changing rooms can be filthy. Unfortunately, this is due to visitors failing to observe the “leave it as you find it” rule.

Temperature of Seljavallalaug

Due to its proximity to this natural hot pool that supply its water, the Seljavallalaug swimming pool’s midsummer average water temperature is roughly 30°C. Some tourists could find it difficult to swim in the colder months as the temperature of the pool may drop as a result.

When is the best time to visit Seljavallalaug?


The best time to visit the Seljavallalaug swimming pool is from middle of May to end of September, when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities and the water temperature is warm. Nevertheless, anyone can use the pool whenever they like during the entire year.

The summer is the ideal time to visit Seljavallalaug because the weather is cool and the water is warm. Fortunately, the distance to the pool is just short enough that returning in your wet bathing suit doesn’t make you feel chilly.

Seljavallalaug in summer

This was a fantastic opportunity. Because I had read that the change rooms were not very nice, I chose to change into my bathing suit in my car and do the’short walk’ in my towel and flip-flops because the weather was nice at the time. Not recommended. Lol.

The walk there took longer than I expected (15 minutes). And, of course, the weather changed while we were swimming. So the trek back was windy and rainy, making me miserable. Simply duck and use the restrooms! But the pool itself was fascinating. The view is breathtaking! The deepest end is the warmest. The algae on the seafloor is real.

Seljavallalaug in winter

Seljavallalaug is open all year, however the water is colder in the winter and the path may be snow-covered.

The water is often colder between late autumn and early spring, perhaps falling slightly below 20°C (68°F). But during the height of winter, it’s not unusual to see Icelanders trudging through the snow and enjoying a celebratory plunge in the pool.

Alternative hot springs in South Iceland:

  1. Blue lagoon near Keflavík airport
  2. Sky lagoon in Reykjavík
  3. Secret lagoon near Gullfoss waterfall
  4. Fontana spa near geysir area

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