Seljavallalaug: the Oldest Swimming Pool in Iceland


blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    Iceland is known for its natural hot springs due to all the volcanic activity on the island. And while it’s easy to mistake the Seljavallalaug Pool for a hot spring, especially due to its secluded location, there’s much more to Seljavallalaug than just swimming in hot water.

    In this article, we dive into the history of Seljavallalaug and why it’s considered a must-visit spot during a trip to the island. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.

    What Makes Seljavallalaug so Special?

    While we often refer to it as Seljavallalaug Hot Springs, Seljavallaug is actually a geothermal pool. While fed by hot spring water, Seljavallalaug is man-made, built in 1936, making it the oldest swimming pool here on the island. The initial reason why it was built was to teach Icelanders how to swim. The pool is 25 meters long and 10 meters wide, and the water always ranges between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.

    The pool is pretty remote, nestled between the mountains, and might not be what you expect if you’ve seen images of the Myvatn Nature Baths or the Blue Lagoon. Seljavallalaug doesn’t have loads of amenities. Very basic changing rooms are available, and the water has a greenish hue due to all the algae in the water. But just because the pool is kept as natural as possible doesn’t mean the water is dirty.

    Where is Seljavallalaug in Iceland?

    Seljavallalaug can be found in the valley below our famous Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in the Highlands of south Iceland. It’s conveniently close to the Ring Road, so many add it as a spot on their road trip around the island.


    How to Get to Seljavallalaug in Iceland

    While you’ll probably be able to find a tour operator or private guide who will take you there, we highly recommend instead driving yourself due to its remote location. It’s also incredibly easy to get to from the capital city of Reykjavík.

    Get onto the Ring Road and turn off Road 242 marked Raufarfell. Drive passed Porvaldseyri and turn at the sign towards Seljavellir. This road will take you straight to the Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool car park. From there, reaching the pool will be a beautiful 15-20 minute hike.

    When is the Best Time to Visit Seljavallalaug?

    Most visitors prefer visiting Seljavallalaug during Iceland’s summer months of June to August, since the weather is nice and there are more daylight hours. But locals absolutely love visiting Seljavallalaug during the colder months of the year, and they will tell you there’s no better feeling than the contrast between the warm water and the cold air.

    For many, the decision is made based on the hike to the pool, since only some are comfortable making the trip through snow and ice.

    Other Things to Look Forward to Near Seljavallalaug

    You will find plenty of other things to do and see nearby Seljavallalaug. Here are a few things you can look forward to:

    seljavallalaug geothermal pool

    Visit Seljavallalaug in a Camper

    If you are going to add Seljavallalaug as a stop along a Ring Road road trip (which we highly recommend you do), we also suggest renting a campervan in Iceland. This way, you’ll not only have your accommodation and transport sorted, but you’ll also add to the uniqueness of your Iceland adventure. Be sure to check out the Vik campsite if you’d like to stay over and explore the area properly after your Seljavallalaug dip.

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