As you may already be aware, Iceland is infamous for its natural hot springs. These waters are rich in minerals and other naturally occurring compounds. They are said to have healing powers (especially when it comes to dermatological problems). So, with these wondrous waters, it was only a matter of time before the island boasted some of the best spas in Iceland.
In this article, we take a look at the different spas and what each experience has to offer visitors.
The Difference Between a Natural Hot Spring and a Geothermal Pool
The first thing one needs to know is that there is a difference between a natural hot spring and a geothermal pool. The natural hot springs found in Iceland are due to the volcanic activity heating up the underground water supply. So, there are plenty of hot springs that can be found (and enjoyed) aux natural all over Iceland. These can be found in rock formations, little rock pools, and even running streams.
But as the volcanic activity is not exactly the same all across the island, some hot springs are hotter than others – a lot hotter. So much so that it would be impossible for humans to use the water without losing a limb. Cue geothermal pools! These are man-made pools that utilize the natural hot spring water. However, they use other cold water resources, either man-made or local, such as rivers or streams to cool down the hot spring water. This way, the temperature is enough for all to enjoy a relaxing dip.
It is at many of these geothermal pools that you will find a geothermal spa in Iceland.
The Best Spas in Iceland
Where healing waters flow, spas are sure to follow, so you’ll find your fair share in Iceland. But each offers different treatments and its own unique experiences to make this one of the most relaxing experiences Iceland has to offer visitors. If you intend to pop into one on your trip, these are a few that could make a nice addition to your dip in an authentic Iceland hot spring:
Blue Lagoon Retreat Spa
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous geothermal pools in Iceland. It has actually been featured in a few movies such as Star Trek because of its unique aesthetic. So going to the Retreat spa at the Blue Lagoon is considered one of the best things to do in Iceland. They offer a wide variety of treatments such as the usual massages and scrubs. They also have uniquely Blue Lagoon treatments such as Float Therapy as well as Algae Masks.
It is also known as an Iceland mud spa of sorts as the mud at the bottom of the lagoon is silica-rich. One can literally dive down to grab a few handfuls, rub yourself down and wait for the promised skin rejuvenation to occur. You can also purchase a few items and treatments to take home with you. A 5-hour exclusive entry to the spa will set you back about ISK 59 000 (just over $400).
Myvatn Nature Baths
Surrounded by lava fields, the Myvatn Nature Baths is one of Iceland’s outdoor spas and is renowned for its surrounding views. Unlike the Blue Lagoon, the spa “treatments” are limited to soaking in the mineral-rich milky blue water. Apparently, taking a steam bath where the steam rises up from holes in the floor does wonders when it comes to cleansing the skin. Entry starts at about ISK 6000 (just over $40) and increases as you add on perks.
Krauma is one of the geothermal pools that utilize the largest hot spring in all of Europe. This Iceland hot springs spa offers visitors 5 geothermal pools. These are: a cold pool, two saunas, and a relaxation room with views across the landscape and a fireplace to keep the cold at bay and keep the coziness to a maximum.
Krauma is a thermal spa in Iceland that deserves a special mention. Its architectural design is truly something awe-inspiring to experience if you have an appreciation for modern architecture. And the restaurant at the spa serves authentic Icelandic cuisine that is prepared with ingredients from a local farm. As with the Blue Lagoon, Krauma also has a few products you can purchase to take home with you. Entry is about ISK 4000 (roughly $30).
Ok, so even though there may not be typical spa treatments and facilities here, it’s still worth a visit. This is the one Iceland natural spa that makes use of natural hot seawater (yes, you heard right).
And since the temperature is perfect, the only thing that was needed was to build four geothermal pools that are naturally fed by the ocean. In other words, this is the one thermal spa in Iceland that is not only mineral-rich but completely devoid of any chemicals that are necessary to keep other geothermal pools clean! Entry to the GeoSea starts at ISK 4300 (roughly $30).
Bjorbodin Beer Spa
Technically this is not an Iceland natural spa but still gets an honorable mention due to its incredible uniqueness. At Bjorbodin Beer Spa you can take a dip and soak in tubs full of beer (seems certain dreams really do come true). But this is not the place to soak and sip.
The beer is still in the extremely early stages of fermentation, so, not quite ready to be ordered on tap. Yet, it is incredibly rich in potassium, protein, iron, zinc, and magnesium to give the mineral-rich hot springs a good run for their money. And not only does it have healing properties for the skin, but the beer hops also give it anti-inflammatory qualities.
Etiquette When Visiting Spas in Iceland
You’re not going to go running and screaming through a library, and likewise, there is spa etiquette to adhere to when visiting any of the above-mentioned spots. Here are a few dos and don’t’s:
- Even though some refer to them as baths, it doesn’t mean that you can be dirty when getting in. Always take a quick shower in the changing rooms before you take a dip.
- Whether you are soaking in the pools or are enjoying the spa facilities, shouting and having endless chats on your phone are seriously frowned upon.
- Geothermal pools and hot springs are not places to practice your cannonball. Relaxing soaks ONLY!
- This is not your home and no one wants to watch your “woo-ha” or “willy”. Always wear a bathing suit outside of the changing rooms – whether in the pool or at the spa.
- It’s quite ironic, but in some of the extremely hot geothermal pools, you can become easily dehydrated. So ensure that you drink enough water to not get sick. This is also why many of the spas that offer alcoholic beverages limit visitors to only a few, so don’t kick up a fuss about it.
- Before entering the spa facilities, it’s customary to remove any outdoor shoes to keep the space as clean as possible.
Plenty of Spas in Iceland
Whether you are looking for a luxury spa experience in Iceland or a more natural soak, there are more than enough spas in Iceland to float your boat. Well, or body in this cas! Treat yourself to…well, treatments, and relax in some of the most majestic settings the world has to offer. Definitely not a bad way to spend a day.