A quintessential Iceland experience is a soak in the warm, comforting waters of a geothermal spa lost in a dreamy haze of steam, beyond which lie otherworldly landscapes. The Icelandic culture places much significance upon the ritual of relaxation — certainly a more appealing prospect when surrounded by moody mountains, pristine rivers and dramatic glaciers.
While the country’s natural hot springs and pools will always remain popular, these days, Iceland’s modern spas deliver ultra-luxurious amenities and slick services in understated, characteristically Nordic-style settings.
From the busy circuit of the south coast to the quiet charms of the north, here are luxurious geothermal spas in Iceland you need to visit.
Set on Lake Urriðavatn in east Iceland, Vök Baths consists of a series of warm pools, including two floating geothermal infinity pools. In a natural phenomenon considered rare in the east, these floating pools’ warm water — between 102.2 and 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit — comes from geothermal springs beneath the lake.
Apart from the infinity pools, you can soak in the larger pool on the shore, unwind in the steam bath or venture into a cold mist tunnel. If feeling adventurous, take a dip in the chilly lake waters for a few seconds before jumping back into the warmth of the infinity pool.
When you get thirsty, visit the pool bar or tea bar, and if in need of a light meal, go to the Asian-inspired bistro. The spa’s changing areas have a few shower stalls with doors for privacy, along with towel and swimsuit rentals.
A 12-minute drive from Reykjavik’s city center, the toasty geothermal waters of the 230-foot infinity pool at the Sky Lagoon offer the ultimate opportunity to relax after a day of sightseeing. Set in a stunning location in Skerjafjörður, the geothermal spa opened in 2021 and affords sublime views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The spa’s contemporary design draws inspiration from Icelandic heritage and includes a traditional-style turf house and a turf wall, a type of building that dates to 870. The seven-step ritual — the spa’s most distinguishing feature — also nods to longstanding cultural customs with a cold plunge inspired by Snorralaug, one of Iceland’s oldest natural pools.
Designed to stimulate and invigorate the body, the ritual involves hot and cold treatments in succession, such as a soak in the lagoon, a cold plunge, a sauna, a cold fog mist, a body scrub and steam, concluding with a return to the lagoon for more relaxation.
The changing rooms have upscale amenities, and shower cubicles come with doors. Private changing facilities are also available with some packages. A swim-up Lagoon Bar serves Icelandic beers, wines and champagne. Choose from light meals at Sky Cafe or shareable platters of local specialties at Smakk Bar.
Perhaps the most famous of Iceland’s geothermal spas, the Blue Lagoon is a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik and just 20 minutes away from Keflavík International Airport. Located among moss-covered lava fields and surrounded by the volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon’s turquoise geothermal seawater hovers between 98.6 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The silica-and-sulfur-rich water helps the skin and acts as an especially effective treatment for psoriasis.
Apply silica, lava and algae masks at the in-water mask bar and pop into the sauna and steam rooms. Opt for in-water float therapy and massages with Blue Lagoon mineral oil in the lagoon.
A swim-up bar serves fresh juices, smoothies, beers and wine. Three restaurants, including the highly acclaimed Moss Restaurant, turn out fine Icelandic cuisine prepared from seasonal local produce amid breathtaking settings.
For a more exclusive experience, the Retreat Spa next door grants access to a quieter lagoon, private changing rooms, a steam cave, a terrace, a cold plunge pool and a spa suite with a fireplace and dining area.
Few visitors to Iceland make it to the Myvatn Nature Baths, tucked away in a protected nature reserve in the northeast, approximately 65 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Luckily, this makes these secluded geothermal baths especially picturesque and tranquil.
Even in winter, the temperature of the sulfur-saturated water in the manmade lagoon remains a comfortable 96.8 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Stay hydrated with drinks from the swim-up bar, and afterward unwind in the geothermal steam baths while enjoying views of the area.
The modern changing rooms at the spa offer a few private showers. When you get hungry, choose from sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods at Cafe Kvika.
Most first-time visitors to Iceland head straight from Reykjavik to the Golden Circle, a well-trodden route in the southern part of the country that leads to impressive sights, such as Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss waterfall. If you find yourself in need of slowing down for a couple of hours on such a day, look no further than the geothermal baths at Laugarvatn Fontana.
Here, three mineral-laden geothermal baths, Lauga, Sæla and Viska, varying in depth and temperature, overlook Laugarvatn Lake. You can also relax in natural steam baths, created by hot springs bubbling underneath the surface.
A Finnish sauna provides peaceful views of the lake. When it gets too warm, step out and take a plunge in the cold lake water.
Before you leave, don’t forget to take a tour of the Geothermal Bakery and sample traditional rye bread. Baked underground in black sand for 24 hours, it’s served with Icelandic butter and smoked trout.
The geothermal pools at GeoSea Seabaths sit on cliffs overlooking Skjálfandi Bay in the fishing village of Husavik. On a lucky day, you might spot a whale or two while gazing out into the ocean from these baths, a popular whale-watching destination in northern Iceland.
The geothermally heated seawater in these pools ranges between 100.4 and 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit, with three pools, varying in warmth, to alternate among during your visit. Steeped in minerals, the water in these pools can heal certain skin conditions and reinvigorate aching muscles. For the ultimate relaxation, add a session in the onsite steam room.
Swim up to the bar for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, or head over to the dining area for a quick bite.