The Sky Lagoon in Reykjavík

A couple at the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

What differentiates the Sky Lagoon from other luxury spas in the country? When is the best time to visit, and how long should you spend there? So, before you indulge in a spot of bathing, let’s learn more about what you can expect from this lovely spa! 

If one image showcases why people travel to Iceland, it would be people relaxing in the country’s hot spring spas

Can’t you picture such luxury for yourself? 

With gentle eddies of steam rising up around their naked torsos, Iceland’s geothermal waters provide visitors serenity, community, and well-being.

Table of Contents

A couple at the spa
 Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

The Sky Lagoon is just one of Iceland’s many spas, but given that it is a new addition to the scene, it lacks the recognition enjoyed by the Blue Lagoon or Myvatn Nature Baths

Though it hasn’t been around for too long, the spa has rapidly become a favourite among locals and travellers alike. So, without further ado, why exactly has this spa made such a splash since first opening in 2021? 

Why should you visit this exciting new spa?

A woman at Sky Lagoon's sauna
 Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

For one, the Sky Lagoon shares its major draws with all other spas in Iceland. Heated from geothermal energy below the ground, the lagoon’s warm waters invite its guests to soak for a few hours at a time. As has been tradition in Iceland for centuries, bathing is a premium opportunity to either socialise with others around you, or close your eyes, lean back, and let the soothing sensations douse you with bliss. 

The Ritual is one of the spa’s major selling points. Guests are offered a seven-step process to relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

First, you will spend some time in the lagoon itself, enjoying the peaceful ambience and beautiful surroundings. After a quick dip in the nearby glacial pool, you enter the sauna, followed by a steam shower. Shortly afterwards, you will lather your skin in nutrient-rich sea salt scrub, bringing it to life. To close off the experience, you will take a refreshing shower before returning to the lagoon.

Of course, it is not necessary to take part in the ritual if you would rather bob around in the lagoon. However, it certainly adds a great depth to your experience, maximising your limited time at this exciting new spa. 

Where is the Sky Lagoon?

Looking down on the Sky Lagoon
Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

The Sky Lagoon is located within Reykjavík. This makes it something of an anomaly among spas in Iceland, and a must-stop for those restricting themselves to the Capital Region. It is only a short way from downtown – approximately ten minutes drive – so can be easily slotted in around any other points of interest you’re looking to explore.

What amenities are on offer? 

 

The Sky Lagoon offers a swim-up bar where you can purchase a variety of alcoholic and soft beverages, including cocktails. Nothing beats enjoying a cool refreshment while your body is hugged by the snugness of the lagoon’s water. Don’t worry about paying there and then – upon buying your admission, you will be provided with an electronic wristband that tracks your purchases. 

There is also an infinity pool, allowing you to feel like you are bathing right next to the coast line. Watching the waves, passing ships, and distant islands is the perfect fuel to remain hanging over the lip of the infinity pool throughout your stay. In fact, from this position, guests are provided a brilliant view of Bessastaðir, the official residence of the President of Iceland, offering a small dose of culture during your time at the lagoon. 

Those hoping to take a piece of the Sky Lagoon home will find plenty of fantastic souvenirs at their shop. Products include: the Ritual body scrub, shampoos and conditioners, relaxing pillow sprays, and even gift cards – perfect for friends and family visiting Iceland in the near future.

What attractions are near the Sky Lagoon?

A guest relaxes at the lagoon
Photo: Volcanic Wonders & the Sky Lagoon

Given that the Sky Lagoon is so close to the many cultural attractions, museums, shopping districts, restaurants, and bars that make up Reykjavík, the possibilities are endless.

There are a variety of tours that include admission to the Sky Lagoon as part of a package. For example, the Golden Circle & Sky Lagoon Bathing Experience offers you the opportunity to dip in geothermal water and discover the wonders of Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route. That’s correct – in the space of a single day, you can visit the UNESCO heritage site, Þingvellir National Park, the explosive Geysir geothermal valley, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Sky Lagoon!

Other tours, such as Golden Circle, Sky Lagoon Premium & Kerid Volcanic Crater | Small Group Day Tour, provide even further depth to your travels, as well as keeping the group size intimate and personal.

If you’re looking for something a little more extreme, but still nearby on the Golden Circle, you could try your hand at some underwater exploration with Cold & Hot: Silfra Snorkeling & Sky Lagoon. This excursion will see you don a protective dry suit, fins, a mask and a snorkel, all in preparation for entering the crystal-clear glacier fissure, Silfra.

These are only a handful of the activity options available to you. Before locking down your itinerary, be sure to check out the many Sky Lagoon combo tours HERE!

When can you visit the Sky Lagoon?

The lagoon has impressive ocean views
Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer


The Sky Lagoon is open every day from 9AM to 10PM. This is true both in the summer and winter, making it accessible the entire year around.  

Many people like to enjoy the lagoon in the afternoon so as to watch the sunset over the ocean, leaving them with enough time to dine-out downtown come the evening. Of course, if you are visiting in the summer, the Midnight Sun will remain high in the sky right up until closing. 

The winter offers an entirely different experience, but it is no less wonderful. For one thing, the biting outside climate makes the warmth of the lagoon even more comforting, especially on particularly snowy or windy days. You will likely find the surrounding scenery layered with snow, perfectly demonstrating the contrast in temperatures. 

The Silver Circle in Iceland: Driving Itinerary

Waterfall in Iceland.

While many travellers flock to Iceland’s famous Golden Circle, there is another circular route that is somewhat of a hidden gem: The Silver Circle. This picturesque journey is filled with natural wonders, showing you everything that Iceland has to offer.

Where is the Silver Circle?

Nestled in the scenic Borgarfjörður region in western Iceland, it is possible to visit the attractions of the Silver Circle in a single-day trip from Reykjavík city. 

The whole route is around 283 km [175,8 mi] and takes just over four hours to drive without any stops. Needless to say you will want to take your time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and rich history of the region. The trip can easily be extended to a two day trip with an overnight stay at the charming Húsafell farm estate or at Reykholt village. 

The must-see’s of the Silver Circle are:

  1. Deildartunguhver: The most powerful hot spring in Europe.
  2. Hraunfossar and Barnafoss: two of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region with glacial water falling from the lava cliffs. 
  3. Reykholt: a historic village and research centre filled with mediaeval history. 
  4. Húsafell: a small farm and church estate and cultural centre.
  5. Víðgelmir: a 1600 m [0,9 mi] long lava cave with multi coloured rocks.

Now, let’s delve into each stop and how you can make the most of it.

Also read: Iceland’s Finest Car Rentals

First stop – Deildartunguhver hot spring

The first stop of the Silver Circle is Deildartunguhver hot spring. The drive from Reykjavík is about 105 km [65 mi] and takes approximately 1,5 hours.

Deildartunguhver is the most powerful hot spring in Europe, providing 180 litres [47,5 gallons] of boiling hot water per second. The landscape around the hot spring is characterised by the unique geothermal features of the area. The rising steam combined with the red rocks surrounded by vividly green moss makes for a beautiful scenery. 

The area is easily accessible with viewing platforms surrounding the hot spring. Nonetheless, it is extremely important to be careful and adhere to all safety guidelines and stay within the designated areas.

Hot springs in Iceland.
Steam at Deildartunguhver hot springs.

 

Second stop – Reykholt village

Reykholt village is only a ten minute drive from Deildartunguhver hot spring. This tiny village is one of the most historic places in Iceland.

The village was the hometown of Snorri Sturluson (1179 – 1241), who was a very important writer, politician and historian in the Middle Ages.
His written works
Edda and Heimskringla are priceless contributions to preserving the history of the vikings and the Old Norse language and mythology. 

In Reykholt you will also find Snorrastofa, a cultural centre for research and mediaeval studies. There you can visit an exhibition of Snorri´s life, his work and discover more about the rich history of the Borgarfjörður region.

Being such a historic place it comes as no surprise that Reykholt village is an extremely fruitful archeological site. Remains of a mediaeval farm have been excavated, that might even have belonged to Snorri himself. It´s also home to the oldest geothermal pool in Iceland, Snorralaug, the first ever archeological site listed in Iceland. 

Third stop – Hraunfossar waterfalls

After taking in the mediaeval history in Reykholt village, the third stop, Hraunfossar waterfalls, will only be a 15-20 minute drive from there.

Hraunfossar literally means Lava Waterfalls and takes its name from the 900 metre [2950 ft] long lava cliff it falls off. The Hraunfossar waterfalls are considered an extremely beautiful phenomenon with glacial water emerging from the lava, creating many small waterfalls pouring down into the river below. The water originates from Langjökull glacier and emerges with Hvítá river, which is the source of the famous Gullfoss waterfall. 

Barnafoss waterfall

Barnafoss or Children´s waterfall, is only a few minutes walk from Hraunfossar waterfalls. 

The waterfall draws its name from a tragic accident that is said to have happened centuries ago. When crossing a stone arch over the river, two children are believed to have fallen into the waterfall. According to folklore the mother of the children had the arch destroyed to prevent further tragedies. 

Today it is possible to cross the river on a sturdy bridge and admire both Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls from different angles. Even though the name comes from a horrifying tale, the bright blue Barnafoss waterfall and the powerful glacial river make for a beautiful scenery.

Icy river in Iceland with a bridge crossing.
Photo: Signe. Barnafoss waterfall in the wintertime.


Fourth stop – Húsafell farming estate

The fourth stop on the Silver Circle is the Húsafell farming estate. The drive from Hraunfossar waterfalls takes about ten minutes. 

Húsafell is a small farm and church estate that now serves as a hub for travellers visiting and residing in the surrounding area. It is a destination frequented by locals, many of which have holiday houses in the area. Nearby you will also find a campsite, a hotel and other short term lodgings.

This would be the perfect place to camp for the night if you wish to extend your Silver Circle journey into a two day trip.

What to do in Húsafell farm?

There are many beautiful hiking trails in the area which is one of the few wooded areas left in Iceland. 

Húsafell farm also has numerous other activities to keep you busy. You can go swimming at the local pool, play a round of golf, go horseback riding, book a cave-trip to one of the nearby ice- or lava caves, have a relaxing soak at the Húsafell geothermal Canyon Baths and wine and dine at the local restaurant. 

Here you can find tours and guided activities to do while in Húsafell. 

Photo: Erik. Húsafell Canyon Baths.

The Húsafell Stone

The Húsafell stone is a legendary lifting stone weighing 186 kg [410 lb]. Originally the stone, which actually has the name Kvíahellan or Pen slab, was used as the gate to a sheep pen built in the 18th century. 

The stone has been used for centuries to test physical strength by lifting and carrying it around. It is measures as follows:

  • Amlóði (lazybones): Able to lift the stone up to your knees.
  • Hálfsterkur (half-strong): Able to lift the stone up to the waist level. 
  • Fullsterkur (full-strong): Able to lift the stone up to the chest and walk with it for 34 metres [112 ft] 

Anyone willing can put their strength to test but seeing the stone has no handles it can be very difficult to grip, let alone lift. 

Fifth stop – Víðgelmir lava cave

The last but certainly not the least stop on the Silver Circle route is Víðgelmir lava cave. The drive from Húsafell farm is approximately 11 km [6.8 mi] and takes about 17 minutes. 

This stunning lava cave is 1600 metres [0,9 mi] long and takes you deep inside a lava flow, filled with stunning stalagmites, ice and lava formations and multi-coloured rocks. You can only go inside the cave with an experienced and knowledgeable guide who will guide you safely into this remarkable geological phenomenon. It is advisable to book a tour in advance of your trip.

Additional Silver Circle adventures:

Into The Glacier

Enhance your Silver Circle experience with these exciting activities and attractions:

  1. Krauma spa is a modern geothermal spa with six baths: five hot ones, with water coming straight from the nearby Deildartunguhver hot springs, and one cold one with water from Langjökull glacier. Enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape while soaking in the naturally warm water. Krauma spa welcomes visitors all year-round between 11 AM and 21 PM local time. 
  2. Have you ever wanted to go horseback riding on an Icelandic horse? This is possible at different locations throughout the Silver Circle route. 
  3. Into the glacier is an ice cave experience at Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. Enjoy this extraordinary experience of exploring the glacier from the inside. 
  4. Hike through the wilderness, past Langifoss waterfall all the way up to the Húsafell Canyon Baths during your stay at Húsafell farm estate. Enjoy a relaxing soak in these geothermal hot spring baths surrounded by mountains, canyons and glaciers.
  5. Þingvellir National Park is officially a part of the Golden Circle tour but on your way back to Reykjavík city you could make a small detour to the historic Þingvellir park. 

Can I drive the Silver Circle on my own?

Yes, the Silver Circle route is easily accessible with your own car. Bear in mind that driving conditions vary depending on the time of year and the weather. If you are considering renting a car, see our selection of Iceland’s Finest Car Rentals

However, if you would rather sit back, relax and enjoy having an experienced guide and driver, there are many different Silver Circle tours available. Some of which even combine the main stops with other attractions such as Glanni waterfall, Paradísarlaut hollow and Grábrók crater.

Whether you choose to explore the Silver Circle on your own or with a guided tour, one thing is certain: the Silver Circle will be an unforgettable journey through Iceland’s untamed beauty.

Icelandic Bathing Culture and Geothermal Guide

sundhöll

Introduction to Icelandic Bathing Culture

Iceland is known not only for its breathtaking nature and beautiful scenery but also for its abundance of geothermal energy, where over 90% of the hot water in the country is heated by geothermal sources. Therefore, hot water in Iceland is incredibly accessible and is widely used to heat the country’s geothermal pools and spas, which play a large part in Icelandic bathing culture. The bathing culture, the hot springs and geothermal pools can be traced back to a time in history when communal bathing played a vital role in socialising and connecting with nature.

See here Iceland Reviews article on the Icelandic swimming culture.

As bathing is ingrained in Icelandic culture, hot springs and geothermal pools can be found all around the country. Below is our guide to the country’s bathing culture and information on the hot springs, spas and geothermal pools in Iceland.

 

The Geothermal Public Pools of Iceland

The public pools of Iceland can be found all around the country, most of them being geothermally heated. The pools of Iceland are open all year round, and guests visit the pools in almost any weather condition.

Visiting the geothermal pools of Iceland is not only done for the purpose of exercising.  The pools are also a social place and have become a hotspot for people to gather and discuss topics such as politics, the weather, and other cultural matters. Below is information about some of Iceland’s geothermal swimming pools.

 

Sundhöll Reykjavíkur 

Sundhöll Reykjavíkur is the oldest public pool in Iceland and the only one in downtown Reykjavík. However, many more are located in the area. Sundhöll Reykjavíkur is located at Barónsstígur and consists of pools both inside and outside, hot tubs, a children’s pool, a cold tub and a sauna.

Sundhöll swimming pool Reykjavík seen from above
Photo: Golli – Sundhöll Reykjavíkur

 

Sundlaugin Hofsósi 

The award winning swimming pool at Hofsós is in northwest Iceland. It is unique since it has an infinity pool overlooking the beautiful landscape of the Skagafjörður fjord. The pool was donated to the community of Hofsós by the two businesswomen Lilja Pálmadóttir and Steinunn Jónsdóttir on Women’s Rights Day in Iceland on June 19, 2007.

 

Laugaskarð Swimming Pool

The swimming pool at Laugarskarð is located in the town of Hveragerði in South of Iceland. The drive from the capital area to Hveragerði is only about 30-40 minutes. Hveragerði is a large geothermal area with multiple natural hot springs all around, where it is possible to bake the famous Icelandic rye bread or boil eggs.

 

Krossneslaug Swimming Pool

The Krossneslaug swimming pool is situated remotely in the western fjords of Iceland. The pool is an infinity one, overlooking the ocean where it is often possible to spot whales whilst looking over towards the North of Iceland.

Note: Due to road conditions, Krossneslaug can only be reached from mid-May to the end of August.

Krossneslaug swimming pool in Westfjords.
Photo: Golli. Krossneslaug swimming pool in Westfjords.

 

Akureyri Swimming Pool

The Akureyri swimming pool is in the North of Iceland, in the country’s second-largest city, Akureyri. The pool is located in the city’s centre and consists of heated swimming pools, hot tubs, a children’s pool, a cold tub, saunas and three waterslides. 

 

Iceland’s Geothermal Spa Experiences

In addition to the many public pools in Iceland, the country also exhibits multiple geothermal spas, with one of the most well-known ones being the Blue Lagoon. Over the past years, the popularity of geothermal spas has increased, and you can find them in multiple areas of Iceland. Below are some of Iceland’s famous geothermal spas.

 

The Blue Lagoon 

The Blue Lagoon was founded in 1992 and was named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic in 2012. The lagoon offers a unique spa experience where the beneficial powers of the geothermal seawater come from the water’s primary elements: silica, algae and minerals. Since its opening, the lagoon has become a top-rated tourist attraction. Some guests come for the water’s healing powers while others visit for relaxation and beautiful nature. 

The Blue Lagoon is located near the town of Grindavík. The town is in about a 40-minute drive from Reykjavík or about 20 minutes from Keflavík airport. 

Blue Lagoon Tours can be purchased here.

A woman and her child relaxing at the Blue Lagoon
Photo: Reykjavík – Blue Lagoon round-trip transfer. Relaxing at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

 

Sky Lagoon Geothermal Spa

Sky Lagoon opened in 2021 and is only about a ten-minute drive from Reykjavík’s city centre. The thermal bath offers a heated infinity pool where you can relax while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Sky Lagoon offers a unique spa experience, including a seven-step bathing ritual where guests can fully immerse themselves in the Icelandic bathing culture. 

Sky Lagoon Tours can be purchased here.

 

Skógarböðin – Forest Lagoon Geothermal Spa

Skógarböðin, or the Forest Lagoon, is a geothermal spa located in Vaðlaskógur forest in the North of Iceland. As the name suggests, the lagoon is surrounded by trees, such as birch and pine trees, while also overlooking the ocean and nearby fjords. The way to Forest Lagoon is only about a 5-minute drive from Akureyri city centre.

Tickets to the Forest Lagoon can be purchased here.

 

Hvammsvík Spa and Hot Springs

Located in Hvalfjörður fjord, in southwest Iceland, is Hvammsvík Nature Resort & Hot Springs. The spa is secluded, surrounded by beautiful landscapes of tall mountains and black beaches. The spa is easily accessible from Reykjavík city centre as it takes only about 45 minutes to drive. 

Hvammsvík Tours can be purchased here.

 

Iceland’s Remote Hot Springs and Pools

Iceland’s natural hot springs can be found all around the country, which stands as a testament to the country’s geothermal richness. The country’s geological activity manifests in multiple ways. The activity ranges from powerful geysers, bubbling mud pots and relaxing natural hot springs readily available for guests to bathe in.

The hot springs do not only come in the form of luxurious spas or public swimming pools; many more remote hot springs can also be found in Iceland. Below are a few of the many natural remote hot springs in Iceland.

 

The Secret Lagoon Geothermal Pool

The Secret Lagoon, or Gamla Laugin, is located in the South of Iceland in the Flúðir village. It is the oldest pool in Iceland, made in 1891. The pool offers guests a relaxing experience in warm water coming from hot springs.

Secret Lagoon Tours can be purchased here.

 

Reykjadalur Hot Springs

The Reykjadalur valley is located close to the town of Hveragerði, about 50 km [31 mil] from the city of Reykjavík. Visitors must hike up a moderately easy path to reach the hot springs for about 45 to 60 minutes. The hot spring is, in fact, a creek-like river, making it very comfortable to lie and bathe in, as it is pretty shallow.

Reykjadalur Hot Spring Tours can be purchased here.

 

Hrunalaug Hot Spring

Hrunalaug, located near the village of Flúðir in the Hrunamannahreppur region, is a hot spring known for its relaxing properties. Visitors soak in the warm water while enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings of the Icelandic landscape.

View of Hrunalaug hot spring and surrounding landscape in Iceland
Photo: Hrunalaug Hot Spring

 

Seljavallalaug Geothermal Pool

Seljavallalaug pool is located about a three-hour drive from Reykjavík, in Seljavellir Valley. The valley is secluded with surrounding mountains and scenic views over cliff sides, grass hills and rivers. From the parking spot at Seljavellir Valley, visitors take about a 15-20 minute scenic walk to reach the pool.

 

Landbrotalaug Hot Spring

The hot spring Landbrotalaug is located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, just off its main road. Visitors do not always easily find it, making it very remote and quiet. After turning from the peninsula’s main road, a dirt road follows. Eventually, visitors are greeted with a sign stating “Heit Laug, Hot Spring”, making it clear you have arrived at the right destination. 

 

What are the Rules and Etiquette When Visiting Icelandic Pools and Hot Springs?

By following certain rules and etiquettes that encompass Icelandic bathing culture, visitors can fully immerse themselves into the experience, making it a positive and respectful one for all.

 

Shower before entering

When visiting hot springs or geothermal pools in Iceland, it is mandatory to shower without a swimsuit before entering the pool when possible. In some places, no showers are available, such as at Reykjadalur Hot Spring. Therefore, it is not mandatory, though we do recommend doing your fellow bathers the courtesy of arriving clean. Many pools offer closed-off changing cells and showers for more privacy.

 

Wear a swimsuit

When visiting Icelandic pools and hot springs, it is mandatory to wear a swimsuit. However, it is important to be mindful of showering without a swimsuit before slipping them on.

 

Remove outdoor footwear

Guests are required to remove outdoor shoes before entering the changing rooms.

 

Follow facility-specific rules

Different pools and hot springs might adhere to their own set of rules and guidelines, so it is essential to read and respect the rules posted at each facility.

 

Respect nature

When visiting Iceland’s natural pools and hot springs, it is important to observe and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding nature and respect and take good care of it. By respecting the delicate landscapes and ecosystems ensures that future generations can enjoy these unique sites. 

Respecting nature involves staying on designated paths, refraining from soaps and other materials that might harm the ecosystem and leaving no trace by removing all waste.

 

How Many Pools are in Iceland?

Iceland has over 160 pools, with about 18 of them being in Reykjavík city, so travellers can easily find a place to bathe in their nearest vicinity.

 

What is the Most Famous Pool in Iceland?

The hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland are most incredibly popular by locals. However, the most famous pool, spa or hot spring in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was named one of the 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. It has become an immense tourist attraction and a luxurious spa experience for travellers all around the world.

 

How Much is the Admission Price for a Swimming Pool in Iceland?

The average price for public swimming pools in Iceland is around ISK 1000 for adults. However, it varies vastly depending on which area you are in and which swimming pool you enter.