The Best Hidden Hot Spring in Iceland – Seljavallalaug

When you go to Iceland you want to get in a hot spring.

You also typically end up in the Blue Lagoon. Though the Blue Lagoon uses natural geothermal to heat the pools it is man made. Since we only had a few days we decided we wanted to go all natural and picked Seljavallalaug —Seljvavellir pool. And I am sure glad we did, just look at these photos!

We had decided on Selijavallalaug because it was called “hidden” by most blogs and a historical spot. People in Iceland did not know how to swim in the early 1900’s and this was not a good combo for fisherman—one of the main jobs in the country. As a result of this, the pool was built in 1923 for locals to learn how to swim.

When we asked a local if we should visit this pool in March in the snow and we were advised against it. This is more of a summer pool we were told.  There is one pipe that leads the naturally heated water into the corner of the pool and it is the only heat supply, which is why the pool is warm, not hot. I completely agree with what the local said about the temperature but not about it only being a summer pool. Selijavallalaug should not be missed in the winter because of the incredible snowy views.

We almost didn’t make it to the hot spring at all because of our time crunch and the weather. After a beautiful hike we decided what better way to reward ourselves than with a dip in a hot pool. We packed up and hit the road and had been told to expect extreme wind gusts to be mindful of when driving this day. What we quickly started to notice was the grilles on the cars heading towards us were snow filled. We knew we were headed for more than wind. What I was not prepared for was a complete white out.

The snow was falling hard and the snowflakes were insanely large, then add the big gusts of winds and we were in complete white outs about every few minutes. We stopped for gas and water in Vik and decided to keep going even though we knew we would not search for the secret hot springs in this condition—we just wanted to find a place to camp at this point before dark. We headed out of town and made it maybe five miles and were stopped because the police had stopped traffic. We did not know why, maybe an accident, maybe they are closing the roads, but people weren’t moving. We decided to head back to Vik and find a spot for the night and then ended up sliding off the road during another white out gust.

The only time I drove in Iceland was when Aaron was pushing us out of a ditch.

We headed back to VIk and within 10 minutes it was sunny–complete opposites. We enjoyed a beer at the Puffin Hotel and then decided to continue on. We ended up spending the night at Skógafoss waterfall and enjoying the snowy conditions there.

We woke and decided if we were quick we still could have time to check out the hot springs which were about 30 minutes away from Skógafoss. We headed down Route 1 and were looking for the 242 Raufarfell sign that led you off the main road to the side road that you had to go down. The signs were snow covered from the storm before so we had to stop and I would hop out and scrape them. We finally found the sign that we needed and followed the horseshoe loop. Look for the blue sign that is more of a map and you will see Seljavellir on it. Drive up the road that leads toward Seljavellir and park once you get to the end. At this point you then hike in valley below the Eyjafjallajokull. It is about a 15 minute very easy hike to the hot springs; just walk straight in and cross one river. Main tip go early! We had the springs alone and as we left there were about 20 others coming. We were there at about 9 am.

The hot springs like I mentioned before aren’t hot, just warm. But the views and refreshing feeling of swimming in a pool in the middle of nature is beyond worth it.

Aaron swam the entire pool, I stayed balled up at the end by the warm pipe that fed the pool. Don’t miss this spot. It was well worth it!

I don’t want to read your post, what should I know?

  • Go to Seljavallalaug —Seljvavellir pool, if you want to go to a secret hot spring
  • Oldest swimming pool in Iceland, built for locals to learn how to swim in 1923
  • It is a warm pool, only one source of heat so be prepared for that—if you want a hot hot spring, this is not that
  • Look for 242 Raufarfell off of Route 1
  • Find the blue sign and look for the Seljavellir – park at the end of this road
  • Easy 10 minute hike in to the hot springs
  • Go early to avoid the crowd!
  • Be prepared for all weather when driving in Iceland!


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