I believe it was R.R. Martin back in 1996 who first used the phrase “Ice and Fire” within one of his book titles (A Song of Ice and Fire), of the now infamous Game of Thrones series. At this point, I couldn’t tell you whether he was thinking about Iceland when he first wrote that or not, but it is certainly a phrase likened to Iceland now.
And why shouldn’t the stunning Iceland conjure up images of ice and fire? Certainly during the winter and early spring months, this is exactly what Iceland is like. Even as late as mid-March, thick snow covers the landscape, lakes are turned to ice and icicle droplets form near glorious waterfalls. These icy landscapes are then severely contrasted with the boiling hot natural springs that grace the land, erupting steam and jets of boiling hot water into the cold air.
Iceland truly is the land of ice and fire (particularly within winter) and this is how you can make the most of the natural hot springs found throughout Iceland and find your inner calm…
1. Float In The Secret Lagoon
When thinking about Iceland’s hot springs, it should come as no surprise that I’ll be recommending a trip to a hot spring spa to swim and float around in. Swimming in these hot baths has long been a part of the Icelandic culture and it’s amazing to be able to follow in their footsteps – not least because these hot springs are incredibly relaxing and are the magic ingredient for great skin.
Kept at a constant temperature between 38-40 degrees Celsius all year around and found outside in nature, the Secret Lagoon offers natural water, picturesque surroundings and a unique Icelandic experience. Yes, I know that most travellers to Iceland are going to recommend a visit to the Blue Lagoon and I’m sure it’s lovely there too; but a visit there just didn’t strike the same kind of vibe to me as the Secret Lagoon, which has kept nature at its centre.
When we arrived, there was a light flurry of snow coming from the clouds and with the natural hot springs surrounding the pool pushing steam into the air, there really was something quite magical about our visit.
At the Secret Lagoon, you’re offered free flotation devices, allowing you to take the weight off your feet and drift around the pool. This is the utmost in relaxation. In contrast to the Blue Lagoon, the Secret Lagoon doesn’t appear to damage hair, so there is no harm in putting your head back, catching the falling snow in your mouth and just allow yourself to float around the pool.
The hot water mixed with the cold air is one special concoction designed to open and clean your pores, resulting in smooth, soft skin. So whilst you’re having your zen moment, just think how much love and attention your skin is also getting right now.
Insider Tip #1: You must shower nude before entering the pool. For those of us belonging to a more prudish culture (yes, I’m a Brit), this can be a little bit of a shock if you’re not aware of this in advance. It seems that showering nude before swimming is actually consistent across all of the hot springs in Iceland, so there’s really no avoiding it. Don’t worry though – the showers and changing rooms are of course split between men and women.
Insider Tip #2: It costs 500 ISK per person to rent a towel and another 500 ISK to rent flipflops at the lagoon. But there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t take your own, so this is recommended!
Insider Tip #3: Between 2.30pm-5pm, daily coach tours arrive at the Secret Lagoon, so you may find these times very busy. My recommendation: either make the Secret Lagoon your first destination that day (it opens from 11am) or make it your last and come for a twilight session after 5pm (it closes at 8pm).
2. Admire The Azure Blue Of Strokkur Geysir
Whilst the Secret Lagoon offers moments of bodily pleasure, Strokkur Geysir is incredibly pleasing to the eye. The Geysir national park has several natural hot springs spurting hot steam into the air, but it’s safe to say that Strokkur Geysir really does steal the show.
Erupting every few minutes and throwing hot steam at least 20 feet into the air, Strokkur is exciting to watch. If it’s exciting, how then would you find your inner calm here?
Well, just before the geysir erupts, you will notice an azure blue bubble forming. This blue is so incredibly bright and colourful, that you will want to stand and admire it all day long. There for only fleeting moments before the eruption of water and steam, it’s one of nature’s beauties offering a small escape in life as you are transported to other worlds.
Insider Tip #4: To see this bright azure blue bubble, you must stand slightly to the front left of the geysir and await nature’s prize once it’s ready to show itself to you.
3. Walk Around The Secret Lagoon
As incredible as it is to swim and float in the Secret Lagoon, walking around it offers just as many peaceful moments.
Surrounding the lagoon are multiple natural hot springs simmering and bubbling away. From mini geysirs to bubbling cauldrons to gurgling springs within mossy holes, there are so many different kinds of mini pools to see.
You must keep to the wooden walkway whilst admiring these hot springs, but it really is a joy to see nature at its best – totally natural and just moments away from the pool.
4. Find Hidden Hot Springs In The Countryside
Whilst driving around and exploring Iceland, you are sure to see plenty of other natural hot springs around the country not found on any maps.
You may first notice the hills looking like they’re on fire as the steam dances into the sky or you may find the bubbling pools whilst walking around.
No matter how you find these hidden hot springs, this is just one other reminder of how Iceland really is the land of ice and fire and a country able to offer you moments of inner peace throughout the land.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can find your inner calm with the natural hot springs in Iceland. Whether you’ve paid to visit them or found them whilst exploring, there is so much peace these tiny parts of nature can offer you. Have fun finding them! Are there any other natural hot springs you’ve visited in Iceland? Which ones would you recommend? Write a little note in the comments below and share your experiences…
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