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Icelanders are expert at capturing volcanically heated hot water, either in hillside hot pots (little pools sunk into the ground, made from anything – stones, concrete, repurposed agricultural tubs) or in outdoor pool complexes with water slides. Bathing outside in naturally heated water is part of Icelandic life.

In 2015 I took a family trip to Iceland. Our holiday mission was simple: to travel around the country hunting down volcanically heated water, for me, my husband Tim and our two water-loving boys (at the time, three and two) to immerse ourselves in.

This collection contains the 16 pools we swam in, and the size we're going back for. it's a swimmers paradise and the only holiday I've returned from reading the guide book the whole flight home as I can't wait to go back.

To read the story of the trip, see the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/aug/22/iceland-swimming-holiday-hot-pools

Kate Rew

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Swims in this collection

  1. Seljavallalaug Pool

    A study in water and green when we went in July (Icelandic summer). This is a stunning 28x10m pool in a mountainous valley. One side...

  2. Borganes Pool

    Icelanders really know how to do family-friendly swimming pools, and going to Brojanes is like being welcomed into a particularly nice house. Guests take off...

  3. Secret Lagoon, Fludir

    One of Iceland’s oldest swimming pools, the Secret Lagoon (Gamia Laudin) now has a modern edge – scandi-style brand new facilities with perfectly polished concrete...

  4. Klambragil, near Hveragerdi

    Klambragil is a hot river in an active geothermal field north of Hveragerdi (Hveragerði), about 45km southeast of Reykjavik - not far from Selfoss and...

  5. Reykjanes Pool

    50m pool (maybe a bit less as one end now has decking over it) with a stark loneliness and beauty. Heated by self-running geothermal water...

  6. Gvenderlaug Hot Pot & Laugarholl Hotel Pool

    Although the boys had a good play in the swimming pool and hot pot here it was the only place we submerged ourselves Iceland where...

  7. Drangsnes Hot Pots

    Driving around Iceland with toddlers makes you duty bound to answer almost any questions they care to pose to you in the car with a...

  8. Hofsos Sundlaug

    I was told by a local that this pool was built by the wife of a famous actor and film director who lives in the...

  9. Ostakar. Husavik

    Ostakar is a cheese tub on a headland just outside of Husavik that has been converted into a hot tub. We visited it with low...

  10. Myvatn Nature Baths

    Myvatn Nature Baths are the Blue Lagoon of Northern Iceland but on a smaller scale. The car park has recently been extended and coach loads...

  11. Nautholsvik Geotherrmal Beach

    This beach on the outskirts of Reykjavik has a large sandy beach and smaller pool connected to the sea. The special feature is that...

  12. Laugar Hot Pot

    A perfect little pot of hot potting heaven, close to route 60 – an ideal place to break a journey and get everyone inside the...

  13. Akureyri Swimming Pool

    Sundlaug Akureyri is the swimming pool in Akureyri, Iceland’s second city. Jack and Eddie, 3 and 2, loved every inch of Iceland but called on...

  14. The Blue Lagoon

    The Blue Lagoon, the most visited tourist destination in the country. Entrance here is some £30.00 more than to an Icelandic swimming pool, yet the...

  15. Mjoifjordur Roadside Hot Pot

    You might only need to look at the photos to know why this is one of my favourite hot pots so far in Iceland: the...

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