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 expectations and partly for it’s comic potential – it’s hard to imagine that wallowing in an old cheese tub could be dreamy. How wrong we were! By the time the four of us emerged it was one of our favourites.
The long silver tank is placed on top of a hill above Husavik, Iceland’s pretty premier whale watching town, and if you’ve been out on a cold boat, and have very cold feet, is surely the ideal place to put the warmth deep back inside.
The tank has panels that can be slid into position as protection from the headwinds, and a container has been converted to provide heated changing rooms. The pool itself is divided into two, so one end can be kept hotter than the other, and there’s a cold hose pipe so you can adjust the water temperature locally to where you are sat. A shower is also present, permanently on – the result of freeflow, geothermally heated water.
The tub was opened in 1992 and posters in the changing room relay it’s pride that it might be helping locals with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. They also admit to a ‘certain rawness’ of the site – exactly, for some of us, what we like. There are views out to sea, past rock stacks and islands to whale country.
It’s free but funded by a donation box on site. Give generously, I’d encourage, treat with respect and tidy up after people if need be. It’s that close to the tourist route that not all visitors might.