Things to know about Hot Springs in Iceland
Iceland is famous for its glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls and hot springs. There are a lot of geothermal pools all over the country and a lot of natural hot springs that have become popular on the internet in the past few years. Everyone wants to take those amazing pictures of themselves bathing in a hot spring in the middle of nowhere with no-one else around.
Truth is that those untouched isolated hot springs are not so secret anymore and it is very hard to find yourself alone in any of those places. Nevertheless, it is a great experience to bathe in one of them. A visit to Iceland would not be complete without a bath in geothermal water.
Iceland’s hot springs are such special places, there are a few rules we should all keep in mind when visiting, to make sure we don’t spoil nature and help keep these places so special.
1. Have respect for the land and the owners
Most of these once-secret hot springs are located on private land. Owners usually let people visit these hot springs for free, but you sometimes find boxes for donations. If this is the case, please leave a donation if you are using the pool. 1000 or 2000 Icelandic kronas is not much and it will all be spent to maintain the pool and the surroundings.
2. Stay on the path
Very often the paths leading to the hot springs are muddy and it is very reasonable to want to walk somewhere off the path not to get dirty. Well, as reasonable as this may seem, it is also very wrong.
Iceland’s vegetation is very fragile, moss takes years and years to grow and just seconds to be destroyed. Protect the land around you and just walk along the designated paths. If it is muddy and your shoes get dirty, it is just part of the adventure and you can wash everything once you get back to your hotel or campsite.
3. Make sure you are clean before you enter a hot spring
In public pools or spas in Iceland, there are showers that everyone must use to wash thoroughly before entering the pools. This is very important to keep the water clean and free of bacteria, as the water in the pools is natural and has no added chlorine.
The same principle works for hot springs. In order to keep the water clean, you should be clean before you bathe as bacterias can easily accumulate in these small pools.
There are no showers in the wilderness so it is important that you shower at your hotel or campsite before you head to the pool.
4. Don’t use the pool as a toilet
There are no facilities and no toilets in the wilderness.
If you really cannot resist and need a toilet, make sure you go far from the pool and far from any farm or trail and bury everything properly. It is not nice for the owners or the other travelers to find surprises in the proximity of the pool
5. Leave only footprints
Please help keep the area tidy and clean. Make sure you don’t leave anything behind. If you don’t find a trash bin, take your waste back with you, do not leave it there and spoil nature.
These are just common sense rules but every year we read of disrespectful tourists or Icelanders who don’t follow these rules when visiting these beautiful places.
Iceland is what it is today because it is so unspoiled. You are welcome to visit, but be responsible and don’t spoil this beautiful country.