Seljavallalaug: Hot Spring with Swimming Pool -


Hot Spring with Swimming Pool

Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest thermal pools in Iceland. It was built in 1923 to teach the locals how to swim. Even now you can swim in the warm spring water. Although it is actually not that warm. Either way, the hike towards and the view at the scene make up for a lot. You can find Seljavallalaug near Skogar, in the southern part of the island.

In Iceland you will find several hot springs. You can visit most of them, some are free, others require admission. Seljavallalaug is free and non-commercial. This makes the experience even more beautiful. The pool is accessible on foot via a path.

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Hike to Seljavallalaug

The route is short, it is about 1,200 meters from the parking lot. The parking lot can be reached from main Road 1. You will see signs at Seljavellir, although they are small. So pay attention. The trail is not signposted, but you can see the path running along the riverbed. You sometimes have to cross a stream, which is easy to do because of the many stones in the water.

Hiking at Seljavallalaug. ©Corno van den Berg

Hot Springs Along The Trail

The trail runs along several small springs. The strains of steam will give their location away. You also see excessive algae growth. This makes the stream of water coloured bright green. The rocks show a brown colour due to the large amount of iron in the water. It indicates that there is a lot of volcanic activity under the immense Eyjafjallajökull glacier.

The bright green algae along the route. ©Corno van den Berg

Paid Versus Free Visit

While I was there I heard people complaining about the status of the pool. Also about the relatively cold water. It is only warm where the water flows into the pool. However, this pool is free to visit. If an entrance fee were charged, it could be refurbished, for example. But I think it also loses some of its charm.

The location of Seljavallalaug makes it extra beautiful. The surrounding mountains are beautiful, especially in the spring with snow and ice. By the way, you can hike even further into the gorge. I also saw a nice path through the hills. 

Snow and ice along the way to Seljavallalaug. ©Corno van den Berg

Best Time to Visit

In winter you will be surrounded by ice and snow. This winter setting gives an extra dimension to Seljavallalaug. The water is also extra fresh. In the summer, the water does not cool down much. So it is best to visit on a warm day. The downside is that it will be more crowded. The choice is yours.

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