Seljavallalaug Pool was built in 1923 and is one of the oldest pools in Iceland. It is man-made, but naturally heated by a nearby hot spring, and kept up by local volunteers. If you are in south Iceland and have the time, you must stop here.
When we first went to Iceland, we planned our day trip to south Iceland like a lot of people would. Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Skogafoss waterfall, the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, Dyrhólaey peninsula, the village of Vik, and back to Reykjavik. Checking off the boxes of these must-see places blinded us from venturing to the lesser known gems such as Gljúfrabúi waterfall and Seljavallalaug Pool.
The above mentioned day trip to Iceland took place in mid-October where there were about 10 hours of daylight. Unless you are ok with driving in the dark through rugged Iceland and it’s unpredictable weather, this day trip wouldn’t have been possible in December, where there are about 5 hours of daylight. Summer would be most ideal to take long day trips in Iceland, as you can get up to 21 hours of daylight, depending on the month.
How do you get there?
Seljavallalaug Pool is located between Seljalandsfoss waterfall and Skogafoss waterfall, making it a perfect pit stop if you are exploring south Iceland. Traveling east from Reykjavik on Ring Road (No. 1) for about 2 hours, you will pass the Eyjafjallajökull Erupts museum. A couple minutes later you take a left on Raufarfell 242 (you will see a very small yellow and white sign on the left of the road, easy to miss). In 1km you will reach a fork in the road, stay left on Seljavellir (this will turn into a dirt road). 1.5km from here you will get to another fork in the road, stay right. You will pass a couple small wooden shacks on your left, stay on the small dirt road until it comes to a dead end. This is where you will park.
The hike from here to the pool will take about 15 minutes. You will see a couple foot paths that will lead you across a small stream. About 5 minutes after you cross the stream, you will round a corner in the mountain and find the pool.
Why should you go?
No big tour buses come to Seljavallalaug Pool, which is unlike the two waterfalls mentioned above where you will likely see a dozen tour buses and more than a hundred people scattered around. It is a great place to relax and get away from the big crowds. We went here on Christmas day in 2015 and had the pool all to ourselves for about 45 minutes.
Also, where else will you have the chance to swim in a geothermal heated pool tucked in a secluded valley at the base of a volcano in Iceland? There are many “must-sees” in Iceland, but this is definitely a “must-experience”.
Tips & comments from our experience:
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