Travelers coming to Iceland are often enchanted by the swimming pools, some even to the degree that they decide to settle in the country. Others spend their time visiting as many swimming pools as possible. The selection is surely not lacking as in Reykjavík alone you will find seven swimming pools, in addition to a cozy, heated beach. Probably the cheapest way to spend your leisure hours, with the entrance fee at less than €2.
Many locals go to the swimming pools to spend quality time with friends and family or to have a chat with their fellow citizens. Some even visit the swimming pools every day, if time permits, many going at seven in the morning. It is often claimed that the cheap warm water makes up for the somewhat cold weather. Iceland’s geothermal energy thus offers everybody living in Iceland the advantage of plenty of warm swimming pools that have a wide variety of hot tubs and saunas.
Socialising is a large part of the swimming pool culture. It is the place in Iceland where people are the most open to strangers, as it is generally accepted to chat to the next fellow in the hot tub. Many a discussion about politics and culture has its origins in a pool!
While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask for tips on where the best restaurants or hidden natural attractions in the vicinity are found. People are generally quite happy to share this information with you. Sundhöllin, the oldest pool in Reykjavík, has an indoor swimming pool with hot tubs out on the balcony and is ideally situated for those staying in the downtown area. Designed by Guðjón Samúelson, one of Iceland’s greatest architects, it combines culture with a relaxing swim in the special environment of Sundhöllin.
Within easy walking distance of the city centre is the outdoor swimming pool, Vesturbæjarlaug; another great place for lively discussions about life, the universe and everything else! On warm days, check out the heated beach at Nauthólsvík, near Perlan. There you will find a great outdoor area by the coast, in a nice cycling distance from the centre. It is free of charge, and lockers are available for 200kr. The water temperature of the lagoon is usually between 18° - 20°C and there is an oversized hot tub right on the beach as well.
The new swimming facilities in the G
rafarvogur suburbs are also a good option, with its spacious swimming pool. A bit nearer to the centre is Laugardagslaug, Iceland’s biggest swimming pool, located in the Laugardalur valley, one of Reyjavik’s biggest green areas. There you can choose between more than five different hot tubs to relax in, two or three saunas, a tall water slide for the kids as well as several shallow pools for toddlers.
So if you want to go local in Reykjavik, visit the pools!