Seljavallalaug, the ultra “secret” Icelandic geothermal pool

While in Iceland, my friends and I rented a camper-van from KuKu Campers and hit the road for a few days of sing-alongs and epic explorations. Being the experienced travel writer I am, I left the planning entirely up to my friend, Steffe. She had a full list of fun things to do – things I had never even heard of. Thus, we ended up at these Ultra Secret Hot Springs for Locals Only.

(That’s not quite the truth. A quick Google search will tell you how popular this pool really is…just maybe not in October, when we visited.)

But first! We picked up a trio of hitchhikers: two ladies, and a gent. One of them had read my blog, and so he became my favourite. And then began a magical adventure.

Beginning of the hike

Sorry for the crummy photos. Apparently I did not know how to use my camera.
The geothermal pool is named Seljavallalaug. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that. Just let out a stream of gibberish, and chances are, it translates to Icelandic somehow.

It’s in the south, and to get there all you need to do is head out on the main Ring Road, past Selfoss. Before you reach Skogafoss, you’ll see a dirt road leading towards Seljavallir.

Or just use a GPS.

The Seljavallalaug geothermal pool is actually a manmade one, constructed in 1923. But the water flowing into it is completely natural, and is located inside this insanely beautiful valley. There’s a short hike over some rocky terrain to get there, and the loose stone means it’s advisable to wear hiking boots. Or at least watch your step.

The hike to the pool

Beginning of the hike.
Seljavallalaug has a tiny bathhouse where you can change your clothes and leave them inside to keep dry. A small donation is appreciated for the pool’s upkeep.

On that grey October afternoon, we had the pool entirely to ourselves. So naturally I took off all my clothes and went skinny-dipping (this seems to be a troublesome habit of mine).

And as we floated around inside a valley where the silence was omnipresent and thorough, our bodies warmed all the way through with volcanic energy, snowflakes started falling on the hills around us.


  • December 23 2014

    Your description in the last sentence sounds heavenly! These photos are dark and dreary, but beautiful nonetheless.

    • December 28 2014

      Thank you!! The weather wasn’t in our favour that day, but I was there for three weeks and it was surprisingly sunny most of the time!

  • December 23 2014

    Love the pictures! Not crummy, rather mystical!

  • January 07 2015

    My wife and I were just discussing going to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Great post!