Seljavallalaug

Iceland
Highlights
Accessibility
Difficulty
Best Time to Visit
Trail Access

Seljavallalaug is an abandoned outdoor swimming pool in Iceland that was once the country’s largest bathing area.

While getting to Seljavallalaug requires some effort with the drive on rough roads and short hike, the remote location amidst nature is part of its charm. Coming prepared with proper footwear and a 4×4 vehicle makes accessing this historic geothermal pool more convenient.

The hike itself is rated easy with minimal elevation gain.

Summer (June – September) for optimal weather and daylight hours.

From the parking area, it’s a short easy 300 m out-and-back trail to the viewing platform overlooking the waterfall.

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Seljavallalaug

Seljavallalaug

Seljavallalaug is an outdoor pool located in the southern region of Iceland. The facility was built in 1923, making it one of the oldest of its kind in the country, and an interesting attraction for those seeking an authentic Icelandic experience. Seljavallalaug measures 10 meters (32 feet) wide and 25 meters (82 feet) long. Unlike many other pools, admission to Seljavallalaug is free.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
JOURNEY

How to get to Seljavallalaug

Seljavallalaug Basin is located near Route 1 (the main road) and Route 242 in the southern region of the country, approximately 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Seljalandsfoss waterfall and 11 kilometers (7 miles) from Skogafoss waterfall. It is, therefore, a worthwhile stop for those exploring the area.

At the site, you will find a small parking lot with a few wooden huts. From here, you can embark on a hike into the mountains by following the marked trail.

The hike to the basin takes around 15 minutes, but it is advisable to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots. While the route is neither strenuous nor complicated, it traverses rocky terrain, and athletic shoes may not provide sufficient traction, especially in wet conditions.

Getting there

  • Seljavallalaug is located near Route 1 (the main road) and Route 242 in the southern region of Iceland.
  • A small parking lot is situated nearby, from which you can begin the hike to the pool.
  • The hike takes approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on the conditions.
  • Seljavallalaug is situated about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Reykjavik.

Hike Details

  • The hike is not demanding and does not take long, lasting approximately 15 minutes.
  • The path is covered with stones, so caution is advised, especially in rainy conditions when the terrain may become slippery.
  • The path is located near a river.

Tips

  • The water temperature and depth tend to increase the closer you get to the inlet pipe.
  • Camping is not permitted in the parking lot area.
  • Due to the poor condition of the changing rooms, it is advisable to wear your swimwear in advance.
  • To help maintain cleanliness, please ensure that you take any garbage or debris with you when leaving the area.
WATER

Water temperature in Seljavallalaug

The water temperature in Seljavallalaug typically ranges from 20-30°C (68-86°F), although some sources suggest a slightly higher range of 20-35°C (68-95°F).
The water temperature can vary depending on the season and prevailing weather conditions.

During the summer months, the water may feel a bit too warm for swimming, but it can be ideal for relaxation and unwinding when the temperature reaches around 30-35°C (86-95°F).

In late autumn and early spring, the water tends to be cooler, sometimes dropping slightly below 20°C (68°F).

POOL

Seljavallalaug pool cleanliness

In 2010, the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano covered Seljavallalaug and its locker room with mud and ash, seemingly putting an end to the pool’s operation. However, thanks to donations and the dedication of many individuals, the pool was successfully restored and reopened. Today, Seljavallalaug undergoes regular cleaning and maintenance once a year.

POOL

Seljavallalaug - changing room

Seljavallalaug offers the most basic facilities compared to most public pools. There are separate changing rooms for men and women, but they are quite primitive in nature.

While changing rooms are available at Seljavallalaug, their condition is somewhat neglected due to a lack of regular maintenance.

VISIT

How deep is Seljavallalaug?

Depending on the source, the exact maximum depth varies slightly, but the consensus is that Seljavallalaug is about 1.8 meters (6 feet) at its deepest point, while the shallower areas are around 1.2 meters (4 feet) deep. The relatively shallow depth makes it unsuitable for serious swimming but ideal for basking and relaxing in the geothermal waters.

INFO

Key information

Seljavallalaug pool is best visited from mid-May to late September when the weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and the water temperature is higher.

The summer period (June-August) is considered the peak season, with the most pleasant weather conditions. Visiting early in the morning during the summer allows you to enjoy the pool before it gets crowded.

Autumn (September-November) is also a good time to visit, with fewer visitors, although the water can be slightly cooler.

The facility is open year-round, but in late autumn and early spring, the water temperature drops below 20°C (68°F). Some hardy locals even visit in winter when the path can be covered in snow.

Due to Iceland’s mild climate, the geothermal pool is suitable for visiting at any time of the year, as the water temperature is never too hot or too cold. The unique winter scenery can also be an attractive draw for some visitors.

Conclusion

Conclusion

Generally speaking, the best time to visit Iceland is from late spring to early autumn, with summer being the most popular and convenient period. However, the off-season also offers its charms for those willing to brave slightly cooler temperatures and limited amenities.