There is nothing better to finish off the day while relaxing in one of Iceland’s numerous hot springs. Don’t forget to bring your swimwear when visiting the country. After reading our Golden Circle Magic blog post, you are now looking for ways to complete your trip? We tried and tested all options below. Now it is up to you to decide.
1. Fontana Laugarvatn
Fontana is quite unique, located along the Golden Circle. Only 30 minutes drive from Gullfoss and Geysir, and around 1 hour from Reykjavík. The nature pools lie close to Laugarvatn lake.
You can access the lake without buying a ticket to Fontana, but we highly recommend cooling down in the lake’s water after visiting the sauna or soaking in the pool.
The geothermal area around Fontana is also used for baking Iceland’s famous Rúgbrauð (Rye Bread). The bread is baked after an old recipe and dug into the ground for 24 hours. You can book a tour here to see for yourself.
The surroundings are beautiful. Sitting in the main pool that features natural stones inside and around the water, watching the lake lying peacefully surrounded by nature – a memorable experience. Your Honest Iceland’s guides favorite is the three steam rooms with steam simmering directly from the ground through wooden grids on the cabin floor. The smell needs getting used to, but it has a very relaxing effect.
There are a few showers with a curtain if you fell uncomfortable showering naked in front of others. Fontana offers Sóley skincare products (shampoo, shower gel, conditioner) in their shower rooms.
2. Friðheimar Tomato Farm
One of Honest Iceland’s favorite places to experience. Have you ever dined in a greenhouse surrounded by over 10.000 tomato plants and bumblebees buzzing around?
At Friðheimar, you get the best tomato soup in the country. They grow them all year round with artificial lighting and the help of bees. The greenhouse is family run and usually busy, which is why we recommend to book ahead. Don’t miss out on the dessert!
Opening Hours are 12 – 16 every day. You can taste their tomato soup without reservation at the bar, but we recommend booking a table and choose from the delicious menu (we tried it all).
It’s only around 30 minutes to drive from Gullfoss and Geysir to the farm and 1 hour 20 minutes to Reykjavík. Parking can be difficult if many people visit. There is one parking lot on the left when you enter the small road and further in front of the greenhouse. Don’t miss the turn! The sign is quite small, and it is easy to miss it.
If you start the Golden Circle tour early, you can experience Friðheimar and soak in one of the hot springs afterward.
3. Secret Lagoon – Gamla Laugin
Although the Secret Lagoon is not much of a secret anymore, this natural hot spring lies in the middle of a geothermal area. Rising steam and the wild surroundings give you the feel of a truly natural experience.
As with most places in Iceland, we highly recommend making a booking ahead. Especially at the moment, with the new corona restrictions. Both locals and travelers enjoy a realizing soak in Iceland’s hot spring. That’s why you can always expect many visitors, even offseason.
The walking path around the lagoon makes it stand out. If you feel hot enough, take a stroll to take a closer look at the boiling springs surrounding the area. But be careful! Stay on the walking path to not get burned through the hot steam and water. Because it is a natural spring, some parts of the lagoon are hotter than others. Our experience shows that the back part on the other site is hotter than where you enter.
Every few minutes, you can see the small Geysir erupting next to the lagoon. Beverages are offered at the bar – you can take the drinks into the thermal pool. We recommend bringing a refillable bottle to hydrate.
The secret lagoon is not far from the Golden Circle. Only a 30-minute drive from Gullfoss and Geysir and about 1 hour 20 minutes back to Reykjavík. Parking is available free of charge. We would like to mention that the secret lagoon offers common shower rooms without curtains.
If you like having more variety of pools and things to do, we recommend visiting Fontana. You can change between different water temperatures in the pools, visit the steam rooms, and refresh in the lake in between.
But if you are looking for a true nature experience, then the Secret Lagoon is right for you. Both Fontana and the Secret Lagoon are situated in geothermal areas which allows you to see steaming pods in the surrounding area.
Friðheimar is worth a visit no matter if you plan to soak in one of the geothermal pools afterward. With their opening hours till 4 pm, we recommend booking a table for 3 pm at the latest. But you can always send them an email and ask about available time slots.
If you start your Golden Circle around 9 am -> 45 min. drive from Rvk, staying 2 hours at Thingvellir, further to Geysir at 12:00 – Taking a lunch break there, you will reach Gullfoss by about 1:30 pm. That gives you enough time to reach Friðheimar by 3 pm.
And then, while you soak in one of the thermal pools, going over all the beautiful memories you made on this day, you can lean back and fully connect with Icelandic nature.