The geothermal beach of Nauthólsvík is a place to escape from Reykjavík city and relax in the seawater or in the hot spring. The sandy beach, with free entrance during the summer month, is a great stop when visiting Reykjavík. Nauthólsvík is a neighborhood of Reykjavík, located in the south of the city.
We went to Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach twice during our stay at Reykjavík. On the first day, we went there to relax on the beach and to swim in the sea. The second day we had some spare time and decided to return and try out the hot spring! We liked this place, and included Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach in our list of best things to do in Reykjavik.
Facilities at Ylströndinn
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach is well equipped. The beach has a snack corner where you can get some snacks and drinks. There are restrooms, changing facilities, and lockers. There is parking space for bikes and a large free parking lot for cars nearby. Next to that there are also shower facilities. And finally, next to the geothermal beach you also have a boat rental and a sailing club.
Every year more than 500.000 visitors come to Nauthólsvík to enjoy the pool, hot spring, beach, and sea. This beach area is called Ylströndinn. Ylströndinn has been awarded a Blue Flag. Blue flags are awarded to beaches with great facilities and that treat the environment responsibly.
Swimming in the Sea at Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach
The geothermal beach of Nauthólsvík looks like a great place. On a sunny day, with the sandy beach, you don’t feel in Iceland at all. When we visited the outside temperature was 12°C (54°F), but the sun was shining, so it was quite nice there. There were quite a lot of people sunbathing at the beach.
The water though, that’s something different. The lagoon is man-made, so it’s a bit protected from the real seawater and a few degrees warmer. Hot water is pumped in to heat up the water and make it possible to have a swim. But even though the water is heated, the water only reaches 15 – 19°C (59 – 66°F) maximum in summer. In winter the temperatures are close to 0°C (32°F).
We visited Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach in June of 2019. The outside air temperature was 12°C (54°F) and the water was only 13.4°C (56.1°F). So the water wasn’t exactly warm 🥶. My wife and I were relaxing on the beach and on the nearby grass area, and from time to time we saw someone going into the water.
After awhile I couldn’t resist anymore and I decided to go for a swim as well. I tried to convince my wife to come with me, but she kindly refused 🙈. So I went into the water by myself. It was cold, but as long as you’re swimming, it’s OK. At least it was for me. I think I swam for quite a long time (15 minutes or so), but maybe it just seemed long because of the temperature of the water 😃.
Cold Water Swimming
On the Nauthólsvík website of the geothermal beach, they claim that cold water swimming is said to have health benefits and to boost your immune system. But it can be dangerous, so there are some rules that they ask you to follow. I assume during the winter months they’ll be more applicable, but if you want more information you can ask the information center during your visit.
The guidelines for cold water swimming:
- Don’t swim alone. Swim together with a partner and keep an eye on each other and make sure you’re both doing OK.
- Don’t wander off too far. So in Nauthólsvík, it’s best to stay in the lagoon they made.
- Don’t swim until you’re adjusted to the water and can breathe normally.
- Don’t stay too long in too cold water and watch out for hypothermia (body temperature cooled down too much because your body cannot keep up to make your body warm again).
Hot Spring at Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach
The hot spring is the rectangular pool in front of the main building of the geothermal beach. You’ll recognize it immediately, it’s where all the people are. Most people who visit the beach are either sunbathing on the sand or sitting in the hot pool in front of the building.
We enjoyed the hot spring during our second day at Nauthólsvík. The water in the pool is quite the same throughout the year. Around 38°C (101°F), so it’s really nice! It can get quite crowded though, so you might need to wait a bit for a spot to open up.
Next to the hot spring, there is also a small pool (circle shaped) in the sea where the water is a bit hotter than the sea, but not as hot as the hot spring. And in the building, there is a steam cabin as well.
Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach Entrance Fee
Access to the geothermal beach isn’t free year-round but isn’t expensive. The entrance fee for an adult is 650 ISK (€4.20 / $5). It’s a fair price considering the available facilities and the fact that they have to keep the water heated.
During the summer season, admission to the geothermal beach is free though. The summer season is from the 15th of May until the 15th of August. You can also rent towels and swimwear and buy season passes.
Before you visit, make sure to check the Nauthólsvík website for opening hours and to make sure you have the latest information. On their website, you can also see the current temperature of the air and water.
When visiting Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach, make sure to include a visit to Reykjavík in your itinerary. If you have more days, also check out our article on the Golden Circle. This 1- or 2-day drive will take you to some of Iceland’s highlights.
Check out our article on the best things to do in Reykjavik
For all information on Iceland, check our Iceland Travel Guide