The swimming pool Seljavallalaug is located in the south of Iceland, between the town Ásólfsskáli and Skogafoss. Seljavallalaug is an outdoor geothermal swimming pool located off the beaten path, only reachable by hiking. The pool is located within the beautiful scenery of Iceland, making this a special place to go for a swim.
History of Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
The geothermal pool Seljavallalaug is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The pool was constructed in 1923 by Bjorn Andrésson Berjaneskoti. The pool was used in the early years to teach Icelandic children how to swim.
In 2010 the pool was filled with ashes by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Volunteers then made a lot of effort to clean it up again and in 2011 the Seljavallalaug pool opened again.
Seljavallalaug is heated by geothermal water, but it’s not a hot spring. The hot water flows in over the rocks, at the back of the pool (furthest away from the changing rooms). You’ll notice when swimming in the pool that the pool is hotter in this area.
The water isn’t that hot. Temperatures average between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F), depending on the time of the year and the outside temperature. When we visited (in June of 2019) the pool had a nice temperature though.
Swimming at Seljavallalaug Pool
The pool now attracts a lot of local and foreign tourists every year who come there for a swim. Reviews are mixed though. To be honest, when we did our travel preparations we had our doubts if we wanted to go to Seljavallalaug. In reviews on the internet, you’ll read that the pool’s remote location makes it difficult to clean the pool. Some say it’s only cleaned twice a year and claim the pool is full of bacteria.
Another comment is on the changing facilities. People comment they’re full of garbage and clothes that people leave behind. When we visited the pool we indeed noticed as well that the changing facilities were full of clothes that people left there. But the facilities are free, and in our opinion, if you ignore the clothes, not that dirty as people claim them to be.
Our Review on Seljavallalaug
We did decide in the end to go and check out the pool. We figured we could still decide if we wanted to go for a swim when we saw the pool. So we took our swimming clothes 👙 with us. When we reached the pool we didn’t find it as dirty as some reviewers claim it to be. So we did go for a swim, and we didn’t get ill. We kept our head above the water though 🙃.
We found its remote location between the typical Icelandic scenery quite spectacular. The pool is located next to a river and in between mountains of black rocks with green plants and mosses. We visited the pool in June of 2019 at 19:30 and there were only a few people there. The remote location, beautiful surroundings and calm place to swim made it a great experience.
When we were at the pool we noticed most people who visited the pool were young couples. Most of them were better prepared than us and had a glass of wine or beers with them to enjoy while relaxing at the edge of the pool. We weren’t that prepared though, but a 💡 tip for your visit!
One comment though. The bottom of the swimming pool is full of algae, so it’s slippery. So be careful not to fall over.
Where is Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool?
The pool is in the middle of the mountains. Seljavallalaug is located close to the town Ásólfsskáli. When driving the ring road of Iceland, it’s right before you reach Skógafoss.
Coordinates of the swimming pool: 63.56559, -19.60757. You can find the pool on Google Maps. See our chapter below for instructions on how to reach the pool.
The remote location of the pool makes cleaning it difficult, so the pool isn’t regularly maintained. There are also changing facilities, but no restrooms. Access to the pool is free though.
How to Get to Seljavallalaug Pool?
To reach this swimming pool you need to drive for a short while on a gravel road. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can park your car at the beginning of the dirt road and walk. But we did the dirt road in our regular car and it was fine. Only the last bit of road, directly before the parking location, has a few potholes in the road. Just be careful here and you’ll be fine.
From the ring road (1) drive into road 242. In the beginning, this will be an asphalt road, but after a short while, it turns into a gravel road. Follow this road until you reach Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool Car Park (location on Google Maps).
From the parking lot, hike along the river land inwards. From the parking lot, it takes about 15 minutes of hiking (1-way) to reach the Seljavallalaug pool. It’s an easy trail that’s quite level.
Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool Map
On our map below you’ll find the location of the pool and the parking lot. Furthermore, you’ll see where to leave the ring road and turn on road 242. We also marked where the gravel road starts. With this map, it should be easy to find the pool.