Every Icelandic student takes mandatory swimming lessons – for ten years. This rigorous curriculum has at least one happy result: pools, everywhere!
The Capital Region – an urban sprawl of five municipalities, including Reykjavík – has 17 public pools altogether. All but one are outdoor, thanks to cheap geothermal heat.
From the Atlantic Ocean to Olympic-size pools, here are nine places to visit in Reykjavík where swimming is only part of the pleasure.
Largest swimming pool. Largest waterslide. Largest locker rooms. The Laugardalslaug pool is the most popular in Reykjavík, if not the country, and it’s within walking distance to the city center. Swimming is a healthy sport, but most people come for the multi-temperature hot tubs. Laugardalslaug a top choice for families, especially when paired with one of the great ice cream stores in this part of town.
You won’t miss the 50m outdoor swimming pool, with eight lanes and traffic rules. Indoor is another 50m pool reserved for training and competitions.
Welcome to the beach of Reykjavík. Nauthólsvík is where locals bring foreign friends to test their strength – swimming in an Icelandic ocean requires a bit of mettle. Over summer, the ocean’s temperature can reach double digits (like, say, 10°C!) but overwinter a very, very cold plunge is part of the program. Afterward, people linger in the hot tub (38°C year-round) overlooking the beach.
The Nauthólsvík cove is man-made, and the yellow sand – brought from elsewhere – is a hot commodity for sunbathing, volleyball, and other typical beach activities on warm summer days. Changing rooms and hot tubs are admission free during the summer but cost 740 Krona during winter.
The Sky Lagoon
While the Sky Lagoon is 75m long, don’t attempt to swim laps. This is a luxury bath with a view across the Faxa Bay and a swim-up bar.
The enterprise opened in 2021 at the tip of the Kársnes peninsula, a short drive from the city center, entering the growing selection of high-end bathing resorts around Iceland. Sky Lagoon is the only one in Reykjavík, competing with the famous Blue Lagoon, located some 40 km (25 mi) from the city.
Admission is 7000 Krona and extra for the steam-bath treatment. Children under the age of 12 are not…
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