Just as Cubans deserve ice cream so Icelanders deserve hot pools! They can be found almost everywhere. In any, even small towns. You can read about the rules, conditions, prices and pool savoir vivre in this post :)
If a few days before I left for Iceland, someone had told me that I would be flying outside in a bathing suit when it is below 0 degrees I would have laughed at him…. Me, a person who tolerates only temperatures above 20 degrees…. and yet it was manageable :)
No matter what the air temperature was, whether it was raining or windy, we took advantage whenever we could of the hot water pools, which were always in the villages where we stayed overnight.
Table of contents
How to behave at a swimming pool in Iceland?
Using city pools can be quite a challenge, as you have to cast aside our Polish habits, get used to the sight of naked people in locker rooms and showers (unthinkable for some!), and, well, get used to slightly warmer water. Ot, all of Iceland in a short summary :)
Fortunately, we were accompanied by a friendly resident of Iceland on our first attempt, so she introduced us to the entire ritual and rules of the pools. This allowed us to find our way around each successive one with relative ease :)
Speaking of bathing beaches, it should be noted right away that the Blue Lagoon, which we described, is governed by a slightly different set of rules – everything there is made for tourists. Icelanders as in short supply. And also the price is typically for tourists. It is worth going, to see, however, today we will focus on the usual urban pools that are not described in guidebooks.
Swimming pools in Iceland
As I mentioned at the beginning, in almost every village you will find a municipal swimming pool, where there are usually several small pools with warm water (about 37-42 degrees), a swimming pool (colder water), a tub with ice water (as if someone was hot), a sauna and often there were two-three slides (not necessarily for the youngest).
The pools are relatively inexpensive, very clean, well-maintained – we have been in both old and brand new facilities. It is known that in the new ones everything is up to scratch, but even in the older ones you will not have a problem with a non-working shower or dryer.
In addition, these facilities are open for quite a long time, so they are a super option for warming up and bathing in decent conditions when, for example, you spend the night in a tent. We also used the pool several times first thing in the morning, even before breakfast – we were completely alone in the entire facility.
As for prices, of course, it depends on the specific facility. On average, we paid about 500 crowns (3-4 eur). Of course, the price already includes lockers, and the time is unlimited (although it is – the pool’s closing time ;-)).
In general, don’t expect to spend the whole day here – this is not the type of attraction where you come with sandwiches, a drink and a book to read. We, at most, spent an hour at the pool.
Rules at swimming pools in Iceland
But moving on to the specifics and the rules that should be followed, first of all, remember that these are not usually swimming pools, where you can slip into a bathing suit on the run ;) Here, going to the pool is a veritable ritual, and below are some valuable tips on how not to commit a faux pas:
1. shoes and outer garments are left in front of the entrance to the checkroom – there is no checkroom where you get a number, there are simply separate areas with benches where everyone leaves their jackets and shoes. As it falls ;)
2. locker rooms are not coeducational – always women one way, men the other. Never the other way around ;)
3. Icelanders do not use pool shoes. It is not forbidden to enter in flip-flops, I could not get violent and, at least in the locker room, I walked in flip-flops anyway. Paweł, for his part, had no resistance. I later, after showering, left in one place and after the pool itself I was already running without shoes.
4. showering is very important! Before the pool, wash your whole body thoroughly (head too), without a costume or swimsuit. Do-able!
This is not some unfounded invention – it’s just that pools have a lot less chlorine and it’s a way to keep the water clean. As if anyone had doubts, there are even instructions before entering how and which parts of the body should be washed very thoroughly.
Ignorance of Icelandic is no excuse! There are pictorial instructions, and several times we even encountered information in Polish (dirty! :P).
As a rule, showers are not fenced off or curtained individually, also some people will probably find it difficult to cross over (the exception is Blue Lagoon, where, in addition to separate cubicles, even shower toiletries are available).
5. Icelanders are not embarrassed by nudity! They walk around the locker rooms naked and do not drape towels around themselves. Mothers with children, groups of teenage girls, all naked. Without any restraint, they move slowly, dry and dress. He also showers naked and everyone follows the order to bathe thoroughly.
6. towels are left at the showers, where there are designated places – remember where you leave yours, especially if you have a white one ;) They are no longer needed at the pool itself.
7 There are quite a few amenities in the locker rooms, we met with bathtubs and toys for children, baskets for clothes, there are always hair dryers, often even dryers for bathing suits.
8 Once we have washedup it is time to use the pools, which have different temperatures(up to 42 degrees C) and should be used judiciously (the warmer the shorter you should sit in the water). The pools are marked, and there is also information in front of the entrance about who should not use the warmest ones.
9. in hot pools do not swim:) First of all, they are generally so small that you can’t. Second, in such warm water from swimming anyway, nothing. The hot pools have seating areas, and some also have massages. It is a place of rest, relaxation.
10. We do not use cameras or cell phones in swimming pools or locker rooms. At the pool itself it would probably even be possible to bring a phone, but simply no one does and there is nowhere to leave things, and people using the pool might object.
That’s why there aren’t many photos in this post :(
I feel that in general, from the entrance to the locker room, one enters a place where privacy and tranquility are valued. The facilities are surrounded by nets, walls, through which it is impossible to look inside, so this already proves something (of course, there are also “open” pools, which we passed along the way, but they were a different story, especially since they are usually located in total remote areas).
11 When you decide that enough of this soaking is enough, take a thorough shower again , naked of course.
In the end, we are left to enjoy a fresh, warmed and rested body :)
Of course, there are facilities that follow different rules, such as Blue Lagoon, so it’s always a good idea to look at the pictures by the locker rooms. At Blue Lagoon, people walk everywhere in flip-flops, enter the shower in costumes (even though the instructions say otherwise), and enter the water itself with all the equipment, drinks and food…. :)
We hope that these tips will help you and you will be able to use local pools without restraint :)
If you have additional questions, please write boldly in the comments!