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Forest Lagoon: The New Geothermal Pool Making a Big Splash in Iceland


Forest Lagoon in Iceland

    The Forest Lagoon is one of the latest additions to the geothermal pool family here in Iceland and has been making quite a splash among locals and visitors alike. With its serene setting and modern finishes, this is the ultimate outing hot spring experience.

    If you would like to know more about the Forest Lagoon, what to expect from a visit, and how to prepare for the trip, then stick around. Let this article be your Yoda to the Forest Lagoon - a guide in the literary sense of the word.

    An Introduction to Forest Lagoon's Unique Charm

    The Forest Lagoon can be found in the north of Iceland, just a 5-minute drive from Akureyri (often referred to as the capital city of the north). Surrounded by the Vadlaskogur Forest, filled with birch and pine trees, the Forest Lagoon is nestled on the shore overlooking one of Iceland’s longest fjords, Eyjafjördur.

    The Forest Lagoon has tried to remain as true to its natural surroundings as possible, and where most of our local architecture consists of steel, stone, and concrete, wood features prominently in the Forest Lagoon’s design.

    Forest Lagoon Spa

    The Journey to Forest Lagoon

    Getting to the Forest Lagoon is easy. You’ll essentially have two options when it comes to transport:

    A Guided Tour

    We have many local tour operators and guides who offer existing day tours or multi-day holiday tours that may include a stop at the Forest Lagoon. Alternatively, you can always request a customized private tour.

    A Self-drive

    This is the most convenient way to explore the island. Most people will come from the following directions:


    In this case, most will be doing a Ring Road road trip around the island, which includes a stop at the Forest Lagoon. If you rent a motorhome in Iceland, this is the most convenient and affordable way of exploring the island.

    To get to the Forest Lagoon via this road trip, you’ll need to head north on Road 1 and drive about 400 kilometers till you reach Akureyri. From there, it’s easy to follow the signs to Forest Lagoon. This entire trip will take about 5 hours.



    Once again, you will need to get onto Road 1, but this time you’ll be driving 245 kilometers west till you reach Akureyri. This route is a favorite amongst those who want to experience the scenic Highlands of Iceland along the way. The trip will take about 3 hours.


    This, of course, is the easiest to travel from and will only take 5 minutes. From Akureyri, you will have the option of catching the Forest Lagoon bus that departs from the city each day, or you can simply drive east over the fjord.

    Immersive Experiences at Forest Lagoon

    There are various things to look forward to on your visit to the Forest Lagoon in Iceland. These include:

    The Geothermal Pools

    There are two pools at Forest Lagoon: one big and one small. The big one is 530 square meters and stays around 37 degrees Celsius. The small one is 53 square meters, with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees Celsius.

    The Cold Pool

    The cold pool is also small, so it’s sometimes referred to as the cold pot. Once again, natural elements are included in its design as the rocky Icelandic landscape almost seems to run into the pool. The temperature of this pool is kept at around 11 degrees Celsius and is not just to cool visitors down when they get hot. The cold pool has certain health benefits when taking a plunge between soaking in the warm water and the sauna.

    The Sauna

    The sauna at Forest Lagoon doesn’t use steam and is what is called a Finnish dry sauna. Although a sauna will always have some humidity, it is kept at only 20% at the Forest Lagoon. The temperature is a steep 80 degrees Celsius. Along with all the health benefits such a hot sauna brings, you also get amazing views over the mountains and the fjord. Please note that this sauna requires you to wear swimwear.

    The Food and Drinks

    The Forest Bistro doesn’t just offer visitors high-quality light dishes and drinks, but it’s one of the coziest settings you’ll ever find, with its view over the fjord and the crackling of the warm fire in the fireplace.

    If you don’t feel like even getting out of the water when you want a drink, you can just float your way to one of two swim-up bars at the big geothermal pool.

    Forest Lagoon Geothermal Pool in Iceland

    Planning Your Visit to the Forest Lagoon

    Below, you will find all the basic important details to help you plan (and budget!) for your trip to Forest Lagoon.

    Operating Hours

    Forest Lagoon is open 7 days a week, from 10:00 to 00:00. Please remember that these operating hours can change during the “down” season, so always phone ahead to double-check.


    Access to Forest Lagoon is charged as follows:

    • Adults (anyone over the age of 15) = ISK 6 900 (+/- $49 or €46)
    • Children (between 6 and 15) = ISK 3 450 (+/- $25 or €23)
    • Children (under 5) = Free
    • Pensioners (over 67) and the disabled = ISK 5 250 (+/- $38 or €35)

    *The above will only grant you access to the facilities. Towels are not included, so you’ll either need to bring your own or rent them for ISK 900 (+/- $6.50 or €6) 

    How to get to Forest Lagoon

    Best Times to Visit Forest Lagoon

    The Forest Lagoon is open all year round, so the best time to visit will largely depend on your personal preferences. When making your decision, just keep the following in mind:

    Summer Weather Fun or the Contrasting Hot and Cold

    Some enjoy visiting the geothermal pools in Iceland during the summer when the weather is nice and mild (stereotypical “let’s go swimming” weather). Others swear there’s no greater feeling than the contrast between the warm water and the cold air. We guess the only way to find out in which camp you fall is to try out both and compare.

    Summer Crowds

    Summer in Iceland is considered peak season since many are drawn to the great weather and the many daylight hours that’ll ensure a jam-packed trip itinerary. But peak season also means peak season crowds, so you need to expect local attractions and venues, such as the Forest Lagoon, to be busier than usual.

    Road Conditions During the Colder Months of the Year

    The Forest Lagoon is in the north of Iceland. The north is notoriously colder, with harsher weather conditions than the rest of the country. That’s why road conditions might not be very favorable and can even be plagued with sudden closures during the colder months of the year (which will obviously impact your driving to the Forest Lagoon).

    The Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun

    Forest Lagoon is the perfect spot to experience both of these natural phenomena since it’s out of the city and stays open till 00:00. When visiting during the colder months of the year, the cold combined with the many hours of darkness and little light pollution from the city, will give you a good chance to see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky as you lie floating in the pool.

    Alternatively, when one visits mid-summer, one can have fun in the proverbial sun for almost 24 hours straight since the sun never completely sets and darkness never falls (hence being able to experience what is coined the Midnight Sun). Unfortunately, you’ll have to choose one or the other, because it’s impossible to experience both at the same time. Or you’ll have to plan two trips to Iceland and the lagoon.

    A Few Helpful Tips When Visiting Forest Lagoon

    If this is your first time to the Forest Lagoon or the first time, you’ll be visiting the geothermal pools in Iceland in general, the following tips can be very helpful:

    • Always shower naked beforehand and clean yourself properly. With this, we mean no make-up, no hair gel, etc. It is considered very unhygienic and quite rude to jump into the pools while being “dirty” and with all sorts of things that can come off in the water, leaving others to swim in it.
    • The geothermal pools are not to be confused with the Roman Baths. You need to be appropriately dressed in swimwear – nudity won’t be tolerated.
    • When bringing your own towel, we suggest a quick-drying one, so you’re not left lugging around wet things along your travels.
    • Bring a pair of flip-flops. These are very convenient when walking around the pools and are a good hygienic option for any public showers and changing rooms.

    Other Attractions Near Forest Lagoon

    If you want to fill up your trip itinerary with nearby attractions in North Iceland, the following come highly recommended:

    Forest Lagoon in Iceland; A Welcome Rest Stop Along a Road Trip

    When you’re renting a motorhome in Iceland to properly explore the island conveniently and affordably, the Forest Lagoon makes for a welcome break when either on a Ring Road or a Diamond Circle road trip. While there may not be “rest for the wicked” as the saying goes, there is plenty of rest and relaxation to be had for weary travelers at the Forest Lagoon with its warm, healing waters.