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Discover the Charm of the Secret Lagoon in Iceland


Secret Lagoon in Iceland

    When visiting the Secret Lagoon in Iceland, you will not only be taking part in the country’s age-old tradition of soaking in a hot spring in some of the most serene settings, but you’ll also be diving into the country’s rich history.

    In this article, we tell you everything there is to know about this incredible place, how to get there, and how to prepare for your visit. So, let’s jump right into why the Secret Lagoon is worth sharing.

    The Secret Lagoon: A Quick Overview

    The Secret Lagoon is not your usual hot spring here in Iceland. Except for its historical relevance and warm waters of between 38 to 40 degrees Celsius, it is also one of the few geothermal pools in Iceland that can say 100% of its water is from surrounding hot springs (in this case, Litli Geysir, Vadmalahver, and Basahver).

    Due to the fast-flowing hot springs, it also takes just 24 hours before the entire pool’s water has already been replaced with fresh water, making it one of the cleanest pools to swim in without being overdosed by all sorts of chemicals harmful to your skin and overall health.

    A Historical Gem: The Oldest Pool in Iceland
    Although the rocky and stone edges give the pool a more natural appearance, this is still a man-made pool. In fact, it is the oldest man-made pool in Iceland.

    It was built (as well as carved out!) in 1891, and the nickname it lovingly got during construction Gamla Laugin, meaning ‘old pool’, later became its official name. In the 1900s, Gamla Laugin was essentially a swim school for the locals, and this continued until 1947 when the swim school moved to a different location.

    Secret Lagoon Geothermal Pool

    Unveiling the Mystery: What Makes It "Secret"?

    As the saying goes: “out of sight, out of mind”, and with the locals no longer visiting, the pool slowly “drifted” into obscurity. As the pool was on private land, there was a time when Gamla Laugin became just the private pool of the land owner, who merely had friends and family over from time to time to enjoy the warm waters.

    It is because of the pool being “forgotten” for so many years that it eventually ended up with the nickname the Secret Lagoon. But the Secret Lagoon ended up being one of Iceland’s worst-kept secrets because a new owner decided to revamp and commercialize the pool. Despite a new look and new visitors when it officially opened its doors to the public again in 2014, the name stuck, and to this day, most still refer to it as the Secret Lagoon rather than Gamla Laugin.

    Secret Lagoon in Iceland


    The Secret Lagoon’s Location: Where is the “Hidden” Lagoon in Iceland?

    If you visit the eastern part of Fludir, you will find the Secret Lagoon. Fludir is a little town in the southwestern region of Iceland, just a bit inland off the coast. The pool is just 105 kilometers (or a 1.5-hour drive) from the capital city of Reykjavik, making it possible as a day outing. But since the pool is so centrally located on the Golden Circle route, many opt to have it as a welcome break or pit stop along their travels. 

    Tips when visiting Secret Lagoon in Iceland

    Navigating Your Way: Easy Directions for First-Timers

    You will have a few options for getting to the Secret Lagoon:

    You Can Book a Spot on a Tour

    We have many tour operators and guides who offer excursions to the Secret Lagoon. These can come in the form of dedicated day trips or day tours with a combination of local attractions. Or the Secret Lagoon can form part of a multi-day tour around the country. One also has the option of requesting a private and customized tour.

    You Can Catch a Bus

    Although this option will save you some money, it won’t save you time. The time spent on the bus alone will be 2.5 to 3.5 hours (depending on which bus you take), and then you’ll still have to walk the rest of the 1.2 kilometers to the pool. The bus will depart from Reykjavik to Selfoss, where you will need to catch the next bus to Fludir.

    You Can Drive Yourself

    This is definitely the most convenient and comfortable option. Driving to the Secret Lagoon is also super easy. Just get onto the Road 1 route from Reykjavik and drive southeast for roughly 64 kilometers till you turn off on Road 30. You will continue on this road till you reach Fludir. From here, you simply need to follow the signs to reach the Secret Lagoon hot spring.

    The Secret Lagoon vs. the Blue Lagoon: An In-Depth Comparison

    Many want to know how the Secret Lagoon holds up to the Blue Lagoon, another famous geothermal pool here in Iceland. There are quite a few differences, and one might be more suited to your specific needs than the other. Check out the differences here:

    The Setting

    There is a reason why the Secret Lagoon could remain a “secret” for so long – it’s off the beaten track and in a much more remote setting than the Blue Lagoon that’s smack-bang in the middle of the busy route going from Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik.

    Although the Blue Lagoon also offers a unique setting with its characteristic bright-blue water surrounded by the Icelandic landscape, the Secret Lagoon is truly nestled amid of the Icelandic landscape with incredible views all around. So, if being a bit more remote and having that “hideaway” feeling in nature is what you’re after, then the Secret Lagoon will be your best bet.

    The Crowds

    The Blue Lagoon is incredibly popular, not necessarily because it’s better, but simply because it’s so conveniently located close to the airport and the capital city, its marketing is next level, and it’s been featured on many Hollywood blockbusters. Due to its popularity, the Blue Lagoon can get pretty crowded, especially during our peak summer season.

    The Amenities

    Since the Secret Lagoon’s claim to fame is its remoteness and connection to the Icelandic nature, you’ll find a “less is more” approach when it comes to amenities and facilities at the pool. There are showers, changing rooms, and bathroom facilities, along with a small little bistro that serves drinks and snacks (but no warm meals).

    The Blue Lagoon, on the other hand, has a “there can always be more” approach and gives off more of a resort vibe with its bars, restaurants, and spas, and it even offers on-site accommodation! 

    The Price

    It’s pretty obvious that whoever has the most to maintain and has the most overheads will need to charge more to keep things going. In this instance, the Blue Lagoon wins by a landslide, where you’ll pay almost double what you pay at the Secret Lagoon.

    Secret Lagoon

    When is the Best Time to Visit the Secret Lagoon?

    The Secret Lagoon is open to the public all year round, but there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your trip:

    • Summer in Iceland offers the best weather conditions, but many swear that the contrast between the cold air and the warm water during the colder months of the year makes for the ultimate experience.
    • Whether you’re bothered by the weather conditions or not, it’s worth noting that there is a massive difference in daylight hours between seasons (mid-winter offers merely 4 hours a day, while mid-summer offers 22+ hours), which will impact the distance you can drive, the amount of time you can spend at the pool, as well as how much more of the surroundings you’ll be able to explore.
    • As we already mentioned, the summertime is peak season here, and to avoid most of the crowds, you might want to opt for an early morning or late afternoon visit.
    • This inevitably makes the rest of the year our “down” season, which often impacts the operating hours of our local attractions (including the Secret Lagoon). Sometimes, attractions can only be open on certain days of the week, or they are open fewer hours of the day. Either way, just call ahead and double-check before heading out and ending at a closed site.

    How Long Does a Visit to the Secret Lagoon Usually Take?

    Your entrance fee will grant you access for the entire day, but generally, people tend to stay between 1.5 and 2 hours. This, of course, is only if you are there with your own transport and are the captain of your own time and trip itinerary. If you’re visiting as part of a tour, you’ll be subject to their time limits.

    Essential Tips for a Hassle-Free Visit

    If this is your first trip to the Secret Lagoon or to a hot spring in Iceland in general, the following tips and advice will be useful:

    • Use a quick-drying towel. Using a regular towel will only leave you with wet things to lug around.
    • Take flip-flops with you to use around the pool and in the showers and changing rooms. It’s not just for hygiene purposes but also because it can get quite wet and muddy around the pool.
    • Ensure that you shower beforehand. It’s considered very bad etiquette to get into a hot spring while you can be perceived as “dirty”. This also includes washing off any make-up, hair gel, etc., that can be perceived as gunk that others now have to swim in.
    • This is a public pool, not a Roman bath. Swimming naked will only get you arrested.
    • Be considerate. Do not scream or shout, jump or splash, etc. It needs to be an enjoyable experience for everyone there.
    • Photographs are the order of the day when on a trip to Iceland. Around every corner is another breathtaking snapshot just waiting to be taken. But even though a picturesque setting such as the Secret Lagoon may also have a few perfect-looking pics up its sleeve, you need to remember that there are others also enjoying the pool. Taking photos of others without their consent (especially while in their swimwear!) can have some very ugly repercussions, from general conflict to actual legal recourse.
    • Icelanders have great respect for the environment, and we don’t take kindly to those who cause damage to our surroundings or don’t clean up after themselves. Please take care of our surroundings (for example, don’t pick flowers and things or create new pathways where there are none), and leave only your footprints behind.

    The Secret Lagoon Nitty-Gritty

    Here’s a quick overview of the nitty-gritty details:

    Operating Hours

    • During the Colder Months (Oct to May) = 7 days a week, from 10:00 – 19:00
    • During the Warmer Months (June to Sep) = 7 days a week, from 10:00 – 20:00


    • Entrance for Children (14 years and under) = Free
    • Entrance for Adults (15 years and older) = +/- $26
    • Entrance for Pensioners & Those with Disabilities = +/- $18
    • Swimsuit Rental = $7.20
    • Towel Rental = $7.20

    Hidden Gems Nearby: Exploring the Golden Circle

    The reason we recommend making the Secret Lagoon a stop along a Golden Circle road trip is because the Golden Circle is a golden opportunity to see some of our most famous attractions here on the island. These are some of the nearby sights you can look forward to:

    Culinary Delights: Where to Eat Near the Secret Lagoon

    Since you can only have snacks at the Secret Lagoon, you must either bring your own food or stop at one of the surrounding eateries. The following places come highly recommended:

    Accommodation Guide: Staying Close to Nature

    With so much to see and do (and eat!) in the area, it might be a good idea to sleep over for a night or two. If this is something you’d like to do, we recommend the following:

    The Secret Lagoon in Iceland; Isn’t it Time for That Soak?

    Now that you know all there is to know about the Secret Lagoon in Iceland, all that’s left to do is plan your trip using this article as a guide, rent a motorhome in Iceland, and head out towards the ultimate tranquillity. And don’t forget to add a few of the other Golden Circle sites we mentioned to your road trip itinerary for a jam-packed outing to the Secret Lagoon.