Iceland is highly geographically active with many volcanoes. The most famous (or infamous) eruption which many people will remember was in April 2010 when a volcano in Eyjafjallajökull (try pronouncing that!) in the south of Iceland erupted since 1821. That eruption caused chaos to air travel across Europe for days. With many volcanoes still active, Iceland have many pools / lagoons fed by natural hot springs. The Secret Lagoon, also known now as “Gamla Laugin” is one of them.
The Secret Lagoon is located near the geothermal area Flúðir . It was built in 1891 as Iceland’s first swimming pool. Swimming lessons were offered from 1909 onward until 1947 when newer and more modern swimming pools were being constructed. Slowly, the Gamla Laugin was forgotten and become in disuse.
It was abandoned thereafter until its present owner renovated the place in 2005 for his own private use. He and his friends kept the place a secret for many years until it opened in mid-2014. That’s how the name Secret Lagoon came about.
The Secret Lagoon
It was Christmas Day when we visited the first time so the place was busy. The Gamla Laugin is much smaller in size when compared to the more popular and famous Blue Lagoon. However, because it has not been wildly advertised, the crowd was manageable and the lagoon could fit everyone of us from the tour bus and existing guests comfortably.
Although it does not have services like mud face mask, massage or even a proper restaurant, the Secret Lagoon made up for these with a more intimidate and natural setting. There is a small cafe selling drinks and snacks but no food is on sale though.
The lagoon has a main pool where most people congregate. The warm water stays around 38 to 40 degrees celsius all year round with natural hot spring water steadily feeding the lagoon every second. The steam from the water rising into the cold crisp air made the whole experience even more magical! But if you wear spectacles like me, it might be advisable to change into contact lenses. Otherwise, you will be spending a lot of time trying to clear the fog on the glasses lol!
For people who don’t swim, fear not! The lagoon is not deep. I am about 1.6m tall and the water only came up to just below my chest when I stood up. But in the winter, we preferred to just keep the whole body immersed in the warm water 🙂
Guests are allowed to bring their drinks (wine and beer) into the pool. Free “noodle” floats are also available free of charge. Guests can stay in the lagoon for as long as they like – there is no time limit. But how long can one stay in a hot spring? We soaked in the hot spring for about an hour both times we were there and felt it was just about right.
There are daily tours available to the Lagoon if you don’t drive. Otherwise, set google map to The Secret Lagoon or Gemma Laugin and you should be able to get there easily. Entrance fee is ISK 2,800 for adult, ISK 1,400 for senior citizens and free for children 16 years old and younger. If you forget your swimsuit or towel, they are available for rent.
After paying at the entrance and collecting the towel, move inside to an area where shoes are to be removed and left on the shelves. Next, move to the respective men’s or ladies’ changing room where there are lockers (free of charge). For the ladies, you may see naked women changing in the open. That’s probably because guests to the Secret Lagoon are required to take a shower (with soap) naked before putting on their swimsuit and
jumping walking into the lagoon. However, since many people were anxious and don’t read the signs properly, most just take a shower with their swimsuit on. Some didn’t even bathe and walked right in!
Anyway, assuming a shower has been taken, leave the towels in the rack INSIDE the changing room. It is right next to the door. If you bring the towel outside, do know that there is no place to hang them. They may even get blown away if the wind is strong enough! The advise is leave them in the rack, brave the cold and run to the pool like we did. Fumbling with the towels outside, especially during the winter, is not a great idea!
Another piece of advise – do not stay fully submerged in the hot water for too long then rush when you get out of the lagoon. We witnessed a lady who blacked out in the shower area and had to be given oxygen from the tank!
I really enjoyed myself at the Secret Lagoon and would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like crowds and touristy places (okay fine, most places in Iceland are touristy but you know what I mean). It is called the Secret Lagoon for a reason, even now!
Do you have any other secret places in Iceland you would recommend for my next visit? 🙂 If you want to catch some Northern Lights on your own, check this out.
Note: This is not a sponsored post.