A rural northwestern hot tub with a rich history, Gudrunarlaug is fed by one of Iceland’s many hot springs. Due to the island’s plethora of geothermal activity, pools such as this can be found both in and out of the larger cities, with Gudrunarlaug falling into the latter category. A great way to embrace your inner Viking and learn about the area, make sure to plan a trip to this thermal bath.
The original tub on this land is said to have been built a thousand years ago. The Icelandic Sagas, a series of narratives written based on historical events that are very important to the country’s people and culture, tells how it belonged to a woman named Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir. Guðrún, known for her beauty, was a point in one of the most well-known love triangles in the Sagas.
Guðrún’s suitors were raised as brothers and both fell in love with her. She fell in love with Kjartan, but when Kjartan went abroad for a few years, Bolli asked her to marry him. Chaos ensued, but the story won’t be spoiled here.
In 1869, the original “laug” or tub was destroyed by a devastating landslide. It sat abandoned for 140 years before a replica was built in 2009 and has been open to the public since. Great care was taken to imitate what the original Viking structure would have looked like in its heyday. Romantics will be happy to read the sign near the pool, as it tells more of Guðrún’s story.
This hot spring-fed hot tub may be outside of the big city lights, but it’s a breeze to get to. In fact, it’s just behind a small group of buildings. There are no associated fees with the pool, and there is even a quaint little hut for changing your clothes, though it should be noted that it lacks a shower.
Gudrunarlaug is made in a traditional Medieval style with a turf roof and was erected at the same time as the new pool. Round and lined with large, smooth stones, it’s a comfortable place to relax and enjoy the grassy mountain view.
If you set yourself up in the opposite direction of the unrelated nearby hotel, it’s natural scenery all the way to the horizon. At around 100℉, the water is nice and toasty.
Sælingsdalur is just over 100 miles north of Reykjavik and is about a 2.5-hour drive. Take the ring-road north to Road 60 towards Búðardalur village. Continue in the direction of Hólmavík, and in about 10 miles, take a left on side-road 589. When you read Hotel Laugar Sælingsdal just under 2 miles, look up at the hill behind it. That’s where you’ll find the tub.
Address: Sælingsdalsvegur, 431, 371 Dalabyggð, Iceland