The Laugarvatn Fontana’s geothermal baths are an easy stop for anyone making their way through the Golden Circle. Perched on the side of Lake Laugarvatn, just 50 minutes outside of Reykjavík when driving, this small complex has a wide range of hot spring pools and steam rooms available for a day full of bliss.
Though locals and visitors alike have been coming to Lake Laugarvatn since 1929, the modern Fontana was only erected in 2011. The healing waters, however, have always been a big draw. In fact, the waters are actually largely responsible for why the town of Laugarvatn was formed.
A local legend says that in 1000 AD, when Iceland largely converted to Christianity, some chieftains insisted on being baptized in the warm spring instead of the freezing lake water of Thingvellir, 12 miles away. Due to this, it became a popular spot for large-scale baptisms.
Boasting multiple sites to unwind, guests to Laugarvatn Fontana can choose between taking a steam bath, soaking in one of the multiple mineral pools, spending time in the sauna, or taking a dip in the lake.
With three natural steam baths for guests to luxuriate in, hit peak relaxation on the wooden benches as steam pushes its way through the floor’s grids at 104-122℉. Filling the room with humidity from the boiling hot springs below, if you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the flow beneath the floorboards.
Next door is Ylur, a Finnish-style sauna with a wall of glass that looks more like a photograph. The humidity is a bit lower than in the neighboring cabins, but the thermometer here will read between 176° and 195℉. This type of spa room has been around for centuries for good reason.
Outdoor enthusiasts with love Lauga, Sæla, and Viska, mineral pools of varying temperatures, depth, and size. One looks like a natural lagoon complete with large rocks while the others are sleek swimming pools. The last of the three offers a panoramic view of the lake as you soak in the heat under the sun or stars.
As an added bonus, surrounding the pools, Icelandic artist Erla Thorarinsdottir designed some stone art pieces to enjoy as you kick back and take in the scenery.
If a cool down is more your thing, or you’re doing a hot-cold circuit, take a dip in the lake itself. The black, volcanic sand beach just steps away and the water can be accessed from one of the property’s piers.
For guests daring enough to take a dip in the winter, the beach’s natural underground heat will provide respite from the frigid water. To dry out for a bit, grab a town and hit the heated sand, or lay out on one of many lounge chairs next to the outdoor pools if the weather is nice.
Day trips can also be booked out of Reykjavík. Packages include different stops of the Golden Circle as well as the spa for a full day of natural beauty and de-stressing.
The on-site bakery takes advantage of the hot ground and makes bread using a traditional recipe and burying it directly in the ground under the hot sand.
Twice a day, 24 hours after it started, fresh bread is dug up from the beach and is ready for guests to slather with Icelandic butter. This is a separate experience you can book from the spa that also comes with a slice of smoked trout. Homestyle Icelandic food and snacks can be purchased by anyone not interested in booking the full experience.
Address: Hverabraut 1, 840 Laugarvatn, Iceland
Phone: (+354) 486 1400