Seljavallalaung is yet another hot spring-fed pool tucked away in the majestic mountains of southern Iceland. Rather large, the swimming pool looks normal except for the fact that it’s nestled into an absolutely stunning landscape.
Its location, which is seemingly built into the base of a mountain, offers incredible views of the surrounding rocky crags paired with the sound of rushing water from the river that’s just a few steps away.
Seljavallalaung was built in 1923 by a local man with the goal of teaching fellow citizens how to swim. This was, of course, before learning that the skill was mandated into the country’s curriculum.
One of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland, at 30×82 feet long and 4×6 feet deep, it was the largest in the country until 1936. Today, that title is held by Laugardalslaug in Reykjavik. Since its formation, Seljavallalaung has been largely left alone, being casually maintained by people living in the area. A modest site, there haven’t been any major changes or add-ons.
Unfortunately, when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 2010, the pool was filled with ash. Luckily, no one died in the event, and the summer after it happened, a group of volunteers had it cleaned out and ready to use again.
To get to this stress-free zone, you have to put in a bit of work. From the designated parking lot, it’s a 20-minute hike north on an unmarked–though easily identifiable–path to get to the pool. It’s nothing challenging and feels instead like a nice walk. You’ll even get to cross a small stream. While there’s no incline, it’s rocky along the dry river bed, so you’ll want to take it slow.
Free to use, a small, nondescript building next to the pool functions as a modest changing room. Be aware that there aren’t individual stalls, and you’ll need to share. The pool is fed by a hot spring, but the 68-86℉ water feels a bit more like a regular swimming pool than a hot tub. Keep this in mind if you’re visiting in colder weather.
Reports of algae covering the bottom are common since the pools have minimal water flow in and out. Those sensitive to bacteria may want to plan their trip around the time of the annual cleaning of the space. For most people, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Anyone with Google Maps can find the parking lot by typing in “Selijavallalaung Parking Lot”. For those without, turn off onto Road 242 from the Ring Road (No. 1). It’s marked as Raufarfell and is just past the Þorvaldseyri museum. Continue on until you see the sign for Seljavellir. Turn here and keep driving until you see a parking lot. There are two, one closer than the other.
Address: H98V+F3G Vik and Myrdalsjokull, Iceland