Swimming pools are to Icelanders what saunas are to Finnish people. People go to the swimming pool for a bit of exercise and also to sit in the many hot tubs for a good hot soak and conversation with other pool goers.
There are 18 swimming pools in the greater Reykjavík area, and many more all around the country. The pools are heated all year round as Iceland is privileged with geothermal energy. For this reason bathing in hot springs has been a part of Icelandic culture since the first settlement. In modern times pools have also been built in parts of the country where no geothermal energy is to be found.
There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting a swimming pool in Reykjavík:
- The admission fee is not very high, usually around 1200 ISK and you pay before entering the pool.
- Opening hours are 6:30-22:00 on weekdays and 9:00-22:00 on weekends
- Don‘t wear your shoes in the locker room, most pools have a shoe rack outside of the locker rooms but you can also bring your shoes inside and keep them in a locker.
- You can bring your own towel to the pool although most pools also rent out towels and even swimsuits. In Reykjavík the towels cost 720 ISK to rent and swimsuits 1080 ISK.
- You keep your towel in a towel rack in the shower area while you use the pool.
- You cannot use your mobile phone or camera in the changing rooms for privacy reasons.
- Everyone is required to wash their bodies without a bathing suit before entering the pool. This is done to keep the pools as clean as possible and is considered normal in Iceland. We have listed the pools that offer private changing areas as most showers are usually in an open space. For access to private changing rooms you usually need to talk to the reception at the pool. They are very welcoming of trans people. Some pools have private changing rooms that are accessible without requiring a key from the reception, such as in Vesturbæjarlaug and Dalslaug, with lockers inside.
- Please note that for trans people that are comfortable using gendered changing rooms it’s legal to do so in Iceland.
- The swimming pools listed here also have steam baths and/or a sauna and cold tubs.
Here is a list of swimming pools in Reykjavík that are inclusive when it comes to gender diversity.
Please note that all the swimming pools have disability access except Vesturbæjarlaug.
All swimming pools on map, click here.
Seltjarnarneslaug in Seltjarnarnes and Salalaug and Kópavogslaug in Kópavogur are also inclusive when it comes to changing rooms but their prices and opening hours may vary from the swimming pools in Reykjavík.
Alternatives to swimming pools – sea swimming
In recent years sea swimming has become more popular in Iceland and there is even a queer sea swimming group that meets every week for a cold dip and some hot tub chat after in Nauthólsvík. Nauthólsvík is the only location in the Reykjavík area that offers showers and a hot tub for sea swimmers but sadly it doesn’t offer gender neutral changing rooms or private changing rooms or showers at this time.
The following geothermal lagoons offer single changing rooms but are more expensive than the swimming pools – but many feel it’s worth every króna to visit.
Sky Lagoon is located in Kópavogur in the greater Reykjavík area. For more information click here.
Blue Lagoon is located a few kilometres from Keflavik Airport and many choose to go there on their way to or from the airport. For more information click here.