Iceland has hundreds of natural hot baths, and the Grettislaug hot spring is a favorite among travelers. The facilities are great, but what's incredible is the natural setting around you.
Grettislaug, literally "Grettir's pool", takes its name from “Grettir the Strong”, a bandit character in the sagas. Legend has it, the bandit Grettir went swimming to the island of Drangey, located 7.5 km from here, and when he got back warmed up in the hot water pool now called Grettislaug.
Grettislaug - Sannephoto©Dreamstime
There are two pools called Grettislaug and Jarlslaug. Grettislaug is a reference to the Icelandic Sagas, but the other pool is named Jarlslaug after another important character, the owner of the premises: Jón Eiríksson.
Jón Eiríksson is a bit of a local legend and is considered the expert when it comes to the small island of Drangey located a few kilometers away. Jón owns the farm and the pools, which he built using the natural hot springs that have always flowed near the farm.
One of the two pools is oval, the other round. The oval is the largest and warmest, can accommodate 15 to 20 people at the same time, measuring about 4.5 meters long, 4 meters wide and 80 cm deep. The round pool is smaller and can only accommodate 5 to 6 people. The temperature in both pools is between 39 °C and 42 °C, and it's a delight to relax there.
The pools are surrounded by small stone walls, which provide some protection from the wind. It should be noted that there are no changing rooms on site, so you will have to change in the car or behind the stone walls with the wind in your hair.
Grettislaug - Gestur Gislason©Dreamstime
Swimming will cost a fee, but there is a great alternative, as there is no fee for those who camp on site. The camping fee is 1.250 ISK per night per person. So if you're booked to camp out, swimming will therefore be unlimited and free for you.
For others, you will need 1,000 ISK for a session relaxing in the pools.
In those pools you can enjoy a view of the sea and Skagafjörður Bay, and being so remote it is much less touristy than other thermal resorts.
Bathing in Grettislaug really feels like swimming right on the edge of the world, a bit similar to Geosea, Hofsós, or Krossneslaug in the western fjords.
The Grettislaug hot spring is really easy to find, even though a little far from the ring road. You'll have to exit Road 1 towards the Skagi Peninsula to reach this geothermal hidden gem located 18 km from Sauðárkrókur in the north of Iceland.
Just before arriving at Sauðárkrókur, keep your eyes peeled for a small dirt road, the 748. Road 748 is not paved but remains in fairly good condition, so a conventional passenger vehicle can get you there safely.
The Grettislaug pools are located in the small village of Reykaströnd right on the seafront.