Laugarvatn Fontana, a spa offering access to the hot springs of Lake Laugarvatn, is situated just a short stroll away from the renowned Thingvellir National Park within the Golden Circle region.
The locals in Laugarvatn have a longstanding tradition of utilizing the mineral-rich healing waters of this region for relaxation and rejuvenation of both body and mind.
The Fontana complex seen by drone - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
Similar to numerous sites in Iceland, Laugarvatn is part of a geothermal zone where hot springs abound. For many years, these hot waters have been used for cooking, bathing, heating homes, and therapeutic steam baths, dating back to 1929.
Laugarvatn Fontana is a complex that provides access to hot springs, much like the nearby Krauma and Secret Lagoon (For more information on the best hot springs in Iceland). Here, you can immerse yourself in the healing properties of geothermal waters in their natural state.
These geothermal baths at Laugarvatn Fontana beautifully blend contemporary architecture and modern amenities while staying in harmony with nature. The site underwent a recent renovation in July 2011, with the design conceptualized by Icelandic architects.
The Fontana basins - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
The geothermal activity in the area played a significant role in Laugarvatn's history. Legend has it that in the year 1000 AD, during Iceland's conversion to Christianity, some prominent individuals preferred to be baptized in the warm springs by the shores of Lake Laugarvatn rather than in the icy waters of nearby Lake Thingvellir.
One of these springs, known as Vigdalaug, is located just 200 meters from Laugarvatn Fontana.
Centuries later, Iceland's last Catholic bishop, Jon Arason (born 1484 – died 1550), and his son, met their fate at the executioner's hand. Subsequently, their bodies were exhumed, washed in Vigdalaug, and reburied in Hólar, a former episcopal seat in northern Iceland.
The Fontana basins - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
At Laugarvatn, you'll find three modern steam baths known as "Gufan." The temperature can vary, depending on the hot spring and weather, generally falling between 40°C (104°F) and 50°C (122°F).
The humidity levels are quite high within the steam bath cabins. Floor grilles in the steam rooms allow you to experience the sounds and scents of the natural hot spring bubbling just below, creating a unique and natural sensory experience.
Near the steam baths you will find the "Ylur," a Finnish-style sauna with lower humidity compared to regular steam baths. It features a large window with scenic views of Lake Laugarvatn and maintains a temperature ranging from 80°C (176°F) to 90°C (194°F) and is somewhat dryer than a hammam.
Lake Laugarvatn - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
Outdoors, there are three pools named "Lauga," "Saela," and "Viska," all interconnected, offering varying depths, sizes, and temperatures. Some areas are designed for relaxation, while others provide space for movement and fun.
Viska, for instance, is positioned slightly higher, providing panoramic views of the stunning lake surroundings.
Finally, the Fontana spa has direct access to Lake Laugarvatn and its beach through a gate. For the daring, this is a great opportunity for a refreshing swim.
Similar to other Nordic countries, Icelanders believe that cold baths have positive health effects, including enhanced blood circulation, muscle pain relief, and improved recovery. These benefits have also been demonstrated for individuals with arthritis and other joint conditions.
The famous geothermal bread - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
Laugarvatn Fontana boasts its own restaurant, offering a selection of local specialties and products. Guests can enjoy a buffet-style meal during lunch and dinner.
Here, people still practice the traditional method of baking bread in the warm lake sand, while trout is caught and smoked on a nearby farm. The bread is prepared using an age-old recipe, where it's buried in the hot ground and left to heat for 24 hours before being unearthed and ready to savor.
Geothermal tasting - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
Visitors can witness this unique preparation and sample the bread, served warm with Icelandic butter and a slice of salmon.
This experience is available daily at 11:45AM and 2:30PM (also at 10:15AM during the summer).
The visit lasts approximately 30 to 40 minutes and includes some outdoor elements, with a cost of 2990 ISK per adult (children are free).
Laugarvatn Fontana is conveniently located just an hour's drive from Reykjavík, making it easily accessible year-round. The resort is situated in the village of Laugarvatn, at the heart of the Golden Circle.
Starting from the capital, take the 36 road towards Thingvellir, and then the 365 road for a short distance. The road is paved and well-maintained, so you won't need for a 4x4 to reach the destination. It's also possible to get there by bus as part of a Golden Circle tour:
The modern Fontana complex - Photo: Laugarvatn Fontana
It's advisable to book tickets in advance for your visit to the venue. You can also rent towels and bathrobes separately if needed.
Here are the prices for 2023:
Visitors can reserve bathrobes and bath towels for 1,500 ISK and 1,000 ISK respectively.
To book your trip to Laugarvatn:
Regarding opening hours, they vary depending on the time of year: