If you were to drive through the small village of Flúðir – situated about an hour from Reykjavík – you’d be forgiven for thinking that a pit stop at the petrol station would be the only reason to get out of the car.
But don’t be too quick to dismiss it because tucked away from the main road and off a single track is a hidden gem. And one the won’t stay secret for too long…
Gamla laugin Iceland’s secret lagoon
Gamla Laugin – or The Secret Lagoon as it’s more commonly known – is a geothermal pool which not only has calm, lucid waters heated to a balmy 40°c all year-long, but it also has a sizzling geyser which erupts every so often to the delight of bathers, as well as steaming vents and a walking trail surrounding the hot springs. And the best thing? It’s pretty much devoid of any crowds.
So hidden in fact is Gamla Laugin, we struggled to find it and spent a good 10 minutes driving around Flúðir. But that’s the whole point of its hidden appeal.
When we finally drove into the small car park, we were giddy to find there were hardly any vehicles parked up, and no queues – unlike the manned snaking crowds at The Blue Lagoon.
The facilities are basic with a small coffee shop which sells snacks, hot drinks and alcohol, while the changing rooms are tiny, with none of the razzmatazz of electronic lockers, private cubicles and spa quality toiletries.
The oldest pool in Iceland was used by local people since it first opened in 1891. It was then brought by a private investor who refurbished back in 2014. And if you avoid the hours of 15.30pm-17.30pm when tour groups are allowed to descend, you can pretty much have this huge pool to yourselves.
Gingerly walking on the frozen pathway to the steps, and then sinking into the hot water is bliss – and exploring the pool and being able to sit on the jutting rocks that peek out of the surface of the water is a welcome relief from the heat. Monkey, meanwhile, loved the floating noodles which were free to use as well as his armbands.
We happily swam at Gamla Laugin for a good hour, but at one point, we had to get out because it was just too warm – even though the outside temp was -12°c!
Tranquil and calm, we felt privileged to have been let in on this ‘secret’ swimming destination. So best get there before all the crowds do…
Gamla Laugin Secret Lagoon Admission: Adults 2,500ISK; Kids 16 and under Free; Towels and swimwear available to rent; Open 10am-10pm during summer and 12pm-8pm during winter