Yes, You Will Get Naked in Iceland

There are a few things to know about Iceland.  One is its damn cold — of course.  But the other is that they have an abundance of geothermal heated and glacier melt clean water.

This has created a society that loves to swim and bathe as a social activity.  Pools and hot springs dot the island in every town.

For the weary traveler these public pools and hot springs provide a welcomed relaxing spot for tired hiking legs and for those camping around the island, they provide a great spot to get cleaned up in the showers.

For a few bucks you can take advantage of the showers, the pool and in some cases a water slide or two.

But be prepared for a cleaning regiment that might not be the norm back home.  The shower areas are typically separated by sex but open with everyone naked and washing up.  No time for modesty although Icelanders are known to hold a conversation or two in the showers.  A handy sign reminds visitors to be sure to clean those areas prone to dirt.

A reminder to get all of the dirty parts clean before entering the Icelandic pools.
A reminder to get all of the dirty parts clean before entering the Icelandic pools.

I remember getting a bit creeped out by that naked guy who would hang out in the Bar Harbor YMCA, shaving at the sink, towel free and buck naked.  That’s a bit much but in Iceland its expected that everyone have a thorough washing before entering the pool and its just a societal norm.  So just go with the flow, get in the swim and wash up those toes, pits, crotch and head.  Just remember to put your bathing suit on afterwards because suits are required out in the public area.

Read more about the cleaning regiment in this excellent blog post –


The most famous pool is “The Blue Lagoon” which is a short 50 minute bus ride from from the capital city of Reykjavík or roughly a 21-minute drive from the airport.  Even if you only have a few hours in Reykjavik, you can make a visit.

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant and is renewed every two days.

One important note about the Blue Lagoon.  Its popular, so they have a timed ticketing system.  Don’t wait until the last minute to get a ticket.  Call a few days in advance to make sure you can get in.

The Blue Lagoon