Believe it or not, Iceland wasn’t the last time we went winter swimming. There is something entirely primal about confronting below freezing weather in your skivvies and jumping into a slightly less cold pool. It kick-starts your heart, makes your bones jump and fills your lungs with the breath of a dragon. Swimming is a natural pastime in Iceland, regardless of the season, or the weather. Laugardalslaug, an outdoor swimming pool, is one of seven geothermal pools heated by the island itself and as the most popular pool in Reykjavik, the one we set our sites on.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Laugardalslaug Swimming Pool
Phone: +354 411 5100
Price: 900 ISK
Swimming pools are gathering places in the Icelandic culture, so you are expected to thoroughly wash your body before entering. Read: Full shower, with inspecting attendants. So to speak – there are attendants, but they aren’t watching you undress. It’s considered not only impolite to not shower before entering the pool, but unhygienic. You’re expected to do the same for any swimming pool you visit in Iceland, including the Blue Lagoon. The showers are indoors, you can opt for curtains or not, and the showers are segregated by gender.
As the most popular pool in Reykjavik, Laugardalslaug offers an Olympic sized swimming pool with lap lanes, a children’s pool and the main pool with a bridge across it. There are also floating pads with a rope tether for crossing, several children’s size water slides and a tall waterside with LED lights.
The main pool is surprisingly warm on a sub freezing winter day. The depth of the water made the water more or less tolerable. The shallow end was almost nice, and we were able to sit in the pool for a lengthy amount of time without chattering teeth, but every inch of skin had to be covered. Very few people were in the shallow end, and no one was in the deep end.
The tall water slide is located across the main pool, and stands 283 feet tall before dropping you down a dark, twisty tube with flashing led colored lights. Our twins loved the Laugardalslaug slide, and all they wanted to do was go down that slide over and over and over again. We nearly froze to death on the long walk up the staircase, but it was worth it every time.
90% of our day was spent permanently squatted in the huge hot tub packed shoulder to shoulder with every other person who came to go swimming that day. It was as intimate as a rush hour train on the JR. It was the perfect temperature, and extremely refreshing juxtaposed against the winter wind and bitter chill in the air.
► For Kids: Our little water babies loved swimming at Laugardalslaug. It was frosty, it was biting, it was fairly intense, but it was a great adventure. Winter swimming in Iceland offers an awesome first hand experience at the culture of Iceland, and it’s an unusual experience. Plus the hot tub is big enough for all for whenever you can’t handle the cold.
Be sure to end your fun day of swimming by eating a local hot dog – it’s an Icelandic tradition! We’ve also been winter swimming in Australia along the Coastal Walk in Bondi Beach at Bondi’s Icebergs ocean water pool! Have you ever been winter swimming? Either in Iceland, or elsewhere? We want to revel in your experience and hear all about it!
► Nap-Time Version: What it’s like to go Winter Swimming at Laugardalslaug in Iceland in December with kids.
Of course we couldn’t miss the Blue Lagoon either and had another winter swimming experience over there on the morning of my birthday! We also took a break from getting into the water, and stood on top of it ice-skating at Tjörnin Pond!