Seeing that Iceland is a volcanic island then you will find several hot pools in Iceland with natural geothermal water. There is one in particular that I like, called Guðrúnarlaug hot tub. It is in an area of West-Iceland which is pure Viking area.
A landslide fell on the original hot-tub so Guðrúnarlaug had been closed for 140 years until it was reconstructed and opened in October 2009.
The Vikings from one of our old Icelandic Sagas, Laxdæla Saga, lived here more than a thousand years ago. I read Laxdæla Saga in college and fell in love with the colourful characters.
Visiting this area makes me feel like stepping back in time. Here lived Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, one of the most note-worthy personas in Laxdæla Saga. Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir, Bolli Þorleiksson and Kjartan Ólafsson made up the best-known love-triangle in the Icelandic Sagas.
It is written in Laxdæla Saga that Guðrún spent a lot of time in or by the hot-tub. You will find an information sign by the tub on 4 of Guðrún's dreams, which Gestur Oddleifsson had deciphered. Gestur told Guðrún that she would be married 4 times - which came true.
Guðrúnarlaug is open to the public and there is no entrance fee. You take off your clothes in a small changing room above the hot-tub and get into the tub. It is warm and lovely.
I have been here alone with my husband in a drizzle and very calm weather. It was just like out of this world, bathing outside in nature in a reconstruction of the hot-tub of Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir. Pure heaven and very romantic :)
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Two years after her husband Bolli got killed Guðrún Ósvífursdóttir moved to Helgafell on the Snæfellsnes peninsula. She switched properties with the noted Snorri goði Þorgrímsson, who had lived at Helgafell and who had erected a church on that spot.
Guðrún, who had been married 4 times in her lifetime, later became a nun at Helgafell and lived there for the rest of her life. At Helgafell you can visit Guðrún's grave north of the church. The grave turns towards the church according to Irish tradition.
It is amazing seeing 1008 written on the gravestone, but the gravestone was put up in 1979 and is made out of rock from Mt. Helgafell.
I love visiting Guðrún's grave, sitting by it pondering on the lives of the Vikings in the Sagas. I feel so close to the past on this spot. Kjartan Ólafsson is buried in the graveyard at Borg at Mýrar.
There is a hotel almost next to the hot-tub. I have stayed at the hotel and visited the hot-tub late at night and early in the morning when nobody was around and I was there all by myself.
Just turn away from the hotel and sit in the hot-tub looking in the direction of the replica of the old Viking hut and you will feel like you have stepped back in time :)
I hope Guðrúnarlaug isn't overly crowded now. The thing with the natural hot pools in Iceland is that so many visitors want to take a dip in them nowadays (which I fully understand) that they cannot self-clean anymore and there might be some bacteria in them now :(
To reach Sælingsdalur turn from ring-road 1 turn onto road 60 for Búðardalur village. Drive for 16 km as if you were going to Hólmavík and turn left on side-road 589. Drive for 3 km on a paved road to Hotel Edda. Up in a hill immediately above the hotel, you will find Guðrúnarlaug hot-tub.
I have not yet seen any guided tours to this area, so it is best to rent a car and drive there by yourself from Reykjavík. Also check out the self-drive tours with a car, accommodation and a detailed itinerary included.
Sælingsdalur is located in West-Iceland, some 167 km north of Reykjavík, which is 2.5 hours of driving.
It is so worth visiting this pool and the Eiríksstaðir Viking longhouse, to me it is just magical and I visit it every time I am in this area.
I have written several other travel-blogs on Vikings activities in Iceland:
Have a lovely time in Iceland :)