Forget Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, There’s a ‘Secret’ Hot Spring You Need to Check Out

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The Blue Lagoon may be one of Iceland’s most sought-after tourist attractions, but it’s also one of the most crowded. If you’re looking for a more secluded retreat, there’s a ‘secret’ lagoon that’s just outside of Reykjavik where you’ll have much more room to yourself to float around.

Just over an hour from Iceland’s capital city, the Secret Lagoon—or Gamla Laugin, as the locals call it—is a secluded natural hot spring nestled in the forest outside of Flúðir, in the Golden Circle. However, most tourists choose to visit the Blue Lagoon due to its proximity the Keflavík Airport (and its stark aqua waters, a trait the Secret Lagoon doesn't have), but the hot spot gets thousands of visitors on a daily basis, making it pretty cramped.

“We went here on an absolutely freezing, windy day, and … most of the lagoon was lukewarm at best. Add to this the fact that this is extremely high priced and there ... are literally thousands and thousands of other people packed into the waters with you,” wrote one traveler on Tripadvisor.

Another commented, “we ... definitely preferred the Secret Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was way to [sic] touristy and crowded. The water seemed too artificial. All of this is for the high cost, making it not really worth it.”

While the Secret Lagoon’s water may not be the same Instagram-worthy shades as the Blue Lagoon, the experience is much more tranquil. It’s also substantially cheaper. Compared to the $67 entrance fee for the Blue Lagoon, it costs only $27 for the Secret Lagoon.

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Visitors can treat themselves to a glass of wine from the bar, and there are also onsite showers and a locker room to store your belongings.

The hidden spring stays a balmy 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit year round, offering visitors a chance to unwind in near complete seclusion while staying toasty warm; glass of wine optional.

If you’re lucky, during the winter months, you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the northern lights dancing around the sky. Due to its remote location and its distance from the light pollution of Reykjavik, you have a much better chance of spotting the dazzling display than you would at the Blue Lagoon.

For those still frustrated that they have to share the hot spring with anyone at all, they don't have to. You can book the entire Secret Lagoon for a small group of friends, so you can relax in peace with only your closest friends there to accidentally splash you.