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Secret Hot Springs in Iceland: Hrunalaug

Sometimes you just want to soak the cares of life away. Alone. Not in a spa. Which is why you head to a secret (well not that secret – but not famous at least) hot spring. And after climbing a volcano or two, hitch-hiking into Selfoss to collect my car from the mechanic (who also got it re-tested for me – takk akk kærlega fyrir það!) I decided I needed to head to Hrunalaug, a secret Icelandic hot spring just outside Flúðir.

(My morning walk – there are three volcanos in this picture – can you see Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull too with Vestmannaeyjar just on the horizon?) 

Now Flúðir also has the Secret Lagoon or Gamla Laugin, one of Iceland’s oldest pools and a much quieter alternative to the busy Blue Lagoon. But, it’s summer and still pretty busy, I’d just spent a fortune on car repairs and I’d just never gotten around to heading to Hrunalaug.

Directions are pretty straightforward but even these places are not staying secret for long and there were eight other cars when I arrived, so I suggest going early or late to avoid the crowds. Fortunetly not long after I arrived most people left (was it me?!) and I took the smaller pool all to myself, which is just an easy two minute walk from the car park.

Be warned it’s tiny. There’s one small pool for a max of three people with a beautiful view down the river, and another larger one. There’s a shed if you prefer to get changed in some privacy. Personally I don’t care. I’m Irish and have years of experience in changing all my clothes under the ones I’m wearing on cold windy beaches.

The water is nicely bath-temperature warm, not too hot. As I had the smaller pool to myself it was wonderfully relaxing. Plus I’m a midget so even though it was small I could stretch out and watch the evening sun in peace. But as it’s so small it can feel crowded with just a few people. All in all, if you time it right it’s pretty sweet. If you haven’t earned your soak by hiking I suggest heading over to nearby Núpshestar for a ride first. (Which is just an excuse for the latest gratutious photo of my favourite horse Feti).

Not so long ago the owner of Hrunalaug was thinking of shutting the whole place off due to all the rubbish people were leaving. I did my good deed for the day and picked up what I saw, but presumeably this is the reason for the 1000 ISK fee (drop it into the honesty box). Without getting into a “tourists trashing Iceland” argument I can really see her point. People are leaving rubbish behind. Someone has to clean it up. And maintain the roads and car park. It’s still small change in comparison to any other geothermal spas in the country.

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