Dropping your Trousers to Swim with the Icelandic
To say I was very excited about the geothermic pools in Iceland would be a Titanic sized understatement. I had heard so much about how the hot waters relaxed your body, soothe your skin and made you instantly look ten years younger. The part I didn’t hear about was how before I could relish in this beauty routine, I would have to get completely naked in front of a bunch of strangers.
Yup, naked. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty conservative when it comes to getting naked.
The casual idea of getting naked and taking a shower in front of a bunch of other ladies had me more than a little freaked out. Not that I thought they would be judging me or even looking at me, but because I realized, I don’t really like being naked, for naked sake.
However, in order to enter an Icelandic geothermal pool, you have to cleanse yourself. The pools have fewer chemicals and chlorine than others pools, good for your skin and no awful smell, bad for people like me. Just in Reykjavik alone there are 20 community-heated pools– that is a lot of naked showering.
I knew I would have to conquer my fear before I could enjoy the everlasting radiant skin I had been promised for so long. As I approached the changing area I was still very nervous. Similar to how I imagine I’d be if I jumped off a bridge or went sky diving, I was freaking out. Slowly taking off each layer, looking around to make sure I wasn’t the only one getting naked. As if maybe I had read an out of date guidebook and dropping trou was no longer acceptable or necessary. But to my dismay, everyone around me was also un-robing. Old ladies, young kids, and everyone in between- it was just a normal day for these folks, getting naked and going swimming.
As quick as an UFO sighting, we were in and out of the showers and ready to go to the geothermal pools. The actual experience was pretty mundane. No one was crazy looking at me, and, in fact most people were having casual conversations about swimming or the lunch they were going to eat afterwards.
Mentally exhausted, I slowly walked into the pool. My enthusiasm weakened as I realized it was just a hot pool and I might not see the dramatic skin changes I was longing for. Even though I didn’t watch my skin change before my eyes, the experience is definitely something I would recommend to visitors of Reykjavik. The community pools are fairly inexpensive, around 2 euros a swim, especially compared to other activities in the area and truly unique.
Here are our favorite community geothermal pools in Iceland:
Laugardalslaug– The city’s largest pool with two waterslides, spa and a steam bath.
Breioholtslaug– In the suburbs, this pool also has slides for the kids, steam bath and three “hot spots”.
Árbæjarlaug– Located on a hill overlooking Reykjavik, this pool also has an indoor area, perfect for when it rains or heavy snow.
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