Last June, I had a chance to visit Iceland. And just like everyone else, I wanted to visit their famous thermal baths.
Bathing in thermal baths or hot springs has long been a part of the Iceland’s tradition and culture.
And many say that these hot springs are infact Iceland’s secret to happiness.
If you are planning to travel to Iceland sometime soon and wish to visit any of their amazing thermal baths then here are a few things you must know before you go.
Now, when I speak to those planning a trip to Iceland, so many of them tell me how they must visit the Blue Lagoon. It is a pretty awesome place, yes! But there are a numerous hot springs all across Iceland and each of them has something unique to offer.
Some are very fact, some very busy, some are more relaxed, some come with a package, some with a very high entrance fee, while many are free.
Many of these hot springs require a booking before you go and many of the baths don’t;
A few of them are man-made, while some others are completely natural.
From this you would have realised that there is a lot of choice when it comes to thermal baths in Iceland.
But all of them have a common etiquette. Hence it is important to know a few things before you visit any of them.
1. Before you enter, you have to shower nude
Icelanders are very strict about hygiene. Hence, when it comes to bathing in thermal baths, you must shower naked without your bathing suit before entering them.
Mostly these are common showers without a privacy of curtains or cubicles. And of course they are same sex only.
Many a times you will see a few signages around the showers, which advise you to scrub properly and scrubbing around intimate areas is needed. Please stick to these rules otherwise you may get a local yelling at you.
And when it comes to showering, let me be clear it requires using shampoo, body wash, conditioner, etc. Many baths provide it close to the shower, but for a free public bath, it is advisable to carry your own.
2. Take your shoes off
Yes, you must leave your shoes outside the showering areas. Generally, outside the changing rooms there are dedicated shoe shelves where you can leave your shoes. Or you can even pick up these shoes and bring it to your locker in the changing room.
3. Get a locker
The most important thing that you do after entering the changing room is to get a locker. Don’t worry, at any paid bath or hotspring, a locker is included in the admission fee. You can store your clothes and belongings there. The key for it is attached to an elastic band which you can put around your wrist or ankle which you can bring to the bath. Many a times the number of the locker is not on the key especially when it is a swipable bracelet. In such a situation it is crucial to remember in which locker you have kept your belongings and you will have to remember the section number too. Many huge baths have a plethora of lockers and you don’t want to be lost inside.
4. Bring your own towel otherwise you will have to rent one
At larger hot springs you can rent towels and slippers but it is the best if your bring your own. You can definitely save some money.
5. Get your slippers
I visited Iceland in June and it was cold!!! The biggest challenge entering a hotspring comes when you have to walk from your changing room to the bath and that too bare feet!! And the same applies when you are going back to the changing room. Hence, it is great to keep your slippers handy.
6. Do not wet your hair
Many say that hot springs have high amount of Silica, hence it’s often advised to avoid wetting your hair as it can become dry and tangled. I have faced this problem when I did dip my hair!
6. Choose a quieter time to make the most out of your hotspring experience
Typically, coach tours visit hotsprings daily. But as you’re coming to a thermal bath to relax and rejuvenate, you may want to visit during quieter times when there is less crowd.
7. Book the transfer in advance
If you are not driving down, then it is best to book your transfer to and from the hotspring in advance along with your ticket to the hotspring to avoid any kind of chaos.
8. Drink lots of water before during and after stepping out
Staying in a hot thermal bath for a very long time can be dehydrating. Hence, keep sipping water before you enter the hotspring. Inside a large bath such as the Blue Lagoon, you can swipe your bracelet and buy anything to eat and drink. And you can pay for it outside when you are leaving. And after you step out, don’t forget to have fluids on your way back to the hotel.
When you enter a hotspring, you will realise that it is a bit hotter at the edge or the periphery of the bath as compared to the area in between. Choose what you like. I loved to stay in hot hot water at the edge in the cold cold Iceland.
Hope you enjoyed reading these tips and with that have a wonderful time in the Icelandic hot springs.