Swimming is to Iceland as apple pie is to America. All Icelanders start swimming at an early age and swimming is a requirement in school. Because of this, there are swimming pools all over Iceland. The Icelandic public swimming pools are a place to exercise, unwind, and socialize.
A common misconception is that all swimming pools in Iceland are like the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is not your typical Icelandic Swimming pool. Since it's tailored towards tourists, there is luggage storage, private showers, a swim-up bar, face masks, and not many locals. These kinds of amenities do not exist at every pool in Iceland. You also pay top dollar to go (currently entrance is ~120 USD). Before heading to an authentic Icelandic Swimming pool here is everything you need to know about Icelandic swimming pool etiquette.
When to go to an Icelandic Swimming Pool
It’s hard to find a wrong time to go to an Icelandic swimming pool. My favorite time to go is after a long day of hiking. The pools open early (usually around 6 AM and close late (usually around 10 PM).
Leave your shoes outside the Locker Room
To keep the locker rooms and pool clean many of the swimming pools require you to take off your shoes before entering the locker room.
Showering naked before you put on your suit is a requirement to go into Icelandic Swimming pools. The pools aren’t heavily chlorinated, so this is necessary to keep the pools clean. Soap is provided in the showers. The locker rooms have varying levels of privacy depending on the swimming pool. If privacy is a concern, we recommend Sundhöllin pool in Reykjavik. The locker room has a few private shower stalls.
Other Helpful Information
Icelandic swimming pools have single-sex locker rooms. The pools and locker rooms are incredibly clean, and there is nothing to be intimidated by. Most locker rooms have lockers with keys, so there is no need to worry about your belongings. Many locker rooms also have hairdryers, bags for suits, and swimsuit dryers. If you have towels bring them to the pool, otherwise you will be charged a small fee to rent a towel. Entrance to pools is around 10 USD which is a bargain compared to the Blue Lagoon.