Krauma Geothermal Spa, Western Iceland

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I’ve never been one to seek out baths, hot tubs or saunas. Although others find these experiences relaxing, I think they are rather dull and uncomfortable. So, when my husband (who loves all of these things) told me that he had made reservations at a geothermal spa north of Reykjavik, I wasn’t brimming with enthusiasm.

Just about everyone knows about the Blue Lagoon, the popular geothermal pool that is not too far from Kevflavik airport. Even though we were open to “touristy” experiences, we preferred to seek out some less crowded places in Iceland, if at all possible. Krauma was recommended to us by our host.

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Krauma is about 65 miles north of the capitol city
in western Iceland, near the Borgarfjörður fjord. Boiling water (about 212 degrees Fahrenheit) is piped into Krauma from the nearby Deildartunguhver hot spring. According to Krauma’s website, this hot spring has the highest flow rate of any hot spring in Europe, pumping about 180 liters (approximately 48 gallons) of water per second. This hot spring provides much of the heating in homes in this region of Iceland, as well. The boiling hot water is mixed with icy glacier water from Rauðsgi to make the temperatures suitable for soaking.

All around Krauma, hot water boils in pools and steam rises in clouds—it is a haunting yet beautiful sight.

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Admission to Krauma is about $30 USD per adult. You can bring your own bathrobe, swimwear or bath towel to Krauma. (Swimwear is required here.) You can also rent these items. Bath towel rentals are about $6 USD; bathrobes are about $10 USD; swimwear is approximately $6. A comfortable, warm locker room is provided. You’re required to take your shoes off when you enter the locker rooms (I didn’t notice this on my way in. Oops.) Hairdryers, curling irons and other tools are available to use.

Scandinavians take their baths seriously. Guests are required to shower before entering these pools. Shower well. As in, naked. (Be prepared to get over yourself; literally no one cares what you look like.) Krauma provides the nicest-smelling soap, shampoo, conditioner and shower gels—think Aveda’s Shampure scent. It also provides a diagram with the places that they want you to zero in on and take extra care with; some of these spas and pools have been known to have attendants to ensure you wash off the right way. Tripsavvy has a great etiquette guide for Icelandic hot springs. Also, read more about “how to behave” at these geothermal pools at Iceland Magazine.

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Admittedly, Krauma doesn’t have all of the extra spa experiences like other geothermal spas. Krauma was just fine for us: it had five natural geothermal baths, a cold tub, two saunas and a relaxing room with a fireplace. There is no talking allowed in the relaxing room, which is more difficult for some than for others (others=my husband, who immediately started talking when he sat down). The cold tub is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (a hard no for me; I don’t even go into the ocean on our beaches until the water is in the low 80s). The five geothermal baths range from about 90 degrees F to about 110 degrees F. There are two larger baths and three small, cochlear-shaped baths.

We popped in and out of each of these warm baths. My husband tried the cold pool, which was madness akin to “polar plunges” on our continent. Once we were accustomed to the hotter temperatures, the cooler ones were entirely too cold. One of the pools had an “infinity” pool feature, which I quite enjoyed.

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Before we knew it, we had spent nearly two hours at Krauma. I loved the soft, relaxed feeling I had throughout the rest of the day. I was surprised how relaxing this experience was; it was part of one of my favorite and most memorable days in Iceland.

 

Read more about Krauma on Trip Adviser.