Nature & Environment May 15, 2021

Learn About Lake Laugarvatn on Iceland’s South Coast

Explore the area’s strong traditions and unique resources.

From diverse landscapes to boiling hot springs, the South Coast of Iceland has a lot to offer. Learn more about the area’s culture and traditions below.  

The Hot Springs at Lake Laugarvatn, South Iceland

While we have been practicing social distancing and pausing travel plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees at hot springs at Lake Laugarvatn have been hard at work preparing for future travelers post-pandemic. Lake Laugarvatn is a shallow lake located in the inlands of Árnessýsla, midway between Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir, 100 km from Reykjavík. There are hot springs under the lake’s floor, heating the lake to keep it warm all year round. 

Visitors can enjoy hot wells and considerable geothermal heat by the lakeside along a few footpaths created to accommodate visitors. 

Baking Bread

There is a long-standing tradition of baking bread in the geothermal area along Lake Laugarvatn. To bake the bread, a hole is dug in the sand until boiling water is reached. A pot with dough is put on the ground and sand is then shoveled over it to help the bread bake. Over a period of 24 hours, the bread is baked in geothermal heat. The unique and traditional bread is often served with Arctic char caught in Laugarvatn and smoked in the smoking house in Útey.

The Steam

In 1929, two steam rooms were built on top of Laugarvatn, allowing people living by the lake to enjoy the steam from the hot spring. Many things have changed since then and Laugarvatn Fontana was opened in 2010. The steam rooms are now equipped with slatted floors that let steam in directly from the hot spring and fill the rooms with heat and steam. 

The steam at Laugarvatn has long been known for its presumed healing powers. The temperature changes based on natural conditions and ranges from 40°C to 50°C. Guests can enjoy natural steam right from the bowels of the earth

Have you ever visited the South Coast of Iceland? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Photo Credit: Siggi Sigurjons