Laugarvatn

The small village of Laugarvatn is popular with locals. PIC uTexas

The small village of Laugarvatn is popular with locals. PIC uTexas

The number one tourist thingy in Iceland is the so-called Golden Circle tour where people are taken to three of this country´s natural pearls all, incidentally, in close proximity to Reykjavik. This tour takes you to Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot spring area and Gullfoss waterfall. Some tours also stop at Kerid volcanic crater lake and Skalholt village. But more often than not your tour goes through the tiny village of Laugarvatn.

Laugarvatn could be translated as Bathwater for the reason that on the shores of this small lake used to be hot springs galore where you could warm yourself after taking a dip into the cold lake. Or, incidentally, wash your dirty clothes if you so cared. A big chunk of this is now, sadly, part of some fancy and expensive modern spa, and you will have to find other ways to warm after a swim unless you´re willing to fork out a fortune. However, some hot springs still remain out in the lake itself and it is possible to find warm currents at certain places while swimming.

a good place to unwind for a day or so

But although very, very small and not particularly easy on the eyes, this place is in fact quite a good place to unwind for a day or so. This actually used to be one of Iceland´s most popular place for camping and fun times by young people late in the last century.

Shores of lake Laugarvatn where you´ll find numerous hot springs if you search carefully. PIC Ben-Andreas Hardng

Shores of lake Laugarvatn where you´ll find numerous hot springs if you search carefully. PIC Ben-Andreas Hardng

But that is not the reason team Total Iceland actually recommends spending time here. Not at all. Quite a number of people still camp here over summertime. Most are family people and you should expect some noise from natural kids long into the evening.

This actually used to be one of Iceland´s most popular place for camping and fun

The attraction here is not the village itself but the eerie ambiance found right under Laugarvatnsfjall mountain. This shelters from the harshest winds coming from North and no wonder locals have made here on of the largest concentration of summerhouses and caravan areas in Iceland.

Trekking opportunities are endless and from the top of nearby mountains, most of which are relatively easy to climb, the view is priceless. It is the outdoors that is the most enchanting thing about Laugarvatn. Fishing is possible in the lake itself and also adjacent lake Apavatn. A small golf course is nearby too and even a small home-made art museum near the caravan area.

Services are limited and rather expensive but this can be overcome by bringing supplies with you. Apart from the Fontana spa club you have here a hotel and some guesthouses. A supermarket is found here also.

De Facto

Laugarvatn was for a long time one of the most popular vacation spots for locals in Iceland

Getting here

You can drive here straight from Thingvellir National Park by road 365 which is the more scenic one. Ultimately take the Ring Road from Reykjavik and right by Selfoss town turn on road 35 and continue along until you come to road 37. This will lead you straight to Laugarvatn. Time from Reykjavik is approx. 40 minutes.

Our humble opinion

We like this place for the relaxation bit although the village is nothing to shout about itself. Fantastic options for trekking and exploring in all directions


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