Forest Lagoon in Iceland: Your Guide

7 minute read

ITo Author Bio Adina Transparent

By Adina Lazar

31 May 2024

Woman swimming in Forest Lagoon

The Forest Lagoon is a geothermal spa on the outskirts of Akureyri. With gorgeous views across the Eyjafjörður fjord, you’ll find your own slice of heaven here.

From the soothing waters of the natural hot spring to the swim-up bars and bistro, the Forest Lagoon is the perfect place for some serious R&R. So let’s dive in and cover everything you need to know about this relaxing retreat. 

About the Forest Lagoon 

People bathing at Forest Lagoon

Tucked away in the birch and pine trees of Vaðlaskógur forest, the Forest Lagoon (Skógarböðin) is an idyllic retreat in the heart of nature. 

Opened in 2022, this cozy spa was designed by the same architects behind the famous Blue Lagoon. Read on to find out what to expect, how to get there, and all the details you need to know.

What is the Forest Lagoon?

The Forest Lagoon is a popular geothermal spa in the stunning North Iceland region. With 2 infinity pools overlooking one of Iceland’s longest fjords, it’s a great spot to recharge your batteries during your Icelandic adventures.

But what really makes the Forest Lagoon unique? It's the only geothermal spa in Iceland where you can bathe surrounded by trees and lush greenery.  

Where is the Forest Lagoon in Iceland?

You’ll find the Forest Lagoon spa 3.6 km (2.2 mi) southeast of Akureyri, a charming town and the main travel hub in northern Iceland. Its location just off the Ring Road (Route 1), Iceland’s main highway, makes it easy to get to.

The main street in Akureyri

If you’re traveling from Reykjavík, it’s about a 5–hour drive from the capital. The journey up the western coast to North Iceland takes you through some of the most dramatic scenery in the country! So you’ll definitely want to make a few pit stops to see waterfalls, hot springs, and other attractions along the way.

Is the Forest Lagoon natural?

The Forest Lagoon’s waters are fed by a natural hot spring that flows directly from the nearby Vaðlaheiði mountain. 

These geothermal waters keep the outdoor infinity pools at a steamy 40°C (104°F) throughout the year, even in the snowy winter weather. Imagine unwinding in the warm water after a day of snowmobiling on the nearby hills or visiting frosted waterfalls. 

Fun fact: The hot spring that feeds the Forest Lagoon was discovered by accident during a tunnel project connecting Akureyri and the nearby town of Húsavík!

How do you get to the Forest Lagoon, Akureyri?

The Forest Lagoon geothermal spa is just a 5-minute drive from the nearby town of Akureyri. 

If you’re driving, head south out of the city center. Drive past the botanical gardens before turning left onto Þjóðvegur (aka Route 1). Follow Route 1 until you've crossed the valley and are heading up into the Vaðlaskógur forest. 

You’ll find the spa at the end of the driveway off the main road in the forest.

If you don’t have a car, it's still easy to reach. You can catch the free Forest Lagoon bus, which picks up and drops off at the Hof Cultural Center in downtown Akureyri. Just remember to check the bus timetable before you set off.

Alternatively, you can order a taxi from Akureyri or you can even cycle up to the spa.

How much does it cost to get into the Forest Lagoon? 

Adults pay a full entrance fee, while children aged 6–15, seniors, and visitors with disabilities pay a reduced rate. 

The entrance gives you access to all the facilities, although you’ll have to pay for your food and drinks separately. If you’re visiting the lagoon with a young family, the good news is that children under 5 get in for free.

Do you need to book ahead?

Yes, you should book your visit to the Forest Lagoon in advance. This is because the spa has a limited number of guests that it can accommodate at any one time. 

So to avoid discovering that it’s sold out when you arrive, reserve your ticket beforehand.

When is the Forest Lagoon open?

The Forest Lagoon is open daily from 10 a.m. until midnight, so you can plan a daytime or evening visit. You can even grab a bite to eat and have a few drinks as you unwind at the spa.

What to expect when visiting the Forest Lagoon

If you haven’t visited the Forest Lagoon before, you’re in for a real treat. In fact, you may never want to leave!

With world-class spa facilities, a bistro, and 2 swim-up bars, it’s got everything you need to indulge your senses. Here’s what you need to know so that you’re well prepared for your visit.

How long should you stay at the Forest Lagoon?

You should schedule at least 2 hours to visit this geothermal spa. If you also want to grab a bite to eat at the Forest Bistro, you should set aside an extra hour or so. 

The Forest Lagoon facilities

The Forest Lagoon has 2 heated outdoor pools with swim-up bars and a convenient indoor entry — ideal for getting into the hot waters on a frosty winter day.

You can also enjoy a wood-cladded Finnish dry sauna with amazing mountain views and a cold tub for plunging afterward. Taking a dip in the 11°C (51.8°F) cold pool after sweating out the toxins really helps you maximize the health benefits.

The infinity pool’s swim-up bars have a great selection of drinks on offer. What’s more, there are even tables and seating in the water, so you don’t have to balance your drinks precariously on the side of the pool. 

Of course, no trip to the Forest Lagoon would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local and international cuisine at the on-site bistro.

The Forest Bistro 

With a cozy log-burning fire and a delicious menu, the Forest Bistro is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. As you refuel after your session in the pools and sauna, you can take in the views of the Eyjafjörður fjord in the valley below.

There’s something for everyone on the menu, including delicious veggie and vegan options, all packed with freshly sourced local ingredients. If you’d like to book a table at the bistro, then you’ll need to send them an email before your visit.

The kitchen serves a daily brunch menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and an evening menu from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There’s indoor seating for the winter, and a gorgeous outdoor area surrounded by the forest — just what you need for a warm summer evening.

Do you need to bring cash?

No, you don’t need to worry about carrying cash at the Forest Lagoon. When you arrive, you’ll get a wristband which you can use to make all your purchases, including food and drinks from the bistro and the swim-up bars. 

You can also use the wristband as a key for your personal locker in the changing rooms.

What is the spa etiquette in Iceland?

Before you enter the pools, you’ll need to take a shower without your swimwear. But don’t worry, there are spotlessly clean private showers with toiletries provided. You can also rent a towel for a small fee at reception or bring your own. 

What should you bring to the Forest Lagoon? 

The Forest Lagoon has great on-site facilities, but you should still pack a few essentials before you go, including:

  • Swimwear
  • A plastic bag for your wet swimwear
  • Water bottle to stay hydrated
  • A small bag with toiletries (deodorant, hair brush, etc)
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses for sunny days
  • Wallet

You’ll find the changing rooms have lockers, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and hair dryers. 

When is the best time to visit the Forest Lagoon?

The Forest Lagoon is a year-round attraction. In summer, you can enjoy the warm weather and unwind in the geothermal water under the midnight sun.

If you visit during the winter, you might see the otherworldly Northern Lights in the evening. When it snows, it’s absolutely dreamy to take in the scenery while soaking in the spa’s steaming hot waters.

Making the most of your time in North Iceland

Akureyri and the north of Iceland have a lot to offer visitors. And while you might be tempted to spend your entire vacation in the lap of luxury at the Forest Lagoon, there’s lots more to see and do in this remote region. 

From action-packed adventure in the pristine wilderness to marveling at the ethereal Northern Lights, it truly is a place like no other. You could explore volcanic Lake Mývatn, go whale watching in Húsavík , or visit Akureyri’s botanical gardens to learn all about the island’s native flora and fauna.

A whale breaching near Húsavík in Iceland

Of course, there are lots of other exciting things to experience in this part of Iceland. You could: 

  • Complete the Diamond Circle route
  • Marvel at jaw-dropping waterfalls, including Dettifoss and Goðafoss
  • Hike the trails in the lush Ásbyrgi glacial canyon
  • Venture to the Krafla caldera, one of Iceland’s most active geothermal areas
  • Spot puffins on the Tjörnes peninsula

Experience the Forest Lagoon with Iceland Tours 

Bathing in a geothermal spa is a must-do activity while you’re in the Land of Fire and Ice. And what better way to experience this than surrounded by a lush forest?

With Iceland Tours, you can easily add a visit to the Forest Lagoon to your trip. Plus, when you book a North Iceland & Akureyri vacation package with us, you get accommodation, local transport, and a detailed itinerary included.

All you need to decide is how you want to explore Iceland. Do you want to set your own pace on a self-drive tour or travel the country with like minded-adventurers on a guided group trip?

If you’re visiting Iceland in summer, you might even consider a camping itinerary so you can get close to nature.

No matter how you want to travel, we’ll make sure your trip is unforgettable. All it takes to secure your booking today is a 5% deposit.

ITo Author Bio Adina Transparent

About the author

Adina’s love for travel has led her to different corners of the world over the years. But Iceland’s unique beauty has a special place in her heart, so she’s decided to share it with the world! Next time she’s there, she plans to take a dip in the hot springs, spot some puffins, and collect a few Icelandic wool sweaters (lopapeysa) along the way. When she’s not writing, she loves being out in nature or cozying up with a good book.

View more posts by Adina

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