There are pools and hot pots all over Iceland. Thanks to all the geothermal energy resting under our feet and creating natural hot rivers and hot pots to relax. I can not imagine a better way to relax after a long day of hiking and exploring beautiful Icelandic nature. Vök Baths are definitely one of the kind. I see pictures of them on social media all the time and I always wanted to visit. That is exactly what I did during my recent trip through East Fjords.
East Iceland is probably my favorite part of the island – narrow beautiful fjords, rugged, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and fishing villages. What’s not to love? East Iceland is one of the least populated regions which means less human impact and more of raw and untouched nature. The biggest city in the region is Egilsstadir – a popular destination for locals and tourists, and conveniently just a short drive from the town are Vök Baths.
Discover the only floating hot pots in Iceland
Iceland is famous for its geothermal activity, but not the eastern part. Hot springs are quite rare in this region. However, throughout many years, people noticed Lake Urridavatn doesn’t freeze in particular places during wintertime. They called these ice-free places Vök. People believed that there was a monster living in the lake that either melted or broke the ice. It wouldn’t be too strange to think that since Iceland has a rich history of seeing lake & sea monsters. Later it was discovered it is due to underwater hot springs from the depths of the lake. Vök Baths have designed floating pools above the areas of ice-free patches. Therefore, visitors can fully immerse themselves in its beauty and enjoy the surrounding nature.
It is a must-visit spot, especially after a long day driving through East Fjords or a spectacular hike to Iceland´s third-highest waterfall Hengifoss. I cannot imagine a better way to rest your body and mind than visiting this hidden gem. We visited after spending all day driving from Höfn to Egilsstadir. It was an unseasonably hot day, and I was looking forward to getting out of the car and spending the evening soaking in the hot pots.
Relaxing evening at Vök Baths
Once you make your way through the locker rooms, following the Icelandic pool etiquette, you will enter a shallow on-shore pool connected to the bar where you can grab a drink. Don’t forget to stay hydrated while soaking in hot baths! But, we didn’t come there to sit in another on-shore pool; we wanted to soak in the floating pools, so we quickly made our way to those. The wooden panels can be slippery, so be careful.
Once in the pool, I noticed ladders going on the sides of the pools straight to the lake. People of all ages – from children to adults to seniors – were swimming around the pools in the lake Urridavatn. Well, I figured, it must not be that cold. So, I went straight to one of those ladders and lowered myself to cold lake water. Was it freezing? No, but a) I was soaking in hot water for a while, and b) It was a hot day in Iceland. However, I would only last up to a couple of minutes before coming back to the hot baths, which felt like a warm blanket after a cold lake.
It is hard to say how much time we spend there, me jumping in and out of the lake. I have to say – it is the best way to energize yourself. Hot baths at the end of the long day are great and will relax you, but try it mix it up with some cold water. If you are too scared of the lake monster, or you are not a great swimmer – you can warm up in the steam baths and cool down in the cold tunnel with a mist shower afterward.
Respect for the environment and sustainability
According to Vök Team, they “make a determined effort to avoid all use and disposal of plastic where possible, and packaging is organic and recyclable. Most of the wooden features at Vök are made from ethically sourced trees raised and felled in East Iceland.” Included in everybody’s admission fee is access to Vök Tea Bar. Here you can explore a selection of locally sourced herbal teas, brewed with the only certified drinkable hot water from lake Urridavatn. I love that the tea is served in reusable cups.
If you feel hungry, there is a bistro on-site offering soups, salads, and desserts. All locally sourced where possible – vök bistro works with neighboring farmers and offers the best and freshest seasonal components.
Where to find them
Due to popular demand and limited availability of tickets, they recommend booking your tickets online in advance. If you are traveling with Happy Campers, get a unique bathing experience with 10% off.
Vök við Urriðavatn