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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Grettislaug geothermal pool

Updated: Dec 27, 2022


Grettislaug geothermal pool in Skagafjörður fjord
Grettislaug geothermal pool in Skagafjörður fjord

There are many natural hot pools in Iceland. Most of these pools that draw attraction are natural geothermal hot springs that blend in with a small creek or a cold stream out in nature and mix into a bearable temperature. One of the most popular and well-known is the pool in Landmannalaugar in the Highland or the more remotely-located one called Strútslaug. Usually, those natural pools are made by nature, without any or little help from man. On the other hand, some pools like Grettislaug are made and built by men. Most of these pools have been around as long as anyone can remember and are even mentioned in our literature. The most famous one used for relaxation and well-being is Snorralaug, which was often used by the famous writer and chieftain Snorri Sturluson at his home in Reykholt in the early 13th century.

Map of North West Region in Iceland
Map of North West Region in Iceland

Grettir: the strongest man who ever lived in Iceland

Jarlslaug geothermal pool
Jarlslaug geothermal pool

At the Reykjaströnd shoreline in Skagafjörður fjord on the farm Reykir, which is 40 kilometers or 25 miles from the Ring Road at Varmahlíð, when you turn north on Road nr. 75, you will find two small pools. One is called Grettislaug (the pool of Grettir) and the other one, Jarlslaug (the Earl´s pool). Grettislaug refers to Grettir, who was regarded as the strongest man in the Icelandic Sagas, and Jarlslaug refers to the farmer Jón Eiríksson, who passed away just recently and was kind of a legend. He earned his nickname Jarl or Earl because of his countless tours and knowledge of the rock island Drangey. Jón was given the name ‘the Earl of Drangey’ by his friends and the public.


Man-made pools at Reykir

Geothermal pool in Skagafjörður fjord
Geothermal pool in Skagafjörður fjord

As the owner of the farm Reykir, Jón built both pools using natural springs with water coming exactly at the right temperature from the ground. Hot Springs have been there for hundreds of years. According to the saga about Grettir, there was a pool or a hot spring in that place around 1100 years ago. Then, Grettir swam from Drangey island to the shore. Reykir and the two man-made pools are a great place to stop and rest, while enjoying the beautiful landscape in Skagafjörður. You will also have a great view of Drangey, and it is ideal to read the saga Grettissaga before you dip into the pool Grettislaug. You can only imagine how relaxing it must have been for Grettir to come from the cold sea from the rock Drangey and rest for hours in the hot spring. Unfortunately, for the infamous outlaw, who was renowned for his strength and dominating presence, a secret was reviled. The day after when he was lying inside the house at Reykir, two women came into the room and saw him naked on the bed. To their dismay, he was as massive as expected but as discussed between them, they were quite embarrassed by how "small he was built downwards." Possibly, that was the root of his endless problems!

For those who are interested in dipping into the pool, there are fine facilities at Reykir to change into a swimming suit. You can also visit Grettislaug, a hot pool, which is located around 30 kilometers north of Sauðárkrókur, where you can relax and camp at Reykir.


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