Strútslaug geothermal pool in the Highland
Updated: Apr 4
Iceland has numerous interesting natural geothermal pools that are accessible to people. In the Icelandic Highland, usually, the more impressive ones are located in remote and rugged places that are difficult to visit unless you are prepared to take a long 4X4 drive and a relatively long hike. These are places where boiling hot geothermal springs meet cold creeks; sometimes, the origin of the water is side by side. And sometimes the pair of springs—hot and cold—blend to form a natural pound filled with warm water in the middle of nowhere. One of those remarkable places is Strútslaug (the Ostrich pool). The origin of the name is a mystery as there are no Ostriches in Iceland and have never been.
Visiting Strútslaug geothermal pool takes some hiking:
Strútslaug is one of the most remote geothermal pools among the accessible ones in Iceland. Therefore, it is still a place only a few people visit. The temperature here is just perfect, and the pool is situated in a spectacular landscape with beautiful mountains on all sides close to the origin of the river Hólmsá. It is located deep in the Highland and requires a few hours' drive in a robust and well-equipped 4X4 vehicle. It is located near the highland road Syðri Fjallabak, which is hard to drive and access. If you are interested in this part of Iceland, it is advisable to hire a local guide. Near the beautiful mountain Mælifell, there is a turn to the north to Strútur mountain and mountain hut. From the hut, it is an approximately seven-kilometer hike to the pool. Overall, the walk, including the dip in the pool, takes about four to five hours. But the time passes quickly as the hike is through a beautiful landscape by the mountain Strútur.
How to go to Strútslaug:
To enter the area called Fjallabak Syðri, you can take one of six highland roads. All are difficult roads with rivers to cross or steep mountains to climb. One of the most accessible routes is from the Ring Road east of Vík, where you turn north on Hrífunesvegur (Road Nr. 209). Just a few kilometers up the road, you take a turn west on Öldufellsleið mountain road (F232). Near Brytalækir, a sign leads west to Mælifell mountain on Mælifellssandur. You then drive past the mountain Mælifell over the river Brennivínskvísl and take a turn north on the dirt road to Strútur. The whole trip is about 50 kilometers on a rough dirt road that requires a good 4X4 vehicle.