Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Travel Experiences: Iceland's gems (Pt 3...the secret)

When I started writing about my travel adventures and food in Iceland, I promised I would let you in on a little 'secret'. It's not a big secret, but not many people know about this place and it's a little gem where most tourists don't bother to venture to whilst ticking off their lists.

The said place is called Seljavallalaug, a swimming pool built in 1923 for the purpose of providing a place for locals to learn to swim. It's beautifully nestled between a narrow valley by the Eyjafjallajokull mountain, and is mostly maintained by the villagers nearby. It was terribly covered in ashes after the 2010 eruption and the volunteers did an amazing job in restoring it. It's actually built right next to a rock and the water comes from a natural hot spring nearby (so warm!!). It's free and there are little dressing rooms next to it, although they're not the cleanest but are convenient. There are no showers but it all adds to the wild nature feel of it all! All you have to do when you get there is be respectful, not drink alcohol and enjoy yourself.

Whilst driving in the direction from Reykjavik (Road 1) and towards the Golden Circle, you will need to turn into road 242 called Raufarfell. It will be right after the small waterfall. Keep driving until you see a sign that says Seljavellir and continue up the road until you find a parking space on the rocky end of the road (and past some people's houses). If you see a new swimming pool obviously ignore it and go past!

From there you need to walk towards the mountain and the little stream that you can see sticking out of it. Keep walking for about 15-20 minutes and go past the water tank, and you should see the swimming pool around that corner. Whilst walking you might feel like you are in the wring place or just not reaching the pool but just keep going and you will see! The stream is on the same route and it's all a little rocky but a fairly easy walk for anyone...just be careful where you step due to erosion. Good luck!

Photo taken by my friend Anna Asthildur

Once you park near the houses, start walking towards the water trail

Keeeeeeep walking and walk past this massive tank...

And ta-dah! You're there! 


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