Geothermal swimming pools for Icelanders are like a sauna for Finns. This is not just a leisure activity, it is one of the pillars of the local culture. In Iceland, there are about 200 swimming pools, probably more than in any other country per head of population.
For Icelanders pool is a meeting place, where you spend some time gossiping with friends in a relaxed atmosphere and in the warm water of the perfect temperature, no matter how cold outside. 160 of the pools are geothermal (underground heat) while the rest are heated using oil or electricity. 30 pools are not open to public (swimming pools of schools, for example). In addition to those, Iceland has dozens of hot natural pools.
The Northern Lights
Almost all Icelanders know how to swim. All the children starting from the first grade and throughout the primary school period have swimming lessons twice a week. Swimming is perceived as an ideal form of sports and in generally, Iceland is one big public spa with Jacuzzis, saunas and massages in addition to the regular pools.
Despite the cold, swimming pools under the sky rooftop is common, heating costs are relatively tiny. Data for 2002 shows that the average Icelander visited a swimming pool 15 times a year.
Many camping hikers use the showers at the swimming pools to save on hotel accommodation costs.
The average entry price to the swimming pools is approximately 550 Icelandic Kronas to experience the Icelandic way of life. A visit to one of the swimming pools in Iceland is definitely recommended! And do not skip the Jacuzzi, it's the best.
Geothermal energy is one of the most important natural resources in Iceland. This kind of energy is approximately 60% of the total energy consumed in the country. Icelanders also understand the need to maintain and develop this precious resource carefully. Geothermal power plants reduce the need for hydroelectric facilities, thereby providing the required energy with less environmental damage.
Icelanders are very strict about bathing with soap without swimwear before entering the pools. Every pool has a soap and some even have a supervisor who would not be ashamed to tell you to wash yourself (if you forgot). There are separate showers for men and women. In Iceland, nude bathing is not practiced.