Foss Geothermal Pool Akureyri

A Local's Guide to the Viral Foss Hot Spring (and Waterfall) close to Akureyri, Iceland

If you have been using TikTok to research things to do in Iceland, chances are that you have come across some videos of an amazing hot spring located on a cliff by a fjord, resembling an infinity pool. These videos usually do not contain a lot of helpful information, so here's all the practical stuff you might want to learn about before visiting.

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Nína Þorkelsdóttir

31. August 2021

The pool is a part of a stream, so the water continuously flows off the cliff, taking the form of a dramatic waterfall gushing into the ocean. Hence, photos and videos taken from the air, from a drone for instance, are absolutely breathtaking. That is probably why the pool is the hottest thing in Iceland right now.

From TikTok. The pic to the right shows how incredibly high the waterfall really is! Photo/Screenshot. 

One of Iceland’s most recent geothermal pools

You may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned what the hot spring is called. The reason is simple – it hasn’t got a name yet because it came into being just a few years ago.

Geothermal Pool, AkureyriWe came to the pool empty. This is not the big waterfall, it's just a part of the stream. Wonderguide/Nina.

The story behind it is quite interesting. In 2014, a tunnel was being constructed on Vaðlaheiði, just a few metres above the spot where the geothermal pool is currently located. During the construction, a controlled explosion caused a massive leak of natural geothermal water inside the tunnel, which caused major problems and delays for the project. The best solution turned out to be to drill holes in the tunnel walls to allow the warm water to flow unobstructed to the ocean below. In turn, a warm river plus a geothermal pool and a (warm) waterfall were created!

The newly emerged hot river immediately sparked interest amongst locals. Strategies on how to capitalize on this new natural wonder were discussed early on and in 2017, there was a competition on ways to exploit this new source of warm water.

Last year, the owners of an Icelandic holding company announced their plans on turning the natural geothermal pool into a geothermal spa, with the capacity of 180 guests at a time. There are already several such spas in various corners of Iceland, such as the Laugarvatn Fontana, the Sky Lagoon, the Blue Lagoon, Krauma and the GeoSea baths in Húsavík. I’m sure that the outcome will be nice, but a part of me thinks it’s such a pity to turn yet another natural source of warm water into a spa for tourists.

Anyway, you better enjoy it while it is still untouched!

Enjoying the view. I did not spot any whales this time. Wonderguide/Nina. 

The temperature is perfect for the Icelandic summer. Wonderguide/Nina.

Ahhhh, what a dream! Wonderguide/Nina.

How to plan your visit

The hot spring is located in the northern part of Iceland, which means that it is quite far away from the capital. However, it is close to Akureyri, which is the largest town in the region. On the maps below, you can take a closer look at its location. The pool has been named 'Foss' on Google Maps, but this is not a proper name. It's merely the Icelandic word for 'waterfall'. 

There are no signs by the road to indicate the exact location of the hot river/geothermal pool. But this is what you should do in order to get there: When you approach the mouth of the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel, there is a roundabout. Take the second exit. Drive for just a few seconds and then turn left on Hallandsnes road (there is a road sign that says ‘Skógar’). Drive a bit further and park next to the river. You then must ascend the hillside towards the ocean on foot to reach the actual pool.

A road sign.This is the road sign you should follow. Wonderguide/Nina.

As I mentioned earlier, there are no facilities (yet) by the pool. This means that you will have to change into your swimsuit behind a bush. It is not a very busy spot, but it may become more touristy when Covid-19 finally becomes a thing of the past. When I was there on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August, we had the pool for ourselves. We stayed there for around 10 minutes, just relaxing and enjoying the view.

It is important to be super cautions while bathing in the pool. The cliff below is incredibly steep and the fall is deadly. Plus, the fjord is full of whales (a “hazard” pointed out by my father-in-law 🤷🏻‍♀️). I don’t think it is a good idea to visit the pool after dark since you probably wouldn’t be able to identify the cliff edge.

The pool should be relatively clean because the water constantly flows from the source to the ocean. However, there is some mud and pond scum in the water, just as one would expect. I don’t think that’s something you need to worry about.

Finally, it is absolutely necessary to bring a plastic bag for any leftover rubbish since there are no trash bins in the area.

Enjoy your visit!