Iceland's New Forest Lagoon Is a Geothermal Spa Like No Other

Another day, another new Icelandic hot spring

Forest Lagoon

Basalt Architects

Just when you thought Iceland couldn't get any cooler (or, technically, warmer), the country has announced the unveiling of a new hot spring spa: Forest Lagoon, set to open by March 2022.

Also known as Skógarböð Geothermal Spa, the new lagoon results from a now-happy accident. Back in 2014, while working on the Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel—a 4.2-mile thoroughfare that would drastically shorten the distance between Akureyri and Húsavík in northern Iceland—crew members hit a previously undiscovered geothermal hot water source deep in Vaðlaheiði mountain. The discovery temporarily halted construction, but officials decided to put the spring to good use by redirecting its flow from the mountain into what is now known as Forest Lagoon.

The lagoon's pools and surrounding spa were constructed by Basalt Architects, the firm behind many other famous hot spring attractions in Iceland, including the Blue Lagoon and GeoSea in Húsavík. According to sources at Basalt Architects, the geothermal water continually flows through the baths and cascades over a 70-meter (230-foot) infinity edge. The main pool is divided into a larger bath with two swim-up bars, and a smaller raised bath at the south end. A cold pool has also been built into the side of the cliff, where naturally cool water trickles in from the creeks in the hillside.

As for the building, there is a relaxation room and sauna with a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and Eyjafjörður Fjord, as well as the Akureyri township and Hlíðarfjall ski resort across the fjord's water. There is also a changing facility that can accommodate up to 200 guests and a cozy restaurant with a central fireplace and views over the forest.

"The idea of striking a balance with the surroundings is very important in the Forest Lagoon," Hrólfur Karl Cela, architect at Basalt, told TripSavvy. "Being there should really be a kind of hybrid experience of geothermal- and forest-bathing."

The Forest Lagoon journey begins at sea level, where guests walk up a path through the forest as the building slowly reveals itself. The spa is set back into the mountains and incorporates the surrounding forest—a distinctly unique feature, Cela explains, as Iceland doesn't contain many wooded areas. The building is made of wood, has wood furnishings, and even features an open-roofed lightwell with a tree as you enter. The back of the building incorporates the rocks from the mountain, which guests walk past as they go through the changing rooms and enter the pools.

"Ultimately, the experience is about rejuvenation and psychological recovery in a beautiful, serene natural setting," said Cela.

While the exact opening date is still up in the air, tickets for Forest Lagoon are now available for purchase online. Prices start at 5,800 Icelandic krónur (about $46) for one guest, while a package for two guest tickets and two drinks is available for 13,900 Icelandic krónur (about $110).