Guðlaug Baths

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Guðlaug Baths

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Guðlaug pool, a magnet for tourists and locals, is located in a popular outdoor and recreation area for the residents of Akranes, a small town near the capital region. The design is inspired by natural rock pools at Langisandur Beach, formed by the tides.

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Venue for travellers and locals
The idea behind the Guðlaug pool was to create a new attraction and strengthen the development of tourism in the area, while also addressing the needs of the local inhabitants who frequent the beach for sea swimming and other recreational activities. The design had to take into account the constant erosive forces of the ocean and the large tidal differences, also striving to minimize the negative effects of the intervention on the popular beach area. As a result, the pool is carefully nestled into a rocky breakwater barrier at the tangent point between sea and land.

Pools connected to land and sea

The project draws on Iceland's historic tradition of geothermal bathing, and the design is inspired by natural pools formed around rocks on the beach by the ocean tides. The pool is constructed within the breakwater barrier along the beach, where untreated geothermal water is channelled into the upper pool from a large spring located 60 kilometres to the northeast. Water overflows from the top pool into the one below, which is cooler in temperature and fills with seawater as the tide rises. The top platform serves as a roof and viewing deck for walking visitors. The location in the breakwater barrier minimises the impact on the site, and the pool now serves as an attraction and destination for travellers as well as local residents.

Key facts

  • Location

    Akranes, The Municipality of Akranes, W-Iceland

  • GPS points

    N64° 19' 4.174" W22° 3' 53.276"

  • Protection Framework

    Specific Local Municipal Spatial Planning Protection (Hverfisvernd)

  • Estimated number of visitors

    30,000 guests annually

  • High Season

  • Low Season

  • Project Owner

    The Municipality of Akranes

  • Designer

    Basalt Architects and Mannvit Engineering

  • Year of construction


  • Materials

    Marine-grade precast concrete units

  • Grants

    ISK 30,000,000 from the Tourist Site Protection Fund in 2017. The project was also funded by a memorial fund, with support from the local government.

  • Awards

    Environmental award from The Icelandic Tourist board in 2019 Nomination for the Concrete Prize in 2019