Seljavallalaug: Iceland’s Hidden Swimming Pool

Tucked in a narrow valley in South Iceland, a short hike away from the Ring Road that encircles the country, is an outdoor swimming—arguably, the most famous one in the country. It is nestled on the hillside, deep in the valley, surrounded by black volcanic sand and moss.

The Seljavallalaug pool was built in 1923 as a place where children could learn swimming. Iceland, despite being a country of fishermen with a deep connection to the sea, swimming was not widely practiced back then. Today, every child is taught it in school as a mandatory requirement.

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Image credit: Anna & Michal/Flickr


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