Why the Beer Spa Must Be on Your Iceland Travel List

Why the Beer Spa Must Be on Your Iceland Travel List

By Chris Ayliffe



When you’re planning a trip to Iceland, the idea of taking a bath in a load of beer isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, when you dig a little deeper into some of the unbelievable things you can do in Iceland, you realise it isn’t any ordinary country.


With an abundance of dramatic fjords, mountains, volcanos, glaciers, waterfalls, black sand beaches and the most alien of landscapes, you’ll find a new adventure looking behind every corner and crevice of the island. Whether you’ve decided to take an Iceland self-drive tour, join a package deal or take to the road all by yourself, you’ll be sure to find some unbelievable locations. 


However, when it comes to unwinding after those long and rewarding days, nothing beats trying something a little out of the ordinary. 


In this blog, I’ll explain exactly why you need to include a visit to the Beer Spa on your travel list to Iceland whilst answering all your questions about the facilities, when to come, what you’ll experience, and the surrounding beauty of the Tröllaskagi peninsula and neighbouring traveller trails.


Let’s hop right into it (pun very much intended!)

What is the Beer Spa?


The Beer Spa (or ‘Bjórböðin’ as it’s known in Icelandic) is a quirky retreat that opened near the village of Árskógssandur, midway up the Tröllaskagi peninsula’s east coast, in 2017.


As the name suggests, you will have the opportunity to bathe in a bathtub full of beer. Yes, I meant what I wrote, and let me reiterate - you will bathe in a bathtub of beer!


Now, for many of us this will be the ultimate fantasy come to life, so can you guess how it’s made even better? Yes, you’ve got it, you can even chill out in a bathtub of beer, water, hops and yeast with a nice cold one in hand (don’t say we’re not good to you in Iceland!)


There are only 7 bathtubs at this exclusive attraction which can fit up to 2 people in each. You will bathe in the beer for 25 minutes before making your way to the relaxation room where you’ll have the chance to unwind for a further 25 minutes.

What’s in the Water?



It’s a mixture of beer, water, hops and yeast. Essentially, you’re bathing in a both young beer and liver beer yeast, which without showering it off for some hours later can have a powerful effect on the body and skin.


No, you won’t suddenly have a night like Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis in the Hangover movie. Instead, this treatment is both cleansing for the skin and is proved to provide a positive effect on health.


It’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else, and sitting in this beautiful, quiet and natural setting, it’s an activity you simply won’t want to miss.


Many people get to see the Northern Lights or the midnight sun on a trip to Iceland, but how many people can go home telling their friends they literally bathed in a bathtub full of beer? It’s a no brainer!

Where is the Beer Spa?


Only a short drive away from the better-known town of Dalvik, the Beer Spa is situated just outside the village of Árskógssandur on the east coast of the Tröllaskagi Peninsula.


Sitting on the cusp of the beautifully untouched and picturesque Eyjafjörður fjord provides the perfect setting for a period of relaxation amidst the adventures of exploring Iceland’s rugged coastlines.


This is the perfect stop off if you are planning on circumnavigating the peninsula. Whether you are exploring from the east to stay in the charming neighbouring towns of Dalvik or Siglufjörður, or heading south having started your journey in the west to rest up in Akureyri, you can easily include the Beer Spa as an activity in your day.


It’s worth following the simple equation of ‘beer spa + fjord = relaxation’, which is a proven success metric for a huge selection of happy travellers!

Will the Beer Bath Make You Drunk?


Absolutely not.


As mentioned above, you’re bathing in a combination of young beer and live beer yeast, which though having a fantastic alluring aroma, you won’t be able to drink it nor will your skin's contact induce drunkenness.


You can and should, however, take advantage of the beer we have available for you to try at the spa. Though alcohol of any kind was illegal to sell in Iceland between 1915 - 1989, Iceland now hosts a growing craft beer industry. We’re biased, but we think North Iceland produces far better beer than our fellow compatriots down in Reykjavik and South Iceland.


If your dates for visiting Iceland include March 1st, you will even get the chance to experience Beer Day. This is a celebration of the end of Iceland’s prohibition and a fantastic time to try some of the tantalising Icelandic beers.

When Should You Visit the Beer Spa?

The Beer Spa is open all year round, so when you would like to visit is totally up to you.


Like much of Iceland, the seasons massively transform your experience. From the snow-covered winter wonderland settings of the winter months (September - April) to the long daylight hours under the midnight sun in the summer season (May - August), you’ll be spoiled for choice.


Frankly, it’s so different, that you’ll want to check it out in both seasons. 

A Visit in Winter


Imagine unwinding after a long day of exploring the otherworldly winter wonderland landscapes of Iceland’s North with a dip in the beer spa, followed by relaxing in one of the outdoor hot tubs in the crisp air of the colder dark days. 


Looking across the view towards Hrísey island, mountains and Þorvalds valley, you may even get extra lucky with a show from the spectacular Northern Lights.


After all, North Iceland is the undisputed home of the Aurora Borealis, with the most surreal environments and untouched locations to watch this dramatic show unfold. Why not watch it in style amidst a stunning winter in Iceland?


Afterwards, you could either warm up in the outdoor sauna or head inside and sample some more of the local beers, or even try some of the delicious hearty food in the in-house restaurant.

A Visit in Summer


With summer comes the incredibly long daylight hours here in Iceland. It’s the perfect time to travel around the island with optimum conditions and more hours in the day to check out some of the stunning sights and sounds.


If you plan to visit the Beer Spa after a day of exploration, you’ll have the advantage of the incredible natural panoramic views around you. It’s a wonderful and quirky location to embrace the perfect balance of nature and restoration into your day.


The midnight sun will take away the stress of heading to your accommodation before nightfall. Why? Because in the summer season, Iceland experiences no actual darkness until the latter half of August (and even then, it’s not much!)


Whichever season you’re travelling in, I’m confident you’ll want to come back during the other!

What is There to See in the Surrounding Area?

In case you can’t tell already, I’m a massive fan of North Iceland.


In my opinion, it has some of the most impressive sites and trails of the whole country, often neglected by regular travellers to our shores.


If I was to summarise the region in a quote, I would say North Iceland is like South Iceland on steroids! The attractions are bigger, the routes are more dramatic, and the adventures are that much more enticing.


If you’re planning on exploring North Iceland and stopping by the Beer Spa on your way it’s likely you will be taking one of the following three routes: circumnavigating the Tröllaskagi peninsula, heading west after completing the Diamond Circle, or journeying through the Arctic Coast Way.

Travelling Round the Tröllaskagi Peninsula  


The Tröllaskagi peninsula is rich in folklore, sites and natural attractions that most travellers don’t have the time to fully explore. So, let me tell you the highlights and why it’s well worth adding an extra day or two to your trip to include this dramatic part of the country.


As one of the most mountainous regions in the whole of Iceland, your journey will take you through a selection of quaint fishing towns, some dramatic views, and even some adrenaline pumping drives.


For instance, if you take the time to check out the town of Dalvik, a short drive north from the Beer Spa, you can take the opportunity to join a once in a lifetime whale watching tour. As Eyjafjörður fjord provides one of the most luscious feeding grounds for the likes of humpback whales, you will have roughly a 98% chance of capturing sight of one of these delightful creatures of the deep.


Source: Hofsós Swimming Pool. Wikimedia. CC. Danapit.


At the tip of the peninsula is the town of Siglufjörður, sitting in the base of a fjord with a chorus of surrounding dramatic mountain peaks. Though a small fishing town with an interesting Herring Era museum, the setting itself is almost disney-like in appearance with a selection of beautiful hikes that offer great perspectives of the town and adjacent fjord. 


On the west side of the peninsula you have the charming town of Hofsós, most renowned for its geothermal swimming pool on the coast. This is a great stop to take a quick dip and gaze out at the beautiful mountainous terrain across the bay in front of you.

Exploring the Diamond Circle


In combat to the Golden Circle of the South, North Iceland hosts the dramatic Diamond Circle trail.


This involves four key stops. Depending on the trajectory of travel, the first stop will take you to Goðafoss waterfall, a short distance from the city of Akureyri. 


This waterfall is named after the famous lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði. Legend has it that after returning from a meeting with the Alþingi (Iceland’s parliament) and deciding to make Christianity the official religion of Iceland, Þorgeir cast his Norse idol statues into the waterfall where it earned its name.


Next up is the glorious region of Mývatn. 


Filled with an abundance of flora and fauna in summer, and snow-covered mountains and an ice-covered lake in summer, this volcanic region is rife with character and sites to see. Make sure to step off the beaten path and check out the famous black fortress of Dimmuborgir, the hidden Grjótagjá hot spring, and the powerful steams of volcanism at Hverir.



Next, you’ll witness Iceland's most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, as well as the famous horse-shoe shaped canyon and notorious capital of the hidden people, Ásbyrgi. Take your time at both of these locations, and gather some great snaps of more of Iceland’s tremendous nature.


Last up is the lovely fishing town of Húsavík. Though most recently, more synonymous with the latest Will Ferell comedy classic (Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga), it’s best known as ‘the whale watching capital of Europe’. With an abundance of marine life and a selection of delightful tours, you won’t want to miss a classic whale watching tour from Húsavík on your trip to North Iceland.