From the geothermal water and prime location to the vendors and seven-step Ritual, great thought went into every detail of Sky Lagoon. But the design of the experience was especially important and many of the design decisions were made to preserve and honour Icelandic tradition, heritage and history.

Here are three unique elements of Sky Lagoon and the historical significance that inspired them.


When the settlers arrived in Iceland, they brought with them a building style that could withstand the harsh realities of North Atlantic living. The technique involved cutting pieces of heavy swamp turf and stacking it tightly to create well-insulated accommodations. This technique developed into the beloved torfbæir or turfhouses still cherished today. 

These houses offered warmth and shelter through snow and even volcanic eruptions and are the reason Icelanders were able to survive on this remote island during extreme weather. While Iceland eventually moved away from turfhouses to more modern timber buildings, there’s still a sense of nostalgia around these houses as they’re often warmer and cozier than their newer counterparts. We’ve honoured this Icelandic tradition by reviving this ancient building technique and creating our own turfhouse at Sky Lagoon, as a way for guests to feel the comforting warmth of the turfhouse along with the natural hot water.


Our Klömbruhleðsla, or turf wall, is made from turf taken from swampy land that is turned into tiles. Our turf layer specialist, Guðjón, says that the Icelandic turf is especially great for constructing long-lasting buildings as the climate of the island, along with the many layers of volcanic ash in the ground, make the tiles even more compact and almost concrete-like.

The word Klambra means throng, or living in close quarters, much like the turf that our specialist has tightly puzzled together to create the beautiful herringbone pattern of the turf wall. This is the way the settlers, and later the growing Iceland population, used the Earth to build their homes. We’ve carried on this tradition by building our own Klömbruhleðsla, the mighty turf wall that catches your eye when you arrive at Sky Lagoon.

A group of workers stand against a turf wall, under construction.

Photo: Guðjón S. Kristinsson and his team in front of the turf wall.

The Cold Plunge

It’s no secret that our cold plunge, located near the turfhouse, is inspired by the ancient Snorralaug in Reykholt, West-Iceland. As one of the oldest known natural pools in Iceland, it has been the inspiration for other pools around Iceland for centuries. The name Snorralaug, comes from the world-famous Icelandic historian, politician and poet Snorri Sturluson, who is believed to have written some of the world’s best accounts about the Vikings. He had the pool built for his own enjoyment.  

A turfhouse with a pathway out to a small plunge pool.

Photo: Snorralaug pool in Reykholt.

Snorralaug in Reykholt is one of four natural pools from the Viking era that is still useable today. It is made entirely out of hewn stones, an idea we continued with at Sky Lagoon. The Cold Plunge provides a unique experience as the second step in the idyllic seven-step rejuvenating Sky Ritual. 

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