Dreaming of a trip to Iceland? If indulging in Norse culture and soaking in geothermal pools is on your bucket list, you don't necessarily have to leave Canada to do it.
You can get a taste of Nordic wellness traditions right here at home by visiting one of the many Nordic spas in Canada that offer similar rituals to those found in Iceland.
Bathing in open hot pools has long been a tradition in Iceland, going back centuries. The country is perhaps most known for its Blue Lagoon, but many say an even better experience can be had at Iceland’s Sky Lagoon, a well-known spa on the outskirts of Reykjavik.
The Sky Lagoon offers a multi-step ritual that is "deeply rooted in Icelandic bathing culture," promoting alternating between periods of hot, cold and rest to relax and rejuvenate.
If this sounds like the perfect way to unwind, you don't have to fly to Iceland to experience it — you can find the same thing here at home.
Featuring spas with locations embedded in nature and Nordic rituals, here are six Canadian spas where you can get a taste of Icelandic culture.
Price: Rates starting at $90 for thermal experience
Address: 16 Chemin Nordik, Chelsea, QC
Why You Need To Go: Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Quebec, is an oasis with thermal pools that will make you feel like you're relaxing in the hot springs of Iceland.
The spa, which can be found in the Outaouais region on the outskirts of Gatineau Park, has 10 outdoor baths and nine saunas in which you can rejuvenate and relax.
It's also home to a saltwater flotation pool that's said to be "better than the Dead Sea."
If you want to stay a bit longer, you can reserve the spa's Nordic Lodge or Alpine Lodge to spend the night. While you're here, be sure to hit up the spa's on-site restaurants for specialty Nordik cocktails, beer and dishes created with local ingredients.
Price: Rates starting at $135 per person for thermal journey
Address: 8010 Mons Rd., Whistler, BC
Why You Need To Go: Encircled by an old-growth rainforest and nestled within mountain vistas, Scandinave Spa Whistler offers relaxation and tranquillity surrounded by nature.
Here, you can embark on a classic Nordic relaxation ritual of going from hot to cold to rest with the spa's thermal experience.
The experience begins with heat — spend 15 minutes (or try to) in the spa's dry sauna, the hottest installation of the thermal journey. Afterward, take a quick cold plunge to close the pores of the skin and release muscle tension. Follow these steps with a moment of complete rest (and maybe some meditation) for the ultimate way to unwind.
If Whistler is a bit out of reach, you can also head to the Scadinave Spa Blue Mountain in Ontario, or the Scadinave Spa Mont-Tremblant in Quebec.
Accessibility: Accessible massage rooms and changing rooms available. Some accessible thermal installations, see website for details.
Price: Rates starting at $89 per person for hydrotherapy experience
Address: 3210 Line 3 N., Oro-Medonte, ON
Why You Need To Go: Vetta Spa in Oro-Medonte offers a traditional Finnish spa experience featuring massages, saunas, and hydrotherapy.
The four-season spa offers the traditional cycle of hot, cold, rest and repeat, with options for heat including signature scented steam rooms, electric and wood-burning saunas and a hot stone room.
For cold experiences, the spa has a cold plunge pool and cold plunge bucket to cool off with. For relaxing, you can soak in one of the spa's warm pools, unwind in one of the relaxation rooms with gas or wood-burning fires, or book yourself a massage.
There are many options for snacking and dining on-site, including Koivu, a Finnish-inspired restaurant surrounded by nature.
Price: Rates starting at $59 for thermal experience
Address: 515 Champlain Blvd., Quebec City, QC
Why You Need To Go: The setting of Quebec City's Strøm Spa is definitely reminiscent of Iceland's Sky Lagoon, combining the relaxation of the thermal bath with a stunning view of a natural body of water.
While in Iceland, you'd gaze out at the ocean while soaking, at Strøm Spa, you'll be surrounded by the magnificence and tranquility of the St. Lawrence River.
Here, you can partake in a thermotherapy experience of alternating between hot and cold temperatures followed by a period of deep relaxation for as little as $59.
There are also traditional and specialized types of massage therapy on offer, as well as a host of body and facial treatments.
Accessibility: Access for people with reduced mobility may vary. Guests are advised to contact Strøm Spa's customer service for details.
Kananaskis Nordic Spa
Price: Rates starting at $119+ per person for hydrotherapy
Address: 1 Centennial Dr., Kananaskis Village, AB.
Why You Need To Go: This spa is a slice of Nordic relaxation culture set in the Rocky Mountains. The spa, which is actually Alberta's first Nordic spa, provides "a Canadian perspective on the Nordic way-to-wellness," with a design that was inspired by the elements of the region.
The spa is designed to encourage an "effortless connection to nature." Adopting the classic Nordic wellness ritual of hot, cold, rest and repeat, the spa is home to five outdoor pools (including hot pools and a cold plunge pool) and six saunas and steam cabins where you can take advantage of hydrotherapy.
There's also an exfoliation cabin where you can get an exfoliating body scrub and eight massage treatment rooms where you can unwind.
Accessibility: Accessible-friendly locker rooms, showers, and massage treatment rooms; some facilities accessed by stairs only.
Price: Rates starting at $79 for thermal experience
Address: 775 Crescent Dr., Winnipeg, MB
Why You Need To Go: Just a few minutes from downtown Winnipeg, Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature features thermotherapy facilities inspired by Scandinavian traditions.
The spa's signature thermal experience involves the classic cycle of hot, cold and rest you'd find in Iceland.
With nearby accommodations, the spa is a great place to get away for a while and enjoy some rejuvenation.
Resto, an on-site lounge, offers gourmet meals using locally sourced ingredients, as well as a selection of wines, cocktails and beer that you can enjoy without even needing to change out of your robe.
Accessibility: Accessible areas of site, including thermal cycle.
These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.