Iceland is a volcanic island with lots of geothermal activity. With abundant geothermal activity, geothermal power facilities currently generate 25% of Iceland’s total electricity production.* This sustainable natural resource creates renewable energy, it is also the source of hot spring.
This is my favorite hot spring in Iceland.
There are numerous hot springs in Iceland, including the world-famous Blue Lagoon or Mývatn Nature Baths. What is so special about this one? This hot spring is free of charge, also unlike most hot springs which are usually like a lake, this one is a hot spring river with a constant stream. The Icelandic name “Reykjadalur” translates to ‘Steam Valley’ in English, a pretty poetic name.
The closest town to Reykjadalur is Hveragerði, it is a 45-minute drive from downtown Reykjavik, which makes it a perfect half-day or a day-trip from Reykjavik. In order to get to Reykjadalur, it is a 40 – 60 mins hike from the car park in Hveragerði. The hiking route goes all the way up to the stream valley, up in the mountain.
It was a sunny day in May. In order to avoid the crowd in the afternoon, we started around 8 pm, so the sun was setting low. Due to the midnight sun in Iceland during summer, the sky won’t get dark until midnight, so even we started at evening, we still had a few hours to explore the area.
The scenery along the hike is incredible, it is not too difficult and really enjoyable. You can see mountains with colors of mainly green and brown. The hiking is very scenic. You can see valleys, waterfalls, little river streams, geysers with boiling water and mud en route.
There is only one trail along the way so it is impossible to get lost! Just follow the marked path. We met some people going up and going down the mountain, it is a popular hike among tourists and locals as well.
The higher you get, the closer you are to the thermal bath. Right before you reach the hot spring, It is a beautiful valley, with a lot of geysers. Some geysers are pretty hot and are up to 100 degrees, so be careful and not to get too close. We had to go through some smoke from the geysers on the way, just was pretty interesting.
When we got there, there are already some people enjoying the bath. Some locals bring soft drink or beer to enjoy while bathing in the hot spring, I should have done the same!
There are lots of people in the area, some are in the bath, some are not. In general Iceland is pretty safe with very low crime rate, however, please look after your valuables. If you are in the baths, cover your stuff with your clothing and best to put them not too far from you, so you can keep an eye on them.
Once I got there, I can’t wait to dive in! The water was pretty warm, around 35 – 40 degrees, you can see smoke coming from the hot spring river. It was so relaxing to be in the thermal bath, especially after an hour hike. The scenery in the valley was just stunning. I could have spent the whole afternoon there just to chill and relax.
After a refreshing bath, hike back the same route down to the car park. On the way back, the scenery didn’t change but I certainly felt a lot happier after doing the hike and the bath.
I would highly recommend this hiking trail even if you are not into thermal baths. You can bring some food and drink to have a picnic in the area near the hot spring! The experience is truly amazing!
Hiking in Reykjadalur
Difficulty: Moderate - 4/10 The time needed: 40 to 60 minute Distant: 3.5km each way, 7km return Elevation gain: 208m Best months to hike: May to September Permit: Not required Park fee: Not required Toilet en route: No
- Protect nature
Keep nature as clean as it is and
donot leave any trash near the bath or along the hiking route.
- Walk on marked paths only to protect vegetation.
yourselfthoroughly before the hike so you are a bit clean before diving into the bath.
- Wear swimsuit before the hike
There is no changing room, only some small partition with very little privacy. Wear your swimsuit before you start hiking so you don’t have to change there.
- Bring a towel
To dry yourself after a bath.
- Bring a waterproof bag to store your stuff, and plastic bags to keep your wet stuff after use.
- The temperature of the thermal bath is usually around 36-40 degrees.
- Bring some food and drink to enjoy in the valley or during a bath.
- It is best to wear hiking shoes, it is ok to wear sneakers but please be careful.
- Parking is free.
- The hike is popular, so if you wish to avoid the crowds, get there very early in the morning around 8
How to go to Reykjadalur?
- By Car
From Reykjavik, join route 1 (the Ring Road) to the Hveragerði. Pass through the town of Hveragerði, drive to the car park Parkplatz Reykjadalur near the trailhead.
- By bus
You can get to the town of Hveragerði by bus. Check out the timetable and route at here. Once you get off the bus in Hveragerði, you need to walk to the trailhead on your own, which might add another 40 minutes or so one way.
- Join a local tour
If you are not driving and don’t want all the hassle to plan your visit in Reujadalur, join a local tour! Simply get on the tour bus in the morning, join a small group with an experienced local guide. Book your tour here.
Like it？Pin it！↡