Reykjadalur Hot Spring Hiking Tour
Go hiking to the scenic Reykjadalur, or Steam Valley, for bathing in natural hot springs. Choose between being picked up from Reykjavik and meeting us in Hveragerdi town for this hot spring adventure tour. Hot water from the Hengill geothermal area provides natural hot pools, and you'll experience a rich variety of natural hot springs surrounded by wild nature in the valley during your 7km hike. Go nature hiking and hot spring bathing on this best value tour!
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- Available: All year
- Duration: 7 hours
- Activities: Hiking, Hot Spring Bathing
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum age: 10 years old
- Languages: English
South Iceland is the most popular part of the country and contains some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland, among them the Golden Circle, some of Iceland's most famous active volcanoes as well as the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
South Iceland is usually divided into the fertile South Icelandic lowlands between Hellisheidi and Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the one hand - and on the other hand the eastern part with the big volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull (home of Katla) and flattened sands stretching towards the sea.
The South Icelandic lowlands
The South Icelandic Lowlands stretch nearly 100 km from Hellisheidi in the west towards Eyjafjallajokull in the east as a very flat and fertile farming land. From the shore the lowland stretches about km towards the inland. This is the best agriculture area in Iceland. The whole area is geologically very young, mainly of tuff type, formed during the Ice Age by the lava flows of the numerous volcanoes of the area. The area is indeed surrounded by volcanically active mountains on all sides. The glacier rivers of the area have helped filling the lavas with sand and clay, leaving it more and less smooth and fertile. Very strong earthquakes are found in this area as well.
The most active volcanoes of the area are Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull. No less active and not far off, but on the east side, is Katla, which we’ll adress in the eastern part-section. South of the mainland are the volcanic Westman Islands, famous for the 1973 eruption as well as the eruption in 1963, when Surtsey island was formed. Closely linked to the volcanic activity in the south is the geothermal heat found in many places, the best known being the Geysir area, which forms a part of the famed Golden Circle, which also consists of Gullfoss waterfall , Iceland's most famous waterfall as well as one of its most beautiful, located in the popular rafting river Hvita and Thingvellir National Park, comprising three of Iceland's most beloved natural attractions.
The earthquakes of the area bear witness to the fact that Iceland is still in shape. This is further evidenced by the endless number of fissures in the lavas, fractures in the mountains and certain pieces of lands sinking. The area of Thingvellir is the best known example of this, showcasing the continental drift. Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of the old parliament, Althingi, (now situated in Reykjavik) and one of Iceland's most important sites.
Another of Iceland's most popular attractions is the beautiful Thorsmork valley, situated between Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull.
Natural harbour-sites are hardly any on the South shore, due to sand produced by the glacier rivers. A few towns are found in the area, Selfoss being the biggest one, Hveragerdi is another, then there are Hella and Hvolsvollur, all conveniently located by the ring road. By the shore are three fishing villages; Thorlakshofn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri. Thorlakshofn the only one of those that can accommodate modern ships and ferrys. The ferry to the Westman Islands sails from there. A new harbour has been built on the sandy coast opposite the Westman Islands. The whole south shoreline offers some of the most gigantic braker waves that you are likely to see.
Culturewise, in addition to Thingvellir, we reccomend the ancient bishop seat of Skalholt (weekends at Skalholt further offer rich music life). Also, Iceland's most famous saga, Njal's saga takes place in the South lowlands. We further recommend the large reconstructed turfhouse near Stong and the ancient excavated ruins.
For sports, horse riding is popular in the area as well as catching salmon or trout, hiking, and river rafting in Hvita.
The east part of South Iceland.
This is the area south and east of Myrdalsjokull. The volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull (near the border of the eastern and western part) and Myrdalsjokull, dominate the view. The landscape has been shaped by volcanic eruptions and vast sands stretch to the sea. Some agriculture is found here, however, with the farms in a row alongside the mountains. A few large glacial rivers fall down in this area which also has striking waterfalls, such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
Eyjafjallajokull is already well known for its 2010 eruption, disturbing air communication all over Europe for many days. Much more serious,however, would be an eruption from Katla, a volcano in the eastern part og Myrdalsjokull.
Katla’s last eruption was in the year 1918, when an enormous flood of water exploded from the glacier in a matter of minutes, threatening the local farmers of the area. Large amounts of ash and muddy material were brought to sea to form a new land of sand, Kotlutangi, later washed away by the sea. No people were killed in this eruption. Eruptions in Katla throughout the ages have further created the vast sand area Myrdalssandur. Sixteen eruptions have been recorded for Katla since 930 at intervals of 13-95 years and the volcano is being closely monitored, as time may draw near to its next eruption.
In the same volcanic system as Katla (geologically speaking), are the Lakagigar craters, northeast of Myrdalsjokull. Those erupted in the years 1783-84; producing the largest amount of lava known in historic times. The ashes hindered the sunlight from reaching down to the surface of Earth, resulting in cold climate over northern Europe.
In this area – what we call the eastern part of South Iceland -, there are many places worth visiting: Solheimajokull is a beautiful glacier in a walking distance (an outlet of Myrdalsjokull); Skogar has a very interesting museum of older time traditions and Skogafoss is only a few km away from there. One of Iceland’s most famous hiking routes, Fimmvorduhals, starts from Skogar. Southwest of the village Vik is one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches, Reynisfjara. Together with the promontory Dyrholaey, which is the southernmost tip of the mainland of Iceland, it offers a breathtaking view with amazing rock formations, a black pebble beach, an abundance of birds and the powerful waves of the North Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beach.
Further east stretches the world's most vast sand plain, Skeidararsandur. North of the sand is the fascinating Skaftafell preservation area. At its east end, south of Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest peak, is Ingolfshofdi cape, with its rich birdlife, old fishermen's shacks and its lighthouse. Following the shore further east is the incredibly beautiful and ice-filled Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Not far off is the region of Sudursveit, featuring the culture center and heritage museum Thorbergssetur, erected in the memory of Icelandic author Thorbergur Thordarson.
The area of the impressive volcanic mountain Hengill is a geothermal site and a source of energy for the south of Iceland.
Two power stations derive its energy from Hengill, the nearby Hellisheidavirkjun power station and Nesjavellir, which provides energy for th Reykjavik area. Not far from Hengill is the town of Hveragerdi, unusual for being situated in an area of such geothermal activity.
Hellisheidi is a lava plateau east of Reykavik, approximately 380 m high. Iceland's main highway, Route 1 passes through it, leading east. The latest and most distinctive lava field is Kristnitokuhraun, formed in the year 1000.
On the way through Hellisheidi one can see many mountains, the main ones being Vifilsfell and Blafjoll (The Blue Mountains) to the South and Mt. Hengill to the north. The area is strong in geothermal activity and by Hengill is the Hellisheidavirkjun geothermal powerstation. From the highest point of the plateau one may view volcanoes Eyjafjallajokull (famous for the 2010 eruption) and Hekla along with the Westman Islands, including Surtsey islands, formed in the eruption of 1962-3.
Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') is a highly scenic valley innermost of Hveragerdi town. As the name of the valley implies, this is a geothermal area.
The hot water stream gushing down the mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
It's a great hiking route and to get there drive to Hveragerði, in South Iceland. You will reach its starting point just 40 minutes from Reykjavík.
When you reach Hveragerði, drive straight through the town to reach a gravel road that leads to Reykjadalur.
The people of Hveragerði are also known for being exceptionally polite, so you can ask for anything you need while there.
When you reach the end of the gravel road you will hike for about 50-70 minutes to reach the first spots warm enough for dipping in. The further up you go the warmer it becomes. If you don't have a car you can join this hot spring tour. You can also combine it with a horse riding tour.
Hveragerði is a town and municipality in the southwest of Iceland, around 45 km from the capital Reykjavik. Around 2300 people live in Hveragerði. The river Varmá runs through it. The town is well known for its greenhouses and strong geothermal activity, in particular the nearby Reykjadalur valley.
In the scenic Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') you have the hot water stream falling down the slopes of the valley. The mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
There are nice botanical areas and parks in the town, many recreational activities are available, excellent hiking trails as well as nice hotels and a camping ground. A number of museums can be found, such as the Árnesingar art museum. The town hosts an annual culture and family festival in August.
Starting time : 08:00 09:00,
Small group experience
Guided hiking tour to the hot springs in Reykjadalur Valley
Bathing in a hot river
Transportation (Pick up can be added for extra 2.000 ISK per person)
Food & drinks
What to bring:
Warm and waterproof outdoor clothing
Head-wear and gloves
The hike was harsher than I expected on our particular day with very strong winds combined with chilly temperatures. We had a 2.5 mile, quite uphill (about 30 degrees incline throughout) trek that lasted about an hour, and boy, was I hating it until I got into the hot spring finally! I felt much better afterward and the hike down was much easier. I was glad that I did it in the end but those looking for a relaxing experience should stay away from this tour unless it is the nicest summer day. This is definitely a solid encounter with Iceland's landscape and nature.
Due to the weather conditions we never managed to trek upto the hot springs which was the main purpose of the trip, this could not be helped though and our tour guide did what was best for the safety of us all. The weather conditions on the day were quite bad, thick snow and many roads closed. We did still see some large hot springs and treked a small distance into some really thick snow, I have never been in snow upto my hips before!!! We then drove to the biggest hot spring in Iceland which was fascinating to see and interesting to see the white lighthouse through all the steam, it was like being at the end of the world! I think this trip would be better to do during the summer but it was still an amazing experience and I saw a different side to iceland on this trip.
Very cheap tour with amazing hot springs. I liked this even more than the Blue lagoon. It is more raw and the natural beauty of the area was mesmerising. You should do this tour if you want to experience other hot springs than the blue lagoon, which unlike this hot spring in Reykjadalur, was full of tourists. It includes a hike with some very funny guides.
This area was very beautiful and this hiking tour was worth every krona. Make sure to go see it if you want to do a day tour from Reykjavik