Hello, friends

Most of requests I get from customers is requests about classic day tours such as Golden Circle and South Coast. Without a doubt, this is a perfect option to spend the day in Iceland while you stay in Reykjavik. But what if I tell you about vibrant, saturated day trip from Reykjavik which is twice closer to Reykjavik and not less interesting than every other day tours?

I call this trip “Natventure next door to Reykjavik”, it covers 150 km total distance and takes as long time as you want. Just let me know if you want to book private vehicle to enjoy this daytour. But actually everybody who has driver license can hire a car and make this trip self-drive.

Author posing with style on the way to hot springs in Reykjadalur. Clouds of midges in valley during warm summer day make hike uncomfortable without a hood or mask.

During day trip “Natventure next door to Reykjavik” you will drive rough road across the river, soak in natural hot spring, meet Icelandic horses, visit lava cave, see remarkable church on the shore, look at sulfatars and just enjoy Icelandic nature around you. Full-drive vehicle is recommended for trip but not necessarily.  Travelling by ordinary car you just skip short bypass road part of day-trip.

This trip starts from your hotel in Reykjavik area. Drive on Suðurlandsbraut road (Ring Road eastward) towards town of Hveragerði and follow my prompts.

Here is the full map of day trip with main spots and paths.

Spot 1. Hellisheiði Power Plant

GPS: 64.038175, -21.403580 (64°02'17.4"N 21°24'12.9"W)

Website: Orkusyn.is

Hellisheiði Power Plant in the middle of mountains and lava fields

Hellisheiði Power Plant situated only 25 minutes drive from Reykjavik. Here you can visit Geothermal energy exhibition to learn more about geothermal system of Hellisheiði and geothermal power production in Iceland on the whole.

Try earthquake simulator before you leave exhibition and realize that is funny attraction only when you know that is not real earthquake.

Spot 2. 1000 lakes route

GPS of start: 64.038316, -21.357053 (64°02'17.9"N 21°21'25.4"W)

GPS of finish: 64.018867, -21.283730 (64°01'07.9"N 21°17'01.4"W)

How 1000 lakes route looks from car window

So called Þúsundvatnaleið (1000 lakes route) is rough bypass road that leads from Hellisheiði Power Plant back to Ring road after short but stunning drive through lava field. To get back to Ring Road you have to cross the same river repeatedly.

Please be careful, do not drive this road by any car but full-drive and do not drive there during wintertime. Once me and my guests got stuck in the middle of the snow-covered road in early May.

Spot 3. Hot spring bathing in Reykjadalur

GPS of meeting point: 64.022591, -21.211751 (64°01'21.3"N 21°12'42.3"W)

GPS of hot springs: 64.047471, -21.222014 (64°02'50.9"N 21°13'19.2"W)

Hot spring bathing in Reykjadalur (@Arctic Adventures)
Now it’s time for hiking! From the town of Hveragerði you can start your walk to hot springs in Reykjadalur where you can take a bath in natural hot river! Hike takes around 40-50 minutes one way. You can read more about Hot spring hike to Reykjadalur on my post about this magnificent place.

Spot 4. Fakasel Horse Park

GPS: 63.987763, -21.166877 (63°59'15.9"N 21°10'00.8"W)

Website: Fakasel.is

Horses in Fakasel (@Fakasel Horse Park)

Do you know that Icelandic horse is only one breed here in Iceland and the purest breed in the whole world? Local law prohibits bring back Icelandic horses which left Iceland. Bringing other breeds to Iceland is forbidden.

Fakasel Horse Park is the place where you can meet Icelandic horses and learn more about this cute and shaggy animals. Every day, every 30 minutes from 10:00 to 17:00 you can join live demonstration of horses or even look for Horse Theater if come here 19:00 any day of thee week.

Spot 5. Raufarholshellir lava cave

GPS: 63.939506, -21.397778 (63°56'22.2"N 21°23'52.0"W)

Inside Raufarholshellir (@Extreme Iceland)

Raufarholshellir is a big lava cave that makes Hollywood career. If you saw Noah movie with Russel Crowe you have noticed remarkable cave where Methuselah (starring Anthony Hopkins) live. So it was Raufarholshellir. And this is a question which of these two words — Methuselah and Raufarholshellir — are easier to pronounce.

Raufarholshellir situated just few a meters from road 39 (see main map above). Cave is pretty long and if you want to explore it further we recommend to book the tour to the cave.

Spot 6. Strandakirkja church

GPS: 63.835578, -21.705160 (63°50'08.1"N 21°42'18.6"W)

Strandakirkja (@Panoramio/XanderBW)

Strandakirkja is one of the most popular churches in Iceland for weddings and other services. The name of this church translated as Coastal Church and it has a beautiful story behind it.

The story goes that a long time ago a group of sailors tried to survive a storm near South-Iceland coast and pray for God help them. Sailors promised to build a church if they survived.  It seems to be that God approved this proposal because sailors saw the divine light on a shore. They sailed to this light and light led them to the coast safely. Sailors kept their word and built a church.

Spot 7. On the way back: Krysuvik Geothermal area, lake of Kleifarvatn and something that smells bad

GPS for Krysuvik: 63.895030, -22.050853 (63°53'42.1"N 22°03'03.1"W)

GPS for something that smells bad: 64.017811, -21.948026 (64°01'04.1"N 21°56'52.9"W)

Skreið full of cod heads

After Strandakirkja you will drive back to Reykjavik. Before reaching Reykjavik you will drive through Krysuvik geothermal area, beautiful lake of Kleifarvatn and so-called skreið.  Skreið is wooden construction for open-air dry of fish leftovers.  Skreið is a good example how Icelanders make money from everything and answer why Icelandic fish industry is profitable and does not require subsidies. Because Icelanders processed all parts of fish and find buyers even for shabby fish remnants. Please be careful, there is bad smell around skreið.

Your hotel is a final spot. I hope it would be interesting day trip for you. Like it or not, please leave your comments and share with us how was the trip.

Best regards,


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