On the ever so popular Snæfellsnes peninsula in West-Iceland, you will not only find breathtaking nature; waterfalls, volcanic craters, a glacier, beautiful mountains and rock formations, gorges, pink and black beaches, but also natural mineral springs.
I love one of them in particular, where the water is very pure and tasty and has got bubbles. It has got the long name Rauðamelsölkelda.
Top photo: Rauðamelsölkelda
Rauðamelsölkelda is my favourite natural mineral spring on the peninsula. I know, the name of this mineral spring is a mouthful, but to make it a tad easier then "ölkelda" is the Icelandic word for a natural spring and "rauðamels-" means Red gravel plain.
Rauðamelsölkelda is amongst the best known natural mineral springs in Iceland. The water is believed to have healing properties and is ever so refreshing.
The water in Rauðamelsölkelda has got carbonic acid so it looks like it is boiling. It is just amazing being able to drink water like this coming straight from the earth. We bottle some of the water and take it home with us when we visit this spring.
Rauðamelsölkelda is a bit off the beaten path. It is located on the southern side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula turning from road 54.
If you are driving west on the peninsula then you turn right onto a gravel road by the sign Gerðuberg (opposite the road on 54 is road no 567, but I haven't seen a road number for the road leading to Rauðamelsölkelda).
Lava formations on the way to Rauðamelsölkelda
The road towards Rauðamelsölkelda is a gravel road and the scenery is amazing, with all kinds of strange-looking lava formations, which make for very good photo opportunities. It was foggy on the way, so my photos have a blue hue.
Once you reach the sign below Rauðamelsölkelda, park in the parking lot and walk for some 10-15 minutes through a lava field. Don't worry about the yellow sign which says: "All use of a firearm is strictly forbidden. This area is under surveillance".
I have often been asked what this sign means, but it is for hunters and all hunting is forbidden here by the landowners.
The sign leading to Rauðamelsölkelda
Along the way, there is such pretty lava with thick springy moss on top. I love such thick moss, it is ever so soft. Moss is a delicate thing though and it takes a very long time for it to grow, so let's be careful so it won't get ruined. It breaks my heart when I see torn up moss.
I totally understand that not everybody knows how delicate moss is. I have seen it torn up in several places on my travels in Iceland, but I don't think people do this on purpose, they just don't know how long it takes for the moss to grow. Tearing it up leaves an ugly wound, which takes a very long time to heal.
Lava field by Rauðamelsölkelda
Just imagine how hardy this moss is on the other hand, being able to grow on lava. I haven't seen anything else grow on the Icelandic lava. This moss is called hraungambri or Lamb's wool moss (Racomitrium lanuginosum).
Not long ago it was on the news that tourists camping in Þingvellir national park had torn up a lot of moss to insulate their tent. We Icelanders were shocked to see this footage on TV, but the poor tourists were remorseful as they had not realised that it is forbidden to tear up the moss.
Lava field by Rauðamelsölkelda
Seeing that the moss is able to grow on lava then it covers the cracks in between the lava making it dangerous to walk on lava fields.
As children, we were always forbidden to walk on lava fields because of this as it is easy to break one's leg by doing so, or to get stuck in a hole - or even fall into a hole, which has happened.
Bridge on the way to Rauðamelsölkelda
Once you pass the lava field you will cross a bridge and the landscape changes and becomes grassy. There is a pretty waterfall by the end of the valley, which you can visit after you have a drink at Rauðamelsölkelda. This is such a lovely place to visit.
Ölkelda mineral spring
You will find another mineral spring at Ölkelda farm. This mineral spring is quite different from Rauðamelsölkelda. Here the ground is red from the iron and the water has a strong taste of iron.
Ölkelda was built up in 1904 by the farmer at Ölkelda farm. Before that time it welled up from a hole in the ground. It is believed that the water has health benefits and it has been used by the farmers at Ölkelda for centuries.
Visitors can come and bottle some water for personal use - please leave some money in the box.
Ölkelda mineral spring
The water has been analysed and is said to be good for people with diabetes, heart problems and kidney problems. It contains iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, fluorine, chlorite, sulphate, bicarbonate and carbonic acid.
I am certain that the water is healthy, so I am going to bottle up on it every time I travel in this area and thank the farmer for allowing me to do so.
Last time I visited Ölkelda I was on my second guided tour by Tröll Expeditions with a group of friends. I was nauseous and was wondering how to survive a 12-hour tour of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. I drank a glass of the mineral water and the nausea vanished! So there is something in the water...
The information sign by Ölkelda
Ölkelda is also on the south-side of Snæfellsnes peninsula and a short distance from the main road 54. When driving west on the peninsula turn right on road 571 and drive for a short distance.
Soaking in Lýsuhólslaug
Lýsuhólslaug is a geothermal mineral water pool on the south side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. I always visit Lýsuhólslaug when I camp by the golden beach at Langaholt.
It is pure geothermal mineral water and no chemicals are added to the water. It can get pretty green at times when the green tinge floats in the water and fastens itself to the walls of the pool. I later learnt that it is green algae. The water is supposed to be very healthy.
I have heard that if you taste the water in one of the corners of the pool then it tastes like bottled mineral water, but don't take my word for it ;) Lýshólslaug is being renovated in 2019 to make it an even better place to visit. Will check it out again soon.
By Snæfellsjökull glacier
My travel-guide on the Snæfellsnes peninsula will take you around the most interesting sights on the peninsula. It includes a lot of folklore and information so it has turned into a mini-book about Snæfellsnes. I hope you will enjoy virtually travelling with me :)
Have a lovely time exploring the beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula :)