Deildartunguhver is a hot spring located in Reykholtsdalur, a district of west Iceland. Deildartunguhver is the highest flowing hot spring in Europe and is widely known for its rapid flow rate of 180 litres (380 pints) per second.
Reykholtsdalur is one of Iceland’s most popular places to see hot springs, along with the Geysir Geothermal Area, the Highlands, the Reykjanes Peninsula, Reykjadalur Valley and Námaskarð Pass. While each of these areas have their appeal, at no other does the water rise with such ferocity.
The water at Deildartunguhver hot spring emerges at a constant 97 degrees Celsius (207 degrees Fahrenheit), making it incredibly dangerous for those who venture too close. Thankfully, there are a number of wooden walkways and observation points that lead you around the hot springs without putting you at any risk.
Due to the sheer energy bubbling under Deildartunguhver, much of the water is used for heating Icelandic homes. One pipe travels 34 kilometres (21 miles) to Borgarnes, whilst another travels 64 kilometres (40 miles) to Akranes.
This means that if you’ve taken a shower or bath within a 64-kilometre radius of Deildartunguhver, you will have touched the water from the hot spring.
All Icelandic hot water comes from hot springs such as this, except in some parts of the Westfjords which are now geologically much older than the rest of the country, and thus less active.
This is a fantastic example of how Icelanders efficiently use the geothermal energy provided and is one of the major reasons as to why Iceland has such an excellent reputation for green energy.
Whilst in the area, many visitors choose to make a stop at Krauma Geothermal Bath & Spa, a fantastic and relaxing complex that makes for a cheaper, more isolated alternative to the Blue Lagoon.
Visitors to Kraua will experience the hot water of Deildartunguhver blended perfectly with glacial water from Iceland’s smallest ice cap, Ok (which rhymes with ‘talk’), creating the perfect bathing temperature.
Krauma has a total of six pools, a relaxation room and two steam baths.
Visitors to Deildartunguhver with an interest in botany will also be able to check out the Blechnum Spicant, aka; “deer fern”, a type of plant that grows nowhere else in Iceland.
Deildartunguhver is located in west Iceland. The two most notable points of interest nearby are two waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss.
Hraunfossar, or the ‘Lava Falls’, is, in fact, a series of tiny cascades that trickle through an old lava field. Barnafoss, or ‘the Children’s Falls’, is a more powerful rapid, steeped in a dark legend.
Deildartunghver is also near Víðgelmir, the longest lava cave in the country, trailing for 1,595 metres (5,200 feet) beneath the surface of the earth.
The most significant settlement near Deildartunghver is Reykholt, a beautiful village with a fascinating history. This settlement was once home to Snorri Sturluson, a historian, writer, chieftain and poet without whom we would know very little of the Nordic mythology, folklore and history at the time.
His works, and life--full of politics, betrayal, affairs and war--can be learnt about in the town at the Snorrastofa Centre.