Hot spring hunt

Tip one: Make sure your hiking boots are watertight or you will learn the hard way like this unlucky intern. Oh and don’t forget your swimming stuff like some of the group! Now we have that cleared up lets talk about hot springs.

Iceland is a magical land of geothermal goodness with hot springs, bubbling mud pools and steam. In certain places this hot water is either naturally cool enough to take a dip in, or like in the geothermal town Hveragerði, up in the hills, a hot spring meets a cold river and makes the most beautifully warm flowing river perfect for taking a dip.

We set off from Reykjavik in a small group and drove the thirty minutes to Hveragerði in pursuit of the hot spring. We were told the hike would be between 1-2 hours depending on the group but we must have had a super fit group, as it didn’t seem to take any time at all. The views on the way up are stunning, from adorable sheep, to breathtaking valleys and spectacular waterfalls.

As we neared the river steam rose up over the horizon. We had a beautiful day after a weekend of vicious storms in Iceland so we were very lucky to have sun and just a little wind. After jumping some small streams (and discovering my boots leak) we had arrived at the river. Our guide Láki dipped his hand in to test the temperature and declared it suitable for bathing.

As you might expect in the middle of a valley in Iceland there are no changing rooms…so after a very quick and very chilly change into swimwear we were all very happy to get in the water. It was incredible. The water is as warm as a bath but naturally warm, pure and flowing down the valley. We found some deep spots and rested by the riverbank and soaked in the sun and stunning surroundings.

Us interns started a trend by eating our lunch in the river. Soon the whole group had followed suit and we all decided it was one of the more novel places we have had a picnic. It is definitely the strangest location I have ever eaten a yogurt!

After a couple of hours relaxing in the river, changing locations to find deeper spots, warmer spots and comfier spots Láki declared it was time to go, otherwise we were in danger of staying in the river all day…something I could have been on board with. We descended down the valley passing other hikers on their way up with an excited look of anticipation on their faces ready to find the spring.

This is one of the most incredible and relaxing experiences I have had in Iceland to date. Láki mentioned how nice it was in the winter in the snow so we await the snow with bated breath ready to go again, but first I’m off to buy some better boots!

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