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Hveragerði is a charming village in south Iceland that sits in an area of powerful volcanic activity. In fact, it’s often called “the Geothermal Town” for exactly that reason. Whether you’re touring the south coast or looking for a day trip from Reykjavík, it’s a great place to stop—with hot springs, geothermal greenhouses, and the famous Reykjadalur valley.
Aerial view of Hveragerði Town in the south coast of Iceland during winter time..
Best time to visit
All year-round
Coordinates
63.99953, -21.17976
Distance from Reykjavík
45km (28mi)

Welcome to Hveragerði, Iceland’s “Geothermal Town”

Why visit Hveragerði?

Hveragerði is a small village in the south of Iceland. While many people might drive straight past it towards the more famous sights along the south coast, there are many good reasons to stop here. In fact, it’s a contender for the most fascinating settlement in the area.

Hveragerði often goes by the nickname, “The Geothermal Town”, which in a country like Iceland is saying quite a lot. It’s one of the few settlements in the world that’s actually built on a geothermal field. Here, hot springs and fumaroles pop up in the middle of the village, and most of the town gets its energy directly from the volcanic activity below the surface of the earth.

The first place to see this in action is the Geothermal Park Hveragerði. It’s an historic area of hot springs literally right in the centre of the village. Visit to see the breathtaking elements of volcanic activity—fumaroles, steam vents, and more—present amongst the everyday lives of local Icelanders. You can even take the opportunity to boil an egg in the naturally heated waters.

Outside of the village, most people come to the area to visit Reykjadalur, the so-called “steam valley”. Here, natural geothermal energy heats a river that flows through the valley. It’s so warm, in fact, that you can bathe in it all through the year, even when there’s snow on the ground. It’s a great place to unwind—and to see the northern lights in winter.

The valley is a short hike outside of Hveragerði. You’ll pass through the valley itself before reaching the various pools. There are some minimal changing rooms in the valley so that you can kick off your hiking boots and change into your swimsuit before taking a dip in the warm water. Where else can you say that you’ve bathed in a heated river?

There are many more things to see and do too. For example, why not visit Sundlaugin Laugarskarði, which was once the largest swimming pool in Iceland? With steam baths and a sauna, it’s another asset powered by geothermal energy. Follow it up with a beer at Ölverk, a local brewery that runs on geothermal power.

Finally, you shouldn’t miss the greenhouses that can be found throughout the area. Hveragerði likely has the highest concentration of greenhouses in Iceland, all heated by geothermal power. You can find some surprising crops in Iceland’s rugged landscape, including tropical fruit such as papayas and bananas!

How to get to Hveragerði

Hveragerði is located on route 1, Iceland’s iconic “ring road” that loops the entire island. As such, it’s really conveniently located, wherever you might be coming from.

If you’re travelling from Reykjavík, Hveragerði is about 45 minutes away by car. As you leave the capital, join route 1 and head east along the south coast. After about 45 kilometres (28 miles), you’ll reach the village, just before the larger town of Selfoss.

Alternatively, if you’re journeying from the east, head along route 1 until Selfoss, the largest town in South Iceland. Continue on route 1 and you’ll reach Hveragerði after about 15 minutes.

Many visitors won’t want to drive, however. Iceland is known for its volatile weather, particularly in winter, when roads can quickly become icy and storms can descend very quickly. As a result, many people prefer to do their sightseeing with a guided tour or local bus.

For example, you can visit the Reykjadalur valley on a day tour from Reykjavík. We’ll pick you up at your hotel downtown and handle all the transport. We’ll visit the greenhouses at Hveragerði and hike up to the steam valley.

Just remember, however you visit Hveragerði village, you can only visit Reykjadalur on foot. The journey from the village is about 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) and you can expect to reach the springs in about 45 minutes. Just make sure you bring some sturdy shoes and clothes suitable for the weather. The path isn’t too difficult, but it isn’t paved, so appropriate footwear is a must.

Other sights in the area

Hveragerði is at the centre of one of the most fascinating areas in Iceland. If you’re visiting or staying in the area, there’s so much more to see and do.

For instance, don’t miss the Golden Circle, probably Iceland’s most famous travel itinerary. Hveragerði is only a short distance away from the likes of Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir, and the breathtaking Þingvellir National Park. In fact, choose a guided tour that takes you to all three sights alongside Reykjadalur.

Hveragerði is a great place from which to explore the length of the south coast of Iceland too. For example, head east towards the village of Vík, explore the glaciers and volcanoes around Eyjafjallajökull, or go hiking in the pristine valley of Þórsmörk.

Alternatively, travel west towards the Reykjanes peninsula. This is one of the youngest areas of land in Iceland, thanks to the area’s volcanic activity. With live volcanoes, geothermal pools, and plenty more, it offers another perspective on the Land of Ice and Fire.

Whichever you choose to visit, at Icelandia we can make it easy. Explore our tours for more information.

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