Iceland is a country filled with hidden gems. Though it is exponentially gaining popularity as a tourist destination, there are still sites that are less crowded and only reachable by those with adventurous spirits. The Reykjadalur Hot Springs is one of these hidden gems.
I visited the Reykjadalur Hot Springs on my 26th birthday, and it ended up being one of my favorite places in Iceland. Reykjadalur Hot Springs can be done as part of a Golden Circle trip, as part of a South Iceland trip, or just a day trip from Reykjavik. Either way, this spot is too fun to pass up.
How to Get There
From central Reykjavik, it takes about 45 minutes to drive to the town of Hveragerði. Once you get into town, follow the main road (Breiðamörk) which will begin to veer to the left. Follow the signs for Reykjadalur until it comes to a dead end at a parking lot. Parking in this lot is free.
There will be a small coffee shop in the parking lot that’s open during the summer months. If you think you’re lost, you can search for Hot River Coffee in Reykjadalur, and you should be led to the correct place.
Once you’ve parked your car, go ahead and use the toilet behind the coffee shop. There will be no place to go to the bathroom once you’re on the trail nor at the hot springs. Then, take the small wooden bridge over the river to the trailhead. From there, it will take about one hour to reach the Reykjadalur Hot Springs.
Hiking to Reykjadalur Hot Springs
Most people and information you’ll find will tell you it’s an easy hike. If you’re a non-hiker like me, those people are mean and full of lies. The hike to the river is mostly up a small mountain and then through the range a bit. The hike will take you an hour or so, maybe less if you hike on the regular and have a good level of fitness.
Nevertheless, it’s so worth it to power through the hike. The path is well worn and easy to follow. There are some fairly steep sections, so do be careful and make sure to wear proper footwear. You’ll find some incredible views once you get up into the mountains, as well as some waterfalls, and a few bubbling mud pits.
When you get to the bubbling hot spring that steams so much it covers the trail, you know you’re close to the end of your hike. Just about a
Enjoying the Hot Springs
Unlike many of Iceland’s other well-known hot springs, like the Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon, Reykjadalur is not a public pool, but rather a small river that runs from natural hot springs in the mountains. Because of this, visiting Reykjadalur is one of the most untouched locations to really enjoy hot springs in nature.
Its rural setting means that there are very few amenities at Reykjadalur. The most man-made parts of this site are the wooden boardwalks along the sides of the river, the small wooden steps that lead into the water, and the wooden partitions built for changing your clothes.
That’s right, there are no private changing rooms at Reykjadalur Hot Springs- just a small wooden wall to crouch behind. And even then, your body will be exposed to whatever weather Iceland feels like having that minute. Honestly, after building up a sweat from the hike in, the cold Iceland air feels great and your naked butt may never see a more picturesque setting without getting arrested. Take it all in.
You can store your belongings anywhere along the river, but it’s best not to
Once you’ve changed into your swimsuit, it’s finally time to enjoy the thermal river! There are some shallower parts and some deeper parts, and the water’s temperature gets hotter the further upstream you travel. I suggest getting in around the midpoint and walking up or downstream to find the perfect temperature for you.
There is no entry fee or time limit for enjoying the hot springs, so feel free to kick back and relax once you’ve found your perfect spot. Just know that when it comes
What to Bring
Bringing the right stuff on your Reykjadalur adventure will ensure you have a great time! This is a longer hike, so it’s not a place where you want to forget anything in the car! Here are the basic things you’ll want to bring with you.
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- Sturdy Hiking Shoes: A hike this long will not go well without proper footwear. The sturdier the shoe, the better. Something with decent traction and a bit of ankle support will fare well on a hike like this.
- Water Shoes: This one is up to preference. The riverbed can be quite rocky, so if you have sensitive feet it may help to bring some kind of water-friendly footwear.
- Swimsuit and Towel: To be honest, this one is based on preference too. I saw plenty of people who were comfortable enjoying the thermal river
au naturale. It’s not a big deal in Iceland. Either way, it is nice to have a small towel to dry off afterward. I recommend a lightweight microfiber towel.
- Snacks: It is my personal philosophy that all hikes should be rewarded with good snacks. It was my birthday when I visited, so I carried in a bag of tortilla chips, salsa, queso
andsome drinks, and was very happy snacking away in the warm water. Just be careful if you bring anything in glass. You don’t want to leave broken glass in the water for people to step on!
- Water Bottle: After a hike like this, you are going to want some rehydration. Make sure to bring a water bottle or two to keep yourself well hydrated and healthy on this adventure! This is one of
my favoritewater bottles!
- Sunglasses & Sunblock: Even though the temperature outside may not feel warm, there are still a good amount of sun rays beating down. Make sure your skin and eyes are protected by using sunglasses and sunblock on your hike!
- Raincoat: Iceland’s weather is crazy unpredictable. I recommend bringing your raincoat wherever you go in Iceland. Even if it’s bright and sunny out. You never know when the weather will turn.
This lightweight, packable raincoat is perfect to tote around Iceland!
- Small Day Pack: Of course you’ll need something to carry all this around with you! My favorite day bag is
my packabledaypack from Eddie Bauer.
The Reykjadalur Hot Springs
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