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Hiking and Soaking in the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River

Enveloped by Iceland's stunning, untouched landscapes? Welcome to the Reykjadalur Valley, a geothermal paradise where hot springs and thermal rivers merge with rolling green hills under the vast Nordic sky.

In this post, we're going to guide you on an unforgettable journey, from hiking the picturesque trails to immersing yourself in the warmth of nature's own hot tub. Ready to uncover the magic of Reykjadalur? We thought so. Let's dive in.

reykjadalur hot spring thermal river

Why is Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Special?

What makes a destination more than just a place on a map? Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River offers a hint. Among the best Iceland hot springs, Reykjadalur, which translates to 'Steam Valley,' stands unparalleled. This name captures the essence of a place where nature's raw beauty intertwines with geothermal enchantment.

As you step into its warm embrace, surrounded by the stark contrast of Iceland's cool air and rugged terrain, you're not just experiencing a hot spring — you're connecting with the very soul of an Icelandic wonder. Isn't it intriguing how a place can be both a serene escape and a vibrant testament to nature's power?

What Natural Wonders Await in Reykjadalur?

Reykjadalur is a canvas painted with the captivating hues of nature's master strokes. The valley is dotted with geothermal hot pots bubbling under the open sky and thermal rivers meandering through the verdant landscape. But that's not all. As you traverse the area, you will encounter Icelandic sheep lazily grazing on the slopes, their woolly coats a stark contrast against the green.

The sight of Icelandic horses, majestic and robust in their natural habitat, further amplifies the enthralling charm of Reykjadalur. The combination of these geothermal phenomena and native fauna truly makes Reykjadalur a hub of natural wonders.

Iceland natural geothermal spring

What Can You Do in Reykjadalur Valley?

There's an array of activities that the Reykjadalur Valley offers for both adventure seekers and those in search of tranquility. Here are some of the highlights of what you can do in Reykjadalur:

  • Hiking: Explore the verdant landscapes and geothermal activity on foot. The trails provide a scenic escapade that's sure to captivate nature enthusiasts.

  • Bathing in the Hot Springs: Nothing beats the experience of soaking in a natural hot spring amidst the idyllic Icelandic wilderness.

  • Bird Watching: For avid birdwatchers, the valley is home to various avian species, making it a delightful experience.

  • Horse Riding: Saddle up for an unforgettable ride with Eldhestar Tours. You'll venture along the slopes of Mt. Reykjafjall, pass geothermal hot springs above the village of Hveragerði, ride through a vibrant forest, and trot along the colorful hills above the village.

  • Photography: With its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes, Reykjadalur is a photographer's paradise. You can also read our Iceland photography guide for more tips.

How Do Locals Perceive Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River?

For generations, this geothermal marvel has been intertwined with Icelandic culture and history. But how can one truly understand Reykjadalur without experiencing its ethereal charm firsthand?

The Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is not just a place of natural beauty; it's a testament to age-old traditions, where tales of ancient gatherings and rituals echo. Local customs emphasize the river's sacredness, and beliefs often revolve around its therapeutic properties.

Iceland hot river

Historically, it has served as a communal hub, a place where the community would converge for both leisure and significant events. To the locals, Reykjadalur is more than a tourist attraction; it's a cherished fragment of their collective memory and cultural tapestry.

How To Get to Reykjadalur Hot Springs?

Embarking on a journey to Reykjadalur Hot Springs from Reykjavík is a straightforward 45-minute drive. Begin by heading east on the Ring Road (Route 1), also known as Þjóðvegur 1, until you approach the town of Hveragerði.

Once there, navigate to the third exit at the roundabout, directing you towards Breiðamörk. Clear signs will guide you to the Reykjadalur Hot Springs. Upon arrival, you'll find a spacious car park.

Campervan Iceland Rental

When Does Reykjadalur Open/Close?

Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is open year-round, 24 hours a day. However, during winter, trails can be snowy or icy, so it's essential to check local weather conditions before planning your visit.

How Close is Reykjadalur to Major Attractions?

Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River boasts a prime location, making it a sought-after destination for those exploring Iceland's famed attractions. Situated just a short drive from Reykjavík, it's conveniently close to the iconic Golden Circle route.

This renowned circuit encompasses three major sites:

  • Þingvellir National Park (52 minutes away)

  • The Geysir geothermal area (1 hour away)

  • Gullfoss waterfall (1 hour 10 minutes away)

Reykjadalur's proximity means that travelers can easily combine a visit to this geothermal wonder with the Golden Circle's highlights in a single day. This strategic location offers you the unique opportunity to experience both the raw beauty of a natural hot spring and the grandeur of Iceland's most celebrated landmarks.

Gullfoss waterfall

What Transportation Options Are There For Getting to Reykjadalur Thermal River?

Navigating your way to the enchanting Reykjadalur Thermal River is an experience in itself. As the anticipation builds, you'll want to choose the best mode of transportation to match your adventure spirit. Let's explore the various ways to reach this geothermal haven:

  • Self Drive: If you're exploring Iceland at your own pace, driving to Reykjadalur offers the ultimate flexibility. You can easily incorporate a visit here into your road trip itinerary. However, the choice of vehicle can significantly enhance your experience. Opting for a campervan not only provides comfortable transportation but also accommodation.

  • Public Transport: Buses operate from Reykjavik to nearby areas, offering a budget-friendly option. However, schedules might be limited, so it might not be as convenient as driving yourself.

  • Guided Tours: Adventure Vikings offer year-round guided hiking tours to Reykjadalur. The Steam Valley is a popular hiking route, making it perfect for a day trip. The hike is relatively straightforward for avid outdoors people, leading to the natural, low-lying geothermal spring.

Are There Any Entrance Fees At Reykjadalur?

One of the great advantages of Reykjadalur is that it's free of charge! Currently, there are no entrance fees required to access the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River, allowing you to enjoy its geothermal wonders without any cost.

However, there are parking fees at the trailhead. The parking fee is 250 ISK per hour. Payments are accepted via the EasyPark App or card machines on-site, with cameras ensuring accurate billing based on your stay duration.

Reykjadalur entrance fee

What Should You Know About the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike?

Embarking on the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River hike is a journey through Iceland's geothermal heartland. But before you lace up your hiking boots and set out, there are essential details to consider. From trail nuances to safety tips, here's what you should know about one of the best hiking trails in Iceland:

What's the Reykjadalur Trail Like?

The Reykjadalur trail offers a captivating expedition through Iceland's geothermal heartland. As you embark on this enchanting path, you are greeted by a tapestry of breathtaking landscapes, ranging from lush meadows to steaming geothermal vents.

Along the trail, signs caution hikers of the scalding hot springs, reminding you of the untamed power beneath your feet. As you venture deeper, the air becomes infused with the distinct scent of sulfur, bearing witness to the area's volcanic activity.

Eventually, you will reach wooden platforms and improvised changing rooms, marking the safe havens for bathing, a rewarding culmination of this extraordinary journey.

How Long Is the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike?

The Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River hike spans approximately 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and is generally completed in about 45-60 minutes each way. However, the duration can vary based on individual pace and the time spent relaxing in the hot springs. It's best to reserve around 3-5 hours for the entire experience.

Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike

How Long Does Reykjadalur Take?

Your journey to Reykjadalur will vary in duration depending on your pace and stamina. A brisk walk can cover the distance in as little as 45 minutes, while a relaxed pace may take up to 60 minutes. For those who prefer to take in the scenery leisurely, allocate around 90 minutes for the trek. These estimates exclude time spent basking in the hot springs.

How Challenging Is the Reykjadalur Hike?

The Reykjadalur hike is generally considered easy and suitable for all ages, including children. However, both first-timers and seasoned hikers should be cautious, as certain sections can be steep and potentially slippery. While the trail is well-marked and maintained, wearing proper hiking shoes with a good grip is essential.

How Can You Ensure a Safe Hike?

Safety when hiking Reykjadalur, as with any trail, is paramount. In 2017, there was a Canadian tourist who seriously got burned after stepping off the trail. Here are some top tips for a safe and enjoyable hike:

  • Respect the Springs: Steer clear of hot springs and mud pots; their boiling temperatures can inflict serious burns.

  • Follow the Trail: Adhere strictly to marked paths, safeguarding against hidden geothermal dangers and preserving the fragile ecosystem.

  • Gear Matters: Opt for robust hiking boots that offer both grip and protection.

  • Hydration is Key: Always carry ample water to fend off dehydration.

hot springs in Iceland

When Is the Best Time To Visit Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River?

If you prefer solitude and serenity at Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River, we recommend visiting in the early morning or late evening, as it can provide a tranquil experience. The Icelandic summer months (June to August) typically offer the most favorable weather conditions and longer daylight hours, making them ideal for hiking and soaking.

However, if you're undeterred by colder weather and are equipped for possible icy trails, an Icelandic winter visit can offer a unique experience, with the chance of witnessing the Northern Lights. Always check local weather and trail conditions before planning your visit.

Where's the Best Spot To Soak in the Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools?

In the vast expanse of Reykjadalur thermal bathing pools lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered - the perfect spot for a soak. As you venture upstream, the temperature of the water gradually rises, revealing the hottest spots that are often unoccupied by bathers.

It is crucial to pay attention to this natural signal, as these areas can be scalding and unsafe for bathing. Most visitors are drawn to regions where the water is warm and enjoyable, striking the perfect balance. These coveted spots, bustling with delighted bathers, provide an ideal and relaxing temperature for a rejuvenating soak.

How Warm Is the Reykjadalur Thermal River?

The warmth of the Reykjadalur hot spring river varies along its course. Generally, the water temperatures fluctuate between 36°C and 40°C (96°F to 104°F).

However, it's important to remember the water can be scalding in some areas. As such, caution is advised when selecting your perfect bathing spot. Testing the water before fully immersing yourself is a prudent practice to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

How Warm Is the Reykjadalur Thermal River?

There are also signs erected at various points along the trail to indicate water temperature in various areas of the river. The fluctuating geothermal activity means conditions can change, so always be prepared for variations in temperature.

How Crowded Is Reykjadalur?

Reykjadalur's popularity means it can often be bustling with visitors, especially during the peak summer months. Weekends and holidays can be particularly busy. However, savvy travelers can leverage timing to avoid the crowds.

Early morning and late evening are typically less crowded times, as many tourists prefer mid-day visits. Similarly, choosing off-peak seasons like late spring or early fall can also help dodge the most crowded periods, offering a more peaceful and personal encounter with Reykjadalur's spectacular geothermal features.

What Facilities Are Available at Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools?

The Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools, while celebrated for their untouched natural beauty, offer some basic amenities to enhance the visitor experience. Close to the bathing section, wooden boardwalks have been constructed, providing easy access to the river.

Additionally, there are simple wooden partitions that act as makeshift changing areas, ensuring some privacy for bathers. However, it's worth noting that there aren't any lockers, so it's essential to keep an eye on your belongings. For those wondering about restroom facilities, there aren't any directly by the pools.

Instead, you'll find them near the car park at the trailhead. A short-distance away, the town of Hveragerði provides more comprehensive amenities, including restaurants, a bakery, and a supermarket. While the facilities might be minimalistic, they're sufficient for a comfortable and memorable visit.

Reykjadalur Thermal River

What Should You Pack and Prepare for Your Trip?

When embarking on your Reykjadalur adventure, it's essential to be adequately prepared. What should you pack to make the most out of your trip? Here are some suggestions:

  • Hiking Boots: Ensure that they are sturdy, waterproof, and offer a good grip.

  • Swimwear and Towel: Essential for the hot spring bath.

  • Change of Clothes: A dry set for after your soak.

  • Water and Snacks: Keeps you hydrated and energized.

  • Warm Layers: This is particularly important if you plan to stay until the evening.

  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Even in Iceland, the sun can be quite strong.

  • Bug Spray: The area is littered with flies during the summer months.

For more detailed information on what to pack, check out this comprehensive Iceland packing list.

Where Can You Stay Near Reykjadalur Hot Spring River?

After a rejuvenating soak in the Reykjadalur Hot Spring River, many travelers seek nearby accommodations to prolong their connection with the area's natural beauty. Whether you're looking for a cozy hotel, a rustic campsite, or even exploring Iceland on a budget, the vicinity offers options to suit every preference.

accomodation options Reykjadalur river

Camp Sites in the Reykjadalur Valley

Camping in the Reykjadalur Valley offers an unparalleled experience for those truly looking to immerse themselves in Iceland's raw beauty. Unlike hotels or guesthouses, camping lets you connect directly with nature under the vast Icelandic skies. For those considering camping in Iceland, Reykjadalur Valley presents some of the best options:

  • Selfoss Camping Ground: A mere 20-minute drive from Reykjadalur, equipped with showers, cooking facilities, and electricity hookups.

  • Reykjamörk Hveragerði Campsite: Just 6 minutes from the thermal river, boasting mountain views, diverse camping options, and child-friendly amenities.

  • Úlfljótsvatn Campsite: Located by a picturesque lake, 30 minutes from Reykjadalur, offering a serene setting with tent sites, cabins, and essential facilities.

Hotels and Guesthouses

The Reykjadalur Valley boasts a range of accommodations, from charming guesthouses to boutique hotels, ensuring travelers find the perfect fit. Here are three of our top recommendations:

  • Cora's House and Horses: A unique farm stay in South Iceland offering horse rentals, with amenities like a kitchen, TV, and free Wi-Fi.

  • INNI Boutique Apartments: Nestled near Hveragerði, these apartments provide easy access to Reykjadalur hot springs and come equipped with modern amenities, including a shared hot tub.

  • Reykjadalur Guesthouse: Located in Hveragerði, it offers stunning valley views and comfortable rooms, making it an ideal peaceful getaway.

Hotels and Guesthouses Reykjadalur

What Are the Do's and Don'ts at Reykjadalur?

When visiting Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River, it's essential to respect the environment and adhere to the established rules to ensure a pleasant and safe experience for everyone. Here are some key do's and don'ts:


  • Stay on the Marked Trails: To avoid damaging the fragile vegetation and to ensure your safety, always stick to the marked trails. The area is known for its changing geothermal conditions, and wandering off the trail can lead to unsafe conditions.

  • Pack Out What You Pack In: Leave no trace. Whatever you bring with you, including trash, should be taken back. Help maintain the area's natural beauty.

  • Respect Privacy: Use the designated changing areas for changing into your swimsuit and respect the privacy of others doing the same.


  • Don't Go Swimming in Undesignated Areas: Only bathe in the areas specifically marked for swimming. The temperatures in other parts of the river can be dangerously hot.

  • Don't Damage the Environment: Do not disturb or damage the environment. This includes not picking flowers, removing stones, or feeding wildlife.

  • Don't Leave Valuables Unattended: As there are no lockers, it's best not to bring them with you. If you do, ensure they are always in your sight.

Our Personal Experiences at Reykjadalur Hot Spring River

On our Icelandic escapade, we traded hotel keys for campervan keys, and boy was that a game-changer! As we parked our campervan near the trailhead of Reykjadalur Hot Spring River, we could see how its steamy landscape provided a unique experience for visitors. After donning our swimsuits, we had a lovely stroll to the river's thermal pools.

The boardwalks and changing area made it easy to get into our swimwear with some privacy and enter the hot springs in comfort. As we dipped our toes in, I joked, 'Who needs a heated pool when you've got a geothermal river?' Lying back, surrounded by nature's grandeur, we felt like kings of the wild... until a curious Icelandic horse nibbled on our snacks. Lesson learned: Guard your food!

Here's the deal: Renting a campervan in Iceland is more than just a travel choice; it's an epic tale waiting to be written. It's about freedom, unexpected encounters, and, yes, snack-stealing horses. If you're looking for an adventure that combines luxury with laugh-out-loud moments, hit the Icelandic roads in a campervan!

Camper rental Reykjavik

Leaving a Piece of Your Heart at Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River

In the vast landscapes of Iceland, the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River stands as a testament to nature's wonders. The famous Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen once said, ‘Adventure is just bad planning.’

But in places like Reykjadalur, it's evident that the most spontaneous moments often lead to the most treasured memories. Whether it's an unexpected encounter with an Icelandic horse or the sheer joy of soaking in a natural hot tub, every experience adds to your story.

As you embark on your journey, remember that the path less traveled often holds the most enchanting tales. Here's to adventures, unexpected delights, and the magic of Reykjadalur!



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