Iceland travel is filled with many new and exciting activities. What else would you expect from a place known as The Land of Fire and Ice? Our massive glaciers, brewing volcanoes, and careening waterfalls are just some of the wonders that await you. But have you heard about the Reykjadalur hot springs? They’re not as well known as other places to go and things to do but are a cool suggestion if you’re looking for day trips from Reykjavik. Hot springs in Iceland give you the chance to relax, unwind, and even heat up a little on those chilly Icelandic days.

Reykjadalur hot river in Iceland hiking trail


Iceland Hot Springs 

You may have already heard of these types of zones thanks to places like Landmannalaugar and the Laugavegur trail. This is the most popular area of Iceland for hikers thanks to the stunning, colorful rhyolite mountains. You’ll find little hot springs scattered all over this territory and taking a soak at the end of a hike is something many hiking enthusiasts enjoy. In fact, the name of the area (Landmannalaugar) means “the people’s pools,” thanks to all of the hot pools in the area.

Iceland hot springs are known for their warm to extremely hot water. You’ll find tens of thousands of them all over the country. We call them hot pots, with some being only holes in the ground just big enough for two people and others being more of a man-made swimming pool type of structure. The “hidden” Landbrotalaug hot pot is a famous one, as is the Hofsós swimming pool. The Mývatn Nature Baths are another alternative if you’re looking to explore geothermally heated pools and springs in other parts of the country.

Reykjadalur Valley 

The Reykjadalur valley is filled with Icelandic hot springs, the most famous of which is the hot river. You’ll find this geothermal area in South Iceland, and its most famous attraction is the “hot river” where people go to go swimming, bathe, and pass the day. It’s quite pleasant, and you’re surrounded by lovely scenery that is so typical of Iceland’s world famous landscapes.

The Hot River Iceland 

The river at Reykjadalur is an Iceland hot spring that flows through this beautiful valley. It’s often referred to as the hot river in Iceland (perhaps because people are scared to pronounce its name). The Icelandic language isn’t that difficult, is it? Well, you can call it whatever you like, just make sure to include it on your itinerary!

Reykjadalur hot river in Iceland during the winter


Is Reykjadalur Hot or Just Warm? 

Because Icelandic hot springs are heated geothermally, their level of warmth varies and fluctuates. After all, you can’t really control the temperature setting of a volcano. Make no mistake; Reykjadalur is hot. With an average temperature of 40 ºC (104 ºF), most people can’t stay in the water for more than about five minutes. Be sure to bring your towel (or several) because it can be quite cold outside of the river. There might even be snow on the ground.

How to Get to Reykjadalur

Reykjadalur is very close to the Ring Road, so it’s really more of a detour off of the main highway. When you get close to the town of Hverasvæði, you’ll come to a roundabout and take the Breiðamörk exit (the last one) which takes you onto the road that leads you to the parking lot. You’ll continue on this road for less than ten minutes before arriving.

The Reykjadalur Hot Springs Hike 

After you’ve found somewhere to park, it’s pretty obvious where the beginning of the hiking trail is. The Reykjadalur hot springs hike is 3 km (1.9 miles) and unfortunately, is slightly uphill. But the good news is that on the way back it’s downhill.

Once you’ve started the hike, it takes about 45 minutes to arrive. It’s a moderate physical activity, so if you’re not used to strenuous activities, it might take you an hour. Just go slowly at a comfortable pace, and you’ll arrive in your own time.

When you decide to make the hike to the hot river, be sure to bring a plastic bag along with your bathing suits and hiking boots. There’s nothing worse than getting your belongings damp thanks to a wet swimsuit or trunks. And if you’re traveling through Iceland using a backpack, this can be very inconvenient.

Reykjadalur hot springs hiking trail path


Reykjadalur Hot Springs: Bathe in Iceland’s Hot River

Located just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik, it’s the perfect distance for those looking to do something slightly off the beaten path. I highly recommend this day trip as a way to escape the crowds of the Blue Lagoon but at the same time enjoy Iceland’s famous hot springs. If you’re staying in the nation’s capital and have already done the Golden Circle, this is another fun way to spend the day during your Iceland road trip.

Come visit Reykjadalur. You definitely won’t regret it!

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