A hidden gem - Reykjadalur

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A couple hiking near a muddy hot spring in Iceland
Björgvin Hilmarsson

One doesn't have to travel far away from Reykjavik to discover hidden gems. A mere 40 kilometres from downtown Reykjavik lies an unspoilt valley. Up in the hills north of Hveragerdi, is Reykjadalur (smokey valley in Icelandic). This valley is part of Hengill geothermal area which provides most of Reykjavik's electricity and hot water.

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Björgvin Hilmarsson

This hotspring is not difficult to find. From the village of Hveragerdi, you will only need a pair of hiking boots and your day pack to be ready to take on this adventure. Despite the hike being easy, the path can be damped in spring and autumn after rain and simple sneakers will not stand the water. Also note that winter hikes up there can be quite challenging.

The hike to the bathing area takes 45 minutes. The path is well marked and no advanced hiking experience is needed. But time does not really matter when you walk amongst the wonders of Iceland. Canyons, boiling mud pits, smoke chimneys and you will even experience the adventure of crossing a river. Although, this one is warm!

Once arrived at the bathing spot, there is nothing to do but to put on your swimsuit (or not) and enter the river. One thing you will notice, there is "nothing" up there, no shop, no changing rooms, no tourist information, just the pleasure of bathing in the unspoilt Icelandic nature.

Björgvin Hilmarsson

The best place for bathing is at the crossing of two small rivers, the boiling hot one coming down from Klambragil valley and the cold one descending from Ölkelduháls. The silence, the absence of any annoyance and the warm stream of this pure water makes this an unparalleled experience. Welcome to the heart of Hengill!

Keep in mind that the sub-arctic fauna is fragile. Any destruction of vegetation can take years to grow back. Respect nature, stay on the path, leave no trace and take nothing back but memories (and photos). See more about how to be a responsible tourist in Iceland.

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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