How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs near Reykjavik

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

What would you say if I told you could visit one of the best hot springs in Iceland for free AND it offers a great opportunity for hiking near Reykjavik at the same time? Let me introduce the Reykjadalur hot springs, which are a local favourite but an off-the-beaten path sight for foreign tourists.

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How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

Why Visit Hveragerði Hot Springs?

Since Iceland is a volcanic island and there still is a lot of geothermal activity happening, there are quite a few hot springs near Reykjavik alone. One of the most popular is located in the Hengill Iceland area and fittingly called Steam Valley (Reykjadalur). Locals flock here throughout the entire year and it can get quite cosy. But it’s still worth it! And yes, no matter if it’s a sunny or overcast day.

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

Reykjadalur Hveragerði Location Information

Where is the Hveragerdi in Iceland?

The Hveragerði geothermal park is located in Reykjadalur valley, which is only a short walk away from Hveragerði town, which is only 45 km off of Reykjavík.

What Else is There to See in Reykjadalur?

Along your walk from the parking lot to the Reykjadalur hot steam valley, you can gaze at amazingly hot hot springs and mud pools bubbling and steaming. Respect the signs and don’t get too close. A particular great specimen is the Queen’s borehole (Drottningarhola). Please stay away from non-designated dipping pool areas. They are too hot!

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

How to Get from Reykjavik to Hveragerdi

Since a ride from Reykjavik to Hveragerði takes around half an hour, you don’t want to hire a taxi. That would cost way too much. Instead, you could rent a car or take the bus. Bus tickets need to be purchased in advance from either the tourist information or at the coach station in Mjódd. You need six tickets for a return trip. From Mjódd station, take bus 51 or 52 and get off at Hveragerði/Shell.

If you are travelling solo and want the hassle taken out of bus tripping and/or some nice travel company, why not book a tour? There are group hiking tours you can book online.

How to Get from Hveragerdi to Reykjadalur

To get to Reykjadalur from Hveragerði, you can take a taxi, which takes roughly 6 minutes. There are no taxis waiting around the bus stop, so you would need to call one or have one waiting for you. Alternatively, you can follow the hiking trails along the river on either side to the parking lot and then steam valley, which takes around 2 hours if you walk slowly and take a gazillion photos of the beautiful landscapes.

From the bus stop, walk towards petrol station, past the ruins with graffiti and turn right. The hike up until the petrol station is very pleasant and mostly level. It seamlessly melds into the Hveragerði hot spring hike but the path gets somewhat steep albeit not difficult afterwards. Follow the signs to get to the Hveragerdi hot spring river trail. (It’s 3km away.)

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

What You Should Know about Safety When Hiking in Iceland

In general, you should always stick to the designated Iceland hiking trails. First, it will help protect nature and the beautiful landscapes. (Offroading is totally off-limits for a reason.) Second, especially near geothermal pools in Iceland, you really need to be careful. Hot thermal pools are usually boiling and can be detected thanks to their steam. But that’s not always the case. New ones can open up or you could be unlucky enough to be the cause of that. Don’t be toast!

Should you combine a bath with an Hveragerði hike?

Absolutely! Reykjadalur valley is ideal both for a dip in the warm waters as well as hikes!
How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

What Should You Bring to the Reykjadalur Hot Springs Hike?

First and foremost, if you come by public bus, don’t forget your tickets. Second, wear sturdy hiking shoes. The terrain is not terribly tricky to walk but it’s in nature and there is gravel and grass. You don’t want to slip into the wrong part of the hot river in Hveragerdi or the mud pools!

Definitely bring a rain poncho and outdoor jacket with you. The weather can change quite fast in Iceland and you want to be prepared for the occasional rain showers. Don’t forget a towel and set of dry clothes. You might want to bring a bin bag to protect your belongings from the weather. Wear your bathing suit so you don’t have to change on site. There are no changing rooms (only half open privacy screens), it’s right in nature!

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

Even though it isn’t the longest hike, bring a water bottle and snacks with you. There is a kiosk by the parking lot in case you need refreshments, but you might as well save on the extra costs.

If you bring a camera along, I’d invest in a protective lens to keep the rain, potential steam and flying sand away from your lens. For sunny days, bring a polarizing filter to really get the blues in the sky and thermal pools out. It makes for a great contrast.

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

Should You Stay in Hveragerði?

Hveragerði isn’t far from Reykjavik but if you prefer to stay away from the capital and experience a quiet and small town, you might want to consider it. Despite its size, there are quite a few hotels and holiday homes around but they come with steep prices, between 100-200€ per night! They certainly are quite close to the free Hveragerði swimming pool. It’s up to you if that’s worth it. A fun place to stay is Skyr Guesthouse though. If you come here, you can say you stayed at a former skyr factory. The interior design is classic minimalist Scandinavian and super instagrammable.

In case you are planning more day trips from Reykjavik, why not stay in Iceland’s capital? Besides the Hveragerði hot river hike, you could visit mountain Esja or wander the nature reserve Rauðhólar. Getting a Reykjavik hotel totally makes sense. If you are watching your budget, why not check out the quaint Sif Apartments, which is just a stroll away from the famous Hallgrímskirkja Church. In case you want to feel right at home, try the 22 Hill Hotel, which includes a breakfast buffet.

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

What is the Best Time to Visit the Reykjadalur Hot Springs?

Since the river is natural, you can visit any time of the year. It makes most sense during colder months when the hot steams will totally make your day. In autumn, you can catch the wonderful Icelandic landscapes turn a warm gold and brown. In winter, everything is covered in snow and you get to sit in hot water. In spring until early summer, you can admire colourful flowers.

Average temperatures in summer range from 15-7°C (59-44.6F). In winter, it’s between 3°C and -3°C (37.4-26.6F).

Even though the weather in Iceland can be fickle, try to watch the weather forecast and avoid rainy and stormy days. You need to be waterproof for that even if you want to soak your bones at the free hot springs near Reykjavik.

Read next:

Hiking the Bastei Bridge in Saxon Switzerland in Germany
Top 5 Treks and Hikes in New Zealand – South Island
The Best Countries for Women – According to Female Solo Travellers

How to Get to the (Free) Reykjadalur Hot Springs Near Reykjavik

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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  1. Reply

    Looks beautiful! Hot springs are definitely high on the list for when I finally visit Iceland. Great find!

    1. Reply

      Hi Kate, fingers crossed Iceland is on the horizon for you soon. :*

  2. Reply

    I’ve been to Iceland twice and never been to this place! I wish I’d known about it; it looks lovely.

    1. Reply

      Hiya, maybe you can visit during your third visit. Three time’s the charm.^^

  3. Reply

    Hiking and geology – my two fav pastimes :) I didnt know there was a hike to hot springs. Thanks for sharing. We really want to get to Iceland one day soon and we’re going to do this for sure :)

    1. Reply

      Hi Suzy, that are some real cool pastimes. Iceland is blessed with amazing hiking trails and hot springs, these seem to be the most popular local hotspots for that. Luckily, not too many tourists know about them yet.

    • Michelle
    • 11/08/2018

    Very cool! We definitely plan on returning to Iceland, so we’ll have to check more of these out next time!

    • Amy
    • 11/08/2018

    Great tips! I’m going to Iceland in January so I’ll Definitely see if I can fit this in to my itinerary!

    1. Reply

      Hi Amy, thank you so much; I’m glad you liked my article. I hope you can squeeze in Reykjaladur. It’s magical in the snowy landscape.

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