Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River: A Relaxing Escape in Iceland

Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

    We have the perfect suggestion if you're looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path Reykjavik day trip. Imagine soaking in the waters of the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river. You'll be surrounded by breathtaking Icelandic landscapes without the crowds of the Blue Lagoon.

    That's precisely what you'll experience when you visit the geothermal Reykjadalur Valley with your Campervan Iceland Rental. This hidden gem is the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and thermal spring seekers alike.

    So, pack your bathing suit and prepare to embark on the Reykjadalur hot springs hike for an unforgettable adventure.

    Planning Your Visit to Reykjadalur Valley

    Reykjadalur Valley is a geothermal area located in the southern part of Iceland, just north of Hveragerði. It offers an incredible experience with its hot springs and thermal river, making it a popular destination for travelers. Here's what you need to know when planning your visit.

    When To Go

    The best time to visit Reykjadalur Valley is during the summer months, from June through August. The weather is milder, and there are more hours of daylight, which makes the hike more enjoyable.

    However, visitors should know that the valley can get crowded during peak season, so plan accordingly. Additionally, it's important to note that Reykjadalur Valley is located in a geothermal area. Therefore, it can be quite slippery due to steam rising from the ground.

    Therefore, proper footwear is essential for safety purposes.

    reykjadalur hot spring thermal river

    What To Expect

    The hike up to Reykjadalur Valley will take about 45-60 minutes one way and includes several photo stops along the way. The hike is around 3 km (2 miles) each way and consists of some steep uphill sections.

    Once you reach the valley, you can soak in a cozy thermal river surrounded by stunning views of hills and mountains. The water temperature ranges between 36°C (96°F) and 40°C (104°F), making it perfect for relaxation after a long hike!

    Additionally, visitors should remember that there are no changing rooms or bathrooms at Reykjadalur Valley, so make sure you come prepared with all necessary items, such as swimsuits and towels.

    How To Get to Reykjadalur Hot Springs

    The Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river is a popular destination in Iceland. It is known for its beautiful natural hot springs and stunning views of the surrounding valley. However, getting there can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors.

    Here's a guide on how to get to Reykjadalur Hot Springs, including tips on transportation and parking.

    • By Campervan: Renting a campervan is an ideal way to get to Reykjadalur Hot Springs. You can park your campervan in the car park. From there, you can explore the surrounding area at your own pace and have plenty of space to store all your items for the day's adventure.
    • By Car: One of the most convenient ways to get to Reykjadalur Hot Springs is by car. From Reykjavik, take Route 1 east towards Hveragerdi, then turn onto Route 38 towards Reykjadalur. Follow the road until you reach the car park at the trailhead.
    • By Bus: Visitors can take a public bus from Reykjavik to Hveragerdi and then take a 4 km (2.4 miles) walk to Reykjadalur Car Park. From there, it is another 45 minutes to the hot springs.
    • By Tour: Many tour companies offer guided tours to Reykjadalur Hot Springs. This can be a convenient option for visitors who prefer not to drive themselves or want to learn more about the area from a knowledgeable guide.
    • Parking: There is a car park at the trailhead for Reykjadalur Hot Springs. However, parking can be limited during peak times, and visitors should arrive early to ensure they can find a space.

    reykjadalur thermal bathing pools

    Things To Consider Before Heading To Reykjadalur Thermal River

    A visit to the Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is an experience like no other. However, with any outdoor activity, taking some precautions is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe hike. 

    Here are some things to consider to make your hike to the Reykjadalur hot springs more enjoyable.

    • How crowded is Reykjadalur? The popularity of the Reykjadalur trail has increased in recent years. However, it is still less crowded than other popular attractions, such as the Blue Lagoon. However, it is best to plan your visit during the weekdays and avoid weekends if you want to avoid crowds.
    • How long does Reykjadalur take? The hike to Reykjadalur hot springs usually takes 45-60 minutes each way, depending on your pace and fitness level. Plan for 2-3 hours to allow time at the hot springs.
    • How long is the hike to the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river? The duration of the walk to Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river is approximately 3 km (2 miles) from the car park to reach the hot springs. The trail is well-marked and includes some steep uphill sections.
    • What is the best time of day to hike to Reykjadalur? It's best to start your hike early in the morning to avoid crowds and to have plenty of time to enjoy the hot springs before the afternoon rush.
    • What should I wear and bring for the hike? Wear comfortable, waterproof hiking shoes or boots and warm and waterproof clothing. Bring a backpack with plenty of water, snacks, a towel, and a swimsuit for the hot springs. 
    • Are there changing facilities? There are wooden ‘changing rooms’ along the side of the river where you can change into your bathing suit before entering the water. The changing rooms don't offer much privacy, but Icelanders are known for their modesty and respect for others.

    Reykjadalur valley

    Exploring Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools

    Reykjadalur valley is home to some of Iceland's most stunning natural landscapes. One of its main attractions is the geothermal hot spring river that runs through the valley. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing dip in the Reykjadalur thermal bathing pools, which are situated along the hot spring river. 

    The pools vary in temperature, allowing visitors to find their ideal spot. The combination of hot water and cold mountain air creates a unique experience that shouldn't be missed.

    Safety Precautions for Using the Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools

    Safety is always a top priority when visiting natural hot springs, and the Reykjadalur thermal bathing pools are no exception.

    Here are some essential safety precautions to keep in mind:

    • Be aware of the temperature: The water in the hot spring river can reach dangerously hot temperatures. Watch for signs with thermometers indicating the water is too hot to enter.
    • Test the water before entering: Before jumping into any of the pools, test the temperature of the water with your hand or foot to ensure it's comfortable for you.
    • Don't submerge your head: Avoid putting your head underwater, as the water can contain harmful bacteria.
    • Stay hydrated: Bring plenty of water and frequently drink to stay hydrated.
    • Watch your step: The rocks and riverbed can be slippery, so take care when moving around the pools.

    Reykjadalur caution

    Benefits of Soaking in Reykjadalur Hot Spring River

    Reykjadalur thermal river is a natural wonder of Iceland. In this geothermal paradise, visitors can relax and rejuvenate in the warm waters. But did you know that soaking in these geothermal waters can also provide various health benefits?

    Here are some of the many benefits of soaking in Reykjadalur thermal river.

    • Natural pain relief: The high temperature of the water can help to ease muscle and joint pain, providing a natural form of pain relief.
    • Improved circulation: Soaking in geothermal waters can improve blood flow, helping to increase oxygen and nutrient delivery to the body's tissues.
    • Reduced stress and anxiety: The warm water and peaceful surroundings can help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation and well-being.
    • Skin health: The mineral-rich water can help improve skin health, reducing inflammation and nourishing the skin.
    • Detoxification: The minerals in the geothermal water can help to detoxify the body, flushing out toxins and impurities.

    reykjadalur hot spring river

    Hiking to Reykjadalur Hot Spring River

    Hiking to the Reykjadalur Hot Spring River is an experience that should not be missed on your trip to Iceland. The trail is challenging but rewarding, taking you through a beautiful valley surrounded by stunning landscapes.

    Here is a detailed description of the hike to Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river:

    • The hike starts at the Reykjadalur parking lot, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik. From the parking lot, the trailhead is marked, and the trail is well-maintained.
    • The first part of the hike is relatively easy, with a gradual uphill climb that takes you through a beautiful valley. The scenery is stunning, with views of the surrounding mountains and the bubbling hot springs dotting the landscape.
    • As you continue on the trail, the terrain becomes more challenging, with steeper inclines and rougher terrain. However, the views are well worth the effort, and the sound of the rushing river is a constant companion.
    • After about an hour of hiking, you will reach the first thermal bathing pool. This is a great spot to take a break and soak in the warm, soothing waters. The water in the pool is a comfortable temperature and offers beautiful views of the valley below.
    • As you continue along the trail, you will pass several more hot springs and thermal bathing pools, each offering unique views and experiences.
    • Finally, you will reach the highlight of the hike: the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river.

    Hiking reykjadalur valley

    Highlights Of The Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River Hike

    The Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river hike offers the opportunity to soak in the natural hot springs and experience the beauty of the surrounding area. The scenic viewpoints along the trail provide stunning views of the valley, mountains, and rivers.

    Here are some of the highlights of the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river hike:

    • Reykjadalur valley: The hike starts at the parking lot and leads to the Reykjadalur valley, a picturesque area surrounded by mountains, hills, and rivers. The valley is known for its geothermal activity and hot springs.
    • Steam vents: Steam vents release hot vapor and sulfuric gas along the trail. The steam vents are a reminder of the area's geothermal activity and add to the unique atmosphere of the hike.
    • Waterfalls: Several waterfalls along the trail are worth a stop. The most famous waterfall, Djúpagilsfoss, is at the trail's end, where the hot spring river meets a cold river. The waterfall provides a beautiful backdrop for the hot spring river.
    • Panoramic views: The hike offers panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the valley, mountains, and rivers. The viewpoints provide a chance to capture the area's beauty and take stunning photos.

    Steam vents at geothermal valley

    Prepare For The Hike - What to Bring

    Preparing for a hike is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. If you are planning to hike to the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river, there are some things you need to consider to make your adventure more comfortable and safer. 

    Here are some tips on what to bring and clothing recommendations for your hike to the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river.

    What To Bring

    Before heading out for the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river hike, it's essential to make sure you have everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

    Here are some items that you should consider bringing with you:

    • Hiking shoes or sturdy boots: The trail to the hot springs can be rocky and slippery in some areas, so it's essential to wear proper footwear to prevent injuries.
    • Warm layers: Even on warm days, temperatures can change quickly in Iceland, and the hike can be chilly in some areas. Dressing in layers is recommended to stay comfortable throughout the hike.
    • Swimwear and towel: The main attraction of the hike is soaking in the hot springs, so be sure to bring swimwear and a towel to dry off afterward.
    • Water and snacks: The hike can take several hours, so bringing plenty of water and snacks is essential to stay hydrated and energized.
    • Sunscreen and sunglasses: The sun can be strong in Iceland, even on cloudy days, so protecting your skin and eyes is essential.
    • Camera: The hike to Reykjadalur offers breathtaking views and unique experiences, so don't forget to bring a camera to capture these moments.
    • Backpack: A backpack is necessary to carry your belongings. Ensure it's comfortable, waterproof, and big enough for all your belongings.

    reykjadalur hot spring thermal river hike

    Things To Do Near Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River

    Aside from hiking and soaking in the geothermal waters of the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river, there are other activities and attractions in the area that visitors can enjoy.

    Here is a list of some of the things to do in the vicinity:

    • Visit Hveragerði Hot Springs: A short drive from Reykjadalur, Hveragerði offers a unique opportunity to see geothermal activity up close. The hot springs are located just a short walk from the town center and are easily accessible.
    • Go Horseback Riding: The area around Reykjadalur is known for its scenic horseback riding trails. Many tour companies offer guided rides that take you through the surrounding countryside.
    • Explore the Reykjanes Peninsula: Just a short drive from Reykjadalur, the Reykjanes Peninsula offers a variety of natural wonders to explore, including geysers, hot springs, and lava fields.
    • Tour the Golden Circle: The Golden Circle is one of Iceland's most popular tourist destinations, featuring stunning natural wonders like the Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal area, and Þingvellir National Park.
    • Visit the Skálholt Cathedral: This historic cathedral is one of the oldest in Iceland, dating back to the 11th century. It is located just a short drive from Reykjadalur and is open to visitors.

    reykjadalur hot spring river

    Campsites Near Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River

    Camping near Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is a great way to immerse yourself in Iceland's stunning natural landscapes fully. The area offers a variety of camping options for visitors, ranging from established campsites to more remote locations for those seeking a true wilderness experience.

    Here are some of the top camping spots we recommend:

    • Selfoss Camping Ground: This campsite is located in the nearby town of Selfoss, just a 20-minute drive from Reykjadalur. It offers all the amenities you need for a comfortable camping experience, including showers, cooking facilities, and electricity hookups.
    • Reykjamörk Hveragerði Campsite: Located 6 minutes' drive from the Reykjadalur hot spring thermal river, this campsite offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and easy access to Reykjadalur. It has various camping options, including tent sites, RV sites, cabins, showers, toilets, and a playground for kids.
    • Úlfljótsvatn campsite: This campsite is located about 30 minutes away from Reykjadalur and offers a peaceful and secluded camping experience. It is situated by a scenic lake and surrounded by beautiful countryside. The campsite has tent sites, cabins, and facilities such as showers, toilets, and a cooking area.
    • Wild camping: If you're looking for a more adventurous camping experience, there are plenty of opportunities for wild camping in the area surrounding Reykjadalur. Follow the Leave No Trace principles and obtain any necessary permits before camp.

    If none of these campsites suit your needs, check out our article about the 7 Best Campsites in Iceland. It has everything you need to find the perfect camping spot for your adventure.

    Memories to Take Home with You

    Visiting Reykjadalur Hot Spring Thermal River is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Whether it's soaking in the geothermal waters or exploring the surrounding countryside, plenty of activities and attractions keep you entertained during your stay.

    With camping options ranging from established campsites to wild locations for those seeking a true wilderness adventure, visitors can find whatever suits them best. So explore this remarkable region of Iceland and make some fantastic memories!

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