As an easy day trip from Reykjavík, Reykjadalur Hot Springs is a beautifully positioned thermal river that twists down a dramatic valley. Here’s how to make the most of your visit. 

Sitting at the top of a valley, Reykjadalur Hot Springs is one of the most beautifully set geothermal bathing options in Iceland. Surrounded by mountains and steaming vents, the temperature ranges from 36°C – 40°C (96°F – 104°F). It’s the perfect spot to while a few hours in this otherwise chilly country.

The hot springs are just a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik and then a 1-hour hike from the car park. The walk heads up the red and green valley alongside the thermal river, past bubbling mud pot and a lovely waterfall. After the walk to get there, soaking in the thermal river is one of the best things to do in Iceland.  

Reykjadalur is one of our favourite geothermal pools in Iceland and a great day trip from Reykjavik.

Read on for a relaxing experience enjoying the natural wonder of Reykjadalur, as well as some other great things to do in the area.

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FACTS ABOUT REYKJADALUR

Reykjadalur means ‘Steam Valley’ and it’s part of the Hengill volcanic area. The last eruption was 2,000 years ago but the geothermal activity beneath the earth’s surface still heats the region.

Hot water from deep under Hengill Mountain flows through the Klambragil ravine and into the Reykjadalsá river creating the perfect temperature for bathing. The volcanic minerals have turned the thermal river bright light blue and it steams as it drifts down the valley.

The warm temperatures and wet conditions have allowed wetland plants to thrive. Tiny succulents, reeds and moss-covered rocks create a wave of green amongst the red and black volcanic hills. Bubbling mud pots and cascading waterfalls give the area an extra dose of mystery.

WHERE IS REYKJADALUR?

Reykjadalur is just outside the town of Hveragerði in southwest Iceland; 30 miles (50 kilometres) east of Reykjavík and 10 miles (16 kilometres) west of Selfoss. From Reykjavík, the drive takes around 45 minutes. Located at the end of the Golden Circle route, Reykjadalur can also be visited as part of a circuit which includes Thingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss.

Djúpagilsfoss Reykjadalur
Djúpagilsfoss waterfall at Reykjadalur

HOW TO GET TO REYKJADALUR HOT SPRINGS

Reykjadalur Hot Springs are a 1-hour walk from the Reykjadalur parking lot. There are three ways to get to the location.

DRIVING TO REYKJADALUR

The parking lot for Reykjadalur is a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík. Head east on Route 1 (Þjóðvegur 1) until you reach the town of Hveragerði. Take the third exit at the roundabout towards Breiðamörk and follow signs to Reykjadalur Hot Springs.

The large car park at Reykjadalur costs 200ISK ($1.50) for the first 2 hours then 250ISK per hour after that. Payment is made by card either via the EasyPark App or via the machines in the car park. Cash is not accepted.  

Enter your car registration as you pay and a hold will be placed on your card. Cameras record when you leave the car park and the correct amount is charged to your card automatically.

BUS TO REYKJADALUR

It’s possible to catch the bus from Reykjavík to Reykjadalur via the 51 service which goes along the south coast, however, it does involve an extra 4-kilometre (2.4-mile) walk.   

Take the number 51 bus from the Mjödd Bus Stop in the Álfabakki district of Reykjavík to the Hveragerði Bus Stop. From here it’s a 4-kilometre (2.4-mile) walk to Reykjadalur Car Park which will take around 45 minutes. Keep in mind, you also have the 1-hour walk from the car park to the bathing area. You may be able to find a taxi at the bus stop, however, we wouldn’t bank on this.  

The bus runs every 1 or 2 hours and takes 40 minutes from Reykjavík or 15 minutes from Selfoss.

You could also hire a taxi directly from Reykjavík but expect to pay around $100 to $150 each way.

TOURS TO REYKJADALUR

Another option is to take a tour from Reykjavík.

Reykjadalur Tour 1 // This tour will collect you from your hotel and drive you out to Reykjadalur Hot Springs. They take a gravel track through the lava field, so you only need to walk 20 minutes or so to the bathing spot.

Reykjadalur Tour 2 // This offers several different pick-up locations including the airport, hotel and several bus stops in Reykjavík. They stop at the car park, so you will still need to do the 1-hour walk up to the bathing spot. Group size is limited to 8 people.

reykjadalur hot springs 2

HIKING TO REYKJADALUR HOT SPRINGS

The Reykjadalur thermal springs are located 3 kilometres from the parking area, so you also get to enjoy a hike up the picturesque valley. The path is very clear and easy to follow and should take around 1 hour to reach the bathing spot, plus another hour to return.

It’s a steep uphill walk for the first 25 minutes before the path levels somewhat at the top of the valley. The views all the way are lovely as the valley winds through the surrounding mountains with little steaming rivers coursing through green banks lined with wildflowers.

Don’t miss the bubbling mud pool of Drottningarhola, or Queen’s borehole. Around halfway along the hike, the lovely Djúpagilsfoss waterfall drops into the Djúpagil Canyon for a great photo opportunity. 

TIPS FOR BATHING IN REYKJADALUR HOT SPRINGS

01 Safe Areas // Although the river is steaming for much of your walk, it takes an hour to reach the official bathing area. Lined with wooden walkways, these are the safe areas to take a dip. Don’t attempt to get in the water anywhere else as temperatures vary widely and it can be dangerously hot.

02Temperatures // Even in the marked-off area the water temperature changes quite a lot, so move around to find your ideal spot.

03Deep Sections // Reykjadalur is a completely natural experience so the best location for bathing varies throughout the year. Look for the rocks lined up on the edge of the water, this will indicate the deepest section of the river. If it’s a cold day, you probably want to be submerged as much as possible.

04Changing // There are no specific changing rooms at Reykjadalur, just a few wooden partitions set up on the walkways. You can just about get a bit of privacy, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for a swift change. Alternatively, bring a changing robe.

05Pests // Insects love Reykjadalur as much as bathers, so bring some insect repellent with you.

06Fauna // Many of the geothermal-loving plants on the walk along the river are endangered, so make sure you stick to the path. The moss is particularly susceptible when trampled on and takes years to grow back.

reykjadalur hot springs 5

FACILITIES AT REYKJADALUR

Café // There is a café next to the Reykjadalur car park which has a selection of cakes, sandwiches, and soups. There’s a Nordic inspired lounge area with large open fire and comfy seats. The coffee is pretty good and they also sell a small selection of beers, wines and spirits if you want a tipple after your relaxing soak in the thermal river.

Toilets // Free public toilets are located beside the café.

OTHER THINGS TO DO IN REYKJADALUR

Hiking // There are several great hiking tracks in the Reykjadalur Valley from where you can take in the beauty of the area. A board at the start of the walk lists some of the walks.

Mountain Biking // The rocky paths around the Klambragil Valley are perfect for mountain biking. The Ice Bike Trail Centre, next to the café, takes guided tours for 1 to 2.5 hours on either e-bikes or traditional mountain bikes.

PLACES TO STAY TO VISIT REYKJADALUR

FROST & FIRE HOTEL

Set on the river amongst bubbling springs, this eco-hotel has been lovingly designed by local artists with wooden floors and bright interiors. This is a great place for a soak in Iceland. There’s a 30°C (86°F) hot tub; a naturally heated 40°C (104°F) hot tub; and you can finish off with a dip in the 15°C (59°F) river.

hotels.com // booking.com


HOTEL SOUTH COAST

This modern spacious hotel in nearby Selfoss is a 15-minute drive or bus ride to Hveragerði, or short taxi ride to Reykjadalur. All the facilities of Selfoss are on your doorstep and the incredible Fagradalsfjall volcano is also only an hour away.

hotels.com // booking.com


HOTEL BORG

Hotel Borg is an elegant Art Deco-style hotel in the centre of Reykjavík, right near the Laugavegur shopping street. A great option if you are self-driving or taking a tour to Reykjadalur.

expedia // booking.com


LOFT HI HOSTEL

Loft is a friendly hostel in the centre of Reykjavík with a bar, roof terrace and eco-friendly credentials. There are private bathrooms or dorm-style quarters, making it a great budget-friendly option.

expedia // booking.com

reykjadalur cafe

PLANNING YOUR ICELAND TRIP

Iceland is an excellent destination for semi-adventurous travellers who like to get off the beaten track and immerse themselves in stunning scenery. Here’s some more reading from us to help plan your journey to the land of fire and ice.

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How to visit the Reykjadalur Hot Springs in Iceland including how to get there, where to stay, tips for visiting, tours from Reykjavík and facilities.