Forget the Blue Lagoon, if you are looking for a lesser known place to submerge yourself in the geothermic waters of Iceland, look no further. Just a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik lies the town of Hveragerði which houses a valley teaming with geothermal activity called Reykjadalur (“Smokey Valley”).This valley is a beautiful hiking area and has a hot river to bathe those tired muscles after some long walks. If you can handle an moderate hour walk to get there, you will save yourself some serious dollars and save yourself from the big crowds.
Start: Reykjadalur Hiking Trail car park (there is a small café and public toilets at the start)
Distance: 6km return
Time: 3 hours
Closest Town: Hveragerdi
Notes: Although there is a lot of geothermal activity and the weather may be nice at the start, be prepared: the weather in Iceland is often unpredictable. Make sure you bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes for a moderate hike and also a swim suit and towel of you want to bathe in the hot river.
If you have a car, you can drive to the start of the Reykjadalur hike. Upon arriving in Hveragerdi, turn left at the roundabout onto the main street (Breiðamörk) and continue north, towards the Reykjadalur valley. Continue on that road (which will veer to the left) until you reach the parking lot at the foot of the valley.
Alternatively, you can take a public bus from Reykjavik to Hveragerdi (straeto.is). You will then need to walk or hitchhike the 3.3km to the carpark where the start of the walk to the Reykjadalur hike is.
The track starts on a slightly steep incline, so be careful if the ground is wet or if it is raining. After about 15-20 minutes of walking the track will start to level and form a more undulating track through the geothermal area until you reach the hot river. Once you reach the hot river, there are places to hang your clothing. Upstream, the water is very hot but more downstream you can find a more comfortable place to sit and relax.
Return the same way as you came.
To find out more visit: hveragerdi.is