8 Reasons Why You Need to Hike Reykjadalur Hot Springs

If you have ever wanted to swim in a hot spring in the middle of the mountains, then I have the perfect place for you!

Located just 40 minutes from Reykjavik in South Iceland, Reykjadalur is an amazing setting for a day hike.

Reykjadalur means “steam valley” in Icelandic, and this place definitely holds up to its name.

Here are eight reasons why you absolutely need to hike Reykjadalur.

1. Not far from Reykjavik

The drive to Reykjadalur is a short 40-minute drive. If you don’t have a car, there are tour groups that will bring you to the site and guide you back to the springs.

2. It’s on the way to other popular stops

If you’re driving the golden circle or heading to the main attractions in the south, you literally drive right past this little gem!

3. You will experience full force Icelandic nature

Mountains in front of you, ocean behind you, streams on the side…what more could you ask for in a hike?!

4. You discover a huge waterfall

You start to ask yourself things like, “is this country real life?!” and “what doesn’t this country have?!”

5. You walk through steam from geothermal hot pots

For a minute the steam is so heavy you can’t see where you are going, and it smells like sulfur, but the view on the other side is worth it!

8 reasons why you need to hike Reykjadalur hot springs in South Iceland | Life With a View


6. You come across this bright turquoise water out of nowhere

Again, you start asking yourself those questions and then spend five minutes here taking photos.

7. You soak in a natural hot spring in the middle of the mountains in Iceland.

When will you ever be able to say that again?!
And yes, it is just as amazing as you think it will be.

8. You eat ice cream after

Because, hard work.

There is an ice cream shop on the left side just after the gravel ends on your drive back towards the ring road. Don’t pass up this opportunity, Iceland honestly has the best ice cream ever!

 8 reasons why you need to hike Reykjadalur hot springs in South Iceland | Life With a View


From Reykjavik, head South on Route 1. After about 40 minutes you will come to a town called Hvergerði. Turn left onto the main street of Hveragerði. Drive straight through the town until you come to a gravel road which will lead you towards Reykjadalur. There will be a parking lot at the base of the trail with toilets and a small cafe (only open during summer season). Cross the bridge over the river to reach the start of the trail. The trail is marked with signs along the way. Enjoy the beautiful scenery on the hike back to the hot springs!

READ MORE:   How to save money on FOOD + DRINK in Iceland

What to bring:
Hiking boots, rain gear (the weather in Iceland can change in an instant!), swimsuit, towel, daypack with a plastic bag (for your wet swimsuit after), and of course your camera!


  • Yes, you need to get naked in the wilderness with people around. Get over it. In Iceland, nobody cares.
  • A wooden path has recently been built along the springs with divider “changing rooms.” These just help block the wind slightly or give minimal privacy for changing.
  • The hike to the hot springs takes about 45 minutes.
  • The path is well marked and no advanced hiking experience is needed (the hike gets moderately difficult in a couple spots)
  • The further up the stream you go, the warmer the water becomes.
  • Spoiler alert, the worst part of this whole experience is getting out of the hot spring and trying to change back into your clothes in the freezing cold Icelandic windy weather. This only lasts for a few minutes, and then you realize that it was still worth it!

: Will you add Reykjadalur to your Iceland to-do list?

Happy planning,





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    April 20, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Hi Jeannie, i’ll be going on September this year and we´ve no car and we can´t rent one. I saw the prices of the tours (around 200 us dollars) but they also take you horse back riding. Is it possible to take a taxi that leaves you at the aprking area and then take perhaps another one back? Are there buses from the city? Thank you

    • Jeannie
      April 24, 2017 at 7:53 am

      I never recommend a taxi in Iceland – they’re just too expensive! This is about an hour drive from Reykjavik so you might want to try to hitchhike a ride! Or do the tour option, but that seems pretty pricey to me 😀

        April 24, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        Thank you! I think they´re going to be for a next trip to Iceland because I only have 6 days. I left you a question abouth the south area but in another post 😉

  • Jeff
    March 27, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    We’re coming in early-mid May. Will the cafe be open? Or should we bring our own food? Besides what sounds like a great view and a lot cheaper, how does the water compare to the blue lagoon? We’re only in Iceland for 3 1/2 days so if we did this, would we need to bother with the blue lagoon? Any other suggestions for such a short stay? We will have a car

    • Jeannie
      March 29, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Reykjadluar is a natural hot stream, Blue lagoon is a huge wading pool – they are very different! Choose whichever sounds better to you 🙂
      I think the cafe would be open by May, but I always bring food just in case! Have a great time 🙂

  • Hunter
    February 16, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    To answer your question, your photos/description are awesome. You’ve shown Reykjadalur to be a microcosm of much of the most interesting nature in Iceland. If someone only had time to do one thing in Iceland, this would no doubt be your best choice. We will be doing our third trip to Iceland and after reading your blog, would love to go visit Reykjadalur, Incredible nature that is both non-commercialized and not over-regulated (think US National Parks) is incredibly appealing. That said, on this trip, we are introducing our daughter (who just turned 6) to Iceland. She is good for 20 to 25 minute hikes. And while the hike looks pretty mild, it appears there is enough challenge that I would not want to risk this hike with her on my shoulders. Again, thanks for sharing this place. We will keep it on our list for the next trip (along with Maelifell Volcano and northeast sites like Grjotagja and Laugavalladalur).

    • Jeannie
      February 23, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Yeah this hike would get long with a 6 year old and it’s actually quite steep in some places so carrying her would also get difficult. Next trip, indeed!

  • Bernardo Rodarte
    January 30, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Saludos desde Mexico! Do you know if this hike / park has any specific hours when it is open to the public? We will be staying at Selfoss that night and want to leave this towards the end of the day. Gracias!

    • Jeannie
      February 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Hola Bernardo! This is a public route, so it is open anytime! Have a great time in Iceland 🙂

  • Zuza
    October 6, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Thanks Jeannie! the hike looks fantastic! Is it possible to do it in winter (December)?

    • Jeannie
      October 11, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Hi Zuza! I’ve never done this hike in the winter so I’m not sure how to advise you. However, there are a lot places that are quite steep, so just keep that in mind in case you decide to brave it. There are a lot of hiking groups that go out even in teh winter, but I’ve never done any winter hikes myself. I would also make sure to use crampon spikes on the bottom of your hiking boots and be plenty prepared with warm clothing.
      Hope that helps! Let me know how it goes.

  • LeeAnn Marshall
    September 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Thanks, Jeannie! Loving this group and all the great tips and photos!

    • Jeannie
      September 15, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Yay, so glad it’s been helpful for you LeeAnn! Thanks for following along 🙂

  • LeeAnn Marshall
    September 6, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    We’re definitely adding this to our list! My question is..can this be done in the morning, and then get down to catch the ferry to the Westmanns?

    Thank you for all the great info!

    • Jeannie
      September 8, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      Hey LeeAnn, yes you can definitely do this and make the ferry. I say to plan 2.5-3 hours for the whole hike + soaking in the springs 🙂

  • Caryn
    August 12, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Would it be doable to fit this in on a day trip down to vik?

    • Jeannie
      August 19, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Hi Caryn, yes this would definitely be doable in a day trip with Vík. The hike itself takes about 2 hours round trip, plus time to bathe in the hot springs. I hope you get to do it, such a great experience!

  • Brie
    January 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Is it pretty obvious where you can and can’t swim or is everywhere fair game?

    • Jeannie
      January 25, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      It is obvious where to swim. The hot spring is pretty small and there is now a wooden path along the water. Most people get in at the first part of the stream that you see, but if you go up a bit higher there will be less people and it is warmer!

      • Brie
        January 26, 2016 at 2:31 am

        Thank you!

  • Van (@snowintromso)
    January 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    I don’t need more reasons than these views!!! So gorgeous! And the waterfall! Wish we had more of them in Norway 😉

    • Jeannie
      January 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Right?! Somehow I never get tired of waterfalls 🙂 Thanks, Van!