Volcanoes, geysers, and glaciers are not the only natural magnetism of the Land of Fire and Ice. Iceland’s thermal springs dotted all around the country, the most popular amongst them being in the Highlands, Geysir and Reykjanes Peninsula attract millions of tourists year in, year out. But if you wish to experience a unique hot spring beautifully set in Western Iceland – then you should visit Deildartunguhver.
Found in the striking Reykholtsdalur Valley, Deildartunguhver thermal spring is accessible to all. With a flow rate of 180 liters per second, it is the most powerful thermal spring in Europe.
Heating and Deildartunguhver
Heating in the country is known to rely entirely on thermal springs, except in some places in the Westfjords where the underground water element is not active enough. But Deildartunguhver’s water is well systemized for domestic use, exemplifying the country’s high efficiency of geothermal energy and making it a model for green energy uses. For nearly one century now, it has been used for central heating in areas near and far, through dozens of kilometers of pipes to Borgarnes (34 km) and Akranes (64 km). Because of the water temperature, which reaches 97° C (207° F), the immediate vicinity of the spring is not safe, but there are a fence and viewing platforms around for those who wish to see it from up close. The hot spring maintains a small greenhouse next to it is where fruits and vegetables are grown.
What can be seen at Deildartunguhver and around
A quick stop at the Krauma Geothermal Baths and Spa, open since 2017, is recommended. The baths seem remote and isolated but will surprise you with their luxurious recreational facilities. You can find on its premises 5 hot pools of varying temperatures and 1 cold one in the middle, a relaxation room and 2 steam baths. The perfect bathing water temperature here is achieved by having hot water of Deildartunguhver blended seamlessly with glacial water from Iceland’s smallest ice cap – Okjökull.
The surrounding area also includes Iceland’s impossible-to-miss waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss. The former or the ‘Lava Falls’, is formed by a series of small cascades that trickle through an old lava field. Barnafoss, or ‘the Children’s Falls’, is powerful and swift, associated with mythological images and stories.
Less than 100 km from the spring is the village of Reykholt that’s associated with numerous enchanting stories. The historian, writer, and poet Snorri Sturluson once resided there and left the best accounts of the folklore, mythology, and culture of the North. His work and unique life can be explored at the Snorrastofa Centre in the town.