We have five, grumbling volcanic systems in the Reykjanes peninsula, a UNESCO Geopark very close to Reykjavík. This often-overlooked region has a great deal of rugged beauty and gives you a glimpse of the raw power that slumbers beneath the surface that can awaken at any time. In fact, this may be the very site of the next volcanic eruption, if you have been following the news.
Volcanoes and Hot Springs
The tranquil lake of Kleifarvatn is a beautiful sight to be greeted with, especially when glittering in the sun. Close to Kleifarvatn is the area of Krýsuvík and Seltún. This bizarre, Martian landscape is quite an experience for the senses. You are welcomed by the pungent aroma of sulfur and invited to walk the wooden paths between the popping, hissing, and bubbling mud pools and steam vents. There is a spectacular palette of colors here, from vibrant reds to burnt orange, copper, yellow, blue, silver, you name it.
Gunnuhver is another geothermal hot spot and Iceland’s largest mud pool. With a huge fumarole that billows sulfur-rich steam into the air. It’s like someone left this humungous, eternal kettle steaming and doesn‘t know how to switch it off. There was once a bridge over the area, but the earth eventually claimed it. The area itself is named after a ghost, Guðrún (Gunna) and you can read her tale when you arrive.
The bird cliffs of Valahnúkur and Reykjanesviti lighthouse are other recommended stops. Here, you will find the statue of the Great Auk, a large flightless bird that once lived in Iceland and around the North Atlantic coast. Whilst they are not related to penguins, they do look very similar, and as such, this is where penguins get their name from due to their similarity. Sadly, they were wiped out in the middle of the 18th century, and it is believed that the very last of the species perished in Iceland. The statue itself stares out to sea towards the island of Eldey, where the last of its kind met their ultimate end.
Finally, the Bridge Between the Continents offers a unique opportunity. The bridge itself straddles both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, so you are on a different continent on each side of it. There isn‘t even any border security, and you don’t even need a passport. How cool is that?
The Blue Lagoon
Of course, perhaps the most famous attraction on the Reykjanes peninsula is the world-famous Blue Lagoon spa.
The water that collects in this reservoir is rich in minerals and other good stuff, such as silica and algae. These have been proven to have curative properties to skin ailments such as psoriasis. It is absolutely recommended that you ensure the Blue Lagoon features on your schedule. As it is only 20 minutes from the airport, how could you not?
Trips to Reykjanes
If you would like to visit Reykjanes, then you should check out our signature guided tour, which dedicates one whole day to discover the area!