Iceland is covered with geothermal springs sourcing their waters from deep below the earth’s surface. Some of these natural wonders serve as wonderful hotpots where bathers get to enjoy soaking in their heated waters. Others, like the legendary Ölfus Spring, are used to produce bottled water, which is exported worldwide.
Ölfus is an area on the southwest coast of Iceland in Árnessýsla. Many lava formations, wetlands, black sand beaches, cliffs, caves, geothermal areas, and bright hot springs, represent the local landscape.
The larger towns nearby are Hveragerði and Þorlákshöfn, though Hveragerði is a separate municipality and the largest settlement is Þorlákshöfn with about 1,600 inhabitants. There are sensational panoramic views of most of the south coast from these coastal towns, some of which overlook Hekla, Eyjafjallajökull, and the Westman Islands.
Þorlákshöfn is also popular for having the best surfing in Iceland, with black sand beaches ideal for beginners and superb waves at its lighthouse for advanced surfers. In addition, the area is suitable for hunting Northern Lights due to little or no light pollution.
Ölfus spring water
The legendary Ölfus Spring was dug during a powerful volcanic eruption more than 5,000 years ago. Protected by an impenetrable layer of lava, it is constantly replenished by the gradual filtering of precipitation and snowmelt over uninhabited and untouched lava fields.
With over 900,000 cubic meters of water overflowing from Ölfus Spring into the ocean every day, it is one of the largest known natural springs, its capacity is widely recognized as one of the most powerful in the world. In fact, the overflow alone is more than twice the entire amount of bottled water consumed in the world.
The municipality is also famous for being the headquarters of the popular bottled drinking water brand Icelandic Glacial based in Hlidarendi, Ölfus, Iceland. It makes sure to never damage or deplete the spring, which is why Icelandic Glacial extracts less than 0.1 % of the total amount of water that naturally flows to the surface. It is this company that has fought for control of the sole commercial rights to bottle and sell water from the legendary Ölfus spring.
The company is led by a group of private Icelandic investors who have assembled an experienced management team and developed a world-class water bottling plant; it is internationally certified and multi-award-winning under the Icelandic Glacial brand.
Since 2005, the company has exported Icelandic Glacial to consumers around the world, and it has been extremely popular in the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Canada, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, China, and more.
Ölfus bottling plant
The bottling plant itself is also unique, the technology within it meets the idea of a fully sustainable operation that is powered entirely by geothermal and hydroelectric energy. It covers an area of 7 688 square meters and its production is one of the most environmentally friendly and clean in the world.
Water for Icelandic Glacial comes directly from an underground spring into the bottling facility, which maintains a positive air pressure to prevent outside air from entering. Fully automated and mechanized, the facility can produce up to 30,000 bottles per hour.
Nearby attractions: Reykjanes Peninsula
This area, found in the southwest of Iceland is dotted with geothermal activity, lava fields as far as your eyes can see, and volcanoes. This region is located on top of the mid-Atlantic rift, where the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates drift apart, creating unparallel earthly tension and thereafter explaining the high presence of volcanic and geothermal activity.
Geldingardalur valley, set on the Reykjanes Peninsula, is home to Fagradalsfjall volcano which, after a 6000-year dormant period, erupted in late March 2021. Although the active eruption has now ceased, a hike to the craters and newly formed lava field is one of the best and most exciting activities you can do on the Peninsula!
Apart from this, the Peninsula offers you a chance to explore Krýsuvík and Seltún geothermal areas where mud pots, steaming hot springs, and volcanic fumaroles cover the landscape.
Gunnuhver hot spring, the largest mud pot in Iceland is also nearby and worth seeing for yourself! The area is so mystical and otherwordly that, it looks more like mars than planet earth!
Explore the southernmost tip of Reykjanes Peninsula – Reykjanestá and admire the stunning cliffs and oceans views. This area is also a perfect spot for birdwatching as the largest sea stack is home to a large colony of kittiwakes.
No day of exploring is truly complete without dipping your toes in the warm geothermal waters of the Blue lagoon found only a stone’s throw away from these natural attractions!
Ölfus is an area on the southwest coast of Iceland. Many lava formations, black sand beaches, cliffs, and geothermal hot springs make up the landscape. The legendary Ölfus Spring was formed during a powerful volcanic eruption more than 5,000 years ago and is considered to be the world’s most powerful natural spring.
Want to discover the wonders of the South Coast? Why not join our 5-Day Iceland Guided Tour!