Hveragerði, Iceland— Of all the places we found while traveling around Iceland, Hveragerði was one of the best. This place is paradise for anyone who loves the outdoors. To sum it up, it’s a small town at the foot of a 45-60 minute hike to a natural geothermal playground which includes a hot flowing river you can swim in.
Hveragerði is about 35-45 minutes outside of Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik. When you turn off into the town, you take the road straight back and follow the signs for the “Hot River”, there really isn’t anywhere else to go!
Besides the Hverbakarí, which is an amazing bakery right in town. Here they sell soup, sandwiches, coffee, and all sorts of baked goods. I recommend the bacon and cheese danish or one of the HUGE caramel cinnamon buns. Here they also sell Iceland’s famous “black bread” which is baked using the geothermal ground as an oven. You can even boil an egg in the hot spring to have with the bread. There is a facility in town where you can learn more about the process behind “black bread” and see it first hand. It’s one of the most unique breads I’ve tried.
At the end of the road there is a small parking area and a cold river which you can drink out of. The water is crisp and super clean (note: you don’t need to buy bottled water in Iceland, save your money). I filled my bottle and we started our hike up a decent incline, steam rising out of the earth alongside of us.
The hike is on the longer side but not treacherous or difficult. We just kept thinking about the warm bath at the end of the road, potentially filled with beautiful naked people. We can dream. Every hill keeps you thinking “is this the one”?!
After awhile you’ll pass fields where the streams have tiny wooden bridges crossing over them, the water begins to get warmer. When you get real close, there is one last test, sulfur pits that are boiling hot, some blue, some grey, that smell like… well farts. It’s an awful smell but they look epic and make for a good photo. If you can stand in place long enough to take one.
At the end, you come over a hill and cross one last wooden bridge to see it all make sense. The hot river. People make camp alongside the bank and find a spot to relax. The river is open to everyone so don’t be shy. Believe me, the naked people will tell you the same. The further you follow the river upstream, the hotter it gets. Be careful, it gets ridiculously hot too far upstream. We found a spot in the middle while others grabbed mud from further upstream and covered their bodies before soaking in the river. Whatever you decide; swim suit, covered in mud, or butt-naked this place is just really awesome.