Reykjanes Peninsula, south of Reykjavik is an area full of lava fields, rugged coastlines and mountains. It is best known for The Blue Lagoon and Keflavik airport and is also the site of the eruption of Geldingadalur Volcano in 2021 and the recent eruption a little to the north of this in Merardalir [Fagradalsfjall Volcano] in August 2022.
For up to date information on volcanic activity in Reykjanes click HERE.
On our first visit we drove here as an alternative way to the airport from the east. The weather was so atrocious that we could not really leave the car to explore so had to content ourselves with the fabulous views from our seats. We hardly saw any traffic in this area, despite being so near the airport.
Seltún Hot Springs [Krýsuvík]
You can stop here on the way from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon or the volcano sites, but the springs are not suitable for a dip- way too hot and dangerous! You can’t miss them as they are steaming just by the main road with the impressive Krýsuvík Lake on the other side. You can walk on a path through the geothermal area.
The water is bubbling and steaming around you and is rather smelly as it’s giving off sulphur. The whole experience is rather amazing as it feels [and smells] like you are on another planet.
Leashia and I visited the site of the recent eruption on 31st October 2021. The eruption had been quiet for several weeks but it was a magnificent place to visit and the lava was still steaming in places.
The site is an easy one hour drive from Reykjavik and there are also organised trips available. There is a ranger station at the car park where you can get advice and there are also handy portaloos.
The walk from the car park to the site took over an hour but it was not an easy trek as the wind was ferocious and it was bitterly cold. The view of the cooling lava flow was magnificent and it is well worth the scramble when the path finally gave up.
The following article on the volcano was written by my friend Laura Watson. Laura visited the site of the volcano with her husband Owen on May 27th 2021. The photos and video of the volcano were supplied to me by Laura who kindly gave me permission to use them for my website.
The volcano, also known as Fagradalsfjall, is handily located between Reykjavik and Keflavík. Directions to the parking is available on Google maps. From Reykjavik it’s around a 45 minute drive. It’s also very close to The Blue Lagoon (around a 15 minute drive) so you could always combine the two. Once at the parking site, you must pay a fee of 1,000 ISK online via https://www.parka.is/pay/geldingadalir/.
When you have parked [and paid], it’s a trek of about an hour and a half to the volcano. The path is well trodden but it is made up of loose stones and lava so it is uneven. You must have good quality walking shoes or boots, and poles would be very useful when you start the climb.
The first kilometer is pretty flat and then you start to climb. The drop is steep and it was very windy when we visited. Be prepared to have grit blown into your eyes and up your nose. We had to drop to the ground several times to avoid being blown over. However, it is worth every single step, every piece of grit, to be able to sit and witness nature’s raw power up so close.
The Blue Lagoon
Grunty tip- you are allowed to take photos in The Blue Lagoon so bring a waterproof camera or buy a cheap waterproof wallet for your ‘phone.
There are several hot pots and baths in Reykjavik with Laugardalslaug in Laugardalur Park being the biggest in Reykjavik. There is also Gamla Laugin, The Secret Lagoon within The Golden Circle which is worth seeking out. The Blue Lagoon is near Keflavik airport so you could visit here before or after your flight if you are super clever.
The Blue Lagoon’s setting and scale is impressive, so is the price. [Book ahead on the interweb – it explains everything].
Leashia, Monique and I visited the Blue Lagoon in Feb 2017. It was a wonderful experience. It was below zero and snowing – but we did not feel cold in the lovely warm water. The setting in a ancient lava field with mountains as a backdrop is lovely. The changing rooms are spacious and clean, with no requirement to shower naked in public like many of the other baths in Iceland. At the time it was undergoing an expansion so it will be interesting to see what changes have been made.
You are required to shower naked before entering the pool, but there are cubicles provided so you can do this in private. Applying plenty of conditioner on your hair may be a good idea as the minerals can play havoc with your barnet! (non Brits- this is cockney rhyming slang for hair).
There is a bar in the main outdoor pool but we did not feel the need to part with more cash. As part of the basic package you can slop some goo on your face. This unfortunately was not a pleasant experience for Monique as her skin did not like it at all and she had some sort of allergic reaction to it. So maybe avoid this if you have sensitive skin.
The area surrounding The Blue Lagoon is spectacular and it’s worth a walk through the lava field before or after your lagoon experience.