The hot springs of Hveragerdi
While finishing a bucket list entry about snorkeling in iceland, I felt like I was leaving out way too many things about this amazing country. So, heres a little treat. This isn't something you will find a lot of information about, but enjoying Iceland's numerous hot springs are some of the most amazing travel experiences you can have. The town of Hveragerdi is the closest swim-able hot spring area from Reykjavik, and makes a incredible day trip. When we went hiking into the mountains of southern Iceland all we had to go on was an internet post that said, "drive to Hveragerdi and follow the red and yellow trail markers." So, I will try to provide you with a little more information than that since this was one of the best things that we did while spending time in this beautiful country.
The drive from Reykjavik should take you about 40 minutes. Once you get to the main drag of Hveragerdi, it's a very good time to stop at one of the stores along the main street and pick up some water, or hey, a bottle of champagne to celebrate with once you reach the springs. After a couple of minutes you should see a soccer field coming up on your left and also the first red and yellow trail marker right at the edge of the soccer field parking lot. Now, I made the mistake of parking here, and in doing so it added on an extra 1.5 miles onto the hike. With that being said, blow past this parking lot and keep following the road. You will pass a couple farms and finally reach a parking lot right at the base of a small mountain. Believe me you can't miss it, there will be steam pouring out of various geysers and a very obvious trail marker a lil ways up the hill past the public parking lot.
Follow the Reykjadalur trail up, up, up the mountain. Now, I know what you're thinking, 3 km doesn't seem like that long of a hike, but going up hill can get mighty tiring, and it tends to feel longer than it actually is. The good thing about it though is that you're in Iceland. There are gorgeous landscapes, geysers that smell like someone ripped a huge fart, trolls, elves, and at the end of it all, awesome hot springs that if you so choose, you can swim naked in. It's almost impossible to go the wrong way, but the first landmark that will assure you that you are going in the right direction is this small waterfall on your left.
At this point you would have sworn you have already hiked 3km. Sorry to disappoint but you're maaaaaybe half way there. Keep going up, up, up the mountain. At some point the trail becomes a little dangerous so keep your eyes open, the last thing you want is to wake up in a Icelandic hospital, in traction, while some guy named Bjorn gives you a sponge bath. Once you see this stream you're almost there!
You will get your first taste of how warm the water will be once you step into this stream (the actual springs will be much much warmer). The next landmark you will see are the numerous geysers that dot the hillside. After walking through this fart smelling fog you are only about 5 minutes away.
Pass the geysers, and go around the bend and you will finally see them, this is what made that 3km hike, and potential homoerotic sponge bath all worth while. Keep in mind that this is not really a tourist destination, there are no changing rooms, and no bathroom facilities. You are a few kilometers into the southern Icelandic mountains so grow a set and get changed in the cold mountain air. Other people that are at the springs, if there are any, will be doing the same thing so prepare to see some nudity. Now pop that champagne you bought back down in town enjoy one of the most surreal experiences you will ever have in your life.