We had planned a day trip from Hveragerði to the Westman Islands and already booked the ferry tickets online in Germany prior to our Iceland trip. We wanted to see Heimaey, where lava from a volcanic eruption buried large parts of the town in 1973. We had chosen Hveragerði as our base due to its good bus connection to the harbour. The straeto busses, Route 52 go daily from Reykjavik to Hveragerði and continue to Landeyjahöfn where the ferry departs. Unfortunately, the weather was not good, and there were big waves in the ocean. The ferry company already sent an advisory the night before and cancelled the trip due to unfavorable weather condition. But we were on standby as it might change dramatically. In the morning, the second advisory from the ferry came, and the weather hasn't changed so we skipped the bus and decided to sleep a bit longer and just stay in Hveragerði.
So off we went to the "shopping center". The supermarket as well as the tourist office was located in there. They have a small exhibition, "Quake 2008", about an earthquake that happened to Hveragerði a few years ago. The exhibition also contains a small earthquake simulator that a visitor can experience a powerful earthquake of over 6.0 magnitude on Richter scale. An ancient fissure can be viewed, lit up through a transparent section of the floor in the library and the tourist information office.
From there, we went to the art museum, that was unfortunately closed, so we continued to the Geothermal Park in the town center. You can also have a coffee there, but we just walked around the area, looked at the hot springs with names like "Blue Spring" or "Killer Spring" depending on their characteristic. Obviously the killer spring got its name due to some people who perished there. There's also a little hot creek running through the park and at the end of this little roundabout one can have a mud-foot-bath for extra 750 Icelandic crowns. It wasn't much but could they just have included it in the entrance fee?
First we were greeted by many little flies that all seemed keen on entering our mouths. After crossing the bridge over a little river, the path slowly went upwards, and a hole in the path showed how fragile the area is. The steam and hot springs all around make one realize to keep on the path. The trail, visibly marked so no one would really go astray, led up to the top of the mountain and we got some fantastic view of the valley, the green landscape and some sheep grazing around on a kind of steep landscape. Fortunately the flies were gone. At one point the path led along a canyon, where my fear of heights could finally unfold. To my amazement, there were even a few hardcore mountain-bikers going our opposite direction. But shortly after that I was rewarded with the sight of another great waterfall and the path went down again into the steaming Rekjadalur valley.
There,we crossed a river and went over a muddy flat until the trail got better and went along a lot of steam spouts. After a while we finally reached the hot river with many people bathing in it. Unfortunately,the deepest spots (which was just about a meter deep) were all occupied. We found our spot, a few meters before the cold and hot river converged which just over a foot deep. It was definitely warmer than downstream but heck, who needs lukewarm when it was 6°C outside. I've never been to a hot river but to hot springs in Puerto Princesa and in Coron Island in my native Palawan.
After some relaxing in the hot water, we followed the trail back to Hveragerði with many photo-stops of the majestic landscape, the Icelandic horses and the geyser Grýla, which seemed to be inactive though. When we arrived back at our guesthouse we continued with bathing on the heated whirlpool and the steam sauna. It was a definitely a day spent on "wellness".