If you are exploring Iceland's vast and wild landscape, your itinerary would only be complete with a visit to Deildartunguhver, the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. The hot spring is named after a nearby farm called Deildartunga. The name Deildartunguhver translates to "Deildartunga's hot spring."
The immense power of this hot spring is so captivating, with a staggering output of 180 liters of water per second at boiling temperatures. The water from Deildartunguhver is also used to heat up greenhouses in the area. The hot spring's energy is used to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and even bananas!
It's a sight to behold and a testament to the geothermal activity that defines much of Iceland's identity.
Deildartunguhver Hot Spring is located in West Iceland, in the Deildartunguhver geothermal area. This geothermal marvel is near the small town of Reykholt in the Borgarfjörður district, making it a great stop when exploring the region. To be more precise, the hot spring's geographical coordinates are 64.6643° N, 21.4002° W.
Deildartunguhver is approximately 97 kilometers north of Iceland's capital city, Reykjavik, and around 23 kilometers from the larger town of Borgarnes. Both are located along the Ring Road, the main highway that encircles the island, making Deildartunguhver accessible for most travelers in Iceland.
A drive to Deildartunguhver from Reykjavik would take you north across the Hvalfjörður fjord, either by the tunnel under the fjord or the longer scenic route around it. The journey offers beautiful views of Iceland's diverse landscapes, including vast fields, mountains, and water bodies.
The attraction is well-signposted from the main road, and the parking area is just a short walk away from the hot spring. Remember that the hot spring is a part of the Silver Circle route. This popular touristic path includes attractions such as the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls and the historic site of Reykholt.
Its proximity to Reykjavik and the stunning views along the way make Deildartunguhver an excellent day trip for those in the capital city and a must-visit for travelers venturing through West Iceland.
Deildartunguhver is not far from Reykjavik and is easily accessible, making it a good day trip for those in the capital. Here are a few ways to get there:
By Car: The most direct way to reach Deildartunguhver is by car. From Reykjavik, take Route 1 (Ring Road) heading north. After passing through the Hvalfjörður tunnel, turn onto Route 50, heading northeast. Continue along Route 50 until you reach the turnoff for Route 518 towards Reykholt. Signs along the road will guide you to Deildartunguhver. The drive takes approximately 1.5 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
By Bus: While public transportation in the area is limited, a bus service operates from Reykjavik to Borgarnes (Bus 57). From Borgarnes, you can catch another bus (Bus 82) to get you to Reykholt. From there, Deildartunguhver is within walking distance. Please be aware that the bus schedules can vary, especially outside the summer season, so check the timetable beforehand.
Regardless of how you travel to Deildartunguhver, always check the weather forecast and road conditions before you set out. Weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, and conditions can change quickly.
As one of Europe's most mighty geothermal features, Deildartunguhver showcases the awe-inspiring power of the Earth's internal heat and its practical applications for modern living. The scalding waters and dramatic steam vents represent the hot spring's raw energy. At the same time, this geothermal power works tirelessly behind the scenes, heating homes, and contributing to Iceland's green energy landscape.
Deildartunguhver is primarily known for its title as the most powerful hot spring in Europe. This extraordinary geothermal attraction boasts an impressive flow rate of 180 liters per second, making it an incredible spectacle of nature. The water here is boiling, reaching temperatures of 100°c (212 F).
The steam emitted from the hot spring is so extensive that it can often be seen from miles away, providing an imposing and unforgettable sight. Visitors to the area are invariably drawn to the power and beauty of Deildartunguhver, making it a must-see stop on any tour of Iceland's geothermal attractions.
The history of Deildartunguhver Hot Spring spans several centuries and is steeped in local tradition. Long ago, residents of the local area turned to the hot spring for practical uses. An innovative wooden duct system estimated to be between 80 to 90 years old was used to transport the hot spring's water to a house around 600 meters away. This system provided warmth to the home, facilitated the washing of clothes, and even allowed for a personal sauna and steaming food—considered unique luxuries in Icelandic houses at the time.
The hot spring is located on land owned by a local woman named Sigurbjörg Björnsdóttir (1886-1984) and her family for almost two centuries. Sigurbjörg was well known for her understanding of the hot spring's beneficial healing powers.
However, the land eventually came under the ownership of the Icelandic government, a move that has been seen with other significant natural sites, such as the Gullfoss waterfall. Despite the shift in ownership, Sigurbjörg's influence can still be felt today.
Many believe that Sigurbjörg's vision played a significant role in constructing the Krauma Geothermal Nature Baths. Opened in 2017, this modern facility provides a luxurious way for visitors to experience the soothing waters of the hot spring. It continues to celebrate Deildartunguhver's long history of offering comfort and healing.
Deildartunguhver provides several fascinating and relaxing activities for visitors:
Observing the Hot Spring
The main attraction, of course, is the hot spring itself. The impressive force and steam provide a unique spectacle you will want to take advantage of.
Information boards around the site offer visitors the chance to learn about geothermal energy, its uses in Iceland, and the specific role Deildartunguhver plays in this.
Relax at the Krauma Spa
Located near the hot spring, Krauma Spa provides the perfect opportunity to unwind. It uses the hot water from Deildartunguhver to fill its geothermal baths, offering a unique spa experience.
Dine at the Café
Enjoy refreshments at the on-site café, which sells rye bread baked using geothermal heat from the hot spring.
Shop for Organic Tomatoes
A small stand nearby sells organic tomatoes grown in local greenhouses, thanks to the geothermal heat.
The ideal time to visit Deildartunguhver is during the Icelandic summer months, from late May to early September. During this period, the weather is milder, making exploring the site and its surroundings easier.
That being said, Deildartunguhver is a beautiful attraction throughout the year. Winter visits offer the surreal experience of the hot spring's steam rising dramatically against the cold, snowy landscape.
While Deildartunguhver itself doesn't offer accommodations, there are several comfortable and convenient options nearby. The nearest town, Borgarnes, is just a 25-minute drive away and provides a range of accommodations from quaint guesthouses, budget-friendly hostels, or well-equipped hotels for a more luxurious stay.
The nearest camping site to Deildartunguhver is Hverinn Campsite, located in Kleppjarnsreykjum. The site is equipped with amenities such as hot and cold running water, jacuzzis, washing machines, showers, toilets, and electricity. For recreation, there's a swimming pool, hiking trails, a playground, and a restaurant on-site. The cost per adult per night is 1500 ISK. The camping site operates from March 30th to September 30th each year.
Deildartunguhver is a part of the scenic "Silver Circle" route, featuring several other remarkable attractions: