Hveragerði, literally “the Hot Gardens”, is Iceland's most well-known commune for geothermal energy, located less than 45 km from Reykjavík, a 30 minute-drive via Road number 1
This pretty little town with its 2,500 inhabitants located along Road 1 on the South Coast, so if you are in the region don't miss your chance to visit Hveragerði.
Hveragerdi has some great features: a campsite, a small swimming pool, and a shopping center, but the real attraction is of course the hot springs. Located on a particularly active geothermal zone, this whole area is fed by the Hengill volcano located north-west of the town.
In 2008 an earthquake struck the region and left fairly large fault above the city or a boiling pot (Leirgerður) near the school.
Hveragerði has embraced this geothermal vibe on every level. Restaurants feature outdoor kitchen stoves heated by geothermal energy (photo). You can spot Hveragerði from afar from the columns of steam coming from the city's numerous hot springs. And of course these springs feed into the local swimming pool for the Icelanders to be able to enjoy a nice swim in thermal waters.
These hot springs also provide water to the city's 50,000 m² of greenhouses, but also residences, pools, and all the local infrastructure including hospitals! Hveragerði is a local capital of agriculture, growing fruits and vegetables in greenhouses all year round, which allows for critical food stocks in the region. In winter, the town shines like a beacon with all the artificial lighting in the many greenhouses.
In Hveragerði they grow a huge variety of crop from traditional vegetables like salads and cucumbers, to the more surprising fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and even... bananas! Icelandic bananas are a thing. Greenhouses organise tours for visitors, and there is a short walking trail between the greenhouses where you can cook an egg over a hot spring (see video below), and enjoy black bread is baked right in the hot soil at your feet.
This map indicates the different trails in and around the city to discover all the secrets of the hot springs: Map of Hveragerði.
Don't miss the 3 kilometer “health trek” or “hot spring trail” which is a sort of grand tour, passing each geothermal site, the small Reykafoss waterfall, and the various greenhouses.
You can also swim in a natural hot spring very close by in the Reykadalur Valley. Additional information about the Reykjavadalur valley and the hot water river.
This hike is well known in the region, but even beyond is famous across Iceland. Count about an hour and a half walk from Hveragerði. Access to the Reykjadalsá River is easy, just follow the map: Map of Reykjadalsá