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Man in a pool of Krauma geothermal baths watching the hot water steam from Deildartunguhver below

A day in and around Borgarfjörður

The Borgarfjörður area in West Iceland offers something for all travel tastes and interests: history buffs, wellness aficionados, and geography geeks alike will find spectacular sights and activities to their liking. Within only one hour from Reykjavik and close to the Snæfellsnes peninsula, a whole world of adventure opens up.

Wellness and waterfalls by Europe’s largest hot spring

Deildartunguhver, the largest hot springs in Europe photographed from above

Keeping the West warm and cosy: the Deildartunguhver hot springs provides heat for the towns Akranes, Borgarnes, and the entire Borgarfjörður area

The Borgarfjörður region spans the hot spots of Iceland: here, one of the biggest hot water springs in Europe, the Deildartunguhver gushes 180 liters of boiling water per second up to the surface of the earth, providing greenhouses, pools, private households and even the bigger towns Akranes and Borgarnes with heat. The energy seems endless here!

The bubbly hot springs of Deildarthunguhver

can be comfortably reached by car and closely observed. Keep your eyes open for the greenhouses and a sales stand with delicious tomatoes!

Warm luxuries

In direct vicinity to Deildartunguhver one can find Krauma, one of

Iceland’s beautiful luxury bath resorts

. Here one can soak and watch the steaming hot water springs from above simultaneously. Drinks and food exclusively from local produce make the luxurious retreat perfect.

Woman relaxing in one of the warm water pools of Húsafell canyon baths

Bathing like Snorri Sturluson - the secluded Canyon baths offer privacy in a beautiful setting

In case you prefer it a bit more private and secluded for your bathtime: the close-by town of Húsafell, snuggled comfortably in forested hills, hides the beautiful pools of Giljaböð, or Húsafell canyon baths. They are only accessible by small group tours with limited participants and require a small hike. The reward consists of two pools inspired in design by the historic Snorralaug, pool of Snorri Sturluson, based in the nearby town of Reykholt.

Waterfall strolling

Turqouise waters of Hraunfossar waterfalls

Enough with the hot water, now it's time to look at the colder ones: Hraunfossar fed by glacial water of the Langjökull glacier

With batteries charged, the sightseeing continues: comfortable walking paths bordered by birch trees have been created around the highly photogenic turquoise waters of the "lava falls" Hraunfossar and the adjacent Barnafoss (children's waterfall). Whereas the first impresses with its mysterious water flow that seems to come out of nowhere, the second has a spine-chilling background story, including a natural stone bridge and missing children.

Cold adventures

Woman walking through an ice tunnel in the Langjökull glacier

"Blue Ice" buried deep beneath the surface of Iceland's second-largest glacier, Langjökull

Into the Ice

For more action, adventurous tours are offered in the Borgarfjörður and it’s up to you to decide whether going up and into the glacier or descending down into the depths of the earth is your preference:

The glaciers Langjökull and Eiriksjökull – to just name two of the many in the area, are decorating the horizon with their white peaks. But the experience of the glacier is not restricted to the spectacular view:

the adventure up to Langjökull starts in Húsafell

. The largest man-made ice tunnel in the world shows everyone who enters a new perspective from the inside of a glacier, its development during the time, and its prospects for the future.

Into the dark

Not man-made but easily accessible for and once inhabited by them is the

lava tube of Viðgelmir

, a cave in the lava field Halllmundarhraun, formed by an eruption under the glacier Langjökull approximately 900 AD. Outlaws from the past have been using Viðgelmir as a place of exile in the olden days. Though one wonders how in the midst of one of the biggest lava fields of Iceland they were able to spot the entrance to this cave, one will be even more surprised, about the fact how cold and dark it gets in there!

Where the history of Iceland began

Settlement Center in Borgarnes on a sunny day with mountains in the background

Why and when did people stay in Iceland and who was Egill Skallagrimsson? Find out in the Settlement center of Borgarnes

One could also call the Borgarfjörður "the cradle of Iceland", considering its significance in the history of Iceland. Snorri Sturluson (1179–1241) a baron, lawyer, cosmopolitan, politician and our most avid Saga writer and in times most powerful man in Iceland called Reykholt his home.

The Snorrastofa

now contains a research center, museum, and pool (Snorralaug) of a man who is to this day the most famous Icelander ever.

More about another famous character in Iceland’s history, poet and chieftain Egill Skallagrimsson, can be found in

the Settlement Center in Borgarnes

. Using audio-visual and theatrical techniques, his escapades as well as the long, vivid, and sometimes bloody history of the colonization of this country come to life.

Oh, and to get one's strength back after that much history: they also serve delicious food!

In the area? Find out more about

WEST ICELAND

A day in and around Borgarfjörður