Tag Archives: northern lights iceland

Iceland – hot springs, volcano and the Northern Lights

I have a lot of hobbies. I like to skate, I love baking cupcakes, I enjoy dance classes and I’m even writing a book. But I’m pretty bad at keeping them up. I haven’t skated for a year, I haven’t baked since last November and the last dance class was so long ago I can’t remember a single move. And the book is stuck at 70,000 words.

But there are two passions in my life that I will never give up: photography and travelling. And Iceland is the perfect place to take a camera.

You can gaze over a massive landscape that goes on for miles and miles and not see a shred of evidence of human life. Not a house, person or macdonalds to be seen. This country is all about nature. It’s such an active country. I really think that if the world is going to end, Iceland will be the one to see us trash-dropping, deodorant-spraying, tree-chopping humans off. The whole country is bubbling under the surface; it feels like it’s on the verge of just exploding in a great burst of lava! Wherever you go you can see steam filling the icy air, and if you’re lucky you can even go and bathe in the hot water.

If you want to really truly get off the beaten path, go to Iceland.

Now I’m going to share a secret with you. Ok it’s not so much a top secret as a lesser-known thing. But it’s my ultimate travel find and is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

There’s this hot spring. It’s near Reykjavik, it’s free, it’s in the middle of nowhere and it’s HOT. You can bathe in hot water surrounded by snowy mountains and you will most likely have the place to yourself. It’s called Hrunalaug and is close to the village of Flúðir.

You need to drive road no 344 (Hrunavegur) from Flúðir and turn off it towards Sólheimar. Drive past the church and stop when you come to a parking space that has a ‘no camping’ sign. Just over the hill (2 minute walk) is Hrunalaug.

Here’s how to find it:

Drive the ring road out of Reykjavik along the south coast eastwards. When you see a sign for Flúðir, hang a left. Just before you reach the town, take the 344 towards Hruni and  Sólheimar. When you see a cute white church, turn right, go past it, then take the first right, signposted Sólheimar. Right there is a small car park with a no camping sign. Park up, head over the hill to the right, cross the first stream (cold) and jump right into the second stream (hot!). There is a little hut where I’m guessing people used to change before bathing. Jump in naked – usually there’s no one else around. Then enjoy the view from your very own natural hot tub!! Below is a photo map to help you find it:

Here are my top tips for Iceland:
Go there. Don’t even think about it, just buy plane ticket and go
Go there for as long as you can. There’s so much to see and do
Bring a towel, rent a car and submerge yourself in natural hot spring
If you insist on going to the blue lagoon, bring your own towel, wear a swimming cap and go at sunset  ( Im serious about the cap, my hair is ruined)
On  a clear night, keep looking up. Sometimes you can’t see the northern lights with your eyes so take a long exposure photo (15 seconds, 2000 ISO, f2.8 min) and you’ll see it on your camera screen!
Rent a 4×4 – you can explore more
Get off the ring road and get lost among the ponies and mountains
Check out these photos, including the Northern Lights and the volcano that blew in 2010!