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4 Must-Visit Geysers in Iceland

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Water certainly comes in many beautiful shapes and forms; however, is anything more impressive than when it is being expelled into the air from a crater in the Earth’s surface?

Geysers have been a huge fascination for mankind since their discovery and, as a fairly rare sight that can only usually be found in active volcanic areas, some people travel the world just to experience one.

As a geyser hotspot, Iceland is one of those places that geyser-seekers flock to. The country is home to some of the world’s most famous, and most impressive, geysers. In fact, the word ‘geyser’ originated from Iceland.The term first came about when The Great Geysir (see below) erupted on the island in the 14th century.

With so much to see across beautiful Iceland, we’ve compiled a list of geysers in Iceland that you simply cannot miss.

1. The Great Geysir

Of course, first on our list is the mother of all geysers. The Great Geysir (pictured above), or simply Geysir, takes its name from the Icelandic verb geysa, meaning to gush - and that’s exactly what it does! This incredible geyser is known to shoot boiling water up to 70 meters into the air. Just 20 meters into Geysir’s feeder channel, you would find water reaching a temperature of nearly 125 ºC!

Location: Haukadalur Valley, Southwestern Iceland

How to get there: Haukadalur is on Iceland’s famous Golden Circle route, and can be seen as part of many popular tours. Alternatively, you can rent a car from Reykjavik for an approximate 90-minute drive. 

The Great Geysir facts:

  • Geysir was the first geyser discovered in Europe, and has been attracting travellers since the 1800’s.
  • The Great Geysir is currently dormant. It was last active following an earthquake in 2000.
  • Eruptions from the Great Geysir are infrequent and, throughout history, have been known to stop altogether for years at a time. It tends to become more active following earthquakes.
  • This geyser’s highest recorded eruption height is 170 metres, occurring in 1845.
Haukadalur Valley in Iceland is home to the Great Geysir
Haukadalur Valley is famous for its geothermal activity and is a 'must-stop' in Iceland's Golden Circle tours

2. Strokkur

Though not as famous as the Great Geysir, Strokkur is frequently visited because it is always erupting. Strokkur expels steaming hot water every 8 to 10 minutes, so you will see it erupt several times on your visit. Stand by and watch the water gurgle and boil right before it surges upwards.

Location: Haukadalur Valley, Southwestern Iceland

How to get there: Strokkur is just a quick minute’s drive or a four minute walk from Geysir. Most Golden Circle tours make a stop at Strokkur, more than long enough to see it in action.

Strokkur facts:

  • Strokkur’s eruptions can measure up to 40 meters high, though due to their frequency many are much smaller. The average eruption is 15 to 20 meters.
  • The surrounding Haukadalur valley area is full of other geological delights, from mud pools to fumaroles, which are openings in the Earth’s crust where steam and gases are emitted.
  • Strokkur stopped erupting for a time after an earthquake in the early 20th century. In 1963, a blocked conduit was cleaned out and this geyser in Iceland has been erupting since!
  • ‘Strokkur’ is the Icelandic word for ‘churn’.
Strokkur is a famous geyser in Iceland
Strokkur attracts a lot of visitors because it erupts every 8–10 minutes.
Strokkur geyser in Iceland erupts every 8 - 10 minutes
Strokkur's eruptions can be as high as 40 meters or as short as 15 - 20 meters

3. Gamla Laugin

Known as the “secret lagoon”, Gamla Laugin’s geothermal water spouts from a small geyser and is better known for its hot springs rather than its geyser. This large pool is perfect for swimming in, with temperatures of 38–40 ̊C, which already sounds like an incredibly relaxing day out. Visit during the winter months for a chance to see the Northern Lights. The warm water will help you fight the cold. Read our When and Where to see Northern Lights in Iceland article for more information.

Location: Just outside the village of Fludir near Geysir  

How to get there: It may be a “secret” lagoon, but some tours do offer transfer from Reykjavik, giving you around five hours to float around in its waters. Otherwise, it’s just over an hour’s drive from the capital city.

Gamla Laugin Facts:

  • The geyser at Gamla Laugin is quite small, but erupts frequently - around every five minutes.
  • Fludir is in the Golden Circle area, so you can visit the secret lagoon after experiencing Geysir and Strokkur.

4. Litli Geysir

Litli Geysir is a small geyser in Iceland
Not as famous as its neighbour, Strokkur, you need to see Litli geysir just for its adorable size

Though seemingly insignificant when compared to its neighbouring Strokkur, the Litli Geysir is worth seeing just because of its adorably small size. Constantly bubbling away, Litli Geysir (literally ‘small geyser’) proves that you don’t have to be big to be interesting.

Location: Haukadalur Valley, Southwestern Iceland

How to get there: This little guy can be found just around the corner from Strokkur

Litli Geyser Facts:

  • Litli Geysir did once erupt, as shown in some photos dating from circa 1900.
  • Right next to Litli Geysir you can find Seidir, one of Haukadalur area’s main springs.

If seeing these geysers up close and personal isn’t enough for you, drop by the Geysir Centre (or Geysirstofa in Icelandic). Just across the road from Geysir, Strokkur and Litli Geysir, this museum can be found within Hotel Geysir. Pop in for a geyser multimedia show, along with fascinating information on ice caves, volcanos and the aurora borealis in Iceland.

In short, if you have always wanted to see a geyser in action, Iceland is surely the place for you. Though many of its geysers no longer erupt, hot springs in Iceland are full of the same warm (or very hot) geothermal waters that spout from these vents in the Earth’s surface. Geysers in Iceland are a nature lover’s treat!

There are activities for every age and interest in Iceland that will keep backpackers, families, and adventure seekers happy. See some of the best Iceland Tours and Holidays for more information.

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