Keflavik Stories and Tips

Gunnuhver and Seltun Hot Springs

Gunnuhver Hot Springs Photo, Keflavik, Iceland

Just a short distance away from the Geothermal Power Station on the Peninsula are the Gunnuhver hot springs. They are not particularly well sign-posted, but it is worth looking out for them and making the short detour to have a look.

There is a collection of steam vents and mud pools, with walkways and ramps which make it really easy to explore. Gunnuhver is the most famous of the geothermal zones on the Peninsula. There is a folk tale about how the mud pools and hot springs were formed - we read it with our 9 year old, I think he enjoyed the story, but felt a little anxious around the steamy holes in the ground following the story!!

Apparently an old witch was thrown into the earth to prevent her casting spells and making mischief for local people. The steam coming out of the earth is supposed to come from the witch - now stuck in the bowels of the ground!

The whole place is weird and like being in another world. The steaming, bubbling pools are fascinating to watch. There is a strong sulphur smell which is not too pleasant and a lot of steam. The colours of the mud and the earth are incredible. While we were exploring, a huge black cloud settled overhead and the temperature plummeted. My husband found a novel way of warming himself up - he sat on one of the stones at the side of the path - they were really warm and did the trick!

There is a small car park beside the springs, both parking and walking around the Gunnuhver area is free. There were no tourists at all here - we had the place to ourselves, it is definitely worth a visit for half an hour.

The other hot springs on the peninsula are at Seltun. We actually missed the turn-off, so had to retrace our steps a little - be careful of this, signposts in this area are not that easy to find.

The drive to Seltun is spectacular. Most of the way is along a paved road, but there are a few sections which are gravel. We did not have a 4x4, we drove a small rental car and had no problems at all with this, but if you are a nervous driver, this drive would probably not be a good idea.

The road was deserted the whole way, this place is also really off the beaten track. We saw no coaches, no other traffic and no people at all. You drive past Lake Keitarvatn - so beautiful and an amazing colour. The black volcanic coastline and beaches are also wonderful . We tried to take some pictures, but the weather was so bad during our visit - lashing rain and low clouds, so the pictures absolutely do not do it justice. It was bleak, but amazing - black sand, black hills, a curving road and the water lapping right at the edges of the road.

Eventually you come to Seltun and the hot springs. There is a little car park, it is again free to park and there is no charge to wander around and look at the hot springs. There are wooden boardwalks which make it easy to explore, you can walk right up to the edges of the bubbling mud pools and peer right in.

The mud pools and springs are again, totally fascinating. The colours of the soil - yellow, red and green make it seem as if you are on another planet. The strange, colourful scenery and the active, bubbly pools are a must-see.

We spent about half an hour here, again there were no other people and we had this wonderful place all to ourselves. We drove back the same way we came, past the wonderful black rock formations and beaches - it is absolutely stunning.

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