The Haukadalur geothermal area is one of the highlights on the Golden Circle.
It is home to the famous Geysir which is dormant and the Strokkur geyser which you will be able to admire erupt many times.
Below is my guide to plan your visit of the Haukadalur geothermal fied: map, access, tips, photos....
Before all my photos + tips, here are my favorites to plan your Summer Iceland trip:
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Why visit the Haukadalur geothermal area and Strokkur?
Is it worth it?
Absolutely. Haukadalur and Strokkur are one of the wonders of Iceland.
They are easily accessed from Reykjavik on the Golden Circle.
It is the world of fire: eruption every few minutes, bubbling mud pools, colorful areas...
If you have never seen a geothermal field, you will be enchanted. And if you have, you won't be either because, as you know, it is always fascinating.
And it is as interesting in Summer as in Winter.
It is fascinating to stand and watch the water bubbling, preparing and trying to guess whether an eruption will take place or not.
If you want to see it in action, here is a short video of the geyser explosion:
The area also includes geothermal features such as:
- geysers (strokkur and the famous Geysir),
- mud pools
The home of Geysir
The area is famous for being home to Geysir.
The English word ‘geyser’ is even derived from the name Geysir!
Eruptions of Geysir can spray boiling water up to 70 metres high, its eruptions are infrequent and have stopped altogether for years at a time. It went into a dormant phase in 1916.
However the fountain geyser Strokkur erupts every few minutes and the water reaches 15 to 20 m high, sometimes up to 40 m.
More photos after the planning tips.
Planning tips & Map - Haukadalur Iceland
Where is Haukadalur located?
- The Haukadalur geothermal area is part of the Golden Circle Iceland with Thingvellir and the impressive waterfall of Gullfoss.
- Reykjavik to Haukadalur = 1h20min drive
- Borgarnes to Haukadalur = 2h drive
- Thingvellir to Haukadalur = 50min
- Not far from road 35, it is well indicated.
- Below is a map to help you get oriented:
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How to get to Haukadalur
It is one of the main touristic road in the country. So it is very easy to access.
There is a very large carpark across the road. And it is very well indicated. You can't miss it!
It remains accessible in Winter, this is one of the main roads to be cleared when it snows.
If you don't want to drive, Guided day trips can take you there on a Golden circle tour - See options and availabilities
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- Come early to avoid the big bus and other tourists that come as part of the golden circle tour
- Wear good shoes, it gets slippery (in Summer and in Winter)
- Stay on the paths, the temperature gets really hot
- Watch out for the wind if you don't want to take a second shower
- The geyser Strokkur erupts every 3 to 8 minutes. And sometimes I saw it erupt twice in a row.
- Do not forget the tripod in the bus like I did! The camera becomes very heavy as you wait for the eruption.
- You can also check out the Webcam pointed at Haukadalur (note that it does not always work)
- Allow at least 30 minutes, more if you want to sit back and admire (I recommend 2 hours, it's really mesmerizing!)
Parking and Geysir Center
There are restaurants just across the road from the geothermal area. They offer different types of food.
You can also find souvenirs.
There are toilets.
It is possible to stay right next to the Haukadalur area and the Strokkur Geyser.
It allows you to go early to the geyser before all the tourists arrived. I stayed at the Geyser Cottages. Check out their latest prices and availability
The Strokkur geyser eruption in photos
As I stayed in the nearby hotel, I was able to go to the geothermal area early and avoid the crowds. This makes it really easier to take pictures. I can't imagine the situation when the Haukadalur Strokkur geyser is surrounded by tourists.
Here is a break-down of the eruption:
I spent all of my time watching the water trying to guess when Strokkur was going to erupt and failing miserably. I had a lot of false starts on my camera. Also, be aware of the wind if, unlike me, you do not wish to take your second shower of the day!
It is the most active geyser in Iceland.
It's usual height is 15 to 20 meters high (49 to 66ft) but it can spray as high as 40m (130ft).
It was first mentioned in 1789, most probably after an earthquake created the vent.
Apparently, it stopped erupting at the beginning of the 20th century because another earthquake blocked its conduit.And it is men that decided to unblock it and restore its eruptions.
Iceland's geyser's bubble
My favorite thing was trying to catch on my camera the bubble before it exploded. You really need to be ready and have good reflexes. I was successful a few times:
Strokkur in Winter
And here are a few shots taken in Winter with some snow on the surrounding landscapes.
More features at the Haukadalur geothermal field & Valley
There are other attractions at Haukadalur:
- the Blesi a turquoise color hot spring,
- other geysers - Sódi, Smiður, Fata Óþerrishola, Litli Geysir (the small Geysir) and Litli Strokkur (the small Strokkur)
- steam vents
- mud pools
Because of the variation in temperatures, the colors are much less visible in Winter. But it is still cool.
The name Haukadalur means Valley of the Hawks.
What you will see of Geysir
As I wrote earlier the Geysir is dormant.
So you can only see the rock that indicates where the eruption area is... But you may be lucky and it could wake up, who knows...
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Haukadalur and Strokkur in Winter
As I said Haukadalur is accessible in Winter.
And it is easy to circulate around Strokkur as the heat melts the ice.
However, there can still be slippery areas, so be careful. And stay on the paths.
Here are a couple more photos:
Want to see more of the best Iceland has to offer?
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