Frost & Fire Hotel
This is definitely our top pick for a relaxing stay in Hveragerði. The hotel is built on the banks of the river Varmá, which is partly geothermal and warm enough to bath in some areas. Frost & Fire Hotel is far away from being a super-sized resort, it’s more like a friendly guesthouse with all the comfort and amenities of a hotel. With only 22 rooms your stay becomes much more personal and it never feels overcrowded.
All the rooms have a private entrance to the outdoor spa area which includes two geothermal hot tubs, right by the river, and a nice swimming pool. The spa also includes a steam bath and a meditation room to relax in and cool off between hot tub dips. We really enjoyed sitting in the jacuzzis listening to the river float by and watching the hot springs steam up from the iron-red coloured hills.
We dined at the Varmá restaurant while staying at the Frost and Fire Guesthouse. The food is fantastic and it was truly a wonderful evening in a relaxing setting. The restaurant has a scenic view with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over the stream and gorge. The dishes are very local Icelandic, using fresh, ingredients from surrounding farms and herbs. They even use the geothermal heat to bake their signature carrot cake!
We decided to go for the 6 course menu and we couldn’t be happier with our choice. It was a true fiesta from the beginning to the end. We got lamb, lobster soup, tuna tartare and fresh deserts.
Our starters were lobster soup and tuna tartar. Main course was Glazed duck breast, hot spring cooked duck thigh, and rosti potatoes as well as pan fried langoustine, saffron sauce, fennel and butternut squash puree. We finished our meal with hot spring cooked chocolate cake with salty caramel mousse and salty caramel ice cream.
The Breakfast Buffet
The breakfast buffet was fabulous as well, serving both international and traditional Icelandic dishes. We recommend trying skyr (a protein based yogurt) and lýsi (a cod liver oil) if you wanna try something Icelandic. Traditional waffles with whipped cream is a must for desert!
The restaurant Varmá is set in a bright hall with a view over the river. The dinner was surprisingly high class, serving a variety of local dishes.
How to get there:
Hveragerði town is situated a 30-40 min drive from Reykjavík. Drive the main road (route 1) from Reykjavík and follow the signs towards Selfoss. You will drive over a mountain pass called Hellisheiði, as soon as you drive down the mountain you can see the town on your left side. Drive through this small town until you reach the backside. The hotel itself sits on the banks of the Varmá River, next to Gufudalsvöllur golf course.
Reykjadalur Hot Spring Hike
This hike leads you up to a unique hot spring river that is ideal for bathing. You start at the backside of a cute little town, Hveragerði or “Steam Valley”, renowned for it’s geothermal activity. Here, people literally have hot springs in their backyard. The town also hosts a geothermal park which is worth the visit. In the park the locals bake the famous black bread using the geothermal ground as an oven.
This hike in Reykjadalur used to be our favourite a few years back, since we usually had the whole place to ourselves. Today a lot has changed, with more and more tourist visitors every year. Unfortunately the hot springs are not as unspoilt as they were; now they have built wooden ramps and walls for changing clothes around the hot spring river. However, it’s still worth to make your way up there and experience this beautiful valley. You will witness everything from vibrant sulphur springs to small gurgling melting pots. It will take you around 1 hour to reach the warm river where you can relax after the hike. (Remember to bring swimsuits!)
The hiking time is around 2 – 3 hours, where the whole roundtrip is around 6 km with an elevation of 300m.
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