The Seltún and Hverafjall Hike in Krýsuvík, Iceland
The Hike in Seltún and Hverafjall, a colourful Geothermal Area in Krýsuvík, is one of the best ways to experience the uniqueness of such a location. This is where the Earth feels alive. Steaming vents, boiling mud pots, and colourful hot springs; this is a geological marvels. There’s a lot that adds to the experience of such a location. The colours, the noises and the smells. It’s a bit like visiting another planet, in a way.
The colorful mud of the Seltún Geothermal area
The colors of this place are just mindblowing. It’s one of those locations that has no comparison with photos you may see online. When you see it in first person it’s much better, no matter how good the photos may be. If you have never been to a geothermal area this is a great place to start.
Also, this is an easy-to-reach location. Located about 40 minutes from Reykjavik, Seltún is easily accessible by car and there’s ample parking available at the trailhead. You could easily integrate it into any itinerary around the Reykjanes peninsula, as well as make it a quick visit before heading back to the airport if you need to kill some time.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Seltún and Hverafjall Hike
This is an easy one but needless to say, attention is required. Needless to say, geothermal area can be as dangerous as they are beautiful.
It almost looks as if the Earth is bleeding blue in places.
How to Get to Seltún and Parking
- Driving Directions: If you are coming from either Reykjavik or Keflavik via Road 41, turn onto Road 42 to Kleifarvatn. Drive past the lake (which is worth a stop btw) and you will find the parking area on your right. If you are looking for car rental options, I can recommend Blue Car Rental for cars and CampEasy for Camper Vans. Just make sure to rent a car suitable for the F-roads.
- Parking: there is an ample parking area with Toilets at the trailhead. The parking area is directly accessible from Road 42
- Public Transport: No really good public transport options exist.
The Seltún and Hverafjall Trail
The trailhead starts from the parking lot and is a loop across the geothermal area. Chances are The hike itself is easy, but in places, the terrain is uneven and muddy, so while the location is easily accessible, I’d recommend good hiking shoes. And be ready for the smells!
Anyway, the trail is a look so it can be done in any direction and there are a few crossing points where you can walk around some of the geothermal features. You’ll likely be stopping for quite a bit at several of them; watching those colors and activity coming from the ground can be a mesmerizing experience.
The boardwalk across a very active geothermal area
Also, parts of the trail are actually on boardwalks. This serves two purposes: to protect the terrain from damage and yourself from burns! Make no mistakes, this is a very active area and carefulness is required. The boardwalk is easy enough and allows you to walk over very active areas in total safety.
Hverafjall is not on the trail, meaning if you just walk the look you won’t get to the top of this little hill. You’d have to hike up to it and come back the same way. The trail to Hverafjall is quite steep, but it is a short one and I’d highly recommend hiking it. The views up there are gorgeous. Not only the views of the geothermal area but the whole surroundings. You will also be able to see part of the beautiful Kleifarvatn Lake from up there.
Kleifarvatn Lake, from the top of Hverafjall
The Seltún and Hverafjall Hike Photos and Photography tips
The site is always open for visitors and if you want to beat the crowd, I’d highly recommend visiting early in the morning or late in the evening. If you are visiting in Summer, you may have the place all to yourself. That’s exactly how I visited it. It was after 11 pm on an evening in early June and there was no one in the area.
With this location all to yourself, you’ll have much more compositional freedom and not have other random visitors appearing in your photos. The hills behind the area can serve as a good background as the entire area is very colorful. The boardwalks are a great compositional element, which can be used as leading lines to create depth. it’s not often that human-made elements work well in landscape photos, but I think this is one of those. Make good use of them :)!
Likewise, make good use of the beautiful, intense colors of the mud pools and fumaroles. There will be plenty of them to choose from. Have a wide angle or ultra-wide angle with you. Most of the photos here are in the 144mm range.
Also, do get to the top of Hverafjall but with a good telephoto lens. there are several good compositional elements around the area, like farms or other hills. If you are visiting at sunset or sunrise, you may also have some good colors in the sky, with a bit of luck.
A steaming hot blue river
Part of the boardwalk across the geothermal Area
The nice contrast between the “almost” complimentary colors of the mud pool and the ground around it.
Sunset from the top of Hverafjall
A small river next to the geothermal Area
A farm in the fog, from the top of Hverfjall, shortly after Sunset,
Map of the Seltún and Hverafjall Hike
The path here is easy to follow; no real need for a GPS track but you can download it from the Komoot activity should you want to have it.
Where to stay
The visit to Seltun can easily be included in any itinerary along the Reykjanes peninsula. If you are looking for places to stay nearby, you’d have the best choices in Grindavik. There also is a decent campsite in Grindavik, if you are in a Van or with a tent.
Car or Camper Van Rentals
I can definitely recommend two companies here:
- Cars: Blue Car Rental, which is the largest Car rental company in Iceland, and for good reasons. Free Cancellation, Unlimited mileage, 24-hour breakdown assistance, SCDW, CDW, TP, and GP insurance are included in the price. Blue Car Rental is also located within walking distance of the Keflavik Airport, so you can be on your way to explore Iceland right away. I’ve always been happy with my rentals there, which is why I’m happy to recommend their services here on my blog.
- Camper Vans: CampEasy.With CampEasy, you can rent 2WD or 4×4 campers alike. With a raised Chassis, larger tires, and extra insurance with reduced liability for river crossing, their 4X4 campers are the best choice for your trip into the Highlands. Their Website also provides extensive information about roads you can take and instructions on river crossings. Perfect choice for a hiking holiday in the highlands!
These are my two favourite companies in each respective rental area, which I why I am happy to recommend both here. If you also like this blog, booking through them is a great way to support it. I’ll get a small commission fee at no additional cost, so you can essentially support the running costs of this blog for free too.