Hveragerði Things to Do
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Hveragerði is a pure geothermal town and "hver" means hot-spring. There is a geo-park inside of the town, Hveragarðurinn, much like other towns have parks. In the big earth-quake on the 29th of May 2008 new fissures opened and others closed, making it dangerous to hike on some hiking-trails above Hveragerði. On the day I visited the geo-park a person got burnt on his leg while hiking when the ground caved in under his leg. And in February 2009 another person got burnt in the same area above Hveragerði while hiking there and the earth caved in and one of his legs sunk into a hot-spring. This is But the geo-park is safe and well defined with signs.
The biggest and best known hot-spring in the geo-park is Blue spring which is 30-88 degrees hot, i.e. on one side it is 30 degrees C and on the other side it is 88 degrees C. Then there is Riverbank hot-spring and Anna's hot-spring, which were formed after earthquakes, and a hot-spring river from a hot water well. Riverbank hot-spring was used for heating, cooking and to wash clothes in. A dairy used the steam to pasteurize milk and make the brown cheese "mysa".
There is an information centre by the entrance to the park with a lot of information on hot-springs and boreholes.
The geo-park is open from June-September 15th weekdays from 10:0-18:00 and weekends from 12:00-16:00. If you are travelling with a group and want to visit the park when it is closed you can contact the Tourist information centre.
You can take a mud foot-bath here and cook your own eggs in a hot-spring. The mud is taken from hot-springs in the Hveragerði area, which have gone cold. The mud is said to be antibacterial and self-cleaning and anti-inflammatory - so it cannot hurt trying this.
In the park there are also colourful settlement chicken.
The geo-park is one of its kind in the world as nowhere else in the world there is a populated area so close to an active high-temperature geothermal area.
I have added a travelogue with more pictures.
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Grýta or Grýla as it is sometimes called is just outside of Hveragerði - above the town. The reason for it to have 2 names is due to a typo. Icelanders use either name, I use Grýta.
Grýta is Hveragerði´s best known hot spring, which used to erupt up to 15 meters in the air 24 times a day, i.e. every hour. Then it cooled down, as it were, and now one would hardly notice it.
There is now a picnic area by Grýta. One can only see the hot air coming from the ground, but we visit it while in Hveragerði, if only to pay it respect for what it used to be.
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Hveragerði is in the main area where the tectonic plates meet and on the 29th of May 2008 there was an earthquake 6,3 on the Richter scale right under Mt. Ingólfsfjall. It caused a lot of damage in Hveragerði, Selfoss and surrounding areas.
There is now an exhibition next to the Hveragerði library on what damage the eartquake did to the houses in Hveragerði. And an eartquake simulator where you can walk into a shed and feel what it felt like during the earthquake.