A Guide to Geysir: Iceland's Most Famous Natural Phenomenon Skip to content
Photo: photo by Golli.

A Guide to Geysir: Iceland’s Most Famous Natural Phenomenon

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The active geothermal area of Haukadalur valley is located in the southwest of Iceland and is one of the stops along the Golden Circle route. In this area you will find Geysir hot spring, a captivating natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world. Even though Geysir is the name everyone associates with this natural wonder, it is actually Strokkur who does all the hard work and shows off spectacular eruptions of boiling water into the air. 

In this guide we will provide you with all the essential information needed to make the most of your visit to Iceland’s most famous geothermal sites. 

How to get to Geysir geothermal area

As mentioned above, Geysir is situated on the Golden Circle route, around 116 km [72 mi] from Reykjavík city. The journey takes roughly 1,5 hours from the city and is easily accessible with a private car. Alternatively there are enough guided tour options for those who just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. 

Exploring the area

Upon arrival you might already get a sneaky preview of the erupting hot spring while parking on the other side of the road. The landscape surrounding the many hot springs in the area is dominated by steam, bubbling mud pots and the iconic geysers.

Strokkur Geyser

The star of the show is Strokkur geyser with its powerful eruptions shooting boiling water up to 30 metres [98 ft] into the air. Strokkur erupts every 5-10 minutes so there are plenty of opportunities to watch, be in awe and get that one perfect picture to show everyone at home.


The geothermal area is named after the famous Geysir, an old hot spring that has been dormant for decades. The surrounding area is very beautiful and even though only one of the geysers actively erupts, many bubbling ones are to be seen when strolling around the area. Additionally you can see fumaroles and marvel at the clayish brown surroundings merging with the surrounding greenery. Always stay on the designated paths as the ground can be unstable due to the geothermal activity beneath. 

Geysir Visitor Centre

Either before or after walking around the area and seeing Strokkur erupt once, twice or ten times, it can be a fun experience to visit the local visitor centre to learn more about the geology, history and significance of this natural phenomenon. 

Geysir Golden Circle in Iceland
Geysir area – photo by Golli


Practical tips and fun facts about the Geysir area

  1. How to dress when visiting Geysir
    Dress according to the weather and wear good shoes. The paths can get a little muddy.

  2. Safety first
    Always stay on designated paths and adhere to all signs and safety instructions. Even though only one of the hot springs is active the whole area is still an active geothermal area and the non-active geysers are still boiling hot.

  3. Why do geysers erupt?
    The reason why geysers erupt is water being heated by bubbling magma underneath earth’s surface. When the water reaches a certain pressure it is forced towards the surface where it erupts with magnificent results. 

  4. When did Geysir first erupt?
    The first mentioned eruption of Geysir hot spring dates back to 1647. The famous geyser was very active back then, shooting water up to 80 metres [262 ft] into the air. In the early 1900s the activity started to decline and it eventually became dormant. After a row of very big earthquakes in the year 2000, Geysir awoke and became active once more. However its last eruption was in 2016 and it has been dormant ever since.

  5. Where does the word geyser come from?
    The English word
    geyser is adapted from Geysir´s name and is now an internationally known word for spouting hot water springs. This is however not the Icelandic word for the phenomenon. In Iceland Geysir is, and always will be, the name of one of the geysers but the word used for this natural wonder is hver [ˈvɛːˀr].



Even though the Geysir area is probably one of the most hyped up attractions in Iceland it is a remarkable experience for everyone to witness the power of nature in this  explosive way. The geothermal activity is one of Iceland’s most unique attributes and where better to experience it than in the Geysir area? The trip is an easily accessible day-trip from Reykjavík city and well worth your while to witness Iceland’s most iconic natural phenomenon first hand. 


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