Learn about Iceland’s political history in the national park, bathe in a steamy river and see the rift where continents drift apart.
The River Varmá runs through Hveragerdi, a town surrounded by valleys and a historical park. Mild earthquakes frequently move the ground on this tectonic rift near the Hengill Volcano. Hot springs rise and heat the commune’s greenhouses. Nearby, visit the region’s focal point, Thingvellir National Park, with a lava-filled lake and intriguing political history.
Arrive in the national park’s visitor center for its interactive displays and films about the varied plants and animals around Lake Thingvallavatn. The park is the origin of the nation’s politics in the 10th century. Visit the church and learn about the assembly that lasted until 1798.
Many of the fascinating geological features in the national park are related to a tectonic rift, which is visible at Almannagjá. This is among the few places on earth where you can actually see the space between two plates drifting apart. Hike along the valley between the North American and European continents.
Another fascinating gorge is the Reykjadalur Valley, which contains a boiling river. Most of it is too hot to touch, but enjoy swimming at the spot where it converges with a cold stream. Capture photos of the steamy river meandering through a grassy valley.
To see how the country has put these exceptional natural formations to use, visit the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station. The site, which dates back to 1990, has 21 wells. In the center of town are a church and several greenhouses. Discover the steamy hot spring of Sandholshver in the outskirts.
The town and its surrounding area experience frequent rains during warm summers and cold winters, which is typical of northern Europe.
The municipality is in western Iceland, 28 miles (45 kilometers) east of the capital city. Fly to Keflavik International Airport outside Reykjavik and drive east for just over 1 hour to reach the town. Nearby landmarks include the charming port of Porlakshofn.
As you walk through the rolling hills of Hveragerdi, marvel at the innovative use of hot springs and fumaroles for clean energy.