Adventure in Hvalfjörður

Last night I went out on an adventure. Logi, Maria, Bjarni, Ewelina and I went out in Logi's jeep and drove to Hvalfjörður, which is a fjord north of Reykjavík. We were heading to a natural hot-spring that Logi knew about in order to sit in the hot water, drink beer and look at the northern lights. You may have heard, there have been some explosions on the sun recently, which is causing some cool auroral activity. The forecast site actually said that it would be "extreme", so we were pretty excited. 

The place was basically in the middle of nowhere, on a little peninsula inside the fjord, if that makes sense. So there was water on both sides, and mountains beyond the water. There was a man-made water-tight hot-pot sort of thing, made of rocks and presumably concrete, and the water from the hot-spring had been channelled into a pipe, which it was possible to move in and out of the pool. If you had the water always flowing directly into the pool it would be far too hot to stand, so we took it out and put it back in in turns. So of course it was fine once you were in, but getting in was a different matter. It was around 1°, with some intermittent snowstorms. Standing in the snow getting undressed and changed into your swimming costume in these conditions, by the light of a torch, is somewhat less than comfortable. I was shivering so hard I could barely stand up straight, but it was definitely worth it.

The moon was almost full, so there we were in this hot pool, drinking our páskabjór, surrounded by moonlit water and snowy mountains with the northern lights arcing over us. It was pretty incredible. The actual lights were not quite as good as I was expecting - they were mostly white rather than the green ones I've seen before, but still very cool nonetheless. It was getting on for midnight when we got there, and we left around two in the morning. The clear skies probably lasted for about half of our time there, and then the snowstorms blowing through started to intensify and the cloud lowered. We all looked like those Japanese monkeys, sitting there with our hair and hats encrusted with ice and snow. 

We waited for the next pause, and then got out, which was probably worse than getting in. I didn't get so cold, because you have a lot of residual heat from the pool, but I was dismayed to discover that my bag had blown over and partially filled with snow. And then I accidentally dipped my towel in the hot pool as I got out, rendering it useless. My pants were too wet to put back on, but the rest of my clothes were OK. I scrambled to put on as many as I could before I started to cool down and then raced back to the car in my socks, quite damp and covered in snow. My phone had also fallen out and been lying in the snow, but luckily it was absolutely fine. We arrived in Reykjavík at around three in the morning, definitely glad to get back to a warm bed.

Overall, an amazing experience. Definitely not something you do everyday, and something that you can probably only do in Iceland. This is an incredible country.


  1. Jealous! I am just back from a week in Iceland and I had a few "hot tub in the snow" experiences :) and one great northern light show! i can totally see why you moved there. I feel bereft for a little while when i return to the over crowded materialistic UK! I am loving your blog! please keep writing! :)

  2. I'm jealous too! I've loved my visits to Iceland and how the surreal is so normal. You're right of course this probably is an experience that could only happen in Iceland.