Hverir Geothermal Area in North Iceland

Mud Pools at Hverir in Myvatn, North Iceland

If you want to feel the heat of Iceland, go to Hverir, a large geothermal field of bubbling mud pools, hissing fumaroles and sticky red soil.

Once here, you’ll soon realise why Iceland is named the Land of Fire and Ice. It’s also the closest you’ll ever get to Mars on Earth. This isn’t the first time I’ve said this about Iceland, I’ve seen a very similar geothermal area in South Iceland called Seltun but Hverir is significantly larger which makes it even more impressive. (I don’t always subscribe to the motto ‘bigger is better’ but on this occasion I do).

Geothermal area of Hverir in North Iceland

You only need to see the large volume of steam emitting from the ground to know this is a high-temperature area and one you should take with caution. But before stepping close enough to feel the heat, it’s likely you’ll be able to smell this place first because it REEKS.

Pretty much the whole country is powered by geothermal energy, i.e. water heated by volcanoes and geothermal springs, so naturally it’s going to contain a lot of sulphur. And sulphur stinks of eggs.

However, call me crazy but I love the smell! I saw a few people covering their noses with the sleeve of their jacket but not me. On the contrary, I relish in filling my lungs with that eggy Icelandic whiff. If I didn’t know any better, I would say the smell has an almost phermonal quality. Just maybe.

Hverir Geothermal Area in North Iceland

Various colours of reds and bright yellows made from sulphur-stained earth can be seen on closer inspection, but what I found truly delicious were all the patterns found in the mud, as some of it thickened and cracked like the top layer of a chocolate brownie, whilst hotter areas bubbled like a pan of gravy over a hot stove.

Sulphur deposits at Hverir Geothermal Area in Myvatn, North Iceland Wear good boots in Hverir geothermal field in North IcelandMud pools at Hverir, North Iceland
Bubbling mud pools at Hverir geothermal area in Myvatn, North Iceland

Fact of the day: In previous centuries sulphur was mined in Iceland to create gun powder.

Tips when travelling to Hverir

  • Wear good footwear, preferably boots because the ground can be very muddy and sticky.
  • Remember to clean your camera lens afterwards because it’s likely to get steamed up. I didn’t realise this happened to my lens and it affected the rest of my photos for the day.
  • Hverir is also known as Namafjall which you might see on road signs.
  • Located in the Myvatn area of North Iceland, Hverir is one of several attractions that display the sheer force of Icelandic volcanism in all its tantalizing glory. All within a few minutes drive of each other are the tuff ring volcano of Hverfjall, the weird rock formations of Dimmu Borgir, Viti Crater and Grjótagjá lava cave which you can bathe inside during the winter –  in the summer it’s considered a tad too hot so be warned!

Hverir Geothermal Area in North Iceland

Further reading: An Epic Road Trip in Iceland – Travel Itinerary & Tips

Are you planning a trip to North Iceland?

A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.

'Hverir Geothermal Area in North Iceland' have 10 comments

  1. January 9, 2016 @ 6:31 pm Olafur Jonsson

    SHING YOONG – You and your representation is a real beauty. One day I will need a personality like you are to represent my invention concerning fresh water and energy supply for the people on earth. With best regards, Olafur Jonsson


    • January 10, 2016 @ 9:01 pm Shing Yoong

      Hello Olafur, what a lovely comment! I’d love to know more about your project – anything that has the world’s best interest at heart is a very worthy cause!


      • January 10, 2016 @ 11:29 pm Olafur Jonsson

        KVIK a film company is making a documentary about my invention. We were in Inner Mongolia, China, last March filming
        til coal mines and the coal power plants. We were also sailing on the Yangtze river and filming the Three Gorges Power Plant.
        We are now preparing some 5 minutes introduction film. If you give me your email then I can send you some more information,
        My invention is a combination of hydro power plant and geothermal plant. I am Icelandic but most of my time I spend in China.
        Zhongshan is a very beautiful city in China. Zhongshan is one of the most clean and beautiful cities in China. The last several months I have been here in Iceland. Kvik has been filming the power plants on Reykjanes Peninsula and the Geothermal power plant at Hellisheidi. I like very much to follow you travelling around in the world. We will soon go to the Read Sea and film there.
        With best regards to you and a wish that you will be lucky on you travelling around in the world. With love from Iceland, Olafur Jonsson


  2. January 10, 2016 @ 12:04 pm Anca | Globaloud

    When I read the title and saw the first photo I was wondering are you gonna say anything about the smell, cause I’ve been to something similar in the Philippines and all I can think of when thinking about it, besides the beauty, is THE STINK. But unlike you, I didn’t like it at all. 🙂


    • January 10, 2016 @ 10:18 pm Shing Yoong

      Haha, the smell grows on you 😉

      Where was the place in the Philippines? I need to make a note of it.


      • January 11, 2016 @ 6:10 pm Anca | Globaloud

        It’s a Taal lake – real phenomenon, since it is a lake that’s situated in the volcano crater that’s already in the lake. Check out the photos – it’s really one of the craziest creatures of the mother nature.


        • January 17, 2016 @ 11:21 am Shing Yoong

          Wow, looking at the photos of Taal Lake reminds me so much of the pseudo craters that can be found in Lake Myvatn. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Anca!


  3. January 11, 2016 @ 2:30 pm Megan

    i really have to get to northern iceland one of these days. ill settle for anywhere in iceland really. i feel so nature deprived here in frankfurt and id totally kill for the smell of sulphur over the ones that crackpipes emit any day…. awesome photos 🙂


    • January 17, 2016 @ 11:18 am Shing Yoong

      North Iceland is amaaaaazing Megan! In the summertime there’s a 4×4 bus that drives through the highlands, right through the middle of the country, connecting Reykjavik with Akureyri – you should definitely look into that route if you are planning a visit!


  4. January 23, 2016 @ 6:54 am Mirøslav Hristøff

    Once upon a time Alexander the Great conquered so many lands to reach the edge of the world. But now I think he had to conquer Iceland to achieve his goal 🙂


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