A Deep Dive into Iceland’s Geothermal Energy and Its Tourist Appeal

Apart from gorgeous waterfalls, northern lights, and glaciers, Iceland will surprise you with yet another wonder of nature: geothermal attractions. These include power plants and natural hot springs. Iceland mainly runs on green energy, and tourists love seeing hydroelectric and geothermal power plants. If you plan day tours from Reykjavik, including the geothermal attractions in your itinerary is recommended, as they will give you a whole new experience. 

The Geothermal Phenomenon in Iceland

Iceland is on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a tectonic plate that divides the North American and Eurasian plates. This particular structure is quite distinct, with considerable volcanic and geothermal activity since the plates here are divergent and constantly shift apart. This tectonic activity helps bring up magma near the Earth’s surface, which fosters geothermal activities.

Iceland also has many volcanoes and regular eruptions, significantly contributing to its geographical features. This activity produces vast geothermal fields in locations where access to the heat within the Earth is easily available. These geothermal resources are often associated with hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots.

The geothermal resources are categorized into high-temperature and low-temperature based on the temperature of the geothermal liquid. 

  • High-temperature Fields: These areas have temperatures ranging from 200°C to over a kilometer below the surface. They are envisaged to exist where there is volcanic activity and are normally found within volcanic regions. High-temperature fields are employed to create electricity and geothermal power stations. In some cases, they also offer direct temperature control since they can also be used as heaters.
  • Low-temperature Fields: These fields have temperatures less than 150°C and are located outside volcanic areas. They usually occur in sedimentary basins or around tectonic zones. Low-temperature networks are employed in space heating and hot water supply, horticulture and fish farming, and many other direct utilization applications.

Major Geothermal Sites in Iceland

Most of the tourist attractions in Iceland are powered by green energy. Visiting the geothermal and hydroelectric power plants that make Iceland independent from fossil fuels is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Let’s look at some of Iceland’s major green power plants that attract most tourists. 



Situated in the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, the high-temperature region features the blues and numerous geothermal attractions, particularly the Blue Lagoon. The applied geothermal sources are used in the Reykjanes Geothermal Power Plant; it provides electricity and hot water to local populations. This area has approximately 250 geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, and mud pools, making the landscape one of the major tourist attractions.


With an area of 75 km2, Hengrill is located near the country’s capital, Reykjavik. It is one of the largest high-temperature geothermal fields in Iceland. It is home to the Hellisheiði & Nesjavellir geothermal power stations, which contribute a good part of the region’s electricity supply and hot water. Other attractions near Hengill include hiking areas, hot springs, and steaming vents.


Krafla is located in the northeast of Iceland and is famous for its geothermal area. The area has splendid volcanic landscapes, including the Víti explosion crater and the Leirhnjúkur lava fields. These are some of the major tourist attractions. In the Krafla volcanic system, the Krafla geothermal Power Plant taps into the intense heat beneath the surface to generate electricity. 

Geysir Geothermal Area

Geysir is located in southwest Iceland. It is not a geothermal power plant but is home to many spectacular geysers. Hot springs or geysers are a tourist delight, and the most famous ones are Great Geysir and Strokkur. The area’s hot springs and boiling mud pots are considered more important as natural tourist attractions.  


Known as the “hot spring town,” Hveragerði is located south of Iceland. This low-temperature geothermal field is famous for its geothermal greenhouses and therapeutic hot springs. It is a center for geothermal horticulture, where vegetables and flowers are cultivated using geothermal heat.

Geothermal Attractions for Tourists

Iceland has many more geothermal tourist attractions besides geothermal power plants. Let’s review them in detail.

Geothermal Spas and Pools

The Blue Lagoon: The Blue Lagoon, situated in the Reykjanes Peninsula, is undoubtedly one of Iceland’s most popular geothermal spas. The lagoon is an artificial structure fed by waters from the adjacent Svartsengi geothermal power station. The water of these ponds contains precious minerals such as silica and sulfur and has curative and softening effects on the skin.

People come to the Blue Lagoon not just for the geothermal spa but primarily for the otherworldly milky-blue water nestled between black lava fields. The lagoon provides sophisticated entertainment services, including a luxurious spa, in-water massage, sauna, and restaurant. It is located close to Keflavík International Airport, which will appeal to holidaymakers as their trip’s starting or ending point.

Secret Lagoon: A popular geothermal pool near the village of Flúðir, the Secret Lagoon (Gamla Laugin) was the first geothermal pool discovered in Iceland. Thus, while the Blue Lagoon gives a luxurious feel, the Secret Lagoon is fed by natural hot springs and is surrounded by small geysers that erupt regularly, adding to the authentic Icelandic geothermal experience. 

Myvatn Nature Baths: Unlike the Blue Lagoon, these baths are in the North of Iceland by Lake Mývatn. Their water contains concentrated minerals and is heated by a geothermal energy source. Mývatn Nature Baths are designed with a view of the stunning Mývatn region; the Hverfjall crater is to the center, and the lava fields of Dimmuborgir are to the south.

Geothermal Landscapes and Natural Wonders

Strokkur: Strokkur is the second most active geyser over the island of Iceland and is found in the Haukadalur Valley. This geyser spews out water every 5-10 minutes and can go as high as 30 meters or about 98 feet. This is located within the wider Geysir geothermal territory with several other features, such as hot springs and mud pools. Strokkur erupts every 10-15 minutes, making the geyser a tourist attraction on the Golden Circle route.

Hveravellir: This high-temperature geothermal area is located in the Kjölur highland region in the central part of Iceland. It is famous for interesting attractions like hot springs, fumaroles, and geothermal features. Visitors can feel like they are in the middle of nowhere and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Iceland’s interior, including hot springs. 

Volcanic Craters and Geothermal Parks

Hverir: Hverir is a geothermal area with boiling mud pots, solfataras, steam vents, and geysers in the Krafla Central Volcanic Center near Lake Mývatn. The landscape is somewhat desolate and has a rather alien-like aspect with bright colors and a strong smell of sulfur. However, few travelers miss a visit since the surroundings of Lake Mývatn are quite popular among photographers and nature lovers.

Kerid Crater: This volcanic Crater lake, part of the Tjarnarhólar Crater group of Grímsnes, has blue-green water with red-black volcanic slopes. Owing to its relatively small depth and ease of visitation, Kerid is a preferred stopping point for tourists keenly exploring the South Coast of Iceland. It is estimated that the crater is roughly 3,000 years old, much younger than the other geothermal and volcanic structures of Iceland.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button