By Paul Johnson on September 29, 2022 in Attractions, Europe, Family travel, Going out, Iceland, Pleasure travel, Regions, Restaurants, Spas and treatments, Specialized travel, Western Europe
The trip from Reykjavik to the geothermal baths of Krauma is just under an hour and a half, so it’s easily a place you can visit on a day trip out of the capital. For us the trip was even shorter, as we were coming from nearby Húsafell. Although only 25 minutes away, we chose to admire two of Iceland’s iconic waterfalls along the way – Hraunfossar and Barnafoss – an area which was declared a national monument in 1987.
You can easily visit both falls on foot from a parking lot just off Route 518, following marked trails and a series of viewing platforms. The Hraunfossar waterfalls are the first you will come to; these falls consist of numerous springs of clear water that emerge from the Hallmundarhraun lava field before flowing into the Hvitá River among rocks and birch scrub vegetation. Surface water and meltwater from glaciers flow between layers of pillowed lava, forming the 1 km wide Hraunfossar Falls
Barnafoss Waterfall, or Children’s Fall, on the other hand, is a much narrower and more violent torrent of water that rushes through rocks and stone arches, carving them with its force. The average flow is 80 cubic meters per second, but in flood it reaches up to 500 cubic meters per second.
There is a sad story that explains the name of the waterfall and the disappearance of the stone arch that connected the waterfall. One Christmas day, the household of Hraunsás went to attend mass, except for two children who had to stay at home. Upon their return, the children disappeared but their tracks led to the river. Unfortunately, the children had fallen from the stone arch and drowned. Their mother then had the ark destroyed to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
Once our detour was complete, we continued along Highway 518, enjoying the open road, beautiful scenery and big dramatic skies.
If you want to experience Iceland’s hot spring culture then you’ll want to seek out Krauma, but first take a moment to admire Deildartunguhver, Europe’s highest flowing hot spring producing 180 liters of hot water – 100°C (212°F) – per second. After all, that’s why Krauma exists.
Located in Reykholtsdalur (the valley of the Reykjadalsá river), between Borgarnes and Husafell, Krauma opened its doors at the end of 2017. Today, with its minimalist black design, it blends very well into the surrounding landscape.
The water for Krauma geothermal baths comes directly from Deildartunguhver. It is not mixed with cold water and no excess chemicals are added to the water. Purity is ensured with high water flow in the baths. And the hot water is rich in minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, all of which are equally common elements in Icelandic soil.
On your arrival, you are welcomed with a towel and a bathrobe and directed to the changing rooms. As with all pools in Iceland, you must shower first.
There are five different hot pools to choose from, each with varying temperatures (each labeled). There’s plenty of space and it wasn’t crowded when we were there, making it the perfect place to relax, take in the scenery and soak up Iceland’s natural beauty in a really relaxed setting.
There is also a cold pool – immersion in cold water is ideal for lymphatic drainage. This causes your lymphatic vessels to contract, which in turn pump lymphatic fluids throughout your body, helping to remove metabolic waste. This in turn has a positive effect on the immune system, which makes you feel healthy.
Other facilities at the Krauma include a steam bath and an infrared sauna, as well as a relaxation room with comfortable sun loungers. You won’t want to leave!
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But, once you’re feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, how about dining at Krauma’s restaurant? The scenery from the restaurant is spectacular and looks towards Deildartunguhver, with outdoor seating for the warmer days.
The restaurant serves Icelandic cuisine using the freshest ingredients from the local farm, with a menu accessible online via a QR code. Between us we had the delicious Sólbyrgi salad (Sólbyrgi is a small organic farm of 10 hectares only 2 km from Krauma) with baked beets, pickled red onions, grilled paprika, croutons, sunflower seeds , ricotta cheese and a lemon-dill vinaigrette.
The Caesar salad – also from Sólbyrgi – came with grilled chicken breast, cucumber, red onion, tomato, croutons, parmesam, bacon and aioli.
If you’re vegan, you’ll want to try the ‘Krauma Vegan’ which consists of assorted mushrooms, salt-cooked beets, lentil and bean salad, and mashed carrots with lemon sauce. and dill.
Also highly recommended is the stewed cod – the standout dish for me – presented in this case with creamy Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, bacon, celeriac puree and garlic balsamic sauce. In my book, it’s an Icelandic classic that’s always a winning dish.
Dinner at Krauma Restaurant was a great way to end a truly enjoyable and memorable day, before a scenic drive back to Reykjavik.
Are you planning a trip to Iceland yourself? You can watch a video of our trip to Iceland here. You can see Hraunfossar, Deildartunguhver and Krauma between 54s and 1m 06s in the video:
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Krauma. Our trip to Iceland was also sponsored by Helly Hansen.
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