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Hot Spring Safety

15. February, 2019

There are 2 kind of hot springs in Iceland:

#1 The lovely kind for bathing and relaxing in

#2 The kind that can melt your skin off

They often look the same so its important to be able to know the difference. Hot spring burns are very common in Iceland and can easily ruin a trip. The Icelandic word for hot spring is ‘hver’ so if you see this word in the name of a location it is likely a geothermal area. However, this word is not always in the name so don’t assume that you are not in a geothermal area because you don’t see the word ‘hver’. Other clues are a sulphur smell or bubbling, steaming water. Below are some tips for making sure you don’t end up in the wrong type of hot spring.


  • STAY ON MARKED PATHS ONLY IN GEOTHERMAL AREAS. No exceptions. Often you can not see the boiling water under the grass or mud so it is of utmost importance that you stay on marked paths. 


  • Stay behind fences. They are there for your safety.


  • Do your research before you go. If you want to bathe in a hot spring make sure you are going to a confirmed safe hot spring and be aware that temperatures can change with the weather in the pot.


  • Keep an eye out for signs or ask guides or staff members if unsure. If you don’t know, don’t go.


  • Test the water before entering. No cannonballs before testing!


Hot springs and geothermal areas are an interesting part of Iceland’s culture and can be enjoyed safely by following the above rules. If you have questions just ask a Safetravel agent!