Hours on Kjölur (F35), while brimming with sweeping views of Hofsjökull and Langjökull and otherworldly terrains (lots of rocks), become daunting. Legs beg for a stretch and the body yearns for some pampering. Once the cut off for the F735 draws nearer wisps of steam wafting up from the ground catch the sunlight, creating a misty halo around the oasis that is Hveravellir.
The bathing area of Hveravellir is relatively small and would begin to feel cramped with more than a dozen bodies in it, but turning away from your fellow bathers toward the steaming waterfall, the sulphur in which has caused the rocks to develop a slick porcelain-like surface, accented with rich yellow-green glossy, spongy moss, is a beautiful escape. What’s more, bathers control their experience, moving the hot water supply closer to or further from the bathing pool as desired to increase or decrease the flow of 90 degree water added to the basin every thirty seconds or so.
There is a cabin directly adjacent to the bath for rental by overnight guests, otherwise using the facilities on site costs a paltry 300 ISK, and even that is only a suggested donation—the area is well preserved so why not part with a few hundred krónur to keep it that way?
A short respite at Hveravellir will have your body and mind relaxed and muscles loosened and ready for a triumphant return to the F35 to complete the cross-country trek. This gem is only 90km from Gullfoss, 110 km from Blönduós, and is serviced by buses from Reykjavík and Akureyri in the summer months and open year-round. You should go. Seriously.
It’s a long and arduous drive through the rocky and oft barren interior of the country. Unpaved, unkempt, deeply rutted, rock strewn roads force driving speeds near the single digits for ill equipped vehicles and will put a 4x4’s shock absorbers to the test.