Hveragerdi has long been one of Iceland's most popular tourist destinations. The reason is geothermal heat: the town is built above a hot-spring field, and derives its name from the Icelandic word for hot spring, "hver".
A vast number of people pass through or by Hveragerdi each year. Located 45 km (28 miles) from Reykjavik, Hveragerdi may be seen from the vantage point of the Kambar mountain slope, as it spreads out across a 5,000 year-old lava field. Throughout the year, pillars of steam may be seen rising up out of the town — and in summer the town is truly a green community, abounding in trees.
Without doubt, Hveragerdi's, most precious gem is its geothermal area — there can not be many communities in the world with hot springs literally in their back yard. For safety reasons, the geothermal area is securely fenced off, but may be visited by arrangement with the tourist information centre.
The existence of hot springs led people to settle in Hveragerdi: the natural hot water could be used for space heating, for cooking, baking and laundry. The first market garden was founded by the Varma River in 1929. A year later the first greenhouse was built. Today horticulture is a key sector of the local economy.
Just outside the tiny town of Vik, Iceland three black basalt columns called the Reynisdrangar protrude from the stormy North Atlantic.
Legend has it that the rocks are three trolls, caught out too late and frozen by the early morning sunlight. From the wild black beach at the foot of Vik, the towers can be seen off the misty coast to the west. ...