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Grýla – geyser near Hveragerði

Grýla geyser, Iceland
Grýla geyser. / Bromr, Wikimedia Commons / BY-SA 3.0

WorldBlue  In short

Now Grýla is dormant or even extinct geyser – but some decades ago it was one of the most impressive Icelandic geysers.

1.7 out of 10 stars 16.7%

GPS coordinates
64.0094 N 21.1901 W
Location, address
Europe, Iceland, Suðurland, approximately 45 km drive west from Reykjavík, approximately 1 km north from Hveragerði town, at the left side of the road leading to the north, to Reykjakot
Thermal springs, Geysers
Alternate names
Hrýli, Hrýt
Dormant, before 1970ies – up to 10 m high

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail


Hveragerði is an unusual town even by Icelandic standards – it is not just surrounded by hot springs but the town itself is built over such springs. In the center of the town is a spectacular geothermal field – Hveragerði Geothermal Park – with several geysers (one active!), hot springs, mud pools. Exclusive city park!

Numerous greenhouses use the immense energy of the Earth – Hveragerði is one of the main suppliers of vegetables and fruits (even bananas!) in Iceland. As a result during the long winter nights, the town is illuminated by the bright lights of greenhouses.


Grýla geyser in 1973 - triggered by soap
Grýla geyser in 1973 – triggered by soap. / Christian Bickel, Wikimedia Commons / BY-SA 2.0

Grýla is a geyser that has been named after quite a nasty creature – legendary ogress Grýla. This troll (or trolless?) together with her husband Leppaluði (there is another hot spouter nearby named after him) attacked people, especially children.

Geyser itself some decades ago was quite impressive. It could have been up to 10 m high, with a thin jet. Norwegian geologist Tomas F. W. Barth reported that the geyser emitted thin jets of water which were up to 6 m high in 1934, eruptions had an interval of 2.5 hours.

Around 1970 this geyser gradually stopped its activity. The loss of this geyser could be linked to the boreholes which have been made in the town since the 1940ies to obtain geothermal energy.

In the 1970ies this geyser could be “operated” with the help of soap – but now even this does not help. There still is seen the narrow, vertical vent which goes to the depth of some three meters.

  1. Dirk Niemann, Hveragerði and Grændalur, Volcanic Springs. Accessed on April 17, 2019. (Great website!)
Grýla is included in the following article:

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Iceland is very rich with peculiar natural landmarks and the island contains also interesting cultural landmarks. The highlights of Iceland are the magnificent waterfalls as well as geysers and other geothermal features.

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Hasty hydrogeologista would say: geysers are thermodynamically and hydrodynamically unstable hot springs. “Normal” people would say – geysers are hot springs which at more or less regular intervals shoot up a fountain of boiling water and steam. Sometimes these fountains are even 100 m tall… or even 450 m!

Geysers of Iceland on the map

Geysers of Iceland

This list of all active geysers of Iceland includes some 26 active geysers as well as 38 other features – former geysers and geyser-like landmarks.

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