Grindavik – Your Guide to Reykjanes Town with Spectacular Sights

  • by Yanshu
  • Reykjanes
  • 15 Jan 2024

Grindavík is a charming fishing town located on the southern coast of Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. Known for its proximity to the famous Blue Lagoon, and many other picturesque attractions, Grindavik offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and geothermal wonders. A wonderful place to recharge and explore while traveling in Reykjanes.

Grindavík Fising Village
Grindavík Fising Village

Where is Grindavik?

Grindavík is located in Iceland, on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwestern part of the country. It’s situated near the southern coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean. This town is well-known for its proximity to the Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most famous geothermal spas, and is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the capital city of Reykjavík and about 20 minutes from Keflavík International Airport. 

The area is featured by its stunning volcanic landscapes, rugged coastlines, and rich fishing heritage.

The town Grindavik lit up under the Northern Lights, Reykjanes Peninsula.

Grindavik’s Distances to Major Locations

The distance between Grindavik and Reykjavik is approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles), and the drive typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic and road conditions. 

From Grindavik to the Blue Lagoon is roughly 20 kilometers (12 miles), and this is usually a short drive, taking about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Getting to Keflavik International Airport from Grindavik is approximately 25 kilometers (15.5 miles), and the drive generally takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

View on the Blue Lagoon at sunset
Grindavik is a short drive from the Blue Lagoon and the Keflavik International Airport.

Grindavik’s Past and Present

Grindavík, a coastal town in Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, has a history deeply rooted in fishing, dating back to the settlement of Iceland. For centuries, its community thrived on the abundant maritime resources of the North Atlantic, shaping a rich seafaring tradition. 

Over time, Grindavík grew into a key player in Iceland’s fishing industry, with its harbor bustling with activity. Despite modernization, it has preserved its cultural heritage, maintaining a strong connection to the sea. 

In recent years, Grindavík gained international fame for its proximity to the Blue Lagoon, blending its historical charm with tourism, and becoming a gateway to explore Iceland’s unique geothermal wonders.

A lamb roaming around close to Grindavik, Reykjanes Peninsula.

Newest Eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula

The charming fishing town of Grindavík, situated on Iceland’s geologically active Reykjanes Peninsula, has recently gained global attention due to intense seismic activities. This region, known for its dynamic earth movements, experienced heightened seismicity, particularly around Grindavík. 

In the afternoon of 14th November, amidst escalating tremors linked to magma intrusion beneath the surface, based on data scientists of the Icelandic Meteorological Office have analyzed, local authorities issued an evacuation order for residents in Grindavik. The situation sparked widespread concern across Iceland, as fears mounted over the potential eruption’s impact on Grindavík’s infrastructure, homes, and community. Especially the Svartsengi power plant nearby.

Volcano december 2023
The newest volcanic eruption on Reykjanes Peninsula close to Grindavik.

Then, in a dramatic turn, the eruption began quietly in an uninhabited area of the Reykjanes Peninsula north of Grindavík, on Monday night at 10:17 p.m. on December 18, 2023. The eruption fissure rapidly expanded, stretching over 4 kilometers, creating a spectacular yet daunting scene against the winter night. Lava fountains illuminated the darkness, marking the landscape with fiery splendor.

This eruption was given the name of Sundhnúkur eruption.

Despite the magnitude of the eruption, the Sundhnúkur eruption’s location remained a safe distance from Grindavík, sparing the evacuated town from immediate danger. Local authorities, civil protection, in collaboration with geological experts, continue to closely monitor the eruption and seismic activities. No air travel was disturbed, yet.

Scientists who are constantly monitoring the situation voiced that the lava isn’t flowing towards Grindavik, and the eruption is relatively well-positioned. 

The following Tuesday morning, the magnitude of the volcanic activity at Sundhnúkur  has been significantly diminished, and there are speculations that the eruption will end sooner than expected.

Efforts are underway to ensure the safety of the residents and prepare for any future developments. This natural event, while awe-inspiring, serves as a reminder of the powerful forces shaping Iceland’s unique landscape.

Iceland Volcano Map 2023
The town of Grindavik is at the lower left on the map.

Grindavik Eruptions in January 2024

Just before 8 am on Sunday, a dramatic volcanic eruption began north of Grindavík, following an intense series of small earthquakes that had started overnight at Sundhnúksgíga. Anticipating the eruption, authorities had wisely evacuated Grindavík hours beforehand. This precaution proved crucial as, around midday, a second fissure opened above the town, posing a new threat.

Tragically, lava flowing from this second fissure reached Grindavík, resulting in the loss of three houses. Fortunately, the eruption from this second fissure appears to have ceased, and officials have confirmed that the eruption does not currently present a threat to life.

Remarkably, flights to and from Iceland remain unaffected by these events, indicating the localized nature of the eruption and favorable wind conditions that have prevented any broader impact on air travel.

Grindavik eruptions. [Photo credit to Almannavarnir]

What to Do and What to See Around Grindavik

The location of Grindavik gives it easy access, and is a great stop for those who explore the Reykjanes Peninsula. 

Blue Lagoon: Perhaps the most famous attraction near Grindavík, this geothermal spa is known for its milky blue waters and skin-nourishing properties. It’s a perfect place to relax and unwind.

The milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, Iceland.

Geothermal Areas: Visit nearby geothermal areas like Krýsuvík – Seltun Geothermal Fields, and Gunnuhver hot springs, where you can see boiling mud pools and steaming hot springs.

Reykjanesviti Lighthouse: Visit Iceland’s oldest lighthouse, offering picturesque views of the coastal views over spectacular cliffs.

Bridge Between Two Continents: The Bridge Between Two Continents, located 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from Grindavik, symbolizes the tectonic plate boundaries between North America and Eurasia. This unique bridge offers a rare opportunity to walk between two continents, visually representing Earth’s dynamic geological processes in a striking, natural setting.

Reykjanesviti lighthouse, Reykjanes Peninsula.

Visit the Saltfisksetur Íslands – Icelandic Saltfish Museum: Learn about the importance of fishing and saltfish production in Icelandic culture and history.

Explore the Lava Fields: The Reykjanes is known for its dramatic lava fields, especially after a series of volcanic eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula, new lava fields have been created. The most visited volcanic fields were created by Litli-Hrutur, Merdalir & Fagradalsfjall eruptions. These sites offer stunning landscapes that are ideal for hiking and photography.

Hiking and Outdoor Activities: There are numerous hiking trails around Grindavík, offering breathtaking views of the volcanic landscape and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fishing Trips: Given Grindavík’s rich fishing heritage, going on a guided fishing trip can be a memorable experience.

Bird Watching: The coastline around Grindavík is excellent for bird watching, especially during migration seasons.

Golfing: Enjoy a round of golf at the Grindavík Golf Course, which offers a unique playing experience in a volcanic landscape.

Local Cuisine: Don’t miss trying the local seafood in Grindavík’s restaurants, known for their fresh and delicious dishes.

About the author
A journalist and photographer, Yanshu is driven by a deep passion for Iceland. She's on a mission to share her love for authentic travel experiences and exciting adventures with fellow explorers. Armed with her camera, she sets off on hikes, delving into Iceland's intricacies while mastering the art of Icelandic language whenever possible.

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