Grindavík and the Blue Lagoon
The Town of Grindavík, with about 3300 inhabitants is located on the south coast of Reykjanes peninsula and is very close to Svartsengi geothermal area and the famous Blue Lagoon. Svartsengi is one of many geothermal areas of the Reykjanesskagi Peninsula that supplies communities in the area with hot water for heating homes and other buildings. In the year 1976, several boreholes were drilled into the ground at Svartsengi in order to get hot water from the ground. A lot of hot water at temperatures well over 200 degrees celcius was found but the water is mineral rich, salt sea water containing various minerals. Due to the high temperature, the water comes out of the ground undewr a high pressure and is turned into steam. The high pressure steam is also used for spinning turbines for generating electricity. Due to the high mineral content, the water was not suitable to be piped dierectly to the homes for heating. The minerals would quickly damage the pipes and radiators. Therefore a heat exchange station was built at Svartsengi, where the mineral rich water was used for heating cold fresh water, that after being heated was piped to the towns. After the mineral rich water had been used for heating the fresh water, it had cooled down and was dumped into the nearby lava field where it was expected to seep into the ground. This did not happen and the mineral rich water filled a depression in the lava field to form the so called Blue Lagoon and soon became popular for bathing since the temperature was very pleasant for bathing, usually between 37 and 40 degrees Celsius. The nearby Grindavík town has been an important fishing town since the time of it´s settlement.
Geldingadalir volcanic eruption
The town is surrounded by beautiful nature. In March 2021, the inhabitants of Grindavík go to know an unexpected neighbor, a new born active volcano, only a few kilometers outside the town. For almost a year prior to the eruption, thousands of earthquakes had been shaking the village and about three week prior, the earthquakes intensified. On March 19, 2021, people at Grindavík saw a red glow on the sky to the east of the town. Later that evening it became evident that a fissure had opened in the ground at Geldingadalir vally and an eruptin had started. Soon it attracted a lot of visitors, both local people and tourists and for several months, thousands of people came to see this amazing spectacle every day. For some time it was feared that lava from the eruption might reach the town and destroy roads in the vicinity but fortunately this did not happen. The eruption site turned out to be quite a safe place if proper precautins were taken and if people did not approach the red hot flowing lava too close up. The main threats were toxic gases issued from the ground and because of the dangerous gases, the area had occasinally to be closed to visitors when weather conditions were unfavorable.
Services and attractions
Grindavík has several restaurants, a geothermal pool, shops, a hotel and a camping site. Horse riding tours are available and a visit to Grindavík‘s Salt Fish Museum is recommended. For a long time in the Icelandic history, salted fish used to be the main fish export from Iceland, but it has changed since the early 60´s, after fresh and frozen fish became more important. In the past, before the time of introduction of freezing plants, drying and salting fish, used to be the only means of preserving and storing the fish. The Saltfish Museum in Grindavík Town explains the importance of salted fish in the economy and culture of Iceland and displays old methods of processing the fish that are to some extend, still used today. Many wonderful hiking trails are just outside the town.