Geysir may be Iceland’s best-known geyser (and the one after which all others are named), but its neighbor, Strokkur, is equally impressive. Despite only rising to heights of up to 100 feet (30.5 meters), compared to Geysir’s 200 feet (61 meters), Strokkur erupts several times an hour, unlike Geysir, which remains largely dormant thanks to its clogged conduit.
Opened up by an earthquake in 1789 and reactivated by human intervention in 1963 after being blocked by a second earthquake, Strokkur has been erupting regularly ever since. The highly anticipated eruptions of Strokkur, cradled in a 10-foot-wide (3-meter-wide) crater in the Haukadalur geothermal area, begin with the formation of a pulsing bubble of hot water, which reaches temperatures of around 390°F (200°C) before a rush of steam breaks through and shoots into the air. The geyser now stands among Iceland’s most popular natural attractions, a much-visited sight along the Golden Circle route from Reykjavik.
Multiple tours around the Golden Circle leave Reykjavik every day, and most include visits to Strokkur, alongside other landmarks such as Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. Add on activities such as snowmobiling or a visit to a hot spring.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Strokkur is a must-visit for nature lovers.
- In Icelandic “strokkur” means, appropriately, “churn.”
- Other natural features of the Haukadalur Valley, around Strokkur, include fumaroles, hot springs, mud pits, and other smaller geysers.
- A restaurant, café, and gift shop are opposite the main geothermal area in Haukadalur Valley.
How to Get There
By car, it takes around an hour and 45 minutes to get to Strokkur from Reykjavik, making it easy to visit on a day trip from the capital. There is no public transportation, so those traveling without a car often join a guided tour that includes round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
Strokkur is one of the few geysers in the world to erupt regularly and reliably, meaning there is no bad time to visit. The area does tend to get crowded with tourists during the daytime, however, so, if possible, time your visit for early morning or early evening.
One of the main reasons that Geysir is currently experiencing a period of low activity is that soap used to be pumped into the vents to make the eruptions more dramatic. This damaged the structure of the vent and prevented water building up, so authorities have guarded Strokkur against interference by putting chains around it. However, that didn’t stop Chilean artist Marco Evaristti from pouring in food coloring to make the eruption pink. He was arrested and fined (but left the country without paying).