There’s nothing quite as spectacular as a geyser that shoots high into the air or a hot spring that offers brilliant colors. The world’s best geysers and hot springs are sprinkled the world over, offering visitors a glimpse of this type of beauty on every continent – yes, including Antarctica! How many of these locations have you visited so far?
Geysers are some of the most incredible natural wonders in the world. They have been known to shoot water high into the air, giving a spectacular display for those who visit. Geysers can be found all over the world, with Antarctica being one of their favorite places to show up as well.
Famous Geysers and Hot Springs
Here’s a list of geysers and hot springs that will take your breath away.
#1A. Yellowstone National Park
You could spend two weeks exploring all of the different hot springs and geysers at Yellowstone National Park, but the most famous geyser of all has to be Old Faithful Geyser. It was discovered in 1870 and can shoot hot water and steam up to a height of up to 185 feet for up to 5 minutes.
Most geyser eruptions occur about once every hour and a half, although it can be as soon as 45 minutes between geyser eruptions in certain circumstances.
Other active geysers and hot springs located at Yellowstone National Park include:
- Castle Geyser
- Daisy Geyser
- Grand Geyser
- Lion Geyser
- Morning Glory Pool
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Porcelain Geyser
- Steamboat Geyser
- Twin Geysers
- Ulysses Geyser
If you’re looking to see some amazing geysers and hot springs, then be sure to add Yellowstone National Park to your list.
#1B. Steamboat Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone’s geysers are one of the main reasons why this national park is so popular, so it’s no surprise that we have another geyser on the list.
For an even more impressive sight, Steamboat Geyser is the world’s tallest active geyser. Steamboat Geyser eruption isn’t very predictable, however, and most eruptions only reach a height of about 15 feet. When it really goes, however, it can throw hot water and steam over 300 feet into the air.
The last time there was a major Steamboat Geyser eruption was in 2013 and before that, it was in 2005. There was one point in history when it was dormant for over 50 years.
To get to Steamboat Geyser, you’ll need to head to Yellowstone National Park. Once you’re there, it’s located in the Norris Geyser Basin. You can either drive or take a bus tour to get there.
Located in Ethiopia, these hot springs sit over 150 feet below sea level. It’s one of the most remote places on the planet and the only way to access the hot springs is by joining a camel caravan that heads out there to collect salt.
It’s actually part of a volcano that last erupted in 1926 and features acid ponds that are an incredible green color. How acidic are these ponds? Recently tested pH levels were less than 1, making it as strong as battery acid.
#3. The Blue Lagoon
This is the one that’s in Iceland, not the tropical one where couples frolic around all day. It was formed in 1976 after a geothermal power plant came online in Svartsengi.
It turned the waters around the area a very pale blue and someone at some point decided that it might be a good idea to try bathing in the crazy blue water.
Not only is it said to be an incredible moisturizer, but some claim that regular use of it can even cure psoriasis. So go ahead, put on your bathing suit, and cover yourself with mud because you’ll have an amazing time at these hot springs.
#4. The Valley of Geysers
This valley is the second-largest concentration of geysers in the world and it sits in a basin in Russia that is about 4 miles long. It’s a caldera, like most other geyser formations, but the water can be as hot as 480F under the ground.
The area is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is very remote – hiring a helicopter is the only feasible way to get there. The effort will be worth it, however, because the geysers pulsate in a way that’s reminiscent of the Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, NV.
#5. Yellow Dragon Mountain [Huanglong, Sichuan]
One of the most visually stunning sets of hot springs is in Huanglong, China, and has numerous calcite pools that seem to be terraced into the hillside. There are literally thousands of different pools that make up the region and the entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s not just the hot springs that are the attraction here either. There’s a good chance that you’ll meet up with a Giant Panda as well.
#6. Jigokudani Monkey Park
The monkeys of Japan learned right away that the hot springs of Jigokundai were the place to be on a cold day. The name literally translates as “Hell’s Valley” because the frozen ground of the region often steams and bubbles.
Heavy snows are commonplace here, making it a difficult journey that is even more difficult because of a very narrow 2km trail that is required to reach the hot springs. You’ll have to make your way there in winter to catch the monkeys enjoying the hot springs, which further limits the exploration one can make.
The Cotton Castle of Turkey features a series of terraced travertines and hot springs that are bathed in brilliant white. Water emerges from the spring and then begins cascading down the terraces, leaving depositions of calcium carbonate in its flows.
The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on this site and even though the heat reaches boiling temperatures often, there are tadpoles that can be seen in some of the pools.
You can’t access the terraces, but there is the main path that will take you out near the site. You can still bathe in some of the small pools as well.
This Icelandic valley is one of the most regularly visited locations for tourists on the island. The geyser basins are very dependable in eruptions, with the Strokkur Geyser, one of the biggest fountain geysers in the area, erupting every 10 minutes or so.
There are various pathways that will help you access get to Strokkur Geyser and over 40 other hot springs and mud pots that are within this region that has been documented since the 13th century.
An earthquake in 1294 is thought to have activated the area and earthquakes have been shown to activate local geysers within the last decade.
Courtesy of wikimedia commons
Located in New Zealand, the entire Rotorua region is a geothermal playground for people to enjoy. There are over a dozen lakes in the region that are heated by the geothermal zone, providing plenty of fuel for geysers to spray.
The cauldera is over 14 miles wide and offers the chance to enjoy sailing and even whitewater rafting. Much of the action occurs around the edges of the cauldera, but don’t miss Okere Falls either, which is a 23-foot drop that is routinely rafted over.
#10. El Tatio
Located in the Andes Mountains, this is one of the highest geyser fields in the world. There are over 80 geysers here that are active, which means it’s also one of the largest fields in the world.
It’s a major tourist attraction and would normally be ranked much higher but the fact that a mining consortium is exploring the fields and there is a lot of equipment in the field that harnesses the geothermal energy spoils the view.
#11. Washoe Valley
With a half dozen locations in the valley between Reno and Carson City, Nevada these hot springs offer the chance for hiking and exploration in a more rugged atmosphere than you’ll find in other places.
One of the unique stops in this valley is at Bowers Mansion, where a swimming pool was dug to take advantage of the hot well that is in the area. There are miles of paths for you to explore, as well as a playground and established picnic areas.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Henderson, Nevada
#12. California’s Old Faithful
Situated in some tall pampas grass, this geyser is not something you’d expect to see where it is. It’s a shallow pool of water that surrounds the area and if you didn’t know any better, you’d stumble into the geyser.
Except for the bubbling of the water that comes when there’s about to be an eruption, you can get right up to the edge of this geyser safely as it shoots water up to 100 feet into the air. There’s a petting zoo and picnic area on the grounds as well, but beware of the guard llamas!
#13. Ma’ln Hot Springs
These springs are unusual in that the hot water does not come from deep beneath the earth, as it does with most natural hot springs. Instead, the winter rains that fall on Jordan’s highlands provide it.
The lake formed by the spring floods is 1,000 feet lower than sea level and is located in a unique underground river system that includes waterfalls originating from subterranean springs.
There are Roman baths in the area and an entrance fee to the area, but you can bathe in the hot waters that King Herod of Biblical fame would routinely utilize for medical treatments.
How do geysers work?
Water and steam interaction are required to understand geothermal systems. Steam may be generated from water at a specific temperature. When heated water reaches a certain level, it generates steam. Because the steam in a surface environment takes up 1600 times the volume of the water, it expands dramatically when it transforms to heat.
A “steam explosion” occurs when a geyser erupts as a result of heated groundwater exploding into much greater steam. When groundwater is trapped deep and heated, it will be forced to the surface by the pressure of boiling water.
Are geysers volcanoes?
Water and steam, rather than rock and ash, are produced by geysers. Volcanoes erupt more frequently but have a larger physical presence. Despite the fact that the processes are different, the results may be comparable.
Underground chamber size and the formation of geysers can help explain the relationship between subterranean magmas and volcanic eruptions. Geysers are tiny laboratories that may be used to study volcanic eruption genesis.
Types of Geysers
Geysers are categorized by their height and the amount of time they take to recharge. The following are the different types of geysers:
- Fountain geyser: Fountain geysers erupt regularly and have short intervals between eruptions.
- Geyserite: These geysers erupt irregularly, with long intervals between eruptions.
- Plume Geyser: These geysers have the longest intervals between eruptions, and often do not erupt for years at a time.
A cone geyser is the ratio of eruptions that are all dependent on how much water is stored in the system at any given time. The more water that is available, the taller and more volumetric the eruption will be. If recharge is slow, then the eruption will last longer. Geysers that erupt frequently have less time to recharge between eruptions.
The geyser’s size, shape, and duration of eruption are all determined by the nature of the underlying magma chamber. Magma chambers can be either large or small, but all must have a heat source to drive the eruptions.
The heat source for geysers is usually magmatic, meaning that it comes from molten rock or from radioactive decay. Geothermal activity can also be affected by the tectonic setting of an area, such as whether it is located near a plate boundary.
Lock In Your Travel Now
Find Cheap Flights
Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you'll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
Travel insurance is a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Cover yourself against illness, injury and theft, and protect the arrangements you've made with our flexible travel cancellation insurance. My favorite options for travel insurance are:
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!
Discover the Best Travel Tools
Be sure to visit our page on our favorite travel resources to learn how you too can visit over 10 countries in year.