No visit to Iceland is complete without a visit to Landmannalaugar, a geothermic hot spring region which features valleys, nature reserves, and mountains, and is a great for hiking and exploring. In many ways, a visiting Landmannalaugar is a great starting point for a day trip and your Iceland adventure.
To that end, Landmannalaugar Tours is a great company to see the region. They take care of you and ensure you see and savor all of its magical delights.
The best way to see the delights of the region is to go on a Landmannalaugar hike as you will feel you are one with the land and appreciate it on a deeper level. There are a number of trails available and you should be able to find one that takes you to the places you want to see.
So what can you expect to see on your Landmannalaugar adventure?
The Fjallabak Nature Reserve
Covering 47,000 hectares and established in 1979, The Fjallabak Nature Reserve features the glacier topped volcano Torfajökull. Due to its eruptions and the area’s natural geothermal activity, the surrounding rugged and beautiful landscape were shaped. This includes the Laugahraun, Námshraun, and Norđurnámshraun lava fields together with the crater lake of Ljótipollur. This occurred over the last ten thousand years.
The geothermal activity is hidden beneath the Vatnajökul glacier. This is the second largest geothermal region in Iceland, and many enjoy hot springs and pools that are present.
The Rhyolite Mountains
What captures the attention of most is the vibrant colors of the landscape. The Rhyolite Mountains get their name from their composition. The rhyolite, together with other elements such as sulphur and iron, together with moss makes the landscape appear to have been painted in shades of yellows, pinks, reds, blues, and browns.
The mountains of Brennisteinsalda, the “Sulfur Wave”, and Bláhnúkur, the “Blue Peak”, are two of the most impressive and represent this fusion of elements especially as they are close to one another.
The Lava Fields
Formed between 872 and 1480, the lava fields of Laugahraun, Hrafntinnuhraun and Namshraun should be on your itinerary to visit. They are surrounded by mountains and span the valleys. When you walk through the rock formations, you feel like you are on another planet and you can’t help but wonder if the local fables of trolls and elves hiding in the rock formations are true.
The Hot Springs
Head out to the Laugahraun lava field, and you will find geothermal pools. These hot springs are a fusion of geothermal water mixing with colder air making a perfect bathing temperature of 96.8–104ºF. These ‘people’s pools’ have a long and esteemed history of being used by travelers to bathe and relax.
Close to the foothills of Bláhnúkur, Grænagil Canyon is made from green colored rock. The canyon is a good starting point for a hike as the terrain is easy and manageable for families and those not used to hiking.
Another wonder to view is the Ljótipollur, the Ugly Puddle. Despite its name this clear crater lake is a short hike and the stunning blue waters will surprise you.
Landmannalaugar is set in the Southern Highlands and to get there, you follow the F-225, F-208, and F-224. You can pick up the F-225 by heading south on the Ring Road following the N1.
Iceland’s F-Roads are the most challenging roads to drive on in the country. These roads are not paved and take you over mountains and across glacial rivers. As such you will need a four by four vehicle to traverse them.
The geothermal region is about 3 hours from the capital Reykjavík although as you will pass so many iconic sights, you will want to stop, take a few pictures, and soak up the atmosphere.
Visiting in the Summer
Summer is the best time to go if you are planning to drive. The roads are closed in the winter, so traveling is impossible. That said, many of the better tour operators can take you using a super jeep which can traverse the ice.
The differences between seeing Landmannalaugar in summer and winter are quite startling. The vibrant colors that bring the place alive in summer are hidden by snow and ice in winter. Both seasons offer something enigmatic and profound.
Accommodation is very rustic in the region. You have a hut which can sleep 80. Here you bring your sleeping bag and bed down for the night, or you can pitch a tent and camp.
The weather in Iceland can change, and it is a good idea to check forecasts before you plan your trip. To that end, visit the Iceland Weather Office to find the most suitable times to visit.
Iceland is a fantastic country, and the Landmannalaugar region is one that should feature prominently on your list of places to see.