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Do you dare to enter Iceland's hidden paradise Landmannalaugar? Rhyolite mountains, geothermal hot springs and lava fields create spectacular landscapes in the highlands of Iceland but getting here is not easy. The remoteness and the difficulty in access has made it possible to preserve this landscape as one of the last virgin areas in Europe, a wonder of nature that fortunately has not been altered by the hand of man. Come during the summer months or join one of the Superjeep and hiking tours to discover this truly colourful natural paradise in the highlands of Iceland.
- What is Landmannalaugar, the highlands of Iceland?
- The valley of Landmannalaugar is Iceland's hidden geothermal paradise, located in the southern highlands of the island within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. The Rhyolite mountains surround the valley giving it the amazing colours that contrast with the lava fields. Landmannalaugar is therefore geothermally active, a fact to which we owe a unique landscape formed by mountains of bright colours, and steam rising from the ground and natural springs make it perfect for bathing. The rhyolite mountains create a fascinating world of extraordinary colours and make Landmannalaugar one of the most beautiful areas in all of Iceland. Landmannalaugar is also a paradise for any hiking lover. Among many paths, there is the famous Laugavegur trek, a 4-day trek considered one of the best 20 treks in the world by National Geographic magazine. Laugavegur means in fact, "the way of Landmannalaugar", since it is where the route usually begins, ending in the valley of Thórsmörk, also in the highlands of Iceland.
- How can I get to Landmannalaugar?
- Getting to Landmannalaugar on your own is not easy. First of all, you will need to come during the summer months, when the roads there are opened. Then, you will need to rent a 4-wheel drive car and be an experienced driver. From Reykjavík it is about 3 hours but first check the current road conditions online. Take the classic Ring Road to the south and change to the road 26 inland. Then the F-225, F-208 and F-224.
- Does it mean that you can only get to Landmannalaugar during summer? Well, on your own yes but, fortunately, there are specialized Superjeep tours that can bring you there throughout the whole year from Hella or even from Reykjavík. If you are planning to do any hiking tour though, it is only possible during summer months. There are multi-day trekking tours available from 3 to 6 days and day-tours that bring you there and back to Reykjavík the same day. And if you are not much into trekking, there are also one day sightseeing tours by bus or Superjeep departing from the capital of Iceland. No matter how you wish to experience it or where you are, you will have the chance to get to the hidden paradise of Landmannalaugar.
- What places can I see in Landmannalaugar?
- The valley of Landmannalaugar is considered as a whole natural area. Here are some of the most well known gems you will find within:
- Ljótipollur crater: Although the name means "ugly puddles" in Icelandic, it is actually one of the most spectacular places in Landmannalaugar, with the turquoise water of the lake and the reddish colour of the land. It is located only 9km from the basecamp, which means you can see it in a one-day hike.
Fjallabak Nature Reserve: This is the name of the whole area that surrounds Landmannalaugar, protected since 1979. The entire area is more than 500 metres above sea level and you will find here the rhyolite mountains, lava fields and geothermal springs. The bedrock of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve is approximately 8–10 million years old. The glacier-topped volcano, Torfajökull, shaped the area through many volcanic eruptions.
Geothermal hot springs: One the main attractions in Landmannalaugar is the famous hot springs where you can have a bath. To do the amazing hiking treks in Landmannalaugar is by itself incredible but being able to finish them off with a dip in the springs or having geothermal baths along the way make them even better. A popular natural hot spring is located at Landmannalaugar camping ground but there are other ones. Actually, Landmannalaugar means the “People’s Pool" so get ready to have a bath in the middle of nowhere.
Brennisteinsalda and other rhyolite mountains: Brenninsteinsalda is probably the most famous and most colourful mountain in Landmannalaugar. It is yellow with patches of red, pink, and some blue due to the rhyolite and obsidian and the name means the "sulfur wave". If you plan a multi-day trekking you will pass other amazing rhyolite mountains such as Bláhnúkur or Suðurnámur.
Graenagil Canyon: Here is another sightseeing point ideal for those who are not looking for a strenuous hike. This is a beautiful canyon near Bláhnúkur and not far from the basecamp with interesting natural sights. Again, the colour here is unbelievable, with all kinds of green rocks.
Laugahraun lava fields: The lava fields are an important part of Landmannalaugar valley and all of Iceland. It is not everyday you can have the chance of walking among black lava fields, feeling as if you were in another planet. Laugahraun is probably the most famous one but you will see more on the way.
- What activities can I do in Landmannalaugar?
Of course, Landmannalaugar is the paradise for those who love hiking in the nature and this is the main activity. As there is literally nothing around (not towns, villages or any human settlement), it is a truly adventure in the nature. The other activity to do in Landmannalaugar, of course, it is to have a bath in a geothermal pool in the middle of the nature. Landmannalaugar literally means "People's Pool", and you can imagine why. And if hiking is not one of your strong skills, join one of the sightseeing or Superjeep tours from Reykjavík and simply enjoy the views of this unique landscape!
What kind of tours can I join to see Landmannalaugar, the highlands of Iceland?
There are two different types of tours that we offer in our web. On the one hand, there are the hiking tours. If your time is limited, choose the one day hiking tour from Reykjavík to have a glimpse of the area. If you are a real hiking lover, take one of the multi-day tours. We recommend the 4-day Laugavegur trek, which is considered one of the best treks in the world, the 3-day Landmannalaugar tour or the 6-day Laugavegur-Fimmvörduháls tour. All the tours include the transfers from/to Reykjavík, the English-speaking expert guide, food and accommodation in mountain cabins. On the other hand, there are the one-day sightseeing tours in Superjeep or by bus. You can join from Reykjavík or from other locations in South Iceland, such as Hella or Sellfoss. In these tours you will also have the chance to have a geothermal bath, so don't forget your towel and swimming suit!
How many days do I need to explore Landmannalaugar?
Landmannalaugar is a vast natural area and you need at least a 3-day trekking tour to cover it . Fortunately, if your time in Iceland is limited, you can get to Landmannalaugar and back to Reykjavík in 1 day. Maybe you will not see everything but you will have a amazing experience in the area and you can always come back!
Where can I stay in Landmannalaugar?
In Landmannalaugar you will not find any hotel or hostel accommodation. This is pure nature! If you book with us the multi-day trekking tours, you will be accommodated in mountain cabins along the way. Of course, for the most adventurous ones, there is the chance of sleeping in tents but as you may already know, the weather in Iceland can be challenging and unstable.
When can I go to Landmannalaugar?
The only way to visit Landmannalaugar out of the summer months is by booking the Superjeep tour available from Reykjavík or other locations in South Iceland. If you want to book any other tour, join one of the multi-day famous trekking tours or simply visit the area on your own with a 4-wheel drive rental car, you have to come during summer months, between mid June and the end of September. It is not possible to say in advance the exact date when the roads will be opened as it depends on the weather.
Important note: All activities in the Icelandic nature are carried out under the own responsibility of the clients. ISLANDICA s.r.o. is not responsible for any accidents that may occur during the activities or due to the actions of the participants. The people who participate in these outings are accepting these conditions when booking a tour. ID 849