Laugarvellir is probably the best and most impressive geothermal, natural pool in Iceland. The heat in the pool is perfect, around 39 to 41 degrees Celsius (although you should put your hand into the water and check the temperature before jumping in). If you are visiting the northeast region in Iceland and you are looking for something to do, you might want to visit this fantastic place. Although situated at an altitude of approximately 600 meters deep in the Highland in Iceland; the valley Laugarvellir is considerably green as it has more vegetation than usual, and almost looks like a place 300 meters lower. In high contrast to most of a vast area surrounding the valley, you will find endless sand and spreads of volcanic ashes from the many eruptions from neighboring volcanos. The reason is the warmth that comes from underground and the short distance to the sleeping magma underneath that produces heat and heated water that changes everything. This is the reason why the small creek at Laugarvellir farm is warm. It is a fantastic place and a bit deceptive and might give an indication of being in lower altitude.
The farming experiment that ended with disaster
In hard times in Iceland's history, small farms developed near the Highland in a higher altitude. These were, of course, more complicated farms to cultivate, than other good and valuable estates. One poor farmer built a house and moved to Laugavellir in the benign of the 20th century. This was a hard land to farm and a difficult place to stay during the whole year. The decision was devastating and after only a few years, he took his life. He and his wife were the only people that ever tried to live at Laugavellir without success. The houses are still standing.
It is not complicated to visit Laugavellir today
Access to Laugavellir today is quite simple although a 4X4 vehicle is preferred. From the town of Egilsstaðir in the East Region, you drive south on Road 1, the Ring Road. About seven kilometers south you take a turn to the west to Road 931 all the way over the bridge and take a turn to the south again on Road 933. You drive a short distance on 933 and turn to Raod 910 and drive all the way to Hálslón, the new reservoir by Kárahnúkar. Once you pass the dam, the distance to Laugavellir is only about seven kilometers. Since the road from Egilsstaðir to Hálslón is paved you can drive a small car almost all the way to Laugavelllir. The rest, if you prefer, is a seven to five-kilometer hike.