Valagjá at Landmannaleið

  • Arriving at Valagjá, you get the feeling of a distant place and isolation.

Valagjá is a name of a volcanic crater located near the mountain road Landmannaleið in the southern part of the Icelandic highland.  The geological term for the crater is maar, and it is a similar phenomenon as a few other craters like Víti, Grænavatn and the nearby Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur, but without the water.  The meaning of the term maar is actually an explosion crater.  Although Valagjá might not be a major attraction, it is an interesting stop for visitors that are not in a hurry and are interested in geology and landscape as Valagjá is actually more than one crater.

Landscape like you can envision at the planet Mars

Arriving at Valagjá, you get the feeling of a distant place and isolation.  The surrounding seems lifeless, as vegetation is struggling.   It is a landscape of sand, volcanic ash and mountains.  But interestingly there is color in the lava, which gives it a more mystical atmosphere.  A walk along the brim gives you a better overview but remember to have your hiking shoes on.  This is a harsh landscape and a bit difficult place to walk, but a short hike is worthwhile.

Landmannaleið road

When you drive from Reykjavík, and you plan to drive (Dómadalsleið) Landmannaleið it is recommended that you rent a good 4X4 vehicle.  On the southern part of the Ring Road, you look out for the road Landvegur Nr. 26 after you pass the bridge on the mighty river Þjórsá.  You need to drive approximately 50 kilometers north, and by the mountain Búrfell, you take a right turn on Landmannaleið mountain road Nr. F225.  About 15 kilometers drive will get you to a split on the road with a sight pointing to Valagjá, which is only about two kilometers from this intersection.  When you have made your stop it is recommended to go back on F225 and continue on Landmannaleið and along the way you can stop at some fascinating places like Rauðifoss, Ljótipollur and of course Landmannalaugar.

Below is the location of Valagjá on the map of Iceland