Landmannalaugar is one of the most remarkable and fascinating places in the Icelandic Highland. It is a place most people fall in love with from the moment they visit this extraordinary creation of Mother Nature. Landmannalaugar is also one of the five most fascinating natural wonders you can visit in Iceland. Although this unique place in the Icelandic Highland, located 600 meters above sea level, is best known for its cozy geothermal pool and bath, and as a starting point for the famous 54 km. four days hiking trail Laugavegur, it is much more. Landmannalaugar offers other shorter, exciting, and breathtaking hiking trails with stunning sceneries and landscape. It is a wonderland for photographers with an endless variety of geological formations, smoking hot springs, lava fields, rivers, creeks, gullies, ravines, canyons, volcanos, and rhyolite mountains that change colors from one hour to the next depending on the mood of the sun and the clouds. It is a remote place only open from the first weeks of July (sometimes as early as the middle of June) until the end of September. A place that is always reluctant to show its colors and beauty outside this period as it is often packed with snow or under attack by severe blizzards and cold during winter. It is a place you should not visit or think about visiting from the beginning of October until the beginning of July, unless you are looking for a major 4X4 winter adventure.
The variety of landform and colors is mind-blowing
A product of a unique volcanic system
Landmannalaugar is part of the unique Torfajökull glacier volcanic system. Just a short distance south of Landmannalaugar is the northern rim of its ancient and enormous caldera. Part of the famous Landmannalaugar hiking trail is a passage through this old caldera, and the diameter is 12 km times 18 km. The Torfajökull caldera emptied its magma chamber and collapsed hundreds of thousands of years ago. The uniqueness comes from the fact that the magma was much higher in acid compared to most of the magma, and thousands of eruptions throughout the millions of years of the island’s geological history. A magma that produced rhyolite lava instead of the most common, basalt lava. Since the calderas collapse geothermal activity, hot springs, erosion, ice, and many other geological phenomena have reshaped and molded the whole area into a stunning, irresistible and unique natural wonder. Today the landform within the caldera and the nearby mountains like Landmannalaugar is perhaps one of the most breathtaking landscape you can find, view and experience on the planet.
Landmannalaugar opens for traffic in late June every year. Service center and hut seen from the geothermal pool.
Service center and facilities in Landmannalaugar
In recent years Landmannalaugar has become a kind of a Base Camp for people starting the hiking track Laugavegur to Þórsmörk. It is also popular among tourists visiting for a few days to hike the shorter trails and admire this pearl in the Highland. The Icelandic Touring Association FÍ (Ferðafélag Íslands in Icelandic) has a service center in Landmannalaugar. The service center consists of a hut built in 1969 that houses 80 people, a camping ground, and toilets, showers, and facilities to wash. The service center has hot and cold water and is an excellent place to change your clothes if you plan to take a dip in the geothermal pool. Some prefer to switch to swimming suits the traditional way outside by the pool. But here you might take into account that there is no electricity to charge your phone, shaving machine, use a hair dryer or other electronic devices. There is also a tent where you can have a meal and do some minor cooking. The service fee is a modest 500 Icelandic kronur pr. day.
The view from hiking trail Sudurnamur towards Landmanalaugar service center
The camping site and space for 4X4 campers
The camping ground is a bit rough with tough soil and thus a bit resistant to tent pegs. You might have to "pin" your tent down with rocks. So usually people camping in Landmannalaugar must fasten their tents with rocks and stones, which are plenty in Landmannalaugar. There is also a good space for 4X4 campers that are also required to pay the service fee. Even campers and people with tents on top of their car who camp on the other side of the river must also pay the service fee. It is essential for FÍ to continue to build and improve their service and facilities.
The camping ground is a bit rough with tough soil
Other services in Landmannalaugar
During the summer from late June until the end of August, there is a small convenience store in Landmannalaugar offering basic necessities. It does not mean that you can rely on this store for all your food or need lesser preparation if you are taking the Laugavegur hiking trail or staying in Landmannalaugar for a few days. It is mostly for an emergency. Also during summer, the Icelandic Rescue Squad has a small service center to increase security in the area and help visitors and hikers that have problems and accidents.
The store or highland mall in Landmannalaugar is housed in old green busses
The geothermal pool in Landmannalaugar
Taking a dip in the geothermal pool in Landmannalaugar has been very popular among tourists visiting as well as Icelanders for decades. The pool is only a few steps from the service center at the edge of the lava field Laugahraun. It is a pool fed by the cold and hot streams coming from under the lava blending in the stream by the pool. Most visitors take off their cloth and put on their swimming suite by the pool. It is part of the freedom in the mountains and the relaxed highland experience. For hikers that visit Landmannalaugar for a day or even a few days to hike the many short hikes in the area, it is very relaxing to dip into the pool after a walk to Brennisteinsalda or Bláhnjúkur.
You only need to take a short hike to see some spectacular landscape in Landmannalaugar
Part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve
Landmannalaugar is part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, which in size is approximately fifty thousand hectares of land in the south of the Icelandic Highland. It was established in the late eighties to protect the sensitive nature in the Highland. The Highland Road Fjallabak nyrðri runs through most of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve and is one of the easiest Highland roads to travel in Iceland, although a 4X4 is recommended. As always when people are traveling the Icelandic Highland we emphasize that it is a very sensitive area and driving outside market roads is strictly forbidden.
The geothemal pool in Landmannalaugar is a must for all visitors
Finding your way and how to drive to Landmannalaugar
There are actually two main entrances to Landmannalaugar from the west. When you drive from Reykjavík, you find your way to Dómadalsleið Nr. F225, often referred to as Landmannaleið, or Nyrðri Fjallabak mountain road Nr F208. Usually, Nyrðri Fjallabak opens sooner than Landmannaleið in early summer. We recommended that you rent a good 4X4 vehicle if you intend to drive a Mountain Road in Iceland marked as a F road on maps. So from Reykjavík, you start from the Ring Road Nr. 1 and drive eastward. Soon after you pass the bridge on the river Þjórsá, you look out for the road Landvegur Nr. 26. You need to drive approximately 50 kilometers north on Road Nr. 26, and by the mountain Búrfell, you take a right turn on Dómadalsleið mountain road Nr. F225. If the road is closed, you continue for approximately 25 kilometers on Road Nr. 26 until you come to the mountain road Nr.F208 Nyrðri Fjallabak mountain road. Both Landmannaleið and Nyrðri Fjallabak lead to Landmannalaugar. Both roads can be a bit difficult and we can only emphasis to rent a 4X4 vehicle. Both roads usually open in early July and sometimes F208 opens around the middle of June. Both roads close around the middle of September. Both roads require that you cross rivers.
Landmannalaugar: View from the Brennisteinsalda hiking path
The best way to travel to and see Landmannalaugar is to take a tour and hike with Hit Iceland in a 4X4 vehicle with a knowledgeable guide by your side -
Check It Out Here.
The geothermal natural pool has always been one of the major attractions in Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar in winter is mostly covered with snow and only for those who are interested in winter travel and highly modified 4X4 vehicles
Below is the location of Landmannalaugar on the map of Iceland