#geothermalpool

Most of the more impressive natural geothermal pools in Iceland are in the highland.  In places that are remote and difficult to visit unless you are prepared to take a long drive and a long hike.  These are places where boiling hot geothermal springs meet cold creeks, sometimes the origin of the water is side by side.  Sometimes the pair of springs, hot and cold, blend and form a natural pound filled with warm water in the middle of nowhere. One of those remarkable places is Strútslaug or the Ostrich pool.  The origins of the name is a mystery as there are no Ostrich in Iceland and have never been.

Visiting Strútslaug geothermal pool takes some hiking

Strútslaug is one of the most remote geothermal pools that are accessible in Iceland.  It is located deep in the highland and requires few hours drive in a robust and well equipped 4X4 vehicle.  It is placed near the Highland road Syðri Fjallabak that 's hard to drive and access.  Near the beautiful mountain Mælifell, there is a turn to the north to Strútur Mountain and mountain hut.  From the hut is an approximately 5 kilometers hike to the pool.  So the hike including the dip in the pool takes about four to five hours.  But the hike is through a beautiful landscape by the mountain Strútur.

How to go to Strúslaug

To enter the area called Fjallabak Syðri, you can take one of six Highland roads.  All are difficult roads with rivers to cross or steep mountains to climb.  One of the easiest routs is from the Ring Road east of Vík where you turn north on Hrífunesvegur Nr. 209.  Just a few kilometers up the road you take a turn west on Öldufellsleið F232 mountain road.  Near Brytalækir there is a sign leading west to Mælifell mountain on Mælifellssandur.  You drive past the mountain Mælifell over the river Brennivínskvísl and take a turn north on the dirt road to Strútur. The whole trip is about 50 kilometers on a rough dirt road that requires a good and well equipped 4X4 vehicle.

A quiet moment at Strútslaug geothermal pool

For many reasons, Reykholt in the west region is a crucial historical and cultural place in Iceland. In medieval times it was the center of power, culture and power struggle among chiefs that fought hard never shy to engage in challenging and deadly battles.  One of the largest persona in all events related to power, accumulation of wealth and leadership was Snorri Sturluson.

Reykholt in the west region is a crucial historical and cultural place in Iceland

The Westfjords in Iceland are famous for the spectacular scenic drive in and out fjords and up and down mountain roads with many natural wonders included. It is often considered one of the most interesting road trips in Iceland.  One of the advantages driving the Westfjords in Iceland are the geothermal pools that pop up here and there by the road almost unexpectedly.  The pools are a perfect place to stop and dip into the warm water. Some of them are natural pools out in nature where you can enjoy the spectacular landscape while bathing and relaxing.

One of the advantages driving the Westfjords in Iceland are the geothermal pools

If you read information about Iceland and places to visit around the countryside, you will soon learn about and discover many places where you can take a bath in a geothermal pool. There are dozens of delightful small pools as well as a few larger ones in the south region, in the Highland and in the Westfjords.  All of them are very popular and most available free of charge since the hot water comes from the ground and flows like a creek, often mixed with cold water to give the right temperature.

Myvatn Nature Baths

Driving a well-equipped 4WD vehicle through the Highland when traveling in Iceland is an exciting and probably a once in a lifetime experience for most people. Although a spectacular drive the scenery is quite different from driving the great scenic drive in the West fjords or the in the Eastern Region. The Icelandic Highland is a place where you drive mile after mile or kilometer after kilometer through black sands with a view of gray mountains with limited vegetation.  But fortunately, there are some fascinating places in the Highland that we could label as an oasis that are in striking contrast to the black sands, glaciers, muddy rivers, dusty gravel 4X4 tracks and sandy mountains. One such place is Laugafell in the northern part of the highland road Sprengisandsleið.  

A geothermal pool in the middle of nowhere

At Laugafell you will find one of the many fantastic geothermal pools that are located in the Highland in Iceland. On an island that is relatively young on the geological timeline and basically sits on a magma, it is no surprise to find a warm geothermal pool here and there. The pool in Laugafell is one of the best and most impressive geothermal pools in Iceland. Not surprisingly it draws a lot of visitors to the Highland. The temperature is perfect, and The Touring Club of Akureyri has built a very nice facility to make your visit as wonderful as possible. 

A quarantine for the rich lady from Möðruvellir her people and stock

Unlike many spots and places in the Icelandic Highland Laugafell has been known to Icelanders for centuries.  One reason might be the fairly short distance from the lower inhabited areas north of Laugafell. Another might be the fact that here you find vegetation and warm water.  An old folklore tells the story of a very wealthy woman that moved all her family, servants and stock to Laugafell in the middle of the 14th century to avoid contamination from the severe black death plague.   Apparently, this decision saved everyone as the stayed in a kind of a quarantine while the plague killed over one hundred million people worldwide.

Access to drive to Laugafell is not simple

As the Icelandic highland is only open from the beginning of July until the middle of September, it defines the time you can visit Laugafell.  If you are driving north on F26 Sprengisandsleið, you need to take a turn west on the mountain road F752 and follow that road. If you are in the northern part of Iceland, you drive from Akureyri south on F821 up to the Highland and the road will take you to Laugafell.

Laugafell and the geothermal pool is located at the northern part of Sprengisandur in Iceland

In Iceland, you can find many small geothermal pools. Something a lot of visitors and tourists are both interested in seeing and willing to dip into.  Some of the pools only fit four to five people.  Some are even so small that they only fit two persons.  But you can also find pools that are big enough for you and a few of yours friends. The pool Hellulaug in the southern shore of West Fjords is a warm and delightful pool.

Right there on the West Fjord Ring Road

Located only a few hundred meters from the camping site Flokalundur in the famous Vatnsdalur, where the first settler in Iceland stayed for a winter.  The small pool is always open with its endless flow of warm water all year long. Anyone passing by can take a dip in the comfortable water. The water in the pool is 38 degrees centigrade and the pool is around 3 to 4 meters in diameter.

No admission fee and no service

You need to walk down a small cliff from the small parking lot by road Vestfjarðarvegur nr. 60 which is the southern part of the West Fjord ring road.  A road that is part of the West Fjord scenic route that takes you through some magnificent landscape. There is no admission and also no place to change from your cloth to your swimming suit. There is no service, just the very nice natural bath.  

 

The pool Hellulaug in the southern shore of West Fjords is a warm and delightful pool.

 

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.  Although this unique place in the Icelandic Highland, located 600 meters above sea level, is best known for its cozy geothermal 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, rivers, creeks, gullies, ravines, 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 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.

Landmannalaugar opens for traffic in late June every year

Landmannalaugar opens for traffic in late June every year

A Base Camp for the hiking trail Laugavegur

In recent years, Landmannalaugar has become a kind of a Base Camp for the hiking track Laugavegur and tourists admiring this pearl in the Highland. The Icelandic Touring Association (Ferðafélag Íslands in Icelandic) built a hut in 1969 that houses 110 people. There is also a nice camping ground with extremely hard soil and thus very 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. The camping site also has an excellent service and exceptionally cool atmosphere.   For decades, it has been a favorite place among Icelanders to visit during summer. 

You only need to take a short hike to see some spectacular landscape in Landmannalaugar

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.

Landmannalaugar camping site

The camping site at Landmannalaugar is entirely different other camping sites in Iceland

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. 

The geothermal natural pool has always been one of the major attractions in Landmannalaugar

The geothermal natural pool has always been one of the major attractions in Landmannalaugar

Below is the location of Landmannalaugar on the map of Iceland

 

Many trails in Landmannalaugar have great view