Landmannalaugar: Iceland's Majestic Interior
Updated: Jun 5
There are places in the world where Mother Nature rules and where it seems like time has stopped there. There you can truly feel the climate and atmosphere of the country you are visiting. If you had no chance to feel that yet, you could experience it in Landmannalaugar.
It is one of those places where the views are breathtaking, and you have the impression that there is only you and nature, nothing else around. It is usually one of the top places every tourist wants to visit in Iceland. Landmannalaugar in Iceland is a place that is generally most visited during the peak season. Only accessible in summer months when its mountains attract hundreds of tourists. It is said to be a paradise for hikers. We cannot disagree, but even if you are not opting for the Landmannlaugar hikes, you can still enjoy this place. See what can you see and do in Landmannalaugar!
How to get to Landmannalaugar?
Landmannalaugar is located in the Fjallaback Nature Reserve in the central part of Iceland. The area where the so-called Rainbow Mountains are situated is called the Highlands. The roads in this part of the island are named F-roads, and those are mountain, gravel roads. That type of road, and the severe weather conditions in this area, make it only available during a particular time, and that is summer.
F-roads in Highlands remain closed during the winter months, starting already from mid-September. That is when the level of snow or mud makes them impassable and even dangerous for tourists. You can expect the opening of these roads around mid or the end of June, but that depends on the road's conditions. That is when the Road Administration assesses them and, based on the weather forecast, decides if opening the routes is convenient.
Even during the summer, when the F-roads are open, you need a special four-wheel-drive vehicle to get to Landmannalaugar. The F-roads are gravel roads, with many loose stones and even big rocks. You can expect these roads to be very narrow and curved. The final part of the route requires crossing rivers, which we do not recommend to inexperienced drivers. You can leave your vehicle at the parking lot just before the river. There is only a short walk from there to the camping and the hot spring area.
The best way to get to Landmannalauar is by renting a 4x4 camper or car. However, if you do not feel very comfortable driving on those types of roads, you can also join the Landmannalaugar tour. Many travel agents offer bus transportation to Landmannalaugar. The starting point is usually Reykjavik, but the bus has several stops on its way, so you do not need to go back to the capital to join one.
The geothermal activity in this area is very high here, And it can easily be seen everywhere. The sulfur steam rises above the mountains in many places. The whole area is wild and shows the real nature of the volcanic island. There is very little sign of human presence in Landmannalaugar, which is a huge benefit. You can only see the colorful, rhyolite mountains, endless lava fields, steam, and rocks covered with moss everywhere you look. Brennisteinsalda volcano is a symbol of the Landmannalaugar mountains. Its beautiful colored stripes are the result of sulfur, lava, moss, and volcanic ash. This volcano is 855 meters above sea level, and there is a marked hiking trail to its peak.
Landmannalaugar hot springs
Landmannalaugar is said to be the best place for trekking and hiking. This, however, does not mean that you have nothing to do in here if you are not a great fan of those! We encourage everyone to come to Landmannalaugar for a day-tour to enjoy the views, meet the wild side of Iceland and relax. And what is a better way to relax in Iceland from soaking in a hot spring?
Landmannalaugar hot springs are one of the most famous in Iceland! Among the most visited ones is the hot spring located right next to the mountain hut, at the entrance to Landmannalaugar. This is where many tourists end their day full of hiking. Its water is hot, and reaches around 40 Celcius degrees, making it perfect even during winter. The closer to the edge of the pool, the warmer the water is, so be careful!
There is no entrance fee, but if you wish to use the toilets or showers, the price is 500 ISK for 5 minutes of use. It would be best if you wash with soap before entering the hot spring. This way, it is kept as clean as possible.
The hiking route that Landmannalaugar is famous for: The 4-day Laugavegur route. The Laugavegur hiking trail is 55 kilometers long, and it ends in
Thorsmork valley. The route name can be translated to Hot Springs Route, and this is due to the hot springs you will pass by on your hike. The route is not too challenging; however, it is undoubtedly a demanding one. Remember that there are no hotels on your way, so you need to carry on your tent, clothes, and all the necessary gear. You will get the impression that every kilometer you pass, your backpack gets heavier.
The highest elevation on the route is 1200 meters. As the trail is divided into shorter stages, you can adjust the pace to your strength and possibilities. This is how the tracks are divided:
Landmannlaugar – Hrafntinnusker – 12 kilometers
Hrafntinnusker – Alftavatn / Hvanngil – 12km
Alftavatn / Hvanngil – Emstrur (Botnar) – 15km
Emstrur (Botnar) – Thorsmork- 15 kilometers.
For detailed information on the Laugavegur Hiking trail, you can check our post here. When coming to Iceland, do try to add Landmannalaugar to your itinerary, you will surely not regret it!