Landmannalaugar

Iceland
Highlights
Best Time to Visit

Landmannalaugar is a stunning region in the Icelandic Highlands known for its colorful rhyolite mountains, geothermal hot springs, and epic hiking trails

The best time to visit Landmannalaugar is during the summer months from mid-June to early September when the weather is favorable, the roads are clear, and the area’s vibrant colors are on full display.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
JOURNEY

Landmannalaugar Hike (gönguleið)

The Laugavegur hike is undoubtedly one of the most popular and pleasant hikes in Iceland.

The trail leads from Landmannalaugar to Skógar, passing through the Þórsmörk valley surrounded by the glacial tongues of Myrdalsjökull.

The scenery changes are constant and distinct. During the Landmannalaugar hike, you will also see slag deserts, characteristic rocks surrounding volcanoes, traces of high temperatures that accompanied them centuries ago during increased volcanic activity. Then, a few steps further, you will find a large amount of obsidian, a type of glassy volcanic rock formed from acidic lava.

The trail through the forests and volcanic areas of Landmannalaugar is about 55 km long and leads from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk in about 4 days. Those who want to thoroughly explore Iceland and make the most of this route can walk 2 more days and cover an additional approximately 25 km to reach Skógar.

The Laugavegur hike is intended for tourists in good physical and mental condition, able to walk on technical, and sometimes difficult terrain, also with rapidly changing weather conditions.

Getting there

The main routes are:

  • F208 from the north (the easiest option without river crossings).
  • F225 from the west.
  • F208 from the south (the most difficult, includes several river crossings).

You can get to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik by bus or by car (4×4)

The total driving distance from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar is around 182 km (113 miles).

Before traveling by car, check road conditions and get up-to-date information from the Icelandic Road Administration.

Hike Details

  • The Laugavegur is one of Iceland’s most popular and scenic multi-day hikes, covering around 55 km from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk valley over 3-4 days.
  • The trail passes through striking volcanic landscapes including obsidian lava fields, colorful rhyolite mountains, and glacial tongues.
  • Laugavegur is a trail for fit hikers who are able to navigate technical, mountainous terrain with the possibility of quick weather changes.
  • It showcases the diverse, otherworldly geology of the Landmannalaugar region created by centuries of volcanic activity.

Tips

  • The best time to visit is during summer (late June to early September) when the roads are open and weather is more favorable. Start your hikes early in the day to avoid crowds, especially if you’re driving yourself.

  • Don’t forget to pack swimwear and a towel to enjoy the natural hot springs.

  • For those who prefer not to hike independently, there are guided tour options that handle transportation, accommodations, and luggage transfers.

CAMPING

Camping in Landmannalaugar

If you plan a trip to Landmannalaugar and wonder where is the best place to stay nearby to fully enjoy this location?

The main road is F208 from the north, which is the easiest option without having to cross rivers. An alternative is F225 from the west or the more difficult section of F208 from the south, which requires crossing a few rivers. It’s worth choosing a 4×4 vehicle, as the road is demanding and bumpy. During the winter, access to the Landmannalaugar area is very limited due to road closures and severe weather conditions. Access to Landmannalaugar is also possible by bus running from Reykjavik and other towns, such as Hella, Hvolsvöllur and Selfoss, operating in the summer season from mid-June to early/mid-September, when the mountain roads are open. The obsidian stream Laugahraun ends directly at the campsite. It probably formed in the early 16th century during the eruption of Brennisteinsalda and is about two and a half kilometers long. A hiking trail leads around the lava stream to the fumaroles at the foot of Brennisteinsalda. Additionally, in the vicinity of the campsite, there is a hot stream. After hiking a few kilometers of highlands trail, you can bathe in it.

There are two accommodation options to choose from during your stay: a campground – an unpaved plain where you can pitch tents and prepare for the Icelandic climate – and a hut, which accommodates about 78 people. This place is very popular in summer, so accommodation should be booked well in advance.

The hut is a small wooden house that offers guests a kitchen and small multi-bed rooms, where you can lay out your sleeping bag after finding an available bed. Toilets and showers are shared with the campground, which also has a covered tent with a few seats in case of bad weather. The price for a night in the hut is around 9000 ISK. Camping price is around 2000 ISK. People who do not stay in the huts or at the campground are obliged to pay a fee for using the bathrooms and outdoor facilities, such as a grill and benches. Camping is only allowed in designated areas surrounding the reception and highlands hut. In Landmannalaugar, it is not allowed to camp in other places.

HOT SPRING

Landmannalaugar Hot Spring Bathing Area

One of the main attractions of Landmannalaugar is the natural hot springs located right next to the hut, known as the “People’s Pool”. The geothermal pool with water temperature around 40°C is surrounded by picturesque rhyolite highlands in shades of red, pink, yellow and green, creating an amazing contrast with the black lava fields. The opportunity to bathe in thermal waters surrounded by hills is a point worth checking off.

Visitors are divided into two groups: those who leave the site in the evening and those who stay for at least one night. The first group usually sets off immediately, wanting to make good use of the few available hours for sightseeing. On the other hand, the latter are in no hurry. It is they who indulge in long baths in the hot springs. The bathing area is natural and not an official pool, however, the number of people who decide to immerse themselves in the geothermal waters is surprisingly high – especially in the late afternoon.