Four-Day Hike to Landmannalaugar | Volcano Trail Part 3
Hike to the world-renowned Landmannalaugar Highland area with this unique and exciting four-day hike. This tour is excellent in and of itself, but can also be combined with two related excursions if you are an ambitious hiker seeking to fully immerse yourself in the Highlands.
If you are taking this tour without combining it with another, you will meet the rest of your group at the BSI bus terminal in Reykjavík, where you will be picked up and taken straight to the Highlands. Your first day will be spent at the beautiful lake Álftavatn, otherwise known as ‘Swan Lake’, where you can spend a few hours admiring the birdlife and incredible scenery. You will spend your first night in a mountain hut on the lake’s shore.
On the second day, you will start your hiking adventure properly, heading to the verdant hills of Ljósártungur. This area is a geothermal hot-spot, and veined with trickling streams and rushing rivers, some of which you will be crossing. The landscapes around you are dominated by colourful rhyolite mountains and the table-top mountain Laufafell. You will no doubt be awestruck by the surrounding beauty until you cross the river Markarfljót, the other side of which you will find your hut.
Day three will take you to Iceland’s most loved Highland region, Landmannalaugar. You will approach it through the Reykjadalur valley, known for its many hot springs and steaming vents. This valley runs by the Hrafntinnuhraun lava field, a dramatic stretch of course lava, providing a wonderful diversity of scenery.
After climbing through the geothermal area of Dalamót, you will reach some incredible canyons, collectively called Vondugil, which sit in the shadows of two beautiful peaks, Suðurnámur and Brennisteinsalda. Finally, you will cross the Laugahraun lava field to reach the Landmannalaugar hut. This hut is right beside a natural pool, where you can ease away the tension built from the hike.
On your final morning, you are welcome to explore the surrounding area. There are hikes, for example, up the mountains Bláhnúkur and Brennisteinsalda, but you can also bask in the pool until it is time to leave if you prefer. In the early afternoon, you will return to the bus for a scenic drive back to Reykjavík.
Avid hikers should not miss out on this tour. Explore the Highlands and Landmannalaugar region in a unique and immersive way. Check availability by choosing a date.
Search for the 'Four-day Highland hiking tour | Volcano trail part 1' and 'Five-day Highland hiking tour | Volcano trail part 2' for the itineraries of the tours you can combine with this one.
- Available: Jul. - Sep.
- Duration: 3 days
- Activities: Hiking, Hot Spring Bathing
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum age: 16 years old
- Languages: English
The Icelandic Highlands cover the major part of the country and many of Iceland’s main natural attractions can be found there. Away from crowds, noise and bustle, the Highlands offer unique silence, serenity, peace and extreme natural beauty.
The Central Highlands
The Central Highlands cover a vast area, all at an altitude of over 500 meters, with numerous mountains reaching a height between 1000 and 2000 meters. Most of these higher mountains are covered by glaciers. Two of the highest mountains in the country (over 2000 m high) are located in Vatnajökull, namely Hvannadalshnúkur (2109 m, located in south Vatnajökull) and Bárðarbunga, a subglacial volcano in northwest Vatnajökull (2000 m).
Three of the largest glaciers in Iceland are located in the Central Highlands. These are Vatnajökull in the southeast (Europe’s largest glacier), Hofsjökull in the centre of Iceland and Langjökull, west of Hofsjökull.
- See here for all Glacier Hiking Tours
Various highlands paths lie between the glaciers, open for cars around June/July. One of the major ones are Kjölur, connecting south and north Iceland (the road is located between Hofsjökull and Langjökull). Sprengisandur, is another important path, connecting south and north, and located between Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.
Kaldidalur is a highland path stretching west of Langjökull, from Þingvellir towards the Borgarfjörður district. It then continues further north as Stórisandur.
Remember always that the natural environment that makes up Iceland's Highlands is as delicate as it is enchanting. The slightest damage inflicted upon small areas can cause erosion and irreversible landscape wounds that can easily spread over large areas. When travelling in the Highlands, therefore, visitors must at all times uphold responsible travel etiquette. Driving off roads and designated paths is strictly forbidden and punishable by heavy fines.
The South Highlands
Almost all the mountains south of the glaciers are tuff mountains. They were formed during the Ice Age, as well as the area north of Vatnajokull. Volcanic activity is confined to tuff areas of the country and in the southern Highlands are some of its most active and famous volcanoes, Hekla, Eyjafjallajökull and Katla in Mýrdalsjökull, Iceland’s fourth largest glacier.
- Learn more about Volcanoes in Iceland
Northeast, Central-North and Northwest Highlands
The northwest and central-north Highlands consist of ancient basalt formations and it is the same for the mountains of the Eastfjords.
There are a few oases in the highlands that have unique vegetation and wildlife. The most important of these are Þjórsárver, Nýidalur/Jökuldalur, Herðubreiðarlindir and Eyjabakkar. The pink-footed goose has its main nesting places at Þjórsárver and Eyjabakkar. Þjórsárver was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. Reindeers reside in the east Highlands.
- See here for all Highland tours
Alftavatn is a deep and decorative lake on the Laugavegur hiking trail in South-West Iceland.
Alftavatn is a place of great serenity and beautiful landscape and is one of the stops on the trail. There are huts there built by the Icelandic Touring Association, that accommodate 72 people. They are equipped with gas stoves, utensils and cold running water.
Reykjadalur ('Steam Valley') is a highly scenic valley innermost of Hveragerdi town. As the name of the valley implies, this is a geothermal area.
The hot water stream gushing down the mountain range is ideal for relaxing and the valley offers a rich variety of hot pools and geothermal springs. It is also possible to have a dip in the river.
It's a great hiking route and to get there drive to Hveragerði, in South Iceland. You will reach its starting point just 40 minutes from Reykjavík.
When you reach Hveragerði, drive straight through the town to reach a gravel road that leads to Reykjadalur.
The people of Hveragerði are also known for being exceptionally polite, so you can ask for anything you need while there.
When you reach the end of the gravel road you will hike for about 50-70 minutes to reach the first spots warm enough for dipping in. The further up you go the warmer it becomes. If you don't have a car you can join this hot spring tour. You can also combine it with a horse riding tour.
Blahnjukur (a.k.a. Blahnukur) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar, in the south highlands of Iceland.
Blahnjukur's name ('Blue Peak') comes from its blue-black colour, due to lava flows and volcanic ash. Next to Blahnjukur is the volcano Brennisteinsalda.
Blahnukur is popular for hiking and offers a magnificent view from the top, wherefrom five glaciers may be sighted.
Brennisteinsalda (ca. 855 m) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar National Park, in the south highlands of Iceland.
Brennisteinsalda is a highly colourful mountain, coloured by suplhur (wherefrom it gets is name, 'Sulphur Wave'), blue and black lava and ashes, green mosses and red iron. In front of the mountain is an obsidian lava field.
The popular Laugavegur hiking trail passes Brennisteinsalda and nearby is the Blahnukur volcano.
Starting time : 06:50
Guide during the trek, food for 4 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 4)
Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts
Bus from Reykjavík to Álftavatn and from Landmannalaugar to Reykjavík
Transfer of luggage
Sleeping bag (can be added for 6850 ISK)
What to bring:
Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support.
Thermal underwear, light fleece/wool layers
Soft-shell trousers or similar
Waterproof jacket and trousers
Gloves, hats, warm socks
A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts.
Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day.
Sturdy shoes for crossing rivers (sandals or old trainers, not flip-flops)
Light Sleeping bag
Sunglasses & sun protection.
Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L.
Personal first aid kit
Walking pole, camera, dry bag (optional)
Good to know:
You may add a pick-up from your hotel to the BSI Bus Terminal for an additional 5000 ISK. Be sure to specify when booking.
Day 1 - Reykjavík to Álftavatn
Day one begins at BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavík where you will meet the rest of your group. It is possible to arrange a lift to this location if that is more convenient. Once everyone is together, you will take a bus to Áltavatn, otherwise known as 'Swan Lake', in the Highlands.
You will spend your day here, enjoying the natural scenery and wealth of birdlife. On the shores of a lake is a mountain hut where you will be spending your evening.
If you have taken the second 'Volcano trail' and are combining the two tours, then please refer to the fourth day of the itinerary of that tour for your plan.
Day 2 - Álftavatn to Dalakofinn
On day two, you hike away from Áltavatn, to the grassy, rolling hills of Ljósártungur. The path takes you through a beautiful geothermal area, with hot springs and steaming vents nestled in little gullies. Rivers and streams criss-cross through this area, and you will be required to cross several of them.
Peaks will surround you, but the horizon will be dominated by the table-top mountain Laufafell. You will walk alongside it until you reach the river Markarfljót. After crossing it, you will arrive at a hut called Dalakofinn, where you will spend your evening.
Day 3 - Dalakofinn to Landmannalaugar
You will leave Dalakofinn in the morning, and head down the geothermal Reykjadalur valley. Your hike will take you adjacent to the Hrafntinnuhraun lava field, known for its coarse stretches of obsidian.
You will then enter Dalamót, another geothermal area, before descending into the Vondugil canyons. This part of your hike will be in the shadow of two peaks, Suðurnámur and Brennisteinsalda. You will then cross the Laugahraun lava field, and find yourself in the renowned highland region of Landmannalaugar.
Once you reach your hut, you can have a well-deserved rest, either in bed or in a nearby natural hot spring.
Day 4 - Landmannalaugar to Reykjavík
Your fourth and final day will be spent mainly in Landmannalaugar, and you will have the freedom to decide what to do with it.
If you still have energy left to hike, treks up the mountains Bláhnúkur and Brennisteinsalda will reward you with some incredible views. Otherwise, you can return to the hot spring, and bask in its healing waters until the early afternoon.
At this time, your bus will arrive, and you will return to Reykjavík. Your estimated time of return is around 19:30.