Information about Fjallabak

Landmannalaugar are in the midst of Fjallabak Nature Reserve

Fjallabak may refer to Fjallabak Nature Reserve, or two highland routes, South Fjallabaksleid or the North Fjallbaksleid. The name 'Fjallabak' literally translates to 'The Back of the Mountains', or 'Mountain Back'.

See Also: Central Highlands Tours 

Fjallabak Nature Reserve

Fjallabak Nature Reserve ("Friðland að Fjallabaki") is an area in the Icelandic Highlands surrounding the popular hiking destination of Landmannalaugar, protected since 1979. The entire area is more than 500 metres above sea level and characterised by colourful mountains, geothermal valleys and volcanic activity.  The colour is due to the rhyolite and obsidian making the ground appear green, blue, pink, red and yellow. Lava fields, rivers and lakes also make their mark on this Nature Reserve.

A popular natural hot spring is located at Landmannalaugar camping ground, where visitors will frequently bathe. A mountain hut is also found in the area, perfect for guests to book overnight stays, use the kitchen and the bathroom facilities. All amenities are basic and very rustic and there are no food or grocery shops available in the area. 

The area is most popular with hikers; to reach it a 4WD car is needed as some rivers need to be crossed. Fjallabak Nature Reserve is also only accessible during summertime, as it is covered with thick ice and snow in wintertime.

Iceland's most popular hiking route, Laugavegurinn, leads from Landmannalaugar within Fjallabak Nature Reserve to Þórsmörk. The route is 55km and hikers normally take 3-4 days to hike it. 

South Fjallabaksleid

The South Fjallabaksleið ('Fjallabaksleið syðri') is an old highland route north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, connecting Rangárvellir (the eastern part of the South Iceland lowlands) to Skaftártunga (the area northwest of Mýrdalsjökull).

The area is very dry, sporting scant vegetation as it is situated between mountains that have a strong volcanic activity.  The mountains have left endless amounts of ash, sand and lava in the area which is now covered in moss, creating a truly unique regional look. 

From the west, South Fjallabaksleið starts from Keldur, in Rangárvellir, then goes eastwards to Laufafell, across Markarfljót river to Álftavatn lake (there are huts at Álftavatn owned by the Icelandic Touring Association). It continues onwards to Mælifellssandur before ending at Skaftártunga. Dating back to Medieval times, this was the main route for farmers as they led their sheep to be sold in the town of Eyrarbakki, on the South Coast. 

North Fjallabaksleid

In more recent times, another track, North Fjallabaksleið ('Fjallabaksleið nyrðri'), has been laid, connecting the two aforementioned areas. This track lies further north across the South Iceland highlands, starting on the west side of Galtalækur in Rangárvellir, leading on the north of Hekla, through Landmannalaugar and Jökuldalir and towards Svartinúpur in Skaftártunga in the East. This north track was originally named Landmannaleið by the local farmers who used it.

Services near Fjallabak

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Attractions nearby Fjallabak


  Domadalur is a valley east of Kringla (Landmannahellir cave) in the south of the Icelandic highlands. The valley has a little shallow lake a...



Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Pietro Landmannaleið, or the F225, is a highland road that leads to the Fjallabak Nature Reserve and t...



Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Gestumblindi. Frostastaðavatn is a highland lake renowned for its vivid blue and green colouration ...



  Ljotipollur is a explosion crater lake in the south highlands, situated in the southernmost crater in the Veidivotn fissure system. Strangely...



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  Brennisteinsalda (ca. 855 m) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar National Park, in the south highlands of Iceland. Brennisteinsalda ...



  Blahnjukur (a.k.a. Blahnukur) is a volcano in the area of Landmannalaugar, in the south highlands of Iceland.  Blahnjukur's name (&#...



Torfajökull is the name of both a stratovolcano and a complex of subglacial volcanoes, north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier in South Icelan...



Strutslaug (also known as Holmsarbotnalaug) is a geothermal pool in the South Highlands, north of Myrdalsjokull glacier and close to Torfajokull glaci...



Veiðivötn is an area of over 50 small fishing lakes, situated north-east of Friðland að Fjallabaki and Landmannalaugar. The ov...



  Krakatindur is a 858 m volcano in Rangarvallasysla in South Iceland. The volcano is located in the Nyjahraun lava field and belongs to ...



Stórasúla is a distinctive, cone-shaped mountain found in the southern highlands of Iceland. The mountain has an elevation of 693 m (2...



Credit: Wikimedia, Creative Commons. Photo by Kkaefer. Faxi is a wide, serene waterfall in South Iceland. It can be found in the Tungufljót Ri...



Wikimedia, Creative Commons, photo by Reykholt The Blue Mountains, otherwise known as Bláfjöll, are a beautiful mountain range in the sou...



  Eldgja is the largest volcanic canyon in the world, 270m deep, 600m at its widest and around 40 km long.  The canyon lies paralel with t...



Hekla, nicknamed ‘the Gateway to Hell’ in the Middle Ages, is one of Iceland’s most explosive, unpredictable and powerful volcanoes....


Laugavegur hiking trail

The Laugavegur is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. The scenery is breathtaking in its beauty and extremely varied, displaying example...



  Holaskogur is an deforested area (despite the name, 'skogur'='forrest') in Gjupverjaafrettur in the mid highlands of Iceland.&...



Háifoss ('High Waterfall') is a waterfall in Fossárdalur valley, innermost of Þjórsárdalur valley in south I...



Uxatindar is a mountain peak in the southern highlands which stands 642 metres above sea level. It is green with moss throughout summer and is ...


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