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Landmannalaugar Travel Guide

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Hot Springs, Lava Fields, Geysers, Mountains, Valleys, Rivers, Caves, Bird Sights, Nature Reserves, Geothermal areas, Rock formations
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Landmannalaugar is a spectacular wilderness in Iceland.

Landmannalaugar, or the "People's Pools," is a vast area of stunning and unique beauty in the heart of Iceland's southern Highlands. Throughout the summer, it is one of the most popular places for hiking – either over one day or several – and for natural hot spring bathing.

Landmannalaugar is a stunning region in Iceland's highlands, renowned for its vibrant, multi-colored rhyolite mountains and geothermal hot springs. It offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, bathing in natural hot springs, and exploring lava fields and obsidian caves. The area is a paradise for trekkers, with popular trails such as the Laugavegur trail leading to Thorsmork.

You can drive to Landmannalaugar during summer, but that requires you to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle. If you'd rather not drive, you can explore tours of the Highlands of Iceland or visit it on packages such as this 10-Day Vacation.

Geology of Landmannalaugar

There are so many stunning landscapes in Landmannalaugar in Iceland

Landmannalaugar is a truly rare area, both geologically and aesthetically. The dramatic region can be found nestled beside the raven-black Laugahraun lava field, a sweeping expanse of dried magma that originally formed in an eruption in 1477.

Landmannalaugar itself is made up of windswept rhyolite mountains, a rock type that creates a full spectrum of dazzling colors. Shades of red, pink, green, blue, and golden yellow make for an ethereal location. Landmannalaugar was historically best known for its natural geothermal baths, hence its name translating to "the People's Pools." For centuries, it served as an area of shelter and respite for weary travelers who use these soothing springs as a means to relax after tiring excursions.

Landmannalaugar is known for its geothermal activity

Originally, those attending were settlers crossing the barren highlands, but today, they are tourists after an exciting trip.

Visitors to the Highlands should always bring a swimsuit and towel, just in case one of these naturally occurring hot pools should crop up along the hiking trail.

The most popular road leading to Landmannalaugar, Sigölduleið, has such springs and takes you past multiple stunning natural features, including Bláhylur lake, a magnificent body of water nestled in a dormant volcanic crater.

Driving to Landmannalaugar with a Rental Car

You'll need a good four wheel drive car to reach LandmannalaugarLandmannalaugar can be reached by car in two ways. The quickest is driving through Southwest Iceland, either via Selfoss or Thingvellir National Park. A longer but more scenic route would take you along the South Coast of Iceland. This is Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, aside from the Golden Circle, due to its wealth of sites.

Of course, like many of Iceland’s destinations, Landmannalaugar can also be reached with helicopter tours, for those who are traveling with less of a concern for budget. Those on more of a shoestring can buy a bus pass that will take them to the region.

Book Ahead of Time to Visit Landmannalaugar

Remember to reserve a spot when driving to LandmannalaugarTo help protect the environment at Landmannalaugar, a small service fee has been implemented for those visiting the area between June 20th and September 15th each year. This only applies to those driving a car or a motorcycle, not if you're arriving on foot or by bike.

If you're driving to Landmannalaugar on any day between those dates and arriving between 8 AM and 3 PM, it's important to reserve your visit ahead of time. If you're arriving outside these hours, you're free to park without reserving a space.

You can do so on the Environmental Agency of Iceland's website. They also have more detailed information about the reservation process.

Hiking in Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar are a beautiful place for hiking in IcelandLandmannalaugar marks the northern end of Laugavegur, one of Iceland's most popular hiking trails. This route connects Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork, the "Valley of Thor," ending at the beautiful Skogafoss waterfall.

It is also home to many other notable trails, however, including the path onto the mighty Mt. Brennisteinsalda, the "Sulphur Wave" crater. Visitors can also traverse the trail up the Blahnjukur volcano, the "Blue Peak," whose summit allows for a sweeping view of up to five glaciers on clear days.

Multiple operators run daily tours to Landmannalaugar from mid-June to mid-September, during which time the Icelandic Touring Association operates a small shop, three campsites, and a mountain hut equipped with sleeping bags and accommodation for up to 80 visitors.

It is only recommended you take a multi-day hike with an operator. 

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