A special place in the hearts and minds of the Icelandic people
Landmannalaugar is a part of Fjallabak Nature Reserve and is one of the most beloved outdoor recreational areas in Iceland. It is an active geothermal area in a valley between tall rhyolite mountains displaying amazing colours ranging from pink to green. Landmannalaugar’s famous natural pool nestles under the Laugahraun lava field dating back to 1477. The natural pool attracts hikers and day visitors. Landmannalaugar is a popular tourist attraction and a hub for the famous Laugavegur hike between Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk and Skógar. This otherworldly place in the Icelandic wilderness is only about 4 hours drive from Reykjavik.
What to do in Landmannalaugar
The first and most important thing to do when arriving in Landmannalaugar is to test the water in the geothermal pool. For some hikers coming over the 55 km Laugavegurinn hiking route, it is like the Promised Land. Visitors may also want to try horse riding and perhaps, at some stage, buy a cup of coffee or some other basic needs in the highland shop located in two old American school busses in summer. Finally, there are some great hikes in Landmannalaugar to last visitors a few days.
How to Get There
The highland roads leading into Landmannalaugar usually stay open from mid-June through to the end of August—even the end of September, unless it snows.
In summer, there’s a guided Super Jeep tour Departing daily from the Reykjavík area a. The Super Jeep departs from Reykjavik at 09:00 in the morning. Check the website at http://graveltravel.is/tours/landmannalaugar-2/ Once in Landmannalaugar, it stops for about two hours, before returning to Reykjavik. The round trip takes about 12 hours.
In winter, visitors can join a guided tour in a modified 4×4, generally referred to as a “Super Truck” or “Super Jeep”.
All three roads leading to Landmannalaugar are mountain roads, or F-roads (the F stands for Fjallavegur, which means mountain road).
Landmannalaugar can also be reached by bicycle, on foot or by horse. Biking is an inexpensive option but can be difficult because of the weather and road conditions.
The gravel roads are suitable for good mountain bikes. Hiking trails are suitable for experienced bike riders with excellent quality mountain bikes and sense of duty not to leave tire marks in nature.
Hiking is another favourite way to reach Landmannalaugar. Almost everyone who arrives there on foot comes via the popular Laugavegur hiking trail from Þórsmörk Nature Reserve. The hike usually takes 3-4 days and covers 55 km in the mountains. Competition fit mountain runners cover the distance in 4-5 hours. The annual Laugavegurinn marathon is scheduled for 13th July 2013.
A handful of horse riding companies offer riding trips to Landmannalaugar in summer. It has been possible to join a guided horse riding tour in Landmannalaugar for the last few years.
Where to Stay
Ferðafélag Íslands (Iceland Touring Association), founded in 1927, built the first hut in Landmannalaugar in 1951. The current building is from 1969 but has been enlarged and improved since. The hut is 600 metres above sea level and stands right next to Laugahraun lava field and the popular geothermal spring. The building has two floors. Downstairs there’s a large common room for sleeping, kitchen, entrance and storage. Upstairs there are three common rooms and one private room. The hut sleeps 75 people at a time in bunk-beds, and mattresses. The hut is heated and gas is used for cooking. Basic utensils for cooking are available, such as pots and pans, cutlery etc. If you’re planning to stay there, it is important to book ahead. Please contact Ferðafélag Íslands via their website: www.fi.is.
Near the main hut there’s an ablution block with WC, and shower facilities. There’s also a campsite on a rocky plain which is very popular in summer.
Landmannalaugar has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Icelandic people as generations have enjoyed the area, largely due to the pioneering efforts of Ferðafélag Íslands.