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Landmannalaugar Hikes: Experience Iceland's Highland Wonders

Landmannalaugar is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. With its vibrant rhyolite mountains, sprawling lava fields, and inviting hot springs, this region offers some of the most unique and breathtaking landscapes in the world.

Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a casual walker, Landmannalaugar has a trail that will captivate your senses and challenge your abilities. Here's your comprehensive guide to the best hikes in Landmannalaugar, ensuring an unforgettable adventure.

Landmannalaugar hike

Essential Hikes in Landmannalaugar

1. Laugahraun Loop

  • Distance: 4.3 kilometers (2.6 miles)

  • Duration: Approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Highlights: This short, circular trail offers a wonderful introduction to the stunning landscapes of Landmannalaugar. Starting from the tourist center, the hike traverses the Laugahraun lava field with its intricate formations and leads you past multi-colored mountains and through a small canyon.


2. Brennisteinsalda ‘Sulphur Wave’

  • Distance: 6.6 kilometers (4.1 miles)

  • Duration: About 3 hours

  • Difficulty: Easy to medium

  • Highlights: Known as the 'Sulphur Wave,' this hike presents a kaleidoscope of colors with yellow and red slopes dotted with blue ash. The trail offers close-up views of steaming vents and a panoramic vista of the surrounding area from the top of Mount Brennisteinsalda.


3. Bláhnjúkur Mountain (Blue Peak)

  • Distance: 5.8 kilometers (3.6 miles)

  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Highlights: This challenging ascent involves steep climbs and narrow paths but rewards hikers with majestic views from the summit. Overlooking red-green mountains, black lava fields, and multiple glaciers, it's a must-do for those who enjoy a good climb.

Bláhnjúkur, landmannalaugar

4. Ljótipollur Crater (Ugly Puddle)

  • Distance: 7.2 kilometers (4.4 miles)

  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Highlights: Contrary to its name, Ljótipollur is stunningly beautiful. This easy walk around a lake-filled volcanic crater provides serene views and a tranquil hiking experience.


5. Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork

  • Distance: Approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles)

  • Duration: Typically 4-5 days

  • Difficulty: Challenging

  • Highlights: The Laugavegur Trail is celebrated as Iceland's most scenic and famous trek, connecting the vibrant landscapes of Landmannalaugar to the lush Thorsmork valley. This trek offers a blend of colorful rhyolite mountains, stark volcanic terrain, and verdant valleys, making it a top choice for trekkers worldwide.

The whole trail takes around 4- 5 days so you need to divide its whole length. Most of the people divide it into 4 days:

1. Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker

  • Distance: 12 kilometers

  • Elevation Gain: Moderate to challenging, with steep ascents

  • Highlights: The first leg of the journey takes you through geothermal hot springs and pastel-colored hills. The terrain here can be rough, with snow patches lingering into the summer.

  • Accommodation: Overnight in mountain huts at Hrafntinnusker; reservations required.

2. Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn

  • Distance: 14 kilometers

  • Elevation Change: Descending from the rhyolite mountains into black sand deserts

  • Highlights: Spectacular views over volcanic landscapes and the chance to traverse expansive lava fields. The descent brings you to the serene Alftavatn lake, a perfect backdrop for an evening rest.

  • Accommodation: Stay by the lake at Alftavatn huts.

3. Alftavatn to Emstrur

  • Distance: 16 kilometers

  • Elevation Change: Variable, with river crossings and green valleys

  • Highlights: This section is known for its diverse landscapes, from green valleys to sandy deserts. Crossing several rivers adds an element of adventure to the trek.

  • Accommodation: Emstrur huts provide shelter before the final leg of the journey.

4. Emstrur to Thorsmork

  • Distance: 16 kilometers

  • Elevation Change: Gradually descending into the lush Thorsmork valley

  • Highlights: The trek concludes with breathtaking views of Thorsmork, known for its dense birch forests and surrounding glaciers. The valley is a trekker's paradise, offering multiple trails and stunning vistas.

  • Accommodation: Various options in Thorsmork ranging from campgrounds to comfortable huts.

Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork

Best Time to Hike in Landmannalaugar

The hiking season in Landmannalaugar typically runs from late June to mid-September. During this period, the mountain roads are accessible, and the weather is most favorable for hiking. However, conditions can vary, so it's essential to check the weather forecast and trail conditions before setting out.

Getting There and Practical Tips

  • Transportation: Landmannalaugar can be accessed by bus or super-jeep tours from Reykjavík. Adventurous travelers may prefer to drive themselves over the highland roads.

  • Accommodation: There are camping facilities available at Landmannalaugar with basic amenities. For a more comfortable stay, consider booking accommodations in nearby towns.

  • Packing Essentials: Waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and warm layers are essential. Also, carry a detailed map, plenty of water, and snacks.

  • Safety: Always check the weather conditions and prepare adequately. Inform someone of your hiking plan and expected return time.

Landmannalaugar trails for beginners

If you are not very experienced hiker but you would really like to see the beauty of this region, we have something for you. There are private tours with a Super Jeep which will get you to the most beautiful places on the trails. The good news is that those are even organised during the winter months so you could admire the winter wonderland in Landmannalaugar with the snow covering the mountains.

There are usually few stops on the route so you have time to observe the landscapes and take a photo. You should not forget your swimming suit as the tours usually end in the natural hot spring in Landmannalaugar.

Landmannalaugar trails for beginners

There are also tours with no guide which offer transport from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar. This is a perfect option for those who are not planning to rent a 4x4 vehicle for their trip or are simply afraid of driving F-roads and those who are not willing to do the whole Laugavegur trail.

The bus has few stops on the way to Landmannalaugar, so this is also convenient for those who are already outside Reykjavík. It usually gets to the destination early in the morning and leaves in the afternoon, which gives you plenty of time to do some trekking, small walks around the mountains, have lunch in the mountain hut and a swim in a hot spring.

Those tours are also much cheaper than the Super Jeep VIP tours, so this is also great news for those who still wish to save a bit of money on their trip.

Enjoying the Natural Beauty

After a day of hiking, take the time to soak in the natural geothermal pools found in the area. These hot springs are not only relaxing, but also offer a stunning view of the surroundings, making them the perfect end to an active day.

Landmannalaugar is a place where you can be calm and completely reset. Being there it seems like there is only you and nature and this is the best way to relax. All the other problems just dissapear. It is a magical place. There are many compliments you could say about the rainbow mountains, but its beauty can defend itself. You will understand better when you see it on your own and visit Landmannalaugar at least once in your lifetime.


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