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The Geothermal Pools of Landmannalaugar

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Landmannalaugar is undoubtedly the most beautiful and colorful place in Iceland. It is located in the Highlands of Iceland and is a part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Because of the magnificent scenery and the amazing diversity of unspoiled wild nature, the rhyolite mountains became one of the most famous place to visit. Landmannalaugar is an uninhabited area, however, there are around 150 differenct flower species, mosses and other plants found here.

A female haveing a swim in a hot spring in Landmannalaugar on a sunny day, with a agnificent view over the mountains

While hiking in Landmannalaugar you should stay on the designated paths because it is easy to get lost among the colorful mountains. It is also easy to damage the delicate vegetation. The most popular hiking trails are located in Landmannalaugar and they are of various difficulties and lead to the well known summits like Blahnukur volcano (940 m a.s.l.), Brennisteinsalda (855 m a.s.l.), Haalda (1089 m a.s.l.).

There is one route which shows the full range of all landscapes of Iceland which is the route leading to Thorsmork. It takes 4-5 days to make it and it is quite an extreme trail requiring special preparation.

Near the campsite and the mountain hut there is a natural geothermal pool which is on the bucket list of all visitors to Landmannlaugar. What can be better than a dip in warm water after a long day of trekking?

Iceland geothermal energy

Thanks to the unique location of Iceland on the Mid-Oceanic Ridge, here we deal with increased volcanic activity. Icelanders can benefit from rich geothermal energy resources. Numerous geothermal pools all around the island confirm this. It is used for heating and for the production of electricity. The costs of obtaining this energy is so cheap that it is even used for heating in Reykjavik or Akureyri.

The cost of heating in Reykjavik which mainly comes from the geothermal energy, represents only 1/3 of the price of heating. Thanks to this, home heating in Iceland is cheaper than in other Nordic countries.

Landmannalaugar geothermal pool

It is although not the only way the geothermal energy is used in Iceland. Under the surface of the earth there are many underground rivers and lakes. Looks like this small cold rainy island has a consolation prize, which are the hot springs.

So how did Icelanders discover the magical power of hot springs?

In the Middle Ages Icelanders did not even know how to swim. It was because cold glacial rivers and lakes did not really encourage swimming. The inspiration was a ditch with water flowing from a hot spring near Reykjavik. They had a drill in the capital to search for gold. Boreholes were made and geothermal water started to flow.

The national energy office offered loans to the villages, encouraging geothermal drilling. Now there is over 120 geothermal pools in Iceland. There are even online maps where you can check the location.

There is an impressive number of natural pools as well. One of them is located in the Landmannalaugar National Park and it is amazing. It is located in the Highlands of Iceland. To get there you will need to drive on F-roads which are only open during summer months and require a 4x4 car or a Super Jeep if you decide to go there in winter. Yes, this is correct, you will be able to hire a winter tour to Landmannalaugar.

There are also day tours offered in summer months where you are assured a transport back and forth and you have some free time to spend in Landmannalaugar. There is nothing better then a hot dip in one of the most beautiful natural pools after a long walk on the trails.

You can easily spend many hours there. But be careful though not to stay too long in the hot water and cover yourself with a towel quickly when you get out. Especially when the weather is not really favorable one. You would not want to get sick and suffer the rest of your trip, there is still much to see in Iceland.

Natural hot spring of Landmannalaugar in early spring with the cloudy, dark sky

There is a shelter there and many hiking trails that you can enjoy after you finally get relaxed in the hot water of the natural pool. You will find a colourful mountain called Brennisteinsalda there. It is actually a volcano and due to its sulfur color, sometimes it is called the Sulfur Wave. At the foot of the  mountain there is an obsidian lava field. The water in the sourse is the warmest when it flows out.

The entrance is free of charge and it is quite big so do not worry that there will be no enough space there for all the tourists. You can also use the WC and showers which are located nearby in the shelter. For those who do not stay there for the night, the cost to use them is 500 ISK.

A steam floating over the natural hot spring of Landmannalaugar in early winter

Thermal waters come from deeper layers of the earth and by definition must have a temperature of at least 20 ºC. They often contain minerals that favourably affect our body. Thermal baths are a source of not only positive energy but also health benefits. Hot water from hot springs has beneficial effect for the skin and helps in relaxation.

It affects favourably the circulation, stabilizes blood pressure, soothes aching bones and regulates metabolism. No wonder Icelanders are such positive people since they can enjoy the healing power of the hot springs on a daily basis. That is why when you already have the chance to have a swim in one, make sure you do it. Recharge your batteries well, this occasion might not repeat that quickly.


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