Landmannalaugar Tour: Iceland’s Multicolored Terrain

Landmannalaugar Tour

Take an unforgettable trip to Landmannalaugar in the company of Amazing Tours. On this private super jeep tour, you’ll head up into Iceland’s incredible highland region and explore some of the most jaw-dropping places in the country. Tours operate year-round, so no matter when you’re planning to come, this is one trip you won’t want to miss.

What is there to see and do in Landmannalaugar?

Landmannalaugar sits on the edge of the Laugahraun lava field, the result of a significant 15th-century eruption in the Icelandic highlands. It forms part of the spectacular Fjallabak Nature Reserve. This is absolutely a place that demands attention: Landmannalaugar is one of the most colorful landscapes in the country, a place where rhyolite mountains bear streaks of yellow, red, blue, green, and black, thanks to their volcanic origins and varied mineral content. 

In the old days, people used to cross the barren Laugahraun lava field on foot or on horseback. Some would have been herding sheep; Landmannalaugar was one of the places they’d congregate and meet other farmers. There, they’d rest and recuperate at the place they called the People’s Pools. The area’s natural hot springs were just the thing after a hard day: warm and inviting. Today, this geothermal area is popular with visitors, who tread some of those same paths and ease themselves into the steaming baths after a hike. No matter when you come, the temperature remains at a delicious 36 to 40°C.

Hiking trails snake up the hillsides to viewpoints overlooking this magnificent terrain – the panoramas that open up after even modest elevation gains are well worth the effort. For instance, visitors to Landmannalaugar might hike up to Brennisteinsalda, referred to as the “sulfur wave” and one of the most colorful mountains in the area. Bláhnjúkur, whose name translates as the “blue peak,” is an easy hike, and you’ll be rewarded with an extraordinary view as you gaze out over five different glaciers.

On a sunny day, with blue skies overhead and wisps of steam dissipating on the breeze, Landmannalaugar’s unrivaled beauty puts it on many a traveler’s Icelandic wish list. But it’s not all about the hiking. Horse riding can be arranged during the summer months, with multi-day rides taking in this and surrounding areas. People come here to fish for Arctic char and trout. In winter, cross-country skiing has its fans.

On Amazing Tours’ Landmannalaugar excursion, you’ll be able to cover more ground in a single day than you would if you relied on the area’s very limited public transport. Pretty Þjórsádalur Valley, with its birch trees and breathtaking rock formations, is the first stop, followed by Hjálparfoss, a delightful waterfall that empties into a plunge pool lined with basalt columns. 

Approaching Landmannalaugar, you’ll pay a visit to Ljótipollur, a fabulous volcanic explosion crater whose name, bizarrely, means “ugly puddle.” You’ll quickly agree that’s definitely one thing it’s not as you lay eyes on a dazzling lake surrounded by striking red walls. But Landmannalaugar beckons; next, you’ll have the opportunity to admire its breathtaking scenery as well as soak in one of the area’s famous geothermal hot springs. 

It takes something pretty special to be the closing act on a day like this, and it’s Mount Hekla. This volcano, one of Iceland’s most active, is the last stop. Your all-terrain super jeep will make light work of the ascent to 950 meters from where you’ll be treated to the most amazing view. 

Is Landmannalaugar worth visiting?

If you have at least a day spare in your Iceland itinerary, then yes, Landmannalaugar is worth visiting. While many travelers focus on the Reykjavik area, Golden Circle, and the South Coast, these areas are, as a consequence, busy with other tourists. There’s a lot to be said for heading off the beaten track. Though Landmannalaugar in summer won’t feel like you’ve ventured into the wilderness, the place is definitely much quieter than other more accessible regions. Off-season, it will feel very special indeed.

How much time do you need in Landmannalaugar?

How much time have you got? Landmannalaugar is like many places in Iceland – the longer you can spend there, the better your experience will be. You can camp up here or stay in the mountain hut. But if you prefer not to stay overnight, you can easily get a feel for the place and its surroundings in a single day. That’s particularly the case if you aren’t hanging around waiting for shared transport and if you time your visit for summer when there’s more daylight to play with. Amazing Tours’ Landmannalaugar excursion lasts 11 hours, which is certainly long enough for you to feel like you’ve done justice to its highlights. 

Is it hard to get to Landmannalaugar?

Getting to Landmannalaugar can be as easy – or hard – as you’d like to make it. The most challenging option is to walk there from Þórsmork, a strenuous four-day hike that leads through some of the wildest and most beautiful scenery in the country. If that sounds too much like hard work, there’s a daily bus from Reykjavik; it’s a relatively cheap option, though there’s not much wiggle room in the schedule: it only departs early in the morning and returns mid-afternoon.

A rental car will give you more flexibility and the option to set your own pace. Travelers often ask if they need a 4×4 to get to Landmannalaugar, and yes, you do. Though there are numerous routes to Landmannalaugar, they all involve F-roads. Rough, graveled, and potholed, these roads require a lot of concentration and aren’t suitable for inexperienced drivers. You’ll need to be confident behind the wheel, not least because you’ll have to ford rivers along the way.

Finally, as you can appreciate, a self-drive trip to Landmannalaugar isn’t a year-round option. Those F-roads are only open from mid-June to mid-September. Weather can cause issues even within summer, especially heavy rain that might lead to higher than average water levels. You’re going to need to stay abreast of weather reports and current road conditions. And you’ll need a full tank of gas if you don’t want to experience range anxiety. 

In contrast, because it uses super jeeps, Amazing Tours’ Landmannalaugar day trip is able to depart from Reykjavik throughout the year, which makes it a convenient and easy option for travelers based in the capital region. You can also add it to the beginning or end of a road trip, as you’re likely to return to Reykjavik before heading to the airport. If you’ve never ridden in an Icelandic super jeep, that’s another reason to book, but however you look at it, Landmannalaugar’s one place that you won’t want to miss.