Unforgettable self-guided day trip to Landmannalaugar

Many hikers go to Landmannalaugar to start the more than 50 kilometres long multi-day Laugavegur hiking trail between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. It is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. National Geographic listed it as one of the most beautiful trails in the world. If you are an avid hiker, you are welcome to do that. If you are not ready to spend several days on this not so easy trek, you can still have an idea of what this area looks like taking a day trip, including about 6.5 kilometres hike and soaking in a natural hot pool.

Why visit Landmannalaugar

The reason I wanted to visit Iceland for the third time was my love of colourful mountains. Since I visited the Rainbow Mountains in China, I fell in love with them. I try to look for more of this kind of Mother Nature creations. Still, there is such a thing as Photoshop invented and because of that, you should be careful when distinguishing the subtle differences between Photoshopped and the real world. Better yet, you have to visit a place yourself to find out how it looks in reality. In my understanding, Landmannalaugar is such a place.
The Landmannalaugar area sits next to a dark-black Laugahraun lava field. The highland mountains at Landmannalaugar are made of volcanic rock rhyolite. These mountains have more than 5 different colours, including red, blue, pink, green, and yellow. Landmannalaugar’s warm geothermal pools are heated by hot lava beneath the Earth’s surface.

When to go and how to get there

First of all, Landmannalaugar is accessible to travellers from June through late September, when the road to Landmannalaugar is closed for winter. There are several so-called F roads connecting Landmannlaugar to the other places in Iceland. Letter F after the road number means that the road is accessible only in the summertime, and you can drive on it only on a 4×4 vehicle or use services of special mountain buses.

What to wear and what to bring

The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, and I would not call summers in Iceland warm, maybe except for a few days. So be prepared for day temperatures around plus 10 degrees Celsius, sometimes with wind and rain. So a warm waterproof jacket, hat, gloves and good walking shoes are a must. Pictured me in Lindmannalaugar in the middle of July.And do not forget a swimming suit and a small towel. As local shopping is limited and not cheap, I advise you to bring your day food supply with you. You will also need a water bottle. Water is available locally.

Planning your day

As I spent a night at Rjupnavellir Cottages, a bit more than 50 kilometres away from Landmannlaugar, I boarded my mountain bus next to my accommodation at 9:15 a.m. If you start from Reykjavik Bus Terminal, your trip will begin at 7:00 a.m. Bus travel provided by Reykjavik Excursions was a real experience itself, going on the rugged road and enjoying mountain scenery on the way. Arrival at Landmannlaugar was at 11:15 a.m. Return trip from Landmannalaugar departs at 3:45 p.m., so you have 4.5 hours at your disposal to spend wisely. Please check the bus timetable before planning your trip. To keep it safe, in other words, not to miss a bus from Landmannalaugar, I checked what Alltrails website offers and based on this information, I was thinking of doing the 6.6 kilometres long Bláhnjúkur (Bláhnúkur) Mountain trail. When I arrived at Landmannlaugar, I was lucky to meet a ranger who would give me valuable advice. I asked him where this trail is, and he showed me quite an impressive mountain. My second question was what the day visitors usually do there, and he advised me about the Landmannalaugar short loop trail. I must say I was not disappointed.

Landmannalaugar short loop trail

It is a stunning trail showing all the diversity of Landmannalaugar nature. The path leads through lava fields and past fumaroles as well as along fantastically colourful mountains. Tiny flowers blooming next to the trail adds a special feel to it. Part of the trail follows the beginning of the famous Laugavegur trail. The original path length is 5 kilometres, but I extended it by another 1.5 kilometres as I was trying to get closer to colourful mountains, which was worth doing. With photo stops and a lunch stop, it took me almost 3 hours.

Landmannalaugar natural geothermal pool

After returning to the starting point, I used the opportunity to soak in a natural geothermal pool made by a hot river flowing into the cold pool water. Landmannalaugar means People’s Pool in English. It was historically used as a remote geothermal retreat. During periods of travel, settlers visited the Landmannalaugar baths to pause and recharge before continuing their long journey. Now, the area’s long tradition lives on through trekkers who relax at the pools after a day’s hike. Be aware that there are no changing rooms at the pool.

Yes, I made it all and returned to the bus stop on time to make my return trip. It was an incredible day, and I even had some sunshine in the final part of my tour.

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What did you think? Have you visited Landmanalaugar and Iceland? I’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.

  • Posted by Anita on August 06, 2021

    Author: Anita Sāne