I want you to imagine a land full of painted mountains, lava fields, and geothermal steam vents. If you’re picturing The Land Before Time, you’re not far off, but this is Landmannalaugar, your friends.
Today, I am so excited to bring you part two of my three-part Highland planning series, where I’m talking all about how to plan a trip to Landmannalaugar.
How to get to Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar is located in the Central Highlands of Iceland, and this means the interior part of the country, aka the most difficult places to get to. First option is you could drive yourself. There are three main roads that could take you into Landmannalaugar, depending on which direction you’re coming from: F208 coming from the north, F225, or F208 coming from the south. If you’re planning on driving yourself, you will absolutely, without question, need to get a 4wd vehicle. Because these roads are the F roads, a four-wheel drive is non-negotiable. Another thing to keep in mind is that these roads that go into Landmannalaugar are crazy. They’re very bumpy, they’re not paved, they’re full of potholes, you have to cross some rivers, and you can expect that commute to take between two to three hours.
Another way to get into Landmannalaugar is to take a bus or excursion. So, you could hire a company like Reykjavik Excursions or Trex and they can take you into Landmannalaugar. It is possible to do this as a day trip. These tours leave out of Reykjavik, it is about a three-hour commute into this area, but it is possible to do it in a day trip. So, if you want to get dropped off, do some hiking and then head out on a bus to get out, it’s possible. Or if you prefer to stay overnight, then you want to know, just arrange your accommodation or bring your tent. Then, you could stay overnight and do plenty of hiking and then take a bus out whenever you’re ready.
Another way that you could get into Landmannalaugar is by hiking from Thorsmork. So, for those of you that are extreme and well-prepared and aware of this trail called Laugavegurinn, it is a 55-km trail that hikes from Thorsmork into Landmannalaugar. We’ll be talking about this trek in a way different video, but I just thought I’d mention it.
What to do
First, obviously, hiking. That is basically what most people are doing when they want to go to Landmannalaugar, and you should! Not only is it incredibly beautiful, but there are a lot of hiking trails. The most common routes are Bláhnjúkur and Mount Brennisteinsalda. There’s also a route through a lava field. Again, it all depends on how much time you have. If you are heading into Landmannalaugar, I’d recommend being dropped off at the main base camp and checking with the local maps to decide how much time you have, what the trek looks like.
Another thing you can do is horseback riding. So, picture yourself on an Icelandic course walking through with some of the most amazing scenery around you. If that doesn’t sound awesome, I don’t know what does. Another thing, if you’re into fishing, then there are lakes around that area. Then, lastly, soak in a hot spring. One of the coolest hot springs in Iceland is located in Landmannalaugar, and trust me, this is the perfect way to end a hard day of hiking!
Accommodation in Landmannalaugar
In terms of accommodation in Landmannalaugar, there are a couple different options. First is to set up at the base camp. Here you will find an indoor eating hall, toilets, maps and then a huge outdoor area that you can set up your tent or your RV. So, this is where you would most likely stay as a traveler. However, those of you that are doing some of the longer hikes or Laugavegurinn, then you will be looking for mountain hut accommodation. I haven’t personally done this, but there are some mountain huts that are located along the trail. You just want to make sure that if this is something that you want to do, you need to book this really far in advance because there’s not a lot of them and they book up early.
Pro-tips for planning your trip
- You can only get to this area in summer. The F roads that lead into this area don’t open until at least mid-June and then they’ll go until the end of August or maybe the middle of September. It all just depends on the snow. Next, if you are planning on driving yourself, I highly suggest checking out my F road video. This is going to teach you everything that you’re going to need to know about driving on those roads, the kind of vehicle that’s required and everything like that. Along with driving yourself is you need to make sure, before you head into Landmannalaugar, that you are completely full on fuel because there aren’t fuel stations around for at least 40 miles. You don’t want to get in there and get stuck.
- Remember that you are heading into the highlands of the country, so it will be colder than the areas around the coast. It’s really important to bring warmer clothes with you and always be prepared from head to toe with rain gear as well.
- At the base camp in Landmannalaugar is it is possible to buy basic essentials and food. There’s an old bus that’s been converted into a cafe/tiny store that has some of your basics and essentials. Of course, it’s going to be more expensive, but it is nice just in case you don’t have everything with you or you.
- Always leave your travel plan with safetravel.is. Again, you guys, you’re going into the highlands, you’re traveling on some of the craziest roads and then on top of that, you could be hiking in the middle of nowhere – you might not see another traveler for a long time. In case something happens to you, then someone knows where you are.
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Thanks so much for hanging out with me today, friends. I’ll see you next week for another Iceland video.
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