8 Most Scenic Landmannalaugar Hiking Trails

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Iceland is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the world, and the spectacular region of Landmannalaugar is no exception. Marked by rainbow-colored mountains, glistening lakes, and relaxing geothermal hot springs, Landmannalaugar is one of the best destinations in Iceland that everyone should tick off their bucket list.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also appreciate the plethora of Landmannalaugar hikes and trails. From short half-day treks through carved lava fields to extreme multi-day hikes along the mountain ridges and peaks, there’s something for every type of hiker and skill level.

In this article, we’ll cover eight of the best hikes to explore during your trip to the Highlands of Iceland, as well as a few other must-see sights you won’t want to miss!

Where is Landmannalaugar and How to Get There

Landmannalaugar is located in the unspoiled region of the Icelandic Highlands in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. It sits towards the southern part of the country, approximately 3 hours by car from Reykjavik. 

If you’re planning a trip to Landmannalaugar, then you will first need to fly into Reykjavík–Keflavík Airport. From there, you’ll need to rent a car to make the journey east towards the Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

There are three main routes from Reykjavik to the Landmannalaugar hikes. Most people take the north route, which starts on Route 1 from the Golden Circle and goes to F26 and F208. This is the fastest and easiest route (which we recommend for first-time visitors)

Another option is to go on the F225 towards the Hekla Volcano. Although you’ll get to see some beautiful sights, it’s important to keep in mind that the roads here are much rougher than the north route.

The most scenic – and arguably most challenging – route is traveling along the F208 from the south. The drive can be tricky as it’s mostly unpaved roads (also referred to as F-roads) and involves several river crossings. It’s also a few hours longer than taking the easier and much faster north route.

No matter which way you plan on driving, you’ll need a 4×4 vehicle and approval for off-roading from your rental car agency. All routes require some driving on the rugged F-Roads, which means you need a durable car that can handle the drive. Feel free to check out our article on How to Rent a Car in Iceland for help.

If you’d rather leave the driving to a professional, you can always take the bus from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar. The journey is just over four hours. However, buses only operate for a few months during the summer due to the road conditions towards the highlands.

Landmannalaugar Trail Map

8 Best Hikes Around Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is a rural playground for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurous hikers, with numerous trails, hiking paths, and scenic places to explore. Depending on your skill level and interest, there are several different trails that you can hike during your visit.

Most of these trails can easily be made in a day, which is great if you’re limited on time or stopping by Landmannalaugar on your way to another part of the country. However, more experienced hikers might opt for the multi-day Laugavegur Trail to see the best of what the Icelandic Highlands have to offer.

Also check out our complete Iceland hiking guide

1. Laugahraun 

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  • Distance: 2.7 miles (4.3km)
  • Hiking Time: 1.5 – 2 hours roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

As one of the easiest and most popular Landmannalaugar hikes, the Laugahraun trail is ideal for families, inexperienced hikers, or anyone who only has a limited amount of time in the area. The entire trek takes anywhere between 1 to 2 hours and doesn’t take you up any steep cliffs or hills.

Along the way, you’ll cross rugged lava fields and pristine valleys until you approach a scenic viewpoint that looks over the colorful peak of the Brennisteinsalda mountain.

2. Brennisteinsalda

  • Distance: 8.7 km (5.4 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 2 – 3 hours roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

Take a trek along the iconic “Sulfer Wave” trail, a moderate level hike across lava fields, geothermal features, and sulphuric vents. Once you reach the top of the Brennisteinsalda peak, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over Landmannalaugar.

This is an excellent option if you want dramatic landscape views but aren’t up for the challenging steep treks with other Landmannalaugar hikes. The leisurely journey back down is also incredibly beautiful and offers unobstructed views over the rainbow-colored hills.

3. Bláhjúkur

  • Distance: 6.6 km (4.1 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 2.5 – 3 hours roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

A short but challenging Landmannalaugar trail is up to the peak of the 3,005-foot tall Bláhjúkur Mountain. Once you reach the peak, you’ll see why it’s affectionately known as the “Blue Peak.” The blackish blues of the sides of the mountain are truly stunning and worth every step of this steep trek.

Not only is Bláhjúkur itself beautiful, but the view from the peak is equally as picturesque. On a clear day, you can see the colorful hills and rolling volcanic mountains as far as the eye can see.

4. Suðurnámur 

  • Distance: 9.5 km ( 5.9 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 3 – 4.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

With a total elevation gain of over 1,000 feet, the exhilarating Suðurnámur trek boasts some of the best views in all of Landmannalaugar. There are many photogenic viewpoints along the way where you can stop for a break or simply to admire the landscapes.

Halfway through the hike, you’ll reach the peak of Suðurnámur, which sits about 3,000 feet above sea level. Parts of the trail can be steep, although it’s a moderate-level hike that’s relatively less crowded than other parts of Landmannalaugar.

5. Ljótipollur

  • Distance: 16.6 km ( 10.3 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 4 – 6 hours roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting Point:  Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

Although Ljótipollur means “Ugly Puddle” in Icelandic, the sparkling blue waters of this breathtaking lake are anything but unsightly. This lake actually sits in the crater of a volcano that erupted over 500 years ago, making it one of the coolest sights to see during your Landmannalaugar day hike.

This is a moderate-level hike that starts off easy and gradually gets steeper as you approach the top of the crater. It’s also possible to drive up to Ljótipollur, as there’s a parking lot near the peak (although the journey is much more rewarding if you choose to hike!)

6. Skalli

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  • Distance: 16.72 km (10.4 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 6 – 8.5 hours roundtrip
  • Difficulty: Moderate (due to the hiking time and distance)
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

On the Skalli trail, you can explore snow-covered mountain peaks and moss-covered canyons all on one hike! The beginning of the hike takes you down a leisurely path past the Bláhjúkur Mountain before sharply ascending towards the towering Skalli Mountain. The hiking path can be quite unstable at the peak, especially if there’s snow on the ground.

Once you make your descent back towards camp, you’ll walk through the mossy green Grænagil Canyon, which boasts panoramic views of the surrounding area.

7. Háalda

  • Distance: 28.3 km ( 17.6 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 6.5 – 9 hours
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar campground
  • Type: Loop

Not for the faint of heart, the Háalda trail is the longest hike for day-trippers visiting Landmannalaugar. You’re guaranteed to see a wide range of landscapes along this all-day trek, including lava beds, grassy meadows, hot springs, and even waterfalls!

Since Háalda is one of the highest peaks in Iceland, you can bet on dramatic views over both the Suðurnámur and Bláhjúkur Mountains once you reach the top

You might also like: The most incredible waterfalls of Iceland

8. Laugavegur Trail

  • Distance: 52.1 km ( 32.3 miles)
  • Hiking Time: 4 days/3 nights
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Starting Point: Landmannalaugar ( N63°59.600 – W19°03.660 )
  • Type: One-way

If you have a few days to spend in Landmannalaugar, then a multi-day trek to Þórsmörk along the Laugavegur Trail is a must-do. You’ll have the opportunity to see practically every notable sight Landmannalaugar is known for, including barren volcanic meadows, colorful rhyolite hills, icy glaciers, and bubbling hot springs.

Although the trail itself isn’t particularly difficult (there are only a few steep parts), the biggest risk is the weather. Fog, wind, and snow can dictate how far you can travel during the day. You’ll also have to decide between camping or staying in one of the huts dotted along the trail.

What Else to do in Landmannalaugar

Even if you’re not the biggest hiker, you can still enjoy the picturesque setting and diverse landscapes of Landmannalaugar. 

Soak in the Hot Springs

There’s more to Landmannalaugar than the colorful pink, orange, and yellow swirls of the mountainous highlands. The region is also a geothermal oasis with idyllic healing hot springs where you can unwind after a long day of hiking.

The waters are heated by the volcanic lava from the mountains at a consistent temperature that hovers between 96 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (36 to 40 degrees Celsius). This is the perfect temperature for bathing and soothing any aching muscles. And with the mountains, lava fields, and snow-capped peaks in the distance, you’ll be surrounded by some of the most unspoiled landscapes in the entire country.

The hot springs in Landmannalaugar are free to visit (although you’ll pay a small fee to use the shower and changing rooms). You can visit the hot springs along with a trip to the Hekla Volcano on this one-day tour from Reykjavik.

Also read: The best hot springs of Iceland

Take a Jeep Tour

To see the best sights of Landmannalaugar in one day, we recommend this scenic Jeep tour of the highlands. Departing from Reykjavik, you’ll see green valleys and flowing rivers in Thjórsárdalur, deep blue lakes in Hnausapollur, and even cascading waterfalls at Hjálparfoss.

You’ll also have the chance to explore the region on foot, with a short walk around the Brennisteinsfjöll Volcano. And of course, no trip to Landmannalaugar would be complete without visiting the hot springs. Before you head back to Reykjavik, you’ll have some time to unwind in the bubbling geothermal pools at the foothills of the Landmannalaugar mountains.

We Love to Hear From You!

If you’re planning a hiking trip through Iceland, then you really can’t go wrong with any of these scenic Landmannalaugar treks. No matter which trail you choose, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views and stunning scenery that you can’t experience anywhere else on the planet. Let us know which trail you’d like to explore in the comments below!

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