Hiking the trails of Landmannalaugar is a must for anyone on vacation in Iceland. If you are planning on being in or around Reykjavik before we officially head into fall and face the bleak, rainy autumn months, I would suggest taking a one day trip to Landmannalaugar to explore parts of the famous Laugavegur Trail and Thórsmórk Valley. This beautiful area of sloping hills is situated in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, on the outskirts of the eery cobalt Laugahraun lava fields. Located only a 3-hour drive from the country’s capital, this destination is ideal for an excursion from Reykjavik. I always try to make a day trip out to Landmannalaugar at least once a year to take it all in, usually at the end of summer or sometime in early fall.
Exploring Landmannalaugar Alone or With A Day Tour
It’s usually best that visitors come to this particular region of Iceland with a certified Icelandic tour operator. Driving in this terrain is difficult, as it isn’t uncommon for the road to be littered with rocks the size of your head. It isn’t impossible to navigate, but it takes a high level of driving prowess. Also, by opting in for a tour package, you reduce the risk of having to pay for any damage to your rental car, which is pretty standard when driving in the highlands. Go on a tour and let the guides worry about the rest.
Going with a group also has other advantages aside from being easier and mitigating risk. These tours are great opportunities to make new friends. When you are done with your day-long journey, you can head straight for a pub with your newly made friends. There isn’t anything more satisfying than downing a cold pint after a long tour. One of the tour companies I always recommend is Landmannalaugar Tours. I mean, they have the region in their name, so this kind of their specialty. They have a large variety Landmannalaugar tour packages and hiking excursions available. Let’s look at a quick explanation of the region.
Landmannalaugar, for me, is the one-stop destination for adventure. The sheer amount of activities you can enjoy, combined with its close proximity to Reykjavik, makes it an attractive sightseeing destination. The area was formed in the late 1400s. After a violent volcanic eruption that tore the very fabric of the earth apart. After the dust settled, a stunning and ethereal landscape remained. The name, “Landmannalaugar,” translates into the People’s Pool. For hundreds of years, Icelanders have been making pilgrimages to this region to enjoy in the abundant naturally occurring geothermal hot springs in the area. The region has also been a haven for exhausted travelers to relax after an invigorating and challenging hike through the highlands of South Iceland’s highlands. Aside from the lagoons and pools that inundate the area, there are towering and sprawling rhyolite mountains.
Rhyolite is one of nature’s great examples that sometimes the most beautiful things are the most dangerous. The area of Landmannalaugar is made up a series of towering multi-colored peaks and mountains, and the volcanic eruption that took place in 1477. Eruptions that involve rhyolite are considered highly explosive and very dangerous. While their blasts may be cause for concern, the end result of these geological events is simply stunning. It is tough to convey the kaleidoscope of colors these mountains seem to be painted with. Typically, you would expect ranges similar to these to be coated in a salmon or granite color. However, the opposite is true here. Emerald moss is scattered amongst the bare and beautiful rhyolite rock faces in the area. Bring your camera, because you aren’t going to want to miss this.
Day Tours from Reykjavik: An Enchanting Excursion to Landmannalaugar
Between the geothermal pools, the pure-black lava field nearby, and the cacophony of colors the rhyolite mountains produce, you have endless options for a captivating experience in Landmannalaugar. The area is also a popular for horseback riding and off-roading. If you plan on off-roading, always drive in designated areas, for your safety and for the protection of the local flora and fauna. Remember, this area becomes increasingly difficult to operate a self-tour as we inch closer towards winter. Hurry now, while the weather is still incredible. Happy trails.
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