Landmannalaugar

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The mountain Háalda seen from Vondugil. The photo was taken a few kilometres west of the camp site in Landmannalaugar.
The camp site in Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈlan̥tmanːaˌløiɣar̥] ( ), "the people's pools") is a region near the volcano Hekla in the southern part of Iceland's highlands.

The Landmannalaugar area is a popular tourist destination and hiking hub in Iceland's highlands. The area displays a number of unusual geological elements, like the multicolored rhyolite mountains and expansive lava fields, not far from the service center. The many mountains in the surrounding area display a wide spectrum of colors including pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white. Two of the most popular mountains among hikers are Bláhnjúkur (meaning "blue peak") and Brennisteinsalda (meaning "sulphur wave").

Tourists visit the area from June through late September, after which time the road is closed. A mountain lodge, in operation since 1951, can accommodate 78 people and has basic amenities. It is located centrally near natural geothermal hot springs, also popular with tourists.

Routes[edit]

Four routes lead to Landmannalaugar and one of them is accessible by regular car, though the road is rough (stones the size of fists are not uncommon as well as washing-board style sections of the road). Rented cars are not allowed on either road as F roads are usually only intended for 4WD vehicles. The easiest route to Landmannalaugar is to take either Rd. 30 from the main road and change into 32, cross the Sultartangi hydro-electric dam, going onto 26, then F208 and just before arriving in Landmannalaugar, making a right turn to F224. Road 26 can also be accessed directly from Rd. 1 just before arriving in the small village of Hella, crossing through typical Icelandic farmlands. There are also roads leading to Landmannalaugar from the east via Eldgjá or the north via Sprengisandur, both 4WD roads only.

Activities[edit]

Hiking[edit]

Landmannalaugar is famous for its hiking trails. The most popular routes include the 2 hour hike through the Laugahraun lava field to Mt. Brennisteinsalda ("Sulphur Wave"), the 1 hour hike up Mt. Bláhnjúkur ("Blue Peak") and the 4 hour hike to Ljótipollur crater lake ("Ugly Puddle"). Landmannalaugar can also be the starting point of several longer hiking trails, such as the 3-4 day Hellismannaleið hike by the roots of Hekla volcano and Sprengisandur route for the people who are willing to rough it through the immense volcanic desert.

Landmannalaugar is the usual starting point for a four day long hiking trail aptly called Laugavegur, as the main shopping street in Reykjavík city center is called the same and is referred to the herds of people that walk the trail every day. The name actually means "The Landmannalaugar Trail", "Laugar" being a shortened version for "Landmannalaugar". The usual four day trail ends in Þórsmörk, but one or two days can be added, trekking then all the way to Skógar nearly at the coast via Fimmvörðuháls between the two glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

The huts on the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails are (from north to south):

  • Landmannalaugar
  • Hrafntinnusker
  • Álftavatn
  • Hvanngil
  • Botnar
  • Þórsmörk
  • Fimmvörðuháls

Other activities[edit]

Icelandic horse riding has been available in the area each summer, although not summer of 2013. The horse riding trips visit places which can often be difficult to access on foot and not accessible by car as there are no official roads, as an example into Jökulgil (Glacier Valley). Arctic char fishing takes place in Landmannalaugar and nearby lakes. From late June and through the summer, a shop called the Mountain Mall is operated inside a green American school bus from the 70s which stocks groceries and other things useful for camping. The buses are still operating and are driven there in June and taken back at the end of September when the season finishes.

External links[edit]

Information:

Photos:

Coordinates: 63°58′59″N 19°04′01″W / 63.983°N 19.067°W / 63.983; -19.067