Skip to Content

Landmannalaugar Hiking Trip: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

Landmannalaugar Hiking Trip: Everything You Need to Know (2024)

Landmannalaugar is home to some of the most mind-blowing natural attractions in the world. Hidden in the highlands of Iceland, Landmannalaugar is an area featuring colourful mountains and lava fields.

In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting and hiking in Landmannalaugar. We’ll cover information about the best day hikes such as Brennisteinsalda (Sulphur Wave Trail). On top of that, we’ll discuss the multi-day Laugavegur trail that starts in Landmannalaugar and other things to do in the area such as soaking in the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs. Then, we’ll cover all the logistics of how to get there, where to stay and when to visit.

Hiking in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Iceland Highlands, Landmannalaugar has some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. By exploring Landmannalaugar hiking trails, you’ll enjoy the natural landforms there in all their glory. Admittedly, most people visit Landmannalaugar to explore the colourful rhyolite mountains. So what’s rhyolite?

Well, it’s a type of volcanic rock that’s made of quartz and silica. Minerals such as iron and sulphur are what add vibrant colours to the mountains. Indeed, Landmannalaugar is the antithesis of Peru’s Rainbow Mountain. The colourful mountains and epic landscape at Landmannalaugar in the Iceland Highlands are truly mesmerising. Certainly, the Landmannalaugar day hikes are absolutely amazing and are some of the best day hikes in Iceland. Best of all, Landmannalaugar is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets, alongside Stuðlagil Canyon.

To that end, this guide will help you plan your hiking trip to the incredible Landmannalaugar in the Iceland Highlands. Of course, we’ll detail one of the best geothermal pools in Iceland too – the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs. So, let’s start by talking about all of the day hikes in Landmannalaugar!

Read our Sicily, Cyprus, Andorra and Liechtenstein hiking guides

Dan standing near colourful mountains, before going to the Landmannalaugar hot springs

The Best Landmannalaugar Hikes

There are eight well-known Landmannalaugar day hikes. Below, we’ll cover information about all of these hikes, including trail specs, links to respective Landmannalaugar trail maps and a brief trail description. Indeed, these day hikes are some of the best Iceland day hikes. We’ll start with one of the most popular trails in Landmannalaugar – Brennisteinsalda.

FYI – we’ve personally rated the difficulty of the trails in this guide.

Views from Brennisteinsalda, one of the best hiking trails in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Brennisteinsalda (Sulphur Wave Trail)

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 6.5km
  • Time: 2–3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 430m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

To reach the summit of Mount Brennisteinsalda, you’ll do a 6.5km circuit walk that takes around 2–3 hours. From the Landmannalaugar Campsite, you’ll head towards Mount Brennisteinsalda on a well-marked trail. You’ll initially walk by stunning geysers that form part of the Laugahraun Lava Field. Then, you’ll begin huffing and puffing as you ascend, around 250–300 metres. Soon, you’ll find a turnoff to the peak of Brennisteinsalda.

The views of the rhyolite mountains from the peak of Brennisteinsalda are hard to beat. Absurd blues, yellows, reds and browns cover the mountains afar. Indeed, the scenery on display at Brennisteinsalda is unbelievable. There’s a good reason why this is one of the most popular Landmannalaugar hiking trails.

Brennisteinsalda hike, Lanmannalaugar, Iceland

Blahnúkúr (the Blue Peak)

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.7km
  • Time: 2.5–3.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 385m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

Rivalling Brennisteinsalda as one of the best hikes in Landmannalaugar is Bláhnúkur. The walk to reach the summit of Bláhnúkur Mountain AKA Blue Peak Mountain is a 5.7km loop, which takes 2.5–3.5 hours. You’ll ascend roughly 350 metres in total. So, it’s pretty tough going! But, overall, this hike provides some of the best perspectives of the mountainous landscape. In fact, the terrain varies throughout the circuit, from rainbow mountains to lava fields to grassy meadows.

The peak of Blahnúkúr is one of the highest points in Landmannalaugar, Iceland. So, it’s one of the best hikes for appreciating the terrific landscape. Similar to the Brennisteinsalda, this hike is somewhat physically demanding as you tackle steep uphill sections.

Views from the Blue Peak, one of the best hiking trails in Landmannalaugar. Iceland

Bláhnúkur-Brennisteinsalda Circuit

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 9.5km
  • Time: 4.5–5.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 540m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

Personally, we combined the Brennisteinsalda and Blahnúkúr trails into a longer circular walk. The longer Brennisteinsalda and Blahnúkúr combined trail is certainly a more tiring affair compared with doing each trail individually. That’s because there’ll be multiple ascents and even more elevation gain along the journey. But, it’s the most efficient way to complete both the Brennisteinsalda and Blahnúkúr trails. This is a great hiking option if you have limited time in Landmannalaugar.

Views along the Brennisteinsalda hike, Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Laugahraun Lava Field

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 5.3km
  • Time: 1.5–2 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 115m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

When it comes to a Landmannalaugar short hike, most people choose this option. The walk around the black lava fields of Laugahraun is the easiest and shortest of the hikes in Landmannalaugar, that’s easily accessible from the campsite.

Landmannalaugar campsite, near the hot springs

Suðurnámur

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 8.5km
  • Time: 2–3 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 480m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

After hiking the Brennisteinsalda, Blahnúkúr and Laugahraun trails, Beck and I hiked Suðurnámur. It’s another loop trail that takes 2–3 hours to complete. The trail begins on flat rocky terrain. You’ll then skip over multiple thin river crossings. Next, you’ll conquer a sharp ascent, before continuing essentially along a ridgeline. Personally, we didn’t experience the best weather during this hike. So, the colours of the rhyolite mountains were slightly dampened.

Overall, this hike isn’t quite as spectacular as Brennisteinsalda and Blahnúkúr. But, it’s still an incredible trail. It’s also another straightforward trail to navigate, featuring a couple of tough uphill bits.

Views along the Suðurnámur trail were still great despite the overcast weather

Ljótipollur

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 13.3km
  • Time: 4–6 hours hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 370m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: AllTrails

Also known as the Ugly Puddle, the Ljótipollur trail is one of the less popular hikes in Landmannalaugar. Set away from the colourful mountains, the trail takes you around a volcanic crater, visiting Ljótipollur Lake along the way.

Skalli

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 15km
  • Time: 6–8.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 660m
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trailhead: Landmannalaugar Campsite
  • Map: Wikiloc

One of the most challenging day hikes in Landmannalaugar is the Skalli hike. During the hike, you’ll walk between Brennisteinsalda and Blahnúkúr Mountains, before passing through the incredible green Grænagil Canyon.

Stútur

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 0.5km
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 50m
  • Difficulty: Very easy
  • Trailhead: F208
  • Map: Google Maps

The Stútur trail is actually the shortest of the day hikes in Landmannalaugar. You’ll walk around the Stútur volcanic crater, which features vivid red-cloured volcanic scree. This volcanic crater is quite far away from the campsite. With that said, to do this hike, it’s probably best if you have your own vehicle. That way, you can stop in to do this quick hike, before heading to the Landmannalaugar Campsite to complete the other day hikes.

Laugavegur Trail (Hiking From Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork)

The famous Laugavegur trail is a 4 day hike in Iceland that starts in Landmannalaugar and finishes south in Þórsmörk (Thorsmork). Long story short, Beck and I had planned to do the Laugavegur trail, in 3 days, as part of our Iceland hiking itinerary. But, a severe yellow weather warning prevented us from being able to do the multi-day hike. Admittedly, we were gutted. But instead, we managed to spend more time hiking in Landmannalaugar. So, happy days!

As mentioned, it’s possible to do the Laugavegur trail in 3 days. If you’re short on time, this will help maximise your time exploring the rest of Iceland. Albeit, the Laugavegur trail is often completed in 4 or 5 days. If you’re reasonably fit and an experienced hiker, 3 days is realistically doable. Of course, there are numerous multi-day trek options in the Icelandic Highlands. But, Laugavegur rates as one of the best hikes in Iceland.

Camping is 2,500 ISK per person ($17USD) at each of these campsites along the Laugavegur trail. Keep in mind, that the Hrafntinnusker Campsite is quite basic. There are drop toilets, drinking water and sinks for washing. On the other hand, Emstrur’s services include toilets, drinking water, sinks for washing, warm showers (500ISK for 5 minutes), a small shop and picnic tables.

Travel Insurance

Heymondo Travel Insurance

Don’t leave for your trip without booking travel insurance. We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. Click the button below to receive a 5% discount!

Other Things to Do In Landmannalaugar (Other Than Hiking)

Other than hiking, Landmannalaugar is well-known for having fantastic hot springs. Let’s talk about this geothermal wonderland below.

Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

After lots of hiking, you’ll want to take the opportunity to soak and relax in Iceland’s best natural geothermal pool – Landmannalaugar Hot Springs (AKA Landmannalaugar Bathing Place and People’s Pool). Yes, there are natural geothermal springs all over Iceland. But, the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs is one of the best and largest in Iceland. Best of all, the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs are free!

After a day’s hiking in Landmannalaugar, there was nothing better than sitting in the beautifully warm water of the hot springs. Although be warned, when playing around with Beck, I accidentally splashed some of the water into her eye. Let’s just say that her eye didn’t look the best over the next few days. So have fun, but be more careful than I was. Luckily I didn’t get in too much trouble!

Landmannalaugar Hot Springs
Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

Landmannalaugar Hiking Itineraries

Of course, your Landmannalaugar hiking itinerary will be determined by the length of your Iceland trip, how strict you are with your time and personal preference. Honestly speaking, if you have less than a week in Iceland, consider just a day trip. If you have around ten days, an overnight camping trip will allow you the opportunity as we did, to complete all the hikes around Landmannalaugar that a day trip wouldn’t allow time for. If you have two weeks or more, consider the incredible Laugavegur trail, starting in Landmannalaugar, as part of your Iceland Highlands itinerary.

Certainly, we were disappointed not to be able to complete the Laugavegur trail. But, we still had an absolute blast hiking the best trails of Landmannalaugar. The weather in Landmannalaugar can be unpredictable and wild, so be prepared for a change of itinerary. Even if your plans need to change last minute, we guarantee you’ll have an epic time hiking either the Laugavegur trail or the shorter day hikes around Landmannalaugar.

Landmannalaugar Day Trip (One Day Hiking Itinerary)

Even if you only have time for a day trip to Landmannalaugar, it’s absolutely worth it! This will give you ample time to complete the best day hikes at Landmannalaugar such as Brennisteinsalda. You should even have enough time to enjoy Iceland’s best FREE thermal pools – Landmannalaugar Hot Springs! We’ll talk about how to get to Landmannalaugar below so you can suss out what hiking itinerary will work for you.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Landmannalaugar

When it comes to accommodation options, you have two options. You can either camp or stay in the Landmannalaugar Hut. The double-storey hut was built in 1969 by the Icelandic Touring Association. It’s only open for a few months of the year from 15 June to 15 September. So the hut usually books out well in advance. Click here for more information about the hut and to reserve a spot.

Personally, Beck and I camped at the Landmannalaugar Campsite. We’ll discuss this option below.

Landmannalaugar Camping

The Landmannalaugar Campsite is a large campsite and a fantastic base for hiking in the area. It works on a first-come-first-served basis. So, make sure to set up camp when you arrive to get a good spot! Be mindful that the campground is quite hard and rocky, so be prepared. As of 2023, camping at Landmannalaugar is 2,500 ISK per person per night ($18USD). The campsite has the following facilities and services.

  • Indoor toilets
  • Hot showers (500 ISK per person for 5 minutes)
  • Drinking water
  • Clothesline
  • Sheltered cooking area
  • Picnic tables
  • A small shop

How to Get to Landmannalaugar

The most popular ways to get to Landmannalaugar are by bus, driving there yourself or doing a tour. Let’s explore these options below.

Landmannalaugar Bus

The highlands bus is a popular option to get to and from Landmannalaugar in Iceland. Most people doing a day trip, who haven’t rented a car, will get the Landmannalaugar bus from Reykjavik. Personally, we booked the Landmannalaugar bus through TREX – Travel Experiences. Although, there are a few private companies offering the route at similar prices.

As of 2023, the price is 9,900 ISK per person ($69USD) each way per person. No, the buses aren’t cheap. But, it’s Iceland after all! The bus leaves Reykavik between 7:30–8am, arriving at Landmannalaugar at 11am. You’ll then simply return on the same day at 6pm. Click here for pickup locations and departure times.

FYI – TREX offers a Hikers Pass, which is ideal if you’re doing the Laugavegur trail. This bus pass covers the first bus from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar and the return bus from Þórsmörk to Reykjavik. The pass offers flexibility on dates of use and is slightly cheaper than buying individual one-way tickets. In 2019, we booked this bus pass two days in advance in late August and there seemed to be plenty of availability. But, to be on the safe side, we recommend checking availability a few weeks in advance.

Driving To Landmannalaugar

It’s possible to rent a 4WD and drive to Landmannalaugar in Iceland yourself. But, keep in mind that there aren’t any paved roads leading to Landmannalaugar. You’ll drive on F-roads, which are unpaved roads. To drive on these roads, you must have a 4WD that is authorised by your rental car company to be driven on F-roads.

Also, you’ll need to drive over a small river crossing if you want to park at the main car park, near the campsite. Although, it’s possible to avoid this river crossing by parking next to it and walking approx. 1km to the campsite. Otherwise, we recommend getting the bus!

If you decide to hire a car, we recommend booking in advance online using Discover Cars. It’s super easy to book online and they offer a great free cancellation policy.

Car Hire

DiscoverCars.com

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Landmannalaugar Tours

The other option is to do a tour to Landmannalaugar in Iceland. Alongside the Golden Circle and Northern Lights tours, the Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Tour is one of the most popular tour options in Iceland. By doing the Super Jeep Tour or another one of the Landmannalaugar tours, you’ll not only get to explore the Iceland Highlands, but also some other attractions along the South Coast of the Ring Road.

Weather in Landmannalaugar

Unfortunately, the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and wild. This is particularly true when it comes to Landmannalaugar weather. Personally, the night before our departure to Landmannalaugar, a severe yellow weather warning was issued. This meant completing the Laugavegur trail was highly discouraged. This was due to hazardous winds and thunderstorms. Our plan to hike Laugavegur was foiled!

Anyway, make sure to always keep an eye out for any weather warnings issued on the official meteorological page of Iceland. In fact, we were quite lucky because our friend in Reykjavik told me about the weather warning. The benefits of knowing the locals!

Fortunately though, the severe weather warning didn’t stop us from visiting Landmannalaugar as an overnight trip. Luckily, TREX was flexible with changing our bus pass dates of use given the circumstances. But, please note that changing bookings last minute may not always be possible due to availability. This is particularly true during the busiest period from late June to early August. Indeed, buses may be booked out.

Best Time For Hiking in Landmannalaugar

With the wild weather in mind, it’s best to visit Landmannalaugar in Iceland during European summer. In fact, there’s a very narrow window during summer that Landmannalaugar is accessible. This is between mid-June to mid-September. Outside of this time, the F-roads leading there are closed. This is due to snow and other hazardous weather and road conditions.

Landmannalaugar Facilities

Below, we’ll talk about the facilities and services on offer at Landmannalaugar, Iceland. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you visit.

Parking

As mentioned, there are two options for parking. If you want to avoid the river crossing, you can park at a small car park by the river stream and walk around 1km to the campsite. Otherwise, if you’re happy to do the river crossing, you can park at the main car park, next to the campsite and hut.

Alternate parking for Landmannalaugar, Iceland, near the Hot Springs

Bathrooms

There’s a bathroom at the campsite, which costs 500 ISK ($3.50) per person to use. You’ll pay at the information booth and be given a wristband to access the bathrooms. If you’re camping, you’ll be given a wristband, so you won’t need to pay again to use the toilets. Even if you’re camping, you’ll need to pay 500 ISK ($3.50) for a hot shower.

Food

Take your own food. Iceland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. So, buying food at the small store at Landmannalaugar (The Mountain Mall) would be costly. But, the small shop is there just in case you need any emergency snacks or camping gear.

Petrol

There are no petrol stations in Landmannalaugar. Make sure you’ve got a full tank of petrol before heading into the highlands of Iceland!

Information Booth

Conveniently, there’s an information desk. The staff there are helpful and knowledgeable. Consider picking up a rustic-looking Landmannalaugar hiking map for 300ISK ($2USD)!

FAQs About Hiking In Landmannalaugar

Below, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about hiking in Landmannalaugar, Iceland.

Beck enjoying the rainbow mountains

Can You Hike Landmannalaugar?

Yes, there are many great hikes to do in Landmannalaugar. For more information, read this section.

Is Landmannalaugar Worth a Visit?

Yes, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world; plus, the hot springs are epic!

Is it Hard to Get to Landmannalaugar?

Please read the sections under How to Get to Landmannalaugar for more information.

How Long Does it Take to Drive to Landmannalaugar?

From Reykjavik, it takes around 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive to Landmannalaugar. 

How to Get to Reykjavik

To do a trip to Landmannalaugar to experience great hiking and the wonderful hot springs, you’ll need to fly to Reykjavik! When it comes to booking flights, we always use Skyscanner to source the cheapest flights. In doing so, we found and booked return flights for £88/person ($112USD) directly with Wizz Airlines. But be warned – to add any extras to your flight is very expensive with Wizz.

We regularly see deal alerts from the UK to Reykjavik on for around £40-60/person ($50–75USD).

Accommodation in Reykjavik

Personally, we stayed at the Reykjavik Campsite. But, if you’re not camping, we recommend using Booking.com to find suitable accommodation.

What to Wear and Pack For Landmannalaugar Hiking

Even in summer, you’ll need to pack waterproof boots, trousers and a rain jacket to see off the damp spells. For Landmannalaugar, you’ll definitely need waterproof gear due to the wild weather. If you’re camping, we recommend the following gear, at the very least.

Bonus Tips For a Great Experience

  • Complete the Laugavegur Trail in 3 days: this will maximise your time in Iceland.
  • Be flexible with your Iceland Highlands hiking itinerary: the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and change at any moment. So be prepared for your plans to change.
  • Check the road conditions: if you’re driving, for safety, check the Iceland road conditions before heading out to the highlands of Iceland.
  • Pack swimmers: you’ll need these for the Landmannalaugar Hot Springs!
  • Trail navigation: to be fully prepared, consider downloading a GPS-guided map before you set out to do any of the hikes. We recommend Wikiloc or AllTrails. For those not so prepared, if you’re needing navigation help during the hike and don’t have any phone reception, consider using Maps.me. Although you need to have at least downloaded the map of the general area beforehand.

Did you find this guide helpful? Subscribe to our newsletter for all of the latest on our hiking adventures.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Annisa Hasan says:

    Hey Dan,

    I checked out this hiking itinerary. I was thinking of travelling in 2020 but I had to put it on the backburner. Hopefully, I’ll travel next year when it’s safe to do so.

    Annisa

    • Daniel Piggott says:

      Hi Annisa,

      That’s a shame about your trip.

      You’ll have to bookmark this page so you can come back to it at another time when you’re able to plan your trip to Iceland.

      Safe travels when you’re able to.

      Cheers, Dan