Landmannalaugar: The Most Scenic and Colorful Mountains in the Icelandic Highlands

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Basic Information

Iceland is a place that shows extreme geological contrasts within a few kilometers, which is sure to leave you awestruck and mesmerized. There is a reason Iceland is called the land of Fire and Ice – the snow-capped mountains, staggering waterfalls, lava-covered fields, black sand beaches, hot springs, and massive human-sized icebergs on the beach; this place has everything that you might wish to see. The diverse and beautiful Icelandic nature seems to create magic on the visitors and there is one such place in Iceland that expresses nature’s beauty to perfection and it is Landmannalaugar. Let’s explore this beauty and get to know more about it in detail:

Landmannalaugar, Higlands of Iceland, Hiking in the Highlands

A Gigantic Canvas of Colorful Rhyolite Mountains

As a kid, you must have painted colorful mountains with acrylics, but have you ever witnessed such mountains in person? If not, then here is the place that you need to visit when in Iceland. Yes, it is Landmannalaugar, one of the most popular places in Iceland that is well-known for the colorful rhyolite mountains, hiking tours, geothermal hot springs, and lava fields. This place is indeed a gigantic canvas of colorfully painted vibrant mountains that are sure to attract adventurous travelers, mountaineers, and environmentalists all summer long.

Landmannalaugar is a place that is located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in Highlands of Iceland, which is 188 km from the capital, Reykjavík. It is a part of the Torfajökulseldstöð volcanic system. This place is formed and took its present shape with over thousands of years of volcanic activity. The eruption in Torfajökull volcano took place in 1477 that led to the formation of the terrain which we see today. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the colorful rhyolite mountains, which seem to be the heart of this place and a magnet for travelers. Rhyolite falls in the category of volcanic rock, which is specifically made of quartz and silica, while there are other minerals inclusive of iron and Sulphur that contributes to adding colors to the mountains. One of the finest examples of this is Brennisteinsalda, which is also known as Sulphur Wave. The mountains in this area range from being green, blue, yellow, black, or sometimes even pink. The colors are natural and are a result of the geothermal activity. The sheer vastness and the beauty of this raw magnificent place are sure to cast a spell on you. This is indeed one of the biggest stretches of rhyolite in Iceland.

Landmannalaugar hot springs

A Closer Look at the Mountains in Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is a perfect place to go for a hiking tour, you can select the easy trails, or can climb the tougher ones too. Landmannalaugar is the starting point for Laugavegur Trek, the most popular multi day hike in Iceland. You are surely going to witness the ancient volcanos, panoramic views over the region, and the mesmerizing colorful mountains spread across the area. You must not miss hiking through the field of solidified lava, Landmannalaugar’s most popular hiking spot.

Directions To Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is in Fjallabak Nature Reserve which is 182 km from the capital, Reykjavík, while from Selfoss it is 144 km, from Akureyri – 440 km and Egilsstaðir – 474km. From Reykjavík, start driving and follow the ring road one over the Hellisheiði heath. Drive past the towns on Hveragerði and Selfoss, before you turn off the main road one to road number 30. Follow this route until you see the signage that takes you to road number 32. Now, follow road number 32 until you reach Road F26, Þjórsárdalsvegur, which takes you to the Hrauneyjar Highland Center. From here, look out for F208 – Fjallabaksleið Nyrðri. You will have to cross a few rivers to reach that exact point and rest you can continue with the hike. You must have a 4×4 vehicle to drive through the rough, unpaved roads.

Landmannalaugar in the highlands of Iceland

Map of Landmannalaugar

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