Landmannalaugar: The Wild Highlands of Iceland

Locations

Before heading to the South Coast of Iceland, we spent a few days in the Highlands. There are plenty of highlights in the south but the Highlands were the highlight of the trip, in particular in the Landmannalaugar region.

The Heart of the Southern Highlands

Hiking in Landmannalaugar is like being on another planet. En route to the popular hiking destination there were also a number of highlights (and waterfalls, naturally), in particular Sigöldufoss and Gjáin are quite easy to reach by car.

Landmannalaugar campsite
Landmannalaugar campsite from the Laugahraun lava fields

You can get quite far on the main roads but a 4X4 is basically a necessity in Iceland. Some dirt roads can be traversed with a regular car, but dirt roads in Iceland are quite rocky and potholey and some are worse than others, so a car with 4-wheel drive is essential for Iceland – especially if you want to get to Landmannalaugar, which is also an essential stop if you are visiting in the summertime. Approach on the F208 from the north, the road is especially bad. We were on an elevated Greyhound Bus which I thought was going to fall apart, the steely nerves of the driver were the only reassurance. We arrived safely at the campsite, bought a hiking map and quickly got on our way.

landmannalaugar iceland

Hiking up Brennisteinsalda
Rainbow Mountain Iceland
Rainbow colors of the Brennisteinsalda
View from the top of the Brennisteinsalda
View from the top of the Brennisteinsalda
Heading up the Suðurnámur hiking trail
View of the Nämskvisl and Laugahraun lava fields (to the left) from Suðurnámur
Home stretch, heading down the Suðurnámur trail towards Jökulgilskvisl river
The Jökulgilskvisl river in full view

The Highlands were one of our first stops in Iceland, it seemed as if the bar was set very high for the rest of the trip, however our next stop touring around the South Coast of Iceland was very different and offered a great contrast to the Highlands. If (when) we go back however I think Landmannalaugar is worth a long, long, second good look.

Happy camper