Landmannalaugar is a wonderland of rainbow-colored mountains, lava fields, and hot springs. Hiking trails crisscross these colorful hills, making this part of Iceland one of the most unique places to go hiking. With one day in Landmannalaugar, you can hike one or two trails, soak in the hot springs, photograph the stunning landscapes, and add on a quick visit to one or two gorgeous waterfalls. Here’s how to do it.
Quick Facts about Visiting Landmannalaugar
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty about how to day trip to Landmannalaugar, there are a few important things you need to know.
To get to Landmannalaugar, you must have a 4×4. The only roads that lead into Landmannalaugar are F-roads, which are rough, unpaved roads and you can only drive these roads if you have a 4×4.
Note: If you do not plan on renting a 4×4, you can take a bus into Landmannalaugar. However, you will have limited time in Landmannalaugar and you will miss out on the detours to the waterfalls. If you want to follow our recommendations on how to spend one day in Landmannalaugar, you will need to have a 4×4.
The best time to visit Landmannalaugar is from mid-June to early September. Yes, that is a very narrow window of time, but that is the only time that the F-roads are open. It is possible to visit Landmannalaugar during other times of the year, but you will have to take a big Jeep tour (and many hiking trails will be snow-covered and closed for the season).
Overlooking Landmannalaugar on the hike up Blahnukur.
One Day in Landmannalaugar
Driving to Landmannalaugar
There are no paved roads to Landmannalaugar. To get here, you will drive on rough, unpaved roads, which are called F-roads.
In order to drive on these roads, you must have a 4×4 vehicle that is authorized by your rental car company to be driven on F-roads.
There are three roads that lead to Landmannalaugar. Two routes start near the Golden Circle, so if you are staying on the Golden Circle or in Reykjavík, these are the roads you will take (the “north route” or the “middle route/Hekla volcano”). If you are staying on the south coast, you will take the “south route.”
How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the driving routes). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
NORTH ROUTE/EASIEST: From Route 1 on South Iceland or from the Golden Circle, take route 32 to F26. Turn right onto F208 south and take this to F224 to Landmannalaugar. F26 and F208 are paved until you get to the hydroelectric station on F208. It is a rough, unpaved road for 26 km, from the hydroelectric station to Landmannalaugar.
MIDDLE ROUTE/HEKLA VOLCANO: From route 26, turn onto F225 (Landmannaleið) and take this to F208. Turn right onto F208 and then turn onto F224 to Landmannalaugar. This road is slightly rougher but you get to see Hekla volcano.
SOUTH ROUTE/MOST DIFFICULT: This route is the most difficult but some say the most scenic. From the Ring Road on South Iceland, take F208 to Landmannalaugar. This route has river crossings and rougher sections than two routes listed above.
If you are staying on the Golden Circle, it takes roughly 2 to 2.5 hours to drive to Landmannalaugar. If you are starting in Reykjavík, it will take about 3 hours.
Best Things to Do in Landmannalaugar
Once here, what do you do?
Hiking is the #1 thing to do in Landmannalaugar. It’s the best way to get out and truly experience these unusual landscapes. Fortunately, there are hiking trails of all lengths and difficulties, so there is a perfect hike for everyone.
The Laugahraun Lava Field, at 4.3 km (2.7 miles), is an easy hike through the lava fields of Landmannalaugar. It’s the easiest and most popular hike and it is great for all ages.
You can combine Blahnúkúr and Brennisteinsalda into an epic day hike. This is almost 10 km long and takes 4 to 6 hours, but it is an incredible experience.
There are several other hikes to do in Landmannalaugar. For the full list, check out our Essential Guide to Landmannalaugar.
Hiking up Blahnúkúr, the Blue Peak
The colorful hills of Landmannalaugar. Brennisteinsalda is the hill with the orange and red coloring.
Soak in the Hot Springs
The People’s Pool is a naturally occurring hot spring located next to the Laugahraun lava field. Temperatures remain a toasty 36 to 40°C (97 to 104°F) year-round.
Detours Outside of Landmannalaugar
Spending one day in Landmannalaugar is an amazing experience to have in Iceland. But what if you could also easily add on a visit to one or two spectacular waterfalls or a drive past one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes? Turn your awesome day trip into an unforgettable experience with these relatively quick detours.
Hekla is one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes. Over 20 eruptions have occurred since 874 and the most recent eruption was in 2000.
You can get a view of Hekla on the drive from the Golden Circle, if you take the “middle route/Hekla Volcano” that we have listed above in the driving directions.
It is possible to hike to the peak of Mt. Hekla, but with geologists predicting another eruption in the near future, you might want to skip the hike. Plus, it will use up most of your valuable time in Landmannalaugar.
Sigöldugljúfur is one of Iceland’s best off-the-beaten-path destinations. This beautiful canyon, with its wall of waterfalls, is one of Iceland’s most beautiful places to visit.
You will literally drive right past it in on the way to Landmannalaugar, if you drive the “north route” from the Golden Circle. From the parking lot, it is a short walk to the viewpoint. This takes about an hour of your time.
LEARN MORE: How to Visit Sigöldugljúfur
Háifoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland. In the early 20th century, it was believed to be the tallest waterfall in Iceland, earning it the name “high waterfall.” Since that time, several taller waterfalls have been discovered in Iceland.
Háifoss Waterfall is located in the Þjórsárdalur Valley, a beautiful valley that sits to the east of the Golden Circle.
Like Sigöldugljúfur, you will also drive right past Háifoss, if you take the “north route” from the Golden Circle. From Route 26, you will drive 7 km on a rough, unpaved road to get to the viewpoint. Most visits here last about 30 minutes.
One Day in Landmannalaugar Itinerary
In order to hike the trails before the other day trippers arrive, and to give yourself enough time for the detours listed above, I recommend getting an early start today. Ideally, arrive in Landmannalaugar before 10 am, when most people arrive.
6 or 7 am: Drive to Landmannalaugar
If you are staying on the Golden Circle, it will take 2 to 2.5 hours to drive to Landmannalaugar. From Reykjavík, it will take 3 hours, so I recommend starting your drive at 6 am.
If you take the “north route,” you will arrive in Landmannalaugar around 9 am.
If you like the idea of seeing Mount Hekla, take the “middle route.” This drive is longer than the “north route,” so you will arrive in Landmannalaugar around 9:30 am.
If you are staying on the south coast, it will take you 3 hours to drive to Landmannalaugar, so plan to start your drive at 6 am.
NOTE: This itinerary works best if you are staying on the Golden Circle. You can do this from the south coast, but it will be a big driving day, especially if you add on Sigöldugljúfur and/or Háifoss. You can start on the south coast, check out of your hotel, visit Landmannalaugar, and spend the night on the Golden Circle or in Reykjavík.
9 am to 5 pm: Landmannalaugar
Spend the day in Landmannalaugar.
If you are driving in from the Golden Circle, you will first drive past Stútur. This is a very short hike on a volcanic crater and it only takes about 30 minutes of your time. With soil that is deep brown and red, and with the hills covered in bright green moss, it looks vastly different here than near the Landmannalaugar campground.
The view of F208 from the top of Stútur.
Take your pick from one of the other hikes in Landmannalaugar. If you are fit and like the idea of an epic day hike, do the Blahnúkúr – Brennisteinsalda Loop. If that seems like too much to do, you can hike either of these mountains or hike the shorter and easier Laugahraun lava field.
Another photo from the hike up Blahnukur.
In the afternoon, soak in the hot springs.
For more practical information about visiting Landmannalaugar, such as where to eat, where to park, and more, make sure you read our Landmannalaugar Guide.
5 pm: Detours to Sigöldugljúfur and/or Háifoss
In the mid to late afternoon, after you have had your fill of hiking trails and epic views in Landmannalaugar, start your drive back to the Golden Circle.
Sigöldugljúfur: As you drive F208 north out of Landmannalaugar, you will come to the parking lot for Sigöldugljúfur (about 23 km north of Landmannalaugar, a 45-minute drive). Here are the GPS coordinates of the parking lot: 64°9’20.754″ N 19°8’18.257″ W. It takes about one hour to visit Sigödugljúfur.
Háifoss: Continue the drive north on F208. To get to Háifoss, it takes one hour of driving (45 km) to get to the Háifoss parking lot from Sigöldugljúfur. After your visit to Háifoss, continue the drive to your hotel.
This is a big day with a lot to see and do, especially with the addition of the two waterfalls. However, since you drive right past both of them, it makes a lot of sense to include them with a visit to Landmannalaugar.
Sigöldugljúfur or Haifoss? If you are running short on time, or energy, skip Háifoss. Sigöldugljúfur is amazing and absolutely worth the extra time. Plus, it’s simple to add it onto the drive to Landmannalaugar (and it would be a very long drive from the Golden Circle if you decided to visit it on a different day).
Our Articles about Landmannalaugar:
- The Essential Guide to Landmannalaugar for First Time Visitors
- Hike the Blahnúkúr – Brennisteinsalda Loop
- How to Hike Mt. Blahnúkúr (the Blue Peak)
- Mt. Brennisteinsalda: Hiking the Sulphur Wave
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If you have any questions about how to spend one day in Landmannalaugar or how to plan this day trip, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Iceland
ADVENTURES IN ICELAND: One of the best ways to experience Iceland is on a hiking trail, and we have an article about 10 epic day hikes in Iceland. You can also venture to Kerlingarfjöll, go glacier hiking, and hike the amazing Fimmvörðuháls trail.
RING ROAD ITINERARY: In 7 to 10 days, you can drive the entire Ring Road and experience the highlights of Iceland. With two weeks in Iceland, drive the full loop and add on Landmannalaugar and a few hidden gems.
DAY TRIPS FROM REYKJAVÍK: If you are planning a short visit to Iceland with Reykjavík as your home base, here are 10 great day trips to take from Reykjavík.
Read all of our articles about Iceland in our Iceland Travel Guide.
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