Guide to Hiking and Camping in Landmannalaugar

In this Guide to Hiking and Camping in Landmannalaugar, we will discover the best time to go, how to get there, what to bring, the best trails to go for a hike, or tips about camping there.

The main problem was no comprehensive Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar existed when I planned my first hiking and photography trip in 2012. Information on the internet was basic and did not provide answers to the questions I had.

With this in mind, I have created this guide starting from my own experiences and research. Hopefully, my experience can help others plan their trips. Read on to discover what you need to know about hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar, and feel free to drop a comment below in case of questions.

Guide to hiking and camping in landmannalaugar - view of the colorful landmannalaugar mountains

View of the colorful Landmannalaugar landscape.



Table of Content

Introduction to this Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar

It’s hard to say something that hasn’t already been said about Landmannalaugar and its unique geological formations and landscape. Colorful Rhyolite mountains, lava fields, hot springs, fumaroles, and Volcanoes are all part of the landscape.

Sun setting on the colourful Rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar

Sun setting on the colourful Rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar

What I can do is confirm the hype is real. To me, this is an extraordinary place. It’s one of the most stunning locations I have ever visited, not only in Iceland but in my entire life.

What makes Landmannalaugar so unique? Personally, it’s the whole package. The landscape is something between an abstract sculpture and a surrealist painting. It feels like being on another planet, but it’s Earth. Just a very unusual type of “earth”. Its desolate and barren but colorful mountains look like an open-air natural museum of wonder.

The Brennisteinsalda Hike in Landmannalaugar

The top of Brennisteinsalda viewed from the Graenagil Canyon.

View of the landmannalaugar landscape from the sudurnamur trail

One of the several magnificent views on the Sudurnamur trail

Detail of the colorful Rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar

Detail of the colorful Rhyolite mountains in Landmannalaugar

The hiking is excellent. The trails are all well-marked with color-coded signposts. Both the easy and challenging ones are easy to follow. The scenery will make you forget your tiredness on the trail. You will not want to leave :)!

Last but not least, there is a thermal pool! The pool is in fact what gives Landmannalaugar its name; Landmannalaugar literally means People’s pool.

Hopefully, you will find this Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannlaugar useful. If you have any questions or additional tips, let me know in the comments below.

The Grænihryggur-Green Ridgea green hill in the highlands of iceland

The Grænihryggur, or Green Ridge in Landmannalaugar

Where is Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is part of the 47,000-hectare Fjallabak nature reserve in the southern highlands of Iceland. It is, therefore, a remote location, with no facilities around apart from the campground.

Its remoteness and isolation are also part of the reason why this location is attractive to many. However, this does not mean it is difficult to reach, but it does require an F-road-rated vehicle (more below).

Hiker hiking in the beautiful landscape of Iceland

Hiking in Landmannalaugar.


When to go to Landmannalaugar

Visiting Landmannalaugar is generally possible only during high season and when the f-roads leading to it are open. The dates vary every year and depend on the road conditions.

Transit on the roads leading to Landmannalaugar will only be possible once the roads have entirely thawed out to prevent damage.

Generally speaking, these dates can go from mid-June to early or mid/late-September. You can check F-roads opening or expected opening times here.

I would recommend going in early July if you can. Unfortunately, due to my work, I can never go there at that time of the year, but that’s the one I would choose.

Why? The nights, or lack thereof. Due to Iceland’s latitude, there still is no night in early July, but only a few hours of twilight and very long sunsets and sunrises. This means two things:

  • Provided the weather cooperates, the chance for longer golden hours and sunrises/sunsets.
  • Fewer people on the trails. It can be crowded here in summer, and hiking during the Icelandic night, you are more likely to have the trails to yourself.
View of the Landmannalaugar mountains from a ridge on the trail

One of the many gorges in Landmannalaugar

How to get to Landmannalaugar by car

There are a few possible ways to get to Landmannalaugar by car. All of them require an F-road-rated vehicle. Note: it’s illegal to drive a 2WD vehicle on F-roads, and insurance will not cover any damage or roadside assistance that may occur on F-roads.

Generally speaking, I’d recommend the first option below (Road 208 north/F224) simply because it’s the easiest and there is no river crossing if you park in the first parking area 500 meters from the hut (more below):

Anyway, make sure you have a car suitable for F-roads for any of these itineraries:

  • Road 208 North/F224: This is the most accessible option and accessible with any F-roads-rated cars. Road 208 North is no longer an F road, and it is technically accessible by 2WD cars, but it is a rough road. Also, this option still requires an F-road-rated vehicle because the last stretch before the parking area is an F-road (F224). Click here for directions on Google Maps.
  • F225/F224: this one is quite similar to the previous one but drives through the gravel section of Road 26, and then it turns into F-Road F225. Eventually, this will reunite with Road 208, and then you will also need to continue to Road F224 to reach the Landmannalaugar parking area. Click here for directions on Google Maps.
  • F208 South/F224: I have selected Vik as the starting point for simplicity. This is because to take the F208 from the south, you will need to drive to Vik first and then continue to road 208. From there, you can keep following Road 208 until it becomes Road F208. You will then reach road F224, which leads to the Landmannalaugar parking area. Click here for directions on Google Maps.

To rent a car, I can recommend Blue Car Rental, and Thephotohikes readers will get a 5% discount applied automatically when booking through this site. If you prefer a CamperVan, I can also recommend CampEasy.

Parking in Landmannalaugar – how to book and when you need a reservation

In February 2024, the Environment Agency announced a new parking system (source):

  • Parking spaces must be reserved in advance if you visit between June 20th and September 15th. Anyone arriving at Landmannalaugar between 8 AM and 3 PM will need a parking reservation.
  • Please note you will be turned away without one.
  • You will not need to reserve a parking spot if you arrive outside those hours. For example, if you arrive at 7 AM or 4 PM, you can park without a reservation. Also, if you arrive outside the 8 AM/3 PM window and plan to camp for the night, you can park your car and leave it without needing a reservation for the following days.
  • Prices for 1-5 seaters are ISK 450, and 6-9 Seaters 600 ISK.
  • You can reserve your parking spot in Landmannalaugar here. More on the Environment Agency FAQs page.

The current measures have been implemented in an attempt to reduce the number of visitors. This is much better than building new facilities in a protected area as initially planned. I am not sure how this is going to play out. I think many people will still drive up there without a reservation, and sharing this info through all the media/social media channels and rental car agencies will be crucial.

Landmannalaugar River Crossing

Really, don’t do it unless you are an experienced driver and know how to cross rivers. I see cars drowned every year. Most will just try to splash through as fast as possible, which is the worst possible way of doing it.

Parking before the river is your best option if you do not want to ruin your holiday and your bank account.

The two rivers may be deceptively shallow, but most of the time they are rather deep. Crossing them requires proper technique even with a raised air-intake vehicle.

Here is a great example. Even a Raw 4 or a Duster can easily be drowned in the Landmannalaugar rivers. However, if you have the skill, you may be able to do it in a Panda 4×4 too. So don’t risk it if you have never done it.

Raw 4 car drowned in the landmannalaugar river

Totaled Raw 4, Engine damage.

Panda 4x4 in Landmannalaugar

Panda 4×4 parked after the river crossing. Absolute hero of a driver.

How to get to Landmannalaugar by bus

There are some companies offering transportation to and from Landmannalaugar. In no particular order, the main two are:

Both offer transportation to and from Reykjavik, as well as to and from several other locations along the way, like Hella and Hvolsvöllur. This is a good option not only if you are not renting a car but also if you are renting a 2WD car. You could, for instance, rent a 2WD car and take a bus to the Highlands. This will allow you to save money on a 4WD rental. I did it for my visit to Thórsmörk, parking my rental car at the Hvolsvöllur gas station and taking the bus from there.

If you prefer to join a guided tour, check out some amazing tours in Landmannalaugar.

Also, plenty of Guided and non-guided day tours from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar to choose from.

Camping in Landmannalaugar

For first-timers, here’s how the camping and facilities are organized:

Overiew of the landmannalaugar camping area with color coder explanations

View of the Landmannalaugar parking and camping areas

The campground in Landmannalaugar is limited to the areas around the reception and the Hut. These areas are clearly marked, and you can pitch your tent anywhere you find a spot.

However, too close to the parking may be noisy due to vehicles coming and going. Too close to the facilities, you may hear people chatting, taking a shower, or just eating and having a few drinks.

  • Camping in a tent: you will likely need to weigh down your pegs with some stones. Due to the terrain, pegs tend to come loose, which will be a problem when it’s windy. Pro-Tip: pitch the tent on the rocky area and not on the grassy one. The grassy one is generally wet, while the rocky one is drier. This will get you less condensation and moisture inside the tent.
  • Hut accommodation: The hut provides accommodation in bunk beds and has a kitchen and eating area. The bathrooms are shared with the rest of the campground
  • Campervan or off-road camper: if you have rented an off-road camper or campervan, you can camp in the parking – apparently at no extra cost. You will need to pay for the use of the facilities, however. So if you want to use the dining area, bathrooms, or showers, you can pay for that at the reception.

Camping in Landmannalaugar tent pitched on the ground

My own Hilleberg tent pitched by the entrance. The rocky ground will save you from too much condensation.

Parking area before the river crossing. Park here if you have never waded a river in a car. Also, you can stay overnight with a van or roof tent, for free.

Lastly, in 2023 some renovation works started in Landmannalaugar. For now, only the facilities by the pool have been improved, but major works are on the way (source).

I do not expect to see any major change in the facilities in 2024 already. Hopefully, though at least the restrooms and showers will be improved first. Due to the sheer number of visitors, the situation there can be quite dire.

However, hopefully, there will be no luxury resort built like in Kerlingarfjoll.


I would recommend checking the prices directly on the website of the Camping/Hut Association as they seem to increase by a few hundred Krona each year. However, you can expect to pay something around 25/30 bucks a night (USD or EUR equivalent). Also, up to 2022 one warm shower was included in the price but in 2023 that had to be paid for separately (5 bucks). Cold showers are still free.


Visitors who are not staying at the camping ground or in the Hut are required to pay a facility fee for the use of the bathroom and other outdoor facilities. You will need to pay this fee at the reception, and you will receive a wristband. You can also purchase this only before getting there – click here to do so.

Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar - The Warden's booth in Landmannalaugar

The Warden’s hut and info point. This is where you pay for camping/accommodation and facilities.

Landamannalaugar Hut

The Hut offers accommodations in Landmannalaugar.

A shared eating area in Landmannalaugar

The shared eating area next to the Warden’s booth.

Restroom facilities and showers in Landmannalaugar

The Restrooms and shower area.

The hot pool

The use of the natural thermal pool is, of course, free. It’s the “People’s Pool” after all, isn’t it :) Here is a photo of the pool with the new “open air” changing rooms (on the right).

Landmannalaugar pool with new facilities in 2024

The hot pool

Food and shopping

There are two old school buses that have been repurposed as shops, the so-called “Mountain Malls”. You can shop for some basic groceries and freeze-dried food here, although it will be expensive even by Icelandic standards. So make sure you bring all you need.

Mobile signal in Landmannalaugar

Mobile signal in the camping area is ok, but you will not get any signal in the farthest areas on the trail.

What to pack for Hiking in Landmannalaugar

If you are camping, I highly recommend bringing the following items with you:

  • A reliable and strong tent, a four seasons one is recommended as it can get cold here even ins summer. I have spent a couple of nights at 2-3 degrees Celsius here. Additionally, make sure your tent is waterproof enough and is seam-sealed if needed.
  • A Sleeping bag liner that can increase warmth. Same as above, it can get gold here, and better to err on the side of caution.
  • Tent Footprint: the soil of the camping ground is hard and rocky. Adding the extra layer of protection the footprint provides will help you prevent damage to the tent’s base.
  • Hard-ground tent pegs will work much better than standard pegs. As I’ve mentioned earlier, if you don’t have hard ground tent pegs or don’t want/cannot bring them with you, you can put stones on top of each peg. You should find enough around the tent. Be quick when you see one lying around camp, though; they are in high demand ;)!
  • A sleeping mat with a good R (insulation) value. Good insulation from the ground will help you stay warmer and sleep better.

In terms of clothing:

  • Bring sturdy and waterproof hiking boots if you have them. Some trails, like Sudurnamur, will cross small water streams. Some trails are steep and on irregular gravel-like terrain.
  • Dress in layers. If the weather in Iceland can change rapidly, it can change even more quickly in the highlands of Iceland. I usually wear merino base layers, a fleece jacket and soft-shell pants. I always bring a heavier jacket. Bring a windproof one.
  • Breathable Rainproof jacket and pants. Yes, there’s most likely going to be at least some rain.
  • A Wide-brim hat offers good protection from the sun and light rain.
  • Swimsuit! You will need it for the thermal pool. I’d also recommend a pair of flip-flops or water shoes.

For more in-depth recommendations, you may want to check out my tips on what to pack for a hiking holiday in Iceland.

Best Hiking Trails in Landmannalaugar

This is the list of hikes I put on my shortlist the first time I visited Landmannalaugar. I will link the dedicated post for each of the hikes I’ve already been to. For the others, I will link the related GPS track so that you can get the information on the trail from there.

  • Sudurnamur – (click here for my hike report): my very first hike in Landmannalaugar offers great views over the entire area and the Rhyolite mountains to the north.
  • Blahnukur – (click here for my hike report): also known as Blue Peak, this hike offers fantastic 360-degree views from the top of the mountain over the surrounding landscape and the Brennisteinsalda Volcano.
  • Brennisteinsalda – (click here for my hike report): this is a colorful journey through volcanic landscapes with active fumaroles and great views over the Rhyolite mountains
  • Blahnukur-Brennisteinsald loop: If you only have one day and time for one hike, this is the one I would recommend. It merges the two previous hikes on this list and it can be done clockwise or counterclockwise.
  • Graenagil Canyon-Lagahraun: this is an easy hike with little elevation, suitable for an easy stroll around the area. I have not done it as a hike per se, but I did hike the trail as part of other hikes.

  • Litjopollur: It’s possible to hike to Litjopollur directly from the campsite, but I would prioritize any of the hikes above over this one. It is also an easy stop on road 208 north, as it can be accessed via a side road.

  • The Graenihryggur or Green ridge (or Green Backbone) hike (click here for my hike report): This one does not start at the camping ground, and there are river crossings along the trail:

Photography gear for Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is one of these places where I would recommend bringing as many focal lengths and lenses as possible. But, of course, any lens will find its use here.

Personally, I had the most fun shooting with longer focal lengths. My shots are mainly in the 40 to 200mm range – and these are also the ones I tend to like the most. You will have a lot of fun looking for compositions using longer focal lengths, isolating parts of the landscape farther away and looking for abstract opportunities in the Rhyolite mountains. You can check here my Landscape Photography for shooting with a 70-200mm Lens.

Drones are normally not allowed. Landmannalaugar is part of the Fjallabak protected area, where the use of drones is limited or prohibited. If you want to fly a drone here, you would need to apply for a permit here.

Snow on the mountains in Landmannalaugar

The snow usually lasts way into summer and adds a nice layer to the already colorful Rhyolite mountains

Light over the mountains in Landmannalaugar

Light and shadows over the mountains in Landmannalaugar

Detail of the landscape from the Blahnukur trail in Landmannalaugar

Detail of the landscape from the Blahnukur trail.

Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar detail of the highlands landscape

Another detail of the landscape from the Blahnukur trail.

View from the Sudurnamur trail in Landmannalaugar over the Colorful Rhyolite mountains and the surrounding landscape

View from the Sudurnamur trail in Landmannalaugar over the Colorful Rhyolite mountains and the surrounding landscape.

Guide to hiking and camping in landmannalaugar View of the Graenagil Canyon in Landmannalaugar from abovee, with Brennisteinsalda in the background

View of the Graenagil Canyon in Landmannalaugar from above, with Brennisteinsalda in the background.

Guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar – Tips to enjoy your stay in Landmannalaugar

  • Hike as much as you can :)!
  • Earplugs: you may want to use them when camping to sleep
  • An eye mask: I don’t bring one, but if you are the type of person who cannot easily sleep in daylight, you may want to bring one, especially if you are visiting anytime from late June until late July.
  • Hike early in the evening or very early in the morning. You will enjoy very long golden hours in the early summer. This one should not be much of an effort if you are coming from across several different time zones and are jetlagged.
  • Bring your swimsuit! I think I may have mentioned this already :)
  • Bring your own food and cooking equipment: the mountain malls are more expensive than regular markets and don’t have a wide selection of items. Make sure you bring some with you before heading to Landmannalaugar. Bring your gas canisters too. You can purchase them at almost any gas station along the ring road.
  • Last but not least, Stay Safe!

Other points of interest close to Landmannalaugar

Waterfalls on the road:

  • Haifoss and Granni: Haifoss is one of the tallest waterfalls in Iceland and is a sight not to be missed. Granni is the smaller waterfall next to Haifoss. Accessible from Road 32, turning into road 332.
  • Gjain: close to Haifoss, it’s a spectacular area with several waterfalls. Also accessible from Road 32, turning into road 327.
  • Sigöldugljúfur: this is a small canyon with several waterfalls dropping into it. Also called “Valley of tears”. Accessible from Road 208 north.

Guide to Hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar – Useful Links

Additional Resources

Car or Camper Van Rentals

I can definitely recommend two companies here:

  • Cars: Blue Car Rental, (5% discount when booking through Thephotohikes) which is the largest Car rental company in Iceland, and for good reasons. Free Cancellation, Unlimited mileage, 24-hour breakdown assistance, SCDW, CDW, TP, and GP insurance are included in the price. Blue Car Rental is also located within walking distance of the Keflavik Airport, so you can be on your way to explore Iceland right away. I’ve always been happy with my rentals there, which is why I’m happy to recommend their services here on my blog.
  • Camper Vans: CampEasy.With CampEasy, you can rent 2WD or 4×4 campers alike. With a raised Chassis, larger tires, and extra insurance with reduced liability for river crossing, their 4X4 campers are the best choice for your trip into the Highlands. Their Website also provides extensive information about roads you can take and instructions on river crossings. Perfect choice for a hiking holiday in the highlands!

These are my two favourite companies in each respective rental area, which is why I am happy to recommend both here. If you also like this blog, booking through them is a great way to support it. I’ll get a small commission fee at no additional cost, so you can essentially support the running costs of this blog for free too.

I hope you enjoyed my guide to hiking and camping in Landmannalaugar, or at least I hope you have found some useful information. In case of questions, feedback or comments, please let me know in the comments section below.