Are you looking for the best hike to do in Landmannalaugar? No need to worry cause I got you covered! I recently visited this beautiful place in Iceland and during our time here we hiked one of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever done. The Mount Blahnukur Trail is definitely one of the best one day hikes in Iceland!
Landmannalaugar is without a doubt one of the most beautiful regions in entire Iceland. It’s known for its rhyolite and rainbow colored mountains and as the starting point for the world famous Laugavegur Trail. The latter is a 4 day hike that will take you through the Highlands of Iceland and that ends at Thorsmork.
However, if you don’t have that amount of time or if you don’t want to hike 4 days straight and sleep in a tent I have the perfect solution for you!
Landmannalaugar is actually also amazing as a day trip and if you hike the Mount Blahnukur Trail you’ll actually see the best this landscape has to offer.
Within this guide you’ll find all of the information that you’ll need to plan to perfect day trip to Landmannalaugar and I’ll also share my personal experience on this beautiful hiking trail in the Highlands of Iceland.
The Best Hike In Landmannalaugar – The Mount Blahnukur Hiking Trail
Landmannalaugar is a stunning area in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the heart of Iceland’s southern Highlands. And out of all of the places that I visited it’s definitely within the top 5 of most beautiful places in Iceland!
Landmannalaugar is a very rare area, both geologically and aesthetically. Landmannalaugar itself is made up of windswept rhyolite mountains, a rock type that creates a full spectrum of dazzling color. Shades of red, pink, green, blue and golden yellow make for an ethereal location. They don’t call these mountains the rainbow mountains of Iceland for nothing. Rhyolite is a type of volcanic rock that is made of quartz and silica. Minerals such as iron and sulphur add extra color to the mountains.
The colorful region can be found nestled beside the raven-black Laugahraun lava field, a sweeping expanse of dried magma which originally formed in an eruption in 1477. Landmannalaugar is especially known for its natural geothermal hot springs, hence its name the People’s Pools, and surrounding landscape.
How to reach Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar is located in the heart of Icelandic Highlands which means you can only get there with a proper 4×4 vehicle. The Highlands are interconnected by the so called F-roads and it’s strictly forbidden to drive on these with a regular car.
If you’re driving a rental car that isn’t a 4×4 and you damage it on one of these roads the insurance wouldn’t cover the costs. This would leave you with a very hefty fine and let’s be honest, traveling Iceland is already expensive enough!
The F-roads are mostly gravel roads but can be extremely bumpy at times and also contain small boulders. Another thing to keep in mind is that there will be river crossings involved.
I can tell you’re already getting worried. Trust me, so was I when I first started doing my research! I had no idea what to actually expect when driving these F-roads and was very anxious about it. In this article I will detail every single F-road that we took in the Highlands and what you can and should expect!
As you can see in the image above there are several F-roads leading to Landmannalaugar!
On our way up we took the F26 and then the F208. This way we were able to add a visit to Haifoss and Sigöldugljufur to our itinerary before setting up camp at Landmannalaugar. These two are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland so if you have the time make sure to add them to your itinerary.
While driving on the F-roads it’s always very important to stay concentrated. It’s a lot harder than driving on a regular road and at times it can be a little slippery as well. Be cautious and plan your journey ahead. In the Icelandic HIghlands it’s important to know where you’re going!
The F26 is a regular gravel road with a couple of bumps here and there but nothing too special.
The F208 on the other hand is very bumpy. While driving we could hear all of our cutlery clinging in the back of our van like crazy. Especially the part leading up to Sigöldugljufur was really bad. Afterwards while driving towards the Landmannalaugar campsite it became more of a gravel road again.
Whatever you do, don’t take the F210! This is one of the most dangerous F-roads in Iceland and involves a lot of river crossings! It wouldn’t be the first time a car got stuck in one of the rivers here and you don’t want to end up paying for an expensive new vehicle if the engine gets drowned.
Another option is to take the Landmannaleid, also known as the Landmannalaugar Road or the F225. If you’re coming from Reykjavik this is the fastest option but this way you won’t drive past Haifos andSigöldugljufur.
After visiting we took the F208 down to the Ring Road and this one was ok as well. There were a couple of river crossings but nothing our 4×4 from Happy Camper couldn’t handle!
To reach the Landmannalaugar campsite you’ll always have to do 2 small river crossings since they’re right in front of the campsite. Again, no worries here if you’re driving a proper 4×4 vehicle! And if you’re unsure and don’t want to risk it there’s always the option to stay at the parking lot right in front of the river crossing. It’s possible to reach the campsite and hiking trails on foot from there as well.
If you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself and you prefer to visit Landmannalaugar by bus
There are several bus companies that have routes from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar. In general, busses run from early to mid-June through early September.
It costs roughly 7500 ISK for a one-way bus trip from from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar.
Click here for information on busses to Landmannalaugar.
💡 TIP – Make sure to book your tickets in advance. Especially when visiting in high season they can sell out and you won’t be guaranteed a seat on a bus.
💡 TIP – You can save some time, and money, by staying in Selfoss or Hella, which are also located on the bus route.
- From Reykjavik: Landmannalaugar and Hot Springs
- Landmannalaugar : 4 hour hiking experience
- Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Tour
Where to stay at Landmannalaugar
If you’re doing a self-drive tour of Iceland it’s best to stay at the official Landmannalaugar campsite. It’s by far one of the most scenic campsites in entire Iceland and it’s also the starting point for all of the nearby hiking trails, including the Mount Blahnukur Hiking Trail.
The Iceland Touring Association (FÍ in Icelandic) offers visitors a hut for those planning to stay comfortably in Landmannalaugar. This hut has a total capacity to fit up to 78 people on a two-story cozy building. Don’t forget to bring your sleeping bag (and extra bedding if needed) as only a standard mattress will be provided at the hut.
Due to the increasingly high number of tourists each year, booking a spot in the mountain hut in advance has become mandatory. You can find more information on all of the available mountain huts and their capacity here.
If you are planning to camp in a tent, you could do so by paying an admission fee that will give you access to the showers and toilets. Right next to the hut you will find the service cabin that houses these services for all visitors. You should know that the ground is rough and mostly uneven, so try to find a spot previously occupied by someone else. Trying to pin down the tent pegs is an arduous task. It is always best to pin your tent along with flat, big and heavy rocks too as the wind may be really strong sometimes.
Bear in mind that even if you plan to camp on a tent or camper you must pay the service fee. This fee will give you access to the bathrooms and drinking water during your stay.
Currently, there is no need to book in advance for camping in the area. Make sure to bring all your equipment for eating and cooking as the hut facilities are off-limits for those staying in tents.
Services in Landmannalaugar
- Showers ISK 500 for 5 minutes (all visitors).
- Landmannalaugar hut ISK 9,000 per person (night).
- Landmannalaugar camping ISK 2,000 per person (night).
- Landmannalaugar Hiking Map ISK 300.
- Facility fee (use of toilets/grill but not overnight stay) ISK 500 per person.
- Toilet paper and soap are provided in the huts.
When to visit Landmannalaugar
If you want to go hiking in Landmannalaugar you have to visit during the summer months. Generally, the best time to visit Landmannalaugar is between late June to mid-September each year. I know it’s a small window but this is the only time that the F-roads are open.
Before and after these months the Icelandic highlands are covered in a thick layer of snow and you can only access them with a Super Jeep tour. The best way to get around then is by skiing or snowboarding.
Mount Blahnukur Hiking Trail Details
Hike Distance – 6.1km (3.8 miles). The hiking distance includes the full loop and the walk back to the campsite.
Hike Duration – 2,5 to 4 hours, depending on your pace and how many times you stop to take photos. You guessed right, it took us 4 hours to complete the entire trail ;).
Hike Difficulty – Mount Blahnukur, also known as the Blue Peak, is one of the toughest hikes in Landmannalaugar. There’s a steep incline to reach the top but the views that you’ll see along the way more than make up for it. After the ascend the trail is a lot easier and slowly descends back into the valley.
Elevation – 350 meters
My Experience on the Mount Blahnukur Trail
I always prefer hiking in the early morning so when planning our Landmannalaugar trek we decided to spend the night at the Landmannalaugar campsite and then get up bright and early.
After crossing both rivers we set up camp, cooked our dinner and admired one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. Iceland was really showing off that evening!
The next morning I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, put on my game face, jumped into my hiking shoes and grabbed my trekking poles. My knee is still feeling a little sore from our adventure in the Balkan and I didn’t want to take any chances! So trekking poles it is!
We left the campground around 7am and everyone else was still sound asleep.
The start of the hiking trail was easy to find since there were a bunch of arrows put up right next to the main facilities at the campsite. I was feeling so damn excited! I had read several articles all proclaiming that the Mount Blahnukur trail was one of the best and most beautiful hikes in Landmannalaugar!
All we had to do was follow the yellow arrow and we would be on our way! And what made it even more easier is that Mount Blahnukur is very visible already from the campsite. It’s the tall blue grey mountain that you can spot behind the Landmannalaugar huts and if you look closely you can already see the hiking trail going up.
We followed the gravel road that lead us away from the Landmannalaugar huts and soon we had to cross a small bridge across a stream. In the distance we could see another arrow and this one lead us straight up to the hiking trail of Mount Blahnukur.
The trail itself consists of loose gravel and small rocks. Combine that with a pretty steep incline and it’s safe to say that I was very happy that I brought my trekking poles with me!
The first part of the trail is definitely the hardest. The incline is steep and there are a ton of switchbacks. But I didn’t even have time to feel the burn in my legs because the views simply kept on getting better and better.
Behind us we could see the Landmannalaugar campsite getting smaller and smaller and on the right we could see the Laugahraun lava field stretching as far as the eye could see. And on both sides we got a clear view of the rhyolite mountains with Mount Brennisteinsalda showing off its vibrant colors.
The trail kept on creeping up the mountain and it was hard not to stop every 5 meters. Not because I was out of breath (okay, I was!), but because I wanted to take a photo every few seconds. This landscape was something I had never seen before and at times I thought I wasn’t even on planet Earth anymore.
The sun was peeping through the clouds, highlighting the vibrant colors of the mountains even more and I felt so much joy and excitement rushing through my veins that I had to stop every now and then just to take it all in.
This is definitely a hike that you don’t want to rush. You don’t see landscapes like this anywhere else in Europe. So take your time and enjoy!
After about 40 minutes of climbing and stopping to take photos we finally reached the top. And I got to tell you… the views only got better! We now had a 360° view over Landmannalaugar and if not for the strong wind I could have stayed there for ages.
TIP 💡 – There’s a small rock pinnacle at the top which serves as the perfect place to take photos. You can bet your bottom dollars that yours truly took a ton of photos here!
After reaching the summit the trail becomes a lot easier. It’s a very steady decline into the Landmannalaugar valley that again will leave you speechless every step along the way. There used to be a second hiking trail downwards but it was steep and not well maintained that it got closed off. Simply follow the yellow markers and you’ll stay on the correct trail.
By the time we reached the valley a couple of hours had already passed and so far we still hadn’t seen anyone else on the trail. It was just the two of us surrounded by this breathtaking landscape and it felt completely surreal.
The trail heads to the east and eventually drops down to Graenagil, a canyon that cuts through the mountains. The last part of the trail is a pretty steep decline and sturdy hiking shoes are a must since it can be pretty slippery at times.
After entering the valley simply follow the yellow markers and they will lead you through the river bedding straight to theLaugahraun lava field. After a while the yellow markers will stop and you will end up at a crossroads. One arrow points to the Laugavegur Trail and the other one points to Landmannalaugar and is colored orange. It’s the orange trail markers that you’ll need to follow.
For this part of the trail you’ll need the scramble over the lava rocks for a while but it’s not too hard. There are plenty of orange markers to show you the way and after 20 to 30 minutes you’ll exit theLaugahraun lava field and walk next to a river and next to the base of Mount Blahnukur.
It was only now, around 11am, that we were starting to see some other hikers. I was baffled by how late all of them started but also happy that because of that we pretty much had the entire hiking trail all to ourselves.
We finished off our hiking adventure with a drone flight over these stunning rhyolite mountains before heading back to the campsite. And I can assure you, these mountains are even more impressive when seen from the sky!
I hope you’ll love this hike as much as I did cause it’s truly one of the best hikes to do in Landmannalaugar!
Iceland Hiking Packing List
A lot of people come to Iceland unprepared for the cold, especially during the Summer months. While it can get warm on a sunny day you also need to be prepared for the cold and typical Icelandic wind. For instance, when we were hiking up this mountain I was sweating a lot but the wind was so cold and so harsh that I had to wear a bonnet to keep my ears warm and pain free.
Below are some items that you definitely want to bring with you if you’re planning an adventurous trip to Iceland.
Hiking shoes – You will definitely need a pair of these. Even that some attractions are located right next to a parking lot you’ll pretty much always have to hike over a rocky terrain. I love my Meindl Mountain Trail Boots for longer hikes and my Danner Mountain Light Boots for daily wear and shorter distances.
Wind Proof Jacket – Never go. toIceland without one! The Icelandic wind can be brutal and extremely cold when not properly prepared. I wore my Fjallraven Vidda Jacket during the entire trip and was super happy that I brought it with me.
Woolen cap – The perfect accessory to protect your ears from the cold and to cover your hair after a few days without a shower.
Trekking poles – These will especially come in handy if you’re hiking in some of the more remote areas in Iceland.
Headlamp – It’s very popular to visit the eruption site in the late evening. When it gets darker the lava lits up the sky and you can see it glistening and burning even more. To ensure your safety it’s best to carry a headlamp with you. This way you can keep your hands free and you can see where you’re walking in the dark. I love this one by PETZL, it’s not too expensive and does the trick.
Back Pack – You’ll want to bring a back pack with you to carry your camera, some snacks and your refillable water bottle. I love the Kanken No. 2 back pack from Fjallraven and pretty much take it with me everywhere I go.
Refillable Water Bottle – The water in Iceland is some of the freshet in the entire world so there’s no need at all to buy plastic bottles. Simply find the nearest stream to fill up your bottle and you’re good to go.
More Iceland Blog Posts
I have visited the land of ice and fire 3 times in 3 years and I loved adventuring and driving around the country. On my blog you can find a ton of free resources to help you plan the perfect trip to this beautiful country.
Below are some of my favorite articles and there’s a lot more to come so keep an eye on this space!
- The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland – A list of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland that I visited myself, divided by region.
- The perfect winter road trip in Iceland – A day by day guide and retelling of my first time visiting this beautiful country.
- Hidden Gems in Iceland – Of the beaten path places that haven’t been discovered by mass tourism.
- Fagradalsfjall Hiking Trail – How To Visit The Active Volcano in Grindavik Iceland