A weekend in Landmannalaugar

12. February 2013 —Discover Iceland
Volcanic rock covered in snow in Landmannalaugar
Estelle Divorne

Estelle from our office took a trip to Landamannalaugar.

An epic journey!

That is how I would describe this weekend in Landmannalaugar in winter. After meeting our driver Stefán in Reykjavík, we headed to the South Coast and then followed the track leading to the highlands. On Saturday, the sun was with us for most of the trip across the small lakes, craters and lava fields, beautifying these amazing landscapes. The volcano Hekla, said to be the doors of hell in the old days, stands on our right side. Its top mysteriously hidden in the clouds. On our left side, the mountain Búrfell shows up majestically under a bright rainbow.

Estelle Divorne

Getting to Landmannalaugar

On the way to Landmannalaugar, I quickly start to understand why we are in a super jeep with monstrous big tires. When the track is not visible, Stefán has to follow his nose - and his GPS - to find a way in the snow! That is when the real adventure begins. He explains that he does not always take the same way. It all depends on the weather and snow conditions.

"We‘re still moving“, he keeps saying with a smile when the three passengers that we are, more used to drive on Reykjavik's streets, start to be  afraid to get stuck in the snow. At this time of the trek, we have no idea what awaits us. Once passed the small craters Hnausapollur and Ljótipollur (the misnamed „Ugly Pot“...), the mountain hut is now in sight. We finally reach our destination, Landmannalaugar, after fording the glacial rivers twice.

Exploring a Snow Covered Wonderland

At the mountain hut, we put on snowshoes and go for a hike to the foot of the volcano Brennisteinsalda. The lava field, which in the summertime is a maze of sharp rocks, is now covered with snow and easy to cross. I start to notice reddish part of the mountain and wonder why is there no snow. As we approach, we realize that the ground is hot and we are surrounded by steam jets! Volcanoes are definitely still active in this region. We enter a small valley and gaze upon the colourful rhyolite mountains formed from the volcanoes in this area. In the hut we enjoy the best part of the hike: a relaxing bath in the natural hot pool! Next time, I promise, we will respect the Icelandic tradition to bathe naked in the natural springs...

In the evening, we taste the famous Icelandic lamb in the warm atmosphere of the mountain hut. We are impressed by the various skills of Stefán: not only is he a good driver in harsh conditions, but also a skilled hiking guide, a talented cook and a funny storyteller.

Estelle Divorne

An Eventful Ending to a Great Weekend

Sunday definitely brought us another adventure. After raining all night long, the river grew larger and water accumulated on yesterday's track! We form a convoy with some other super jeeps, and fortunately all these experienced drivers are very resourceful. After long minutes trying to find the best way, we find ourselves on an island in the middle of the flow...

With the mutual help of the drivers, we finally all manage to reach the other riverbank. Once we crossed the river, we are not out of the woods. With knee-deep water in yesterday's track, we need to find another way, closer to the hills, in order not to get stuck.

We get back to the road just before the sunset. Fortunately, we even have time to stop at Gullfoss and Geysir to admire the waterfall and the geothermal zone before heading back to Reykjavík.

Hey, when do we go back to the highlands?!...

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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