Iceland is a country where nature is exuberant, lavish and unique. No news here! Given the peculiarities of the Icelandic landscape, not every area for tourists is easily accessible. That is why we would like to share some information about the pearl of Iceland’s tourism: Landmannalaugar. This is one of those areas whose access requires a little more knowledge of the paths and the routes you will encounter on the way. If you are thinking about a Self-Drive trip Landmannalaugar with your own rental car, then this article is right for you!
For those who have not thought of this type of adventure but are indeed interested in visiting Landmannalaugar, we will provide you with enough tips for your upcoming trip. Besides being a place with an unusual name, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland. Surely many of those gorgeous photos you see posted on the Internet of the mountains with thousands of colors and breathtaking landscapes are usually taken in this region.
Landmannalaugar is located in the south of Iceland, in a region called “The Highlands”. Landmannalaugar is a word composed of Landmanna and Laugar and it roughly translates to “the baths of the people of the area”. And to be honest, I think it is a very appropriate and descriptive name. Since Landmannalaugar is a place bursting with geothermal pools. Here you can find thermal baths with stunning surroundings. It is not difficult to understand why many Icelanders used these geothermal hot pots or pools as a place to chill and relax right before continuing their trip to other areas of the country.
To be completely fair, the geothermal baths are not the only thing worth mentioning. As the scenery deserves to be highlighted as well. The mountains found here are made of rhyolite rock that ranges from deep ashy grey tones to the most vibrant shades of red, green and golden yellow. But the intensity of the color depends on the light and the position of the sun, so the landscape is never really the same. This is a good enough reason to visit Landmannalaugar but before doing so, we need to know how to reach it:
The most common alternative is buying bus tickets as coaches often offer low prices and comfortable journeys but they can lack flexibility. Some companies offer both guided and non-guided tours. In this article, we want to focus on a self-drive trip to Landmannalaugar with your own rented vehicle, so keep in mind that you need to rent a 4×4 car as we need to drive on F-Roads, where these type of autos are mandatory.
F-Roads are mountain roads mostly located within the highlands region. They are usually unpaved and kind of tough to drive on. You will have to ford rivers and go across complicated paths, which is why 2WD vehicles just won’t do. F-Roads are not open all year long, as they are impassable during the winter time. Approximate opening time depends on the weather but it is usually by mid-June.
To drive to Landmannalaugar you can use the following routes:
F208 North: Considered the most beautiful route of the three different ways to access Landmannalaugar but it is perhaps the most complicated one. You will have to go across several rivers, so caution and preparation are a must for this trip. Weather in Iceland is quite changeable and the rivers’ water level is not always the same. This also applies to the summertime so please be prudent and check the road conditions before starting your trip.
This route is 102 kilometers long and it starts in Skaftártunguvegur and ends at Sprengisandsleið in the highlands.
Plan a Marvelous Self-Drive Trip to Landmannalaugar
F208 North: To get to this road, you need to drive through road 32, then access road F26, which will lead you to road F208 on the north of Landmannalaugar. This route is easier compared to the F208 South and is way more popular among travelers. There is only one stream crossing but it is optional. You can park your vehicle in the resting area and just walk across the bridge.
F225: drive on road 26 and then take F225. This itinerary will take you past Mount Hekla. You will have to ford some rivers but they are way easier to cross compared to route F208 South.
Regardless of your chosen path, do always keep an eye on the weather and road conditions. This is something you can not just take for granted. You can easily get this information on the official Icelandic weather and Road administration website. They provide the updated status of current weather conditions and any situation that drivers should be aware of.