Deep in the Iceland Highlands, the colourful mountains of Landmannalaugar are a mystical looking wonder, but getting there is not easy. Here’s our advice on how to get to Landmannalaugar by car, bus or jeep.


Landmannalaugar is an area of immense and weird beauty in the Fjallabak National Reserve in southwest Iceland. Famous for dramatically coloured mountains, steaming sulphur vents and thermal pools, it’s awe-inspiring beauty and day-trip proximity to Reykjavík has made it a popular spot for travellers keen to appreciate some of the otherworldly beauty of Iceland’s highlands.

Getting to Landmannalaugar requires venturing off the popular ring road and exploring a remote and wild part of Iceland. It’s an exhilarating journey over crusty lava fields and rocky mountain roads.

Fortunately, there are several options for taking in this geological masterpiece.

Anyone willing to stroke their sense of adventure can drive to Landmannalaugar with a medium-sized 4×4. It’s a slow and bumpy ride through Iceland’s unique barren landscape, but a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Alternatively, there are regular bus services from Reykjavík and several tours to choose from.

Here’s all the information you need to decide how to get to Landmannalaugar. If you already know how you’re getting there, jump straight to our favourite hikes in Landmannalaugar.

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HOW TO GET TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

Deep in the remote highlands, Landmannalaugar can only be accessed via Iceland’s mountain roads (f-roads). These are unpaved gravel tracks that are not regularly maintained. F-roads come in all shapes and sizes and understanding them is one of our top travel tips for Iceland. Some are good quality gravel tracks that allow for speeds of up to 80kph; others will require fording rivers, traversing steep rocky inclines and gliding through sand.

The f-roads are closed throughout winter to all vehicles except Super Jeeps – specially modified 4×4 vehicles. They are generally open by the end of June and remain open until early October, however, openings vary from year to year based on weather conditions.

Getting to Landmannalaugar on the f-roads includes several different options each with different levels of complexity.

HOW TO GET TO LANDMANNALAUGAR


1 / SELF-DRIVE

There are 3 different routes to get to Landmannalaugar all with different levels of difficulty. A 4×4 is required for each of them.

2 / BUS FROM REYKJAVÍK

During the summer season, buses leave from Reykjavík twice a day with several stops along the way. Bus journey takes just over 4 hours.

3 / TOURS FROM REYKJAVÍK

During the summer season, daily tours run from Reykjavík taking you to Mount Hekla and the main attractions of Landmannalaugar.

4 / SUPER JEEP TOURS

If you feel like splashing out and having an adventure then super jeeps will bump and grind their way to Landmannalaugar any time of year, even through the snow.

1 / DRIVING TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

Driving to Landmannalaugar was our first foray onto the F-roads of Iceland.

As we ventured off the popular Ring Road to explore the highlands, a barely perceptible swathe of unkempt gravel trailed off into the distance with ominous-looking warning signs guarding either side. But soon our 4×4 was crunching over large rocks and dodging potholes, as bold colourful mountains rose all around us.

For good reason, the f-roads in Iceland have a reputation for being inhospitable to tourist and deceptively difficult to navigate. All true. In these remote and changeable conditions, it’s a good idea to be well prepared for a journey into the highlands. Read our F-roads in Iceland article for further details.

But although self-driving to Landmannalaugar takes laser-sharp concentration, for most travellers to the island, it’s a very achievable challenge. You’ll need a 4×4 but, with a number of different routes from easy to difficult, driving to Landmannalaugar is a great way to experience the highlands independently whilst indulging your sense of adventure.

Furthermore, with the long hours of daylight available in Iceland’s summer, self-driving allows you to see a lot more on your own timetable. Hike stunning well-marked trails over red and green rhyolite mountains, cross rivers bubbling with volcanic mud pots, crunch over crusty volcanic remnants and explore this remarkable area without worrying about catching the last bus or tour back to Reykjavík.

Please note that whichever route you chose, just before you reach Landmannalaugar, there is a river crossing. After heavy rain it can be deep, so if you don’t fancy crossing, just park before it, walk over the pedestrian bridge and you’ll find Landmannalaugar campsite just a hundred meters the other side.

ROUTE 1 - DRIVING TO LANDMANNALAUGAR ON THE F208 FROM THE NORTH

This is the easiest route to Landmannalaugar. The F208 from the north has no river crossings and although it takes the f-road for most of the way, none of the sections are very steep and the quality of the track is pretty good.

Another benefit of taking the F208 from the north is stopping at Sigöldugljufur – a seldom visited canyon just an hour before you arrive at Landmannalaugar. The rim of the canyon is no more than a 10-minute walk from the road and it’s a stunning sight. A river sloshes through steep-sided cliffs with a series of waterfalls cascading from the near vertical walls. Lush and green, the whole valley is painted perfection.

From Reykjavík it’s around 194 kilometres taking the Ring Road (Highway 1), then Highway 26 before turning onto the F208. Depending on the weather conditions, it will take just over 3 hours.

ROUTE 2 - DRIVING TO LANDMANNALAUGAR ON THE F225 FROM THE WEST

The F225 or Landmannaleið (the road to Landmannalaugar) is relatively flat and straight-forward. It’s also possibly one of the most scenic ways to get to Landmannalaugar.

The barely perceptible track contours beneath imposing bold mountains along a green valley floor. Eventually a swathe of black rock and sand – the remnants of Hekla, the mighty volcano looming to the south of the road – take over the scenery to create a barren otherworldly feel.

There are several small river crossings to make on the F225 (4 on our visit). Usually, none are too difficult, but conditions can change rapidly so check before you go.

This route is around 180 kilometres from Reykjavík taking the Ring Road (Highway 1), then Highway 26 before it turns onto the F225. Although it’s slightly shorter than option 1, it will take around 3 hours 15 minutes due to road conditions

ROUTE 3 - DRIVING TO LANDMANNALAUGAR ON THE F208 FROM THE SOUTH

The route via the F208 from the south follows the Ring Road (Highway 1) much further along the coast before turning onto the F208.

In general, this section of the F208 is a challenging mountain road with uneven terrain, rocks, potholes and tricky river crossings. It’s recommended only if you have a larger 4X4 and some experience. With deep drops on either side of the road in places, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Some people have said they had up to 15 river crossings on this section of the journey, many of which can become unpassable in heavy rains. Check conditions before you set off if you intend to take this route.

The F208 south route is 308 kilometres from Reykjavík and will take anywhere up to 5 to 6 hours depending on conditions.

2 / BUS TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

If driving to Landmannalaugar is not for you but you still want to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the area, a bus trip from Reykjavík is a great option.

The reliable services depart twice a day over the summer months and stop at 3 collection points in Reykjavík – the Town Hall, Laugardalur and Kringlan. First bus leaves at 7:30am and the second one at 12:30pm. Journey time is just over 4 hours.

If you are using a 2WD and making your way around the ring road then rather than get the bus from Reykjavík you can pick it up at Selfoss, Hella or Leirubakki making for a much shorter day trip.

Return buses depart from Landmannalaugar at 2:30pm and 6pm. The cost from Reykjavík is 17,000ISK (£92 / $116 / €106).

3 / DAY TOURS TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

If you don’t have the means or the desire to drive to Landmannalaugar yourself, there are several great day tours that depart Reykjavík. These still allow you to experience the geological wonder of the Landmannalaugar area; just on a limited timeframe.

Most tours drive past the base of Mt Hekla – Iceland’s most active volcano – offering excellent views of one of the countries most impressive natural landmarks. You’ll also be able to do all most of what you can do on a self-drive excursion: explore the Laugarhraun lava field, admire the colourful rhyolite mountains and relax in the waters of a natural geothermal pool.

Many tours include a guided walk of the wilderness area of Landmannalaugar which will give you the opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the area. A day tour does mean spending a long time on the bus, but the long daylight hours means is still well-worth doing.

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4 / SUPER JEEP TOURS TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

A Super Jeep tour to Landmannalaugar is a very expensive way to see the area, but it does come with some benefits that are not possible any other way.

These modified vehicles can take tours out all year round, meaning winter excursions are not out of the question. Equipped to cross extremely rugged terrain, a super jeep tour will take you to places you couldn’t get to on your own. Skirt past the base of Hekla for impressive views of its snow-covered peaks, visit the edge of one of the worlds youngest lava fields, then drive along the volcano’s ridge at almost 3,000 feet.

You’ll also see the sights you’d be able to on a regular tour or a self-drive trip, including the crater of Ljótipollur. However, with more time devoted to the difficult to get to places, there’s less time for exploring the colourful Landmannalaguar area on foot.

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MAP / GETTING TO LANDMANNALAUGAR

Before driving anywhere in the Iceland highlands, it’s very important to check conditions as they can change quickly. Safe Travel Iceland keeps road conditions updated on their site. It’s also a good idea to ask locals or your accommodation hosts for any tips.

We’ve put together some advice on hiring a car in Iceland and some tips to help you navigate the f-roads in Iceland – particularly important if you need to cross a river in a 4×4, which you may need to do at Landmannalaugar.

This map has the 3 different driving options from Reykjavik to help you plan your trip. To save this map, click on the star in the title bar which will save it to SAVED -> MAPS in Google Maps.

WHERE NEXT?

If you found this guide useful, please head over to Instagram and follow us to stay up to date with our adventures.

For more amazing places to see in Iceland, all of which can be visited independently, read about our favourite places in the highlands.

Once you venture off the Ring Road there’s a host of quirky and interesting locations to be seen in Iceland. From towering waterfalls to weird bubbling mud pools. Here are some more of our Icelandic adventures.

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