travel

ICELAND TRIP REPORT: Landmannalaugar, Iceland’s incredible highlands

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 1

Because we had rented a 4 wheel drive camper from Go Campers, we wanted to make the most of it. There was this ridiculously scenic place that my sister came across – Landmannalaugar – the gateway to Iceland’s highlands. Only reachable by a long stretch of F roads, accessible only by four wheel drives and concluding in a grand river crossing in order to reach the campsite. Totally doable for two people who have never driven a four wheel drive on the wrong side of the road, crossing a river whilst we were at it. We totally did it!! There was nothing getting between us and the mountains and we were so keen to see this incredible place with our own eyes..

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 2

HOW TO GET TO LANDMANNALAUGAR:

There are three ways to approach Landmannalaugar. It was incredibly confusing when we were researching this but I’ve got it in a neat summary below:

  • OPTION ONE: The easiest and most popular route is to take route 208 in arriving from the North. (From Reykjavik, you’d drive on Route 1 (Ring Road), then turn off onto Route 26, then keep driving until you hit route 208. This is the route we took, and it involved lots of gravel roads (from memory most of route 26 if not all is gravel and so is route 208) and culminated in the grand river crossing
  • OPTION TWO: The second easiest route is to take route 225, approaching Landmannalaugar from the west. This is a shorter route than the first one but from what I read online, it is harder to drive
  • OPTION THREE: The more difficult and hardest route to drive is to approach Landmannalaugar from the south, taking route 208 in (but from the other direction). I heard this is the most scenic route but expect to cross more than one river.

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 3

Our main mission at Landmannalaugar was to do the Mt Blahnjukur (Blue Peak) hike. We wanted to do the hike at sunset to see the golden glow settle amongst the mountains. However, on the day we allocated to be in Landmannalaugar, it was extremely cold and windy (though I heard it’s always cold and windy here) and as a result, we were unfortunately not able to complete the entire hike. However, what we did do gave us a jaw-dropping glimpse into the highlands of Iceland and we were so glad we attempted it despite the weather.

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 4

The hike up Mt Blahnjukur is a steep ascent starting from the campsite to the summit marker. It can take about an hour but expect to take longer if you end up stopping every 5 minutes to take a snap. Once you reach the summit marker, what I understand is that you continue along the ridge line to the other side of the mountain, down into a valley and then through the Laugahraun lava field and back to the campsite. This descent takes about 3 hours and is what we skipped because the cold, wind and darkness was not something we had prepared for. Instead, we took the same path down the mountain.

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 5

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 6

Most of these images were taken from our hike up Mt Blahnjukur. As you can see, it really is quite a breathtaking view from above. The colourful rhyolite mountains here really look like a watercolour painting.

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 7

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 8

On the other side, there is the view of the lava fields. There are so many lava fields in the area and the ruggedness of it all really feels like you’re on another planet. Here are some more images from the view from above..

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 9

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 10

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 11

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 12

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 13

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 14

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 15

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 16

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 17

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 18

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 19

ABOUT CAMPING AT LANDMANNALAUGAR:

The campsite at Landmannalaugar is the only campsite in the area for accessing the highlands. It costs 2000 ISK per person to camp there and an additional 500 ISK per person for a 5 minute hot shower. The tricky thing with accessing the campsite is that you need to cross a river. By river, it is actually quite shallow but if you are hiring a rental vehicle and you’re in the middle of no where, you’re going to make sure all goes to plan. With our Go Camper vehicle, the insurance did not cover river crossings so you’re going to be taking a gamble when you do cross one. We were told to check how deep the river is before you cross it, watch how others cross it and ask for help if needed before attempting to cross it ourself. We took the advice super seriously as we had never done it before and ended up watching at least 10 cars cross the river with ease including one super tiny vehicle before we finally decided it was A-OK. It was totally ok, like driving to a humungous puddle. The adrenaline rush was intense!

After that, a family we had consulted with prior to crossing the river (who didn’t dare cross it either) ended up having a go crossing the river right after us just for fun. So great.

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 20

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 21

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 22

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 23

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 24

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 25

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 26

landmannalaugar mt blahnjukur blue peak hike iceland 27

Worn throughout this post: Jackets from Kathmandu | Blanket throw by Otto and Spike | Leggings from Lululemon 

All in all, we had an amazing time at Landmannalaugar. The view was stunning and felt so precious. We were so glad we had our 4WD camper or we would never have been able to access such a hidden beauty. Next time, I would love to come back and complete that hike!

Photography: Connie Cao & Rowena Cao

  • Pin this page
  • Share this on tumblr
  • 0

You Might Also Like...

12 Comments

  • Reply
    Rena
    September 28, 2017 at 5:57 PM

    Obviously it is so impressing there! Thanks a lot for the adorable pictures!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 4, 2017 at 4:36 PM

      Thanks Rena, it’s really quite magical there. Hope to visit again soon!

  • Reply
    Vickie
    September 28, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    wow, that landscape is incredible!

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 4, 2017 at 4:36 PM

      Thanks Vickie. It really is something isn’t it? I just love the mountains there.

  • Reply
    Monique | Little Miss Mon Bon
    September 30, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    OMG this place looks amazing! It looks too good to be real <3

    xx Mon
    http://www.littlemissmonbon.com

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 4, 2017 at 4:37 PM

      It’s a little bit crazy isn’t it?

  • Reply
    Diana
    October 2, 2017 at 2:28 AM

    Iceland is honestly a treasure, it looks absolutely stunning. These photos are gorgeous, thank you for sharing! xx

    http://mylovelierdays.com

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 4, 2017 at 4:37 PM

      Thanks Diana. Really hope it stays the same for years to come. Love Iceland!

  • Reply
    Maru Conti
    October 4, 2017 at 4:02 AM

    Great!

    https://brightdecember.blogspot.com/

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 4, 2017 at 4:36 PM

      Thanks for visiting our blog!

  • Reply
    Karen
    October 13, 2017 at 7:29 AM

    I love Iceland- the most beautiful country on earth! And I love your blog- such gorgeous photos. Question- where are your backpack and beanie from? Thanks
    PS would love if you did an updated blog on travel/ what to pack (lightly but still looking stylish) for different holiday types, eg city break, European break, summer holidays

    • Reply
      Connie Cao
      October 16, 2017 at 1:10 PM

      Hi Karen, Sorry for the delay! The backpack is from Anello – it’s a very popular brand in Japan. The beanie is from Otto and Spike, they’re handmade here in Australia!

      Thanks also for the blog post suggestion. Would love to put together something like this (and also for Iceland too, because there are all sorts of useful things to pack for Iceland). Will try my best to get something like this up soon :) Keep an eye out.

    Leave a Reply