Do you ever get dizzy from the scenery that opens up around you? No? Then you haven’t been to the Landmannalaugar valley yet. It’s not just the usual lawns and wide fields surrounded by rugged cliffs. There are views that make you feel so utterly unreal. The term “beautiful” in the reviews of visitors to the colored mountains is found very, very rarely because of its inconsistency. Much more often – repeated “stunning”, “amazing”, “unforgettable”, “magical” etc. etc. – and it’s all about her, the Landmannalaugar valley or the colorful mountains of Iceland..
Although its name (literally) is “the baths of the men of this land,” this area of central Iceland was given in honor of its other natural beauty – the natural baths with healing water from the thermal springs. Apparently, the ancestors really appreciated the opportunity to bathe in hot water in any weather.
But modern Icelanders call this place “The Pearl of the Mountains”, which you will definitely agree with when you come here. Find the F26 on the map and it will take you to the pearl. The valley is situated 600 m above sea level, 20 km from the once most fearsome volcano in Iceland Hecla (The Gates to Hell). However, it can still remind you of itself with a column of volcanic ash and lava outpouring, which happened in 2011.
The local mountains are formed from the volcanic rock – rhyolite, similar in quality to granite. It contains inclusions of different minerals, so these mountains have a great variety of colors and their shades. And in combination with the colors of the sky, water, snow and ice – in front of you will open the entire spectrum of the rainbow. The main thing is to bring your photo and video cameras. And, of course, a lot more. Because Iceland is a lady with a fickle nature and likes to test the fortitude of her guests.
During the season, it gets crowded, as people who want to see the colorful mountains of Iceland in person come here from all over the world. Where do they all fit in? The answer is simple – in a tent camping. The campsite is near the hot thermal springs – with toilets and showers, as well as a large parking lot and a store. This is where we stay during our trekking in Iceland. A great continuation of the day full of walks and unique views will be bathing in the hot thermal springs. They are free, you can just lie in the warm water and admire the fabulous mountains, sometimes covered with snowflakes, as long as you want. It is so beautiful!
For many, the introduction to the colored mountains will end here, but for those who are stronger, continue on to the mountains. The route can be on foot or by car. If you choose the second option, the car is better to rent a four-wheel drive and reliable, because you will have to overcome fords. Although from the northern side of the F26, F208 you can go to the campsite by car. Always take warm and waterproof clothes and good-quality shoes in case of fords, rain, wind, snow and other bad weather. Do not forget about special outfit for trips to the mountains. There may be (definitely will be) slippery and loose slopes. By the way, on the roads you may come across houses with kitchens and cooking utensils, where you can rest and cook food, so do not hesitate to bring food with you.
The 30 kilometers of the F208 road may seem a bit boring to some, but the F225 is Something! First, the fords. Shallow and fairly easy to pass, which at first can scare a little novices, but on the third ford beginners turn into the experienced and already have the pleasure of overcoming the elements. Secondly, smoking, or rather, emitting a thick white steam land, with transitions zones of lava deserts in the green plains and small forests. And third, the mountains – just unreal colors! Ochre-gold, red, red-brick, maroon, blue, green, blue-green, not to mention browns of all hues and blacks. And all these colors and shades flow gently into each other somewhere, and somewhere they contrast sharply.
To catch the weather and look at this Paradise, it is better to come in July and August for a few days, with a tent. Walk, watch, remember, and take photos, because the landscape here is like a child’s kaleidoscope – it changes with every step.
We recommend to get acquainted with Landmannalaugar valley together with us by taking part in a hike across Iceland – “Landing on Mars“. Not only will you visit the colored mountains, but you will also see many other equally interesting places! Be warned, this is a real hike – you have to walk with backpacks and sleep in tents.
This is how a colorful, majestic Paradise and a mysterious hot, smoky Hell are side by side in Iceland.