Icelandic highlands, Landmannalaugar, was definitely the most interesting hike we did during this trip. There was a big dose of adventure too but the hike had nothing to do with that. Let me just point out that going off the main road in Iceland means that you’ll most likely need a 4×4 car and on the mountain ‘F’ roads it’s even compulsory. Driving a normal car on roads marked by the letter ‘F’ might result to a fine, your insurance not being valid or your car being damaged. Long story short, although it was pitch-black we decided to go to Landmannalaugar anyway and up until this moment I can’t believe that our small Toyota Yaris survived and we didn’t need anyone’s help to get out of there. To put you in the picture, it’s about 25km from the main road to get to the Brennisteinsalda Camping and it took us over two hours of driving. To finish our exciting journey we had to park our car about 500 metres from the camping because there was a river that could be crossed only with a 4×4.
The next morning we woke up to a cloudy and drizzly day but most importantly we could finally see the stunning landscape surrounding us. We began the route walking around what it seemed to be another planet – a black bumpy field of dry lava covered with bright green moss. The route then directed us to a completely different landscape – light brown and red mountains with completely flat terrain in between and lots of sulphur geysers.
After that we started gaining a little bit of altitude so finally we got to see some view. This was really something very different to what I’d seen before – contrastive in colours, rough and surrounded by little geysers of smoke with a rather distinctive smell all around you. It actually seemed like a soft version of hell.
The highest peak of the day was quite steep so it’s good to zig-zag your way up. Once you’re up there your reward will be the view of the massive dry lava blanket surrounded by yellow and black hills. From the top it was just a short walk down back to the camp where we discovered a hot spring! It was only about 5 degrees outside but that cosy hot spring was already getting busy with other hikers.
The camping itself is very simple but has all the facilities – showers (that you have to pay for), toilets and a covered place to eat/cook. The camping’s highlight is definitely the natural, authentic and free hot spring! Later on we visited one of the more popular and bigger hot springs but the one in Landmannalaugar was way better.