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Your Guide to Hiking Landmannalaugar's Hot Springs

|March 21, 2023
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If you’re planning to hike the glorious trails of Landmannalaugar, you may have questions about soaking in the reserve’s famous hot springs. Learn more.


No hiker’s trip to Iceland would be complete without heading to the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Icelandic Highlands and trekking the trails of Landmannalaugar. After a long day of hiking, there’s no better way to relax than by soaking your tired muscles and feet in warm, mineral-rich water. Iceland is one of the only hiking destinations in the world where this can be done in authentic hot springs, and if you ask us, Landmannalaugar is the best. After all, it’s not known as ‘the people’s pools’ without good reason. If this is at the top of your bucket list, you’re in luck, because we offer not only a day hiking tour but also a three-day trek, allowing you to explore these wondrous tracks.

The bathing pool at Landmannalaugar is located conveniently with facilities such as changing rooms and showers, a nearby campground and a parking area. This makes it easy for people looking to visit not only the hot springs, and also something you can easily incorporate into a longer hiking trip. The bathing pool is natural, not man-made, which gives the whole experience a very attractive and rustic element. The scenic location makes for plenty of memorable and Instagrammable moments, where you can simply switch off and unwind.

Hot Springs and Steam Vents in Landmannalaugar

Steam rising from steam vents in Landmannalaugar, Iceland

When you’re exploring and hiking around Landmannalaugar, you’ll notice there is geothermal activity everywhere. The region abuts the Laugahraun lava field, making the area a hotbed for hot springs, steam vents and more. While you may see steam and water all throughout your visit, there is only one true designated bathing pool.

When hiking in Landmannalaugar, you’ll get to see examples of this geothermal activity all over, with various hot springs, rivers and steam vents nestled amongst the colorful rhyolite mountains. Steam vents are fissures on the surface of the earth that allow steam to escape into the air. This is caused by water below the surface coming into contact with magma deep below. As the water makes contact, it vaporizes, taking on the form of steam, and escapes through the earth's surface. The effect is otherworldly, but doesn’t make for hot spring soaking opportunities!

Safe Swimming and Soaking in Landmannalaugar

It’s also important to note that not all the hot springs you see around Landmannalaugar are safe and suitable for swimming. In order for soaking to be safe, you need to find locations where hot and cold water meets and mix to form a safe and comfortable temperature. The bathing pools are a perfect example of this. While exploring, you will also see many rivers, which are far too cold to swim in.

So for these reasons, it’s important that you do not attempt to soak in any hot springs or water sources when exploring the area and pay attention to what your guides say, only getting in the pools they designate as safe for doing so. The safest way to explore the area is on a tour of Landmannalaugar, where you will benefit from the expertise of a guide who is extremely familiar with the area. A tour of the highlands volcanoes gives you the opportunity to enjoy a soak in the soothing hot spring at Landmannalaugar after an action packed few days of Icelandic adventure.

Is Landmannalaugar a Good Alternative to the Blue Lagoon?

Steam rising from geothermal pools at Landmannalaugar, Iceland

Though both destinations offer a similar hot spring experience, there are certainly some differences to consider. Firstly, Landmannalaugar’s location in the wild highlands of Iceland, makes it much more remote than the Blue Lagoon and therefore far less crowded. If you are taking a self-drive tour, you will also notice that there is no entry fee at Landmannalaugar’s hot springs, unlike the Blue Lagoon where you will be required to purchase a ticket in advance.

The hot springs in Landmannalaugar are typically used as a place of rest and relaxation after long hikes and hours of exploration and trekking, in contrast, the Blue Lagoon tends to be more suited to those looking to socialize and enjoy the spa facilities. 

Are you ready to get exploring? Browse our tours to find your next holiday in Iceland.

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