There are some places in the world where you can find endless views of nothing and yet everything at the same time. Landmannalaugar in the Iceland Highlands is one of those places and though the journey here may not be the easiest, we promise it’s worth the endeavour. Read on to discover how to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour. 

— Visited in July, 2021

Man hiking in Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is an area of surreal beauty located deep in the Iceland Highlands. Most famous for its spectacularly coloured mountains, the area is no short of an adventure for those willing to make the testing trek into these inhabitable lands. 

Getting to Landmannalaugar involves embarking on an expedition away from the famous ring road. With the requirement of a 4×4, be ready for a drive through endless lava fields, pebbled rivers and scenes that can only be described as Mars on Earth. 

Fortunately for us travellers, due to the reasonable distance from Reykjavik, there are several options for reaching this wondrous area of Iceland as a day trip. For those who started feeling a little nervy at the sound of needing a 4×4, let us ease your mind as there are options to keep you from driving.

If you’re looking for more detail on other stops you must not miss in Iceland, then check out our Guide to the Ring Road. But for now, read on and discover how to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour. 

How to get to Landmannalaugar by bus, car or tour

Landmannalaugar can only be accessed via Iceland’s infamous mountain roads, otherwise referred to as f-roads. These f-roads come in varying conditions and difficulty but as a standard, they are unpaved gravel tracks that require a 4×4 vehicle to pass.

As with all f-roads, understanding the route you are taking is the most important step before setting off. Every route differs immensely with the inclusion of river crossings, long planes of sand and steep rocky sections. If you aren’t experienced in off-road driving we would recommend one of the non-driving options detailed later in this blog. It’s also worth noting that a lot of cars in Iceland aren’t insured for f-roads so check your contract. 

The roads to Landmannalaugar, and all f-road in Iceland, close throughout the winter months from late October to late June (this can vary depending on the season). This is due to the extreme conditions, snow cover and high water levels in the rivers. Super Jeeps, which are specially modified 4×4 vehicles, are an exemption to this and will be discussed later in this blog. 

Bus to Landmannalaugar

Whether you decide not to hire a car or like us only hire a 2wd, then it is likely you will be googling “how to get to Landmannalaugar?”. While a self-drive adventure to Landmannalaugar may be off the cards, reaching the coloured peaks with Iceland’s public buses is not, making for a stress-free and convenient alternative.

There are two companies that make the expedition, TREX and Reykjavik Excursions. The bus to Landmannalaugar starts in Reykjavik at around 7:30 am and arrives in Landmannalaugar a bumpy 4-hours later. There is also a second bus leaving Reykjavik at 12:30 pm during the longest days of summer. The returning buses leave in the afternoon with times depending on the company and month, so be sure to check the timetables before booking.

If you’ve set out on a 2wd adventure around Iceland’s ring road, then we’re happy to advise that the bus from Reykjavik makes a stop at Hella and the Rjupnavellir Campsite en route to Landmannalaugar. This means you can start your adventure around the island, cut out some of the required bus time and also get a good sleep in before your big day of hiking! We recommend staying the night at the Rjupnavellir Campsite as this is the closest point to Landmannalaugar before the f-road begins and also the location of the bus stop. The campsite also has cabins for those looking for a cosy night.

A return ticket from Reykjavik will cost you 17,300 ISK while a pick up in Hella or Rjupnavellir is a reduced 11,100 ISK. To check the timetables and book tickets head on over to the websites of TREX or Reykjavik Excursions. Book in advance as these buses do sell out.

The bus service to Landmannalaugar is only available during the summer months from late June to early September. Outside this period the f-roads of Iceland are closed.

Driving to Landmannalaugar

On this particular adventure, we actually didn’t take on a self-drive to Landmannalaugar. However, as soon as the off-road bus reached the outskirt f-roads we knew we would be back another day to tackle it ourselves. 

While the hiring of a 4×4 purely for a single day trip to Landmannalaugar was hard to justify pre-trip, we questioned this decision once we reached the barren lands of Landmannalaugar. The freedom to stop at will and marvel in the magnificent scenes taking place before our eyes were all we could think of as the big bus slowly bounced from bend to bend making full use of its suspension.

The f-roads of Iceland are infamously known for their difficult nature to navigate and questionable conditions, so the roads to Landmannalaugar are no different. Fortunately for those of us not overly experienced in off-road driving, there are a number of routes to reach Landmannalaugar varying from easy to difficult. With the freedom and flexibility of time that a self-drive to Landmannalaugar can bring, we hope to give you the information you need to decide whether you wish to take the plunge and drive to Landmannalaugar yourself.

Note: As is the case when driving anywhere in Iceland, the conditions can have a big impact on your safety driving. This impact is enhanced when it comes to F-roads so be sure to check the road condition updates as provided by Safe Travel Iceland. It is also worth advising that there is a significant river crossing just before reaching the campsite in Landmannalaugar which can become relatively deep after rainfall. If you are not comfortable making the crossing, as a majority of visitors do not, there is parking just before it. From this parking area, it is only a pedestrian bridge and a short walk to the Landmannalaugar Campsite. 

Route 1: The Easiest Drive to Landmannalaugar 

After discussions with other travellers about the drive to Landmannalaugar, the evidence was overwhelming that this is the easiest route to Landmannalaugar. This route comes from the north first heading on the F26 before turning south down the F208. The drive involves no river crossings or steep sections of road and the condition of the road was relatively good for an f-road. 

A positive to choosing this route, other than a potential reduction in stress levels, is that you will pass the canyon Sigöldugljùfur. Considered one of the hidden gems of Iceland, the canyon, also known as the ‘valley of tears’, is home to many waterfalls of vivid blue water and there is every chance you will have this spot all to yourself.

Difficulty // Easy

Distance from Reykjavik // 200km

Driving Time // 3 hours

Route 2: The Most Scenic Drive to Landmannalaugar 

Luckily for us, the public bus to Landmannalaugar shares this route allowing us to experience arguably the most scenic drive to Landmannalaugar. Setting off from the west on the F225, the path embarks on a journey through regions of green valleys before reaching the deserted fields of black rock and sand. The path is ever encapsulated by views of towering mountains which are eclipsed by Hekla to the south, the most active volcano in Iceland. 

There are several (around 4) small river crossings on the drive to Landmannalaugar when taking the F225. Based on the smaller 4×4 vehicles we saw crossing, these were not too difficult, but always be sure to check the conditions in advance as this can always change. The road was predominantly sand and manageable for most drivers when taken slow. 

Difficulty // Medium

Distance from Reykjavik // 180km

Driving Time // 3.5 hours

Route 3: The Most Difficult Drive to Landmannalaugar 

Identified as a challenging mountain road with uneven surfaces, large rocky sections and difficult river crossings, the route from the south utilises the F208 and is known as the most difficult drive to Landmannalaugar. This drive should only be attempted by those with a large 4×4 and good experience in off-road driving.

This drive to Landmannalaugar is known to have over 15 river crossings with some of these becoming impassable during heavy rain. For those with experience looking for an adventure, be sure to check conditions before setting off. 

Difficulty // Hard

Distance from Reykjavik // 310km

Driving Time // 6 hours

Map / How to Get to Landmannalaugar

For those who take more detail from an image than words, the map below details Route 1, 2 and 3 above. The map shows where the start of the connecting f-road begins when looking for how to get to Landmannalaugar. Open the map key for a clearer display of the different routes.

As mentioned before, be sure to check the road conditions before setting out on any adventure.

Day Tours to Landmannalaugar

If you’re looking for a way to explore Landmannalaugar without the need for any planning, then one of the several day tours that depart from Reykjavik can be the perfect option. This is great for those looking for a stress-free guided approach to experience the wonderful landscapes that Landmannalaugar has to offer. 

While tours can sometimes limit your time in a place, the tours to Landmannalaugar cover a lot of ground giving time to explore the wonderful colourful mountains, the lava fields of Laugahraun and have a dip in the hot springs to finish the day. Most tours also include a drive by the base of the Hekla Volcano which makes for an added bonus over the public bus.

As it is a day tour, be prepared for a considerable bus journey in each direction. Fortunately, due to the increased daylight hours of summer, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Landmannalaugar making it a great option. These tours only run through the summer months.

The Landmannalaugar 4-Hour Hiking Experience and Landmannalaugar Hiking Day Trip are two tours that are highly reviewed with travellers saying it was their favourite day in Iceland!

Super Jeep Tour to Landmannalaugar

A Super Jeep is a modified 4×4 vehicle that is specially built to handle the extreme conditions that a trip into the Iceland highlands demands. In fact, one of the biggest appeals to a Super-Jeep tour is that they are not limited to the summer months making tours to Landmannalaugar all year round. 

If visiting in the summer, the Super Jeep tour gives the ability to cover a lot of ground including visits along the ridge of the Hekla Volcano at 3000 feet, the Ljótipollur Crater, the Hjálparfoss Waterfall and of course all that Landmannalaugar has to offer. While the tour is still limited to a day, you’ll cover a lot more than a standard 4×4 would in a day. 

The biggest appeal to most who take the Super Jeep tour is the ability to visit in Winter and experience Landmannalaugar in its most dramatic of forms. This type of tour is the only way to explore Landmannalaugar during the winter months. 

For a truly unique experience try this Landmannalaugar & Hekla Private Super Jeep Tour which runs all year round.

Thanks For Reading

Thank you for reading our blog post, we hope it gave you that little motivation to book your next adventure!

If you are looking for a little more information on Iceland why not check out our guide to the ring road.

If you have any questions then let us know in the comments below or contact us via the contact page. Want to keep up with our adventures? Then follow us on our Instagram.