I promised more on what Iceland has to offer so here goes. If you’re prepared to venture on gravel roads towards the interior Highlands, Landmannalaugar will reward you with some of the most spectacular natural landscapes imaginable.
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though as the route to the Highlands is filled with spectacular scenery of its own. Once you have turned off the “1” road you will be treated to magnificent views of Hekla; a stereotypical conical shaped stratovolcano, one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes, which in the past has given only between 30 to 80 minutes warning that an eruption was imminent. Yet despite the threat it poses it remains a truly magnificent sight and it’s hard to drag your eyes away as it dominates the horizon.
It is easy to see the movement of the historic lava flows from previous Hekla eruptions and imagine what it was like as the smoldering, hot lava slowly tumbled and sprawled over the ridges ahead. Soon the lava flows give way to an even more barren zone as fields of pale, fawn coloured pumice envelop the ground on either side of the road. It’s hard to know where to look next but whatever you do don’t fall asleep on this journey there’s just too much to miss.
Once at Landmannalaugar the colourful, constantly changing landscape is captivating. The colours vary from orange to grey to green and the landscape is like nowhere else on Earth. From here you can start the 55km hike to Ϸórsmörk along the iconic Laugarvegurinn trail. This takes about 4/5 days and was portrayed by the BBC in Julia Bradbury’s Iceland Walk. If this seems a bit daunting and you haven’t got the time to spare there is a much shorter yet still dramatic circular route that will take you through impressive obsidian lava flows, alongside imposing rhyolite mountains, passed pungent fumeroles and solfataras and finally through a vibrant river canyon.
Whatever you do though make sure you leave enough time to soak your limbs in the geothermally heated stream. This is the only way to relax before heading home and very Icelandic!