Þjórsárdalur – Hjálparfoss – Ljótipollur – Mt. Hekla – Landmannalaugar
This one-day tour takes us to the delightful Landmannalaugar valley. Landmannalaugar, which translates as ‘the people’s pools’ lies at the center of the Icelandic highlands.
We enter the highlands through the Þjórsádalur Valley which takes its name from Þjórsá river. It offers an extraordinary landscape of sandy lava fields, rivers, birch woods, bizarre rock formations and waterfalls. Our first stop is at Hjálparfoss (Help waterfall), one of Iceland’s loveliest waterfalls, and it’s the last bit of green that you’ll see before entering the extraordinary multi-colored rhyolite mountain scape of the highlands, a kaleidoscope of pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black and white sand.
Next, we arrive at the ‘pearls of the highlands’, the water-filled Ljótipollur, an explosion crater lake. It name translates as Ugly puddle but it’s anything but. The red crater walls create a stunning sight that you’ll be all too excited about photographing.
From there we head to the highlight of the tour, the wonderful area of Landmannalaugar, a place within the Fjallabak nature reserve. The landscape here is quite surreal and a favorite for hikers. Among the most popular routes for hikers are the Laugavegur trail which ends in the gorgeous Þórsmörk, and Hellismannaleið (The cave man route). Here you have an opportunity to bathe in the natural hot springs of the Landmannalaugar oasis or take a short stroll around the area. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and a towel if you’re interested in a geothermal bath.
From the warm pools of Landmannalaugar we make our way to the queen of active Icelandic volcanoes, Mount Hekla. Our specially modified jeeps drive to a height of 950 meters up the side of the volcano, from where you can enjoy the astounding views in all directions. As this is a long day, it might be possible to see the Northern lights at the end of the tour during the darkest of winter days.