There are basically two ways in to Landmannalaugar, Iceland’s natural wonderland, road F208 from the north and F208 from the south. After much research, I decided to take the easier north route since I was traveling alone. The south route reportedly has a number of stream crossings and other potential problem areas.
Some of the photos below of the north route may not look like much, but in person the landscape is sweeping and epic. And for those planning a trip to Landmannalaugar and wondering what road conditions are like, these photos are priceless.
F208, at least in the summer months, is a well-maintained hard gravel road with some sections that have a number of pot holes. I rented a Toyota Land Cruiser for the journey, but saw a large variety of vehicles on the route, including bicycles, motorcycles, and a tiny Fiat Panda (seen in this video). This is also the route the public buses take to Landmannalaugar.
F208 North Photos
A sluice gate dam on the way to F208. The area has a number of hydroelectric plants and power lines.
You know you’ve arrived in the area when you come up over a ridge during the first part of the drive and see this sweeping panorama before your eyes. I had never seen anything like this. It was like being on another planet and these photos do not come close to capturing the entirety. In the distance, the hills were enveloped by swirling sandstorms, all across the horizon.
On this particular day, there was a freak storm with SUSTAINED winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour with a wind chill in the 20s or 30s. I have never had the wind blow on me incessantly like this day.
What I remember about this place, perhaps a third of the way to Landmannalaugar, is the raw, untamed nature. The wind was blowing 40-50 mph here, whipping the water, and whipping the air with bone-chilling intensity. Perhaps it will be calmer on your visit.
I was glad I was driving. Bone-chilling wind and an epic sandstorm made this hike one to remember for this couple.
Frostastadarvatn Lake near Landmannalaugar. There is a steep overlook that you can park on to take in the lake.