Landmannalaugar in Winter
Spend 5 days cross-country skiing in the highlands while staying in the hut at Landmannalaugar. A fun and wintery exploration of this famous geothermal area covered in snow.
We continue riding on grassland, following the river Gljúfurá to an old cemetery and further down to the soft Ölfusá River bank. From there, we have a view of the river and if the weather allows the famous volcanos Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull.
Iceland has no reason to be jealous of continental Scandinavia when it comes to Cross country skiing with its northerly location just below the Arctic Circle. Here nature offers striking contrasts and incredibly diverse volcanic landscapes with craters, lava fields, snow filled gorges and canyons where thick steam curls burst out of Earth’s entrails. Travelling through these magnificent surroundings in the summertime is already an experience of continuous wonder. In winter, it is an extraordinary adventure open to only a few.
Landmannalaugar, the base camp for this circuit, is known to summer guests for colorful landscapes and amazing geothermal activity (the world’s third biggest source of geothermal hot springs); in winter the region regains its calm and serenity and this landscape of ravines and canyons becomes even more memorable with steam clouds rising from the snow-clad hills. Add to this scenery the pleasure of nice warm bath in a hot spring under the evening sky, sometimes decorated with the northern lights, after a good solid day of skiing!
Total walking distance: 100 km (60 miles)
Altitude: 400 – 1100 m (1310 – 3600 ft)
Maximum ascent: 500 m (1640 ft)
Day 1: Reykjavík – Sigalda – Landmannalaugar
Early pick up from the accommodation at 07:30. Leaving Reykjavík we head east on the road of Hellisheiði. After passing the village of Selfoss, we push north-west into Iceland’s interior, in the direction of the Atlantic rift. This road, the only road to the mountains that is cleared of snow, brings us to Sigalda, 23 km from Landmannalaugar where our vehicle drops us off. Here we put on our skis and set course in the direction of the lava fields of Bjallahraun. Our path takes us over the Hnausar pass, where it slightly descends to the lake Frostastaðavatn, before arriving at Landmannalaugar. We set camp in the mountain refuge where our luggage awaits us, and take our first hot bath just s few dozen meters from the hut.
Difference in altitude
Day 2:Ljótipollur crater – Landmannalaugar
A day spent in the discovery of Ljótipollur, an enormous crater born out of a series of eruptions that rattled the region in the 15th century. The crater, which erupted on a fissure segment and is about 1.5 km long, is the home of an impressive lake. From underneath its white winter coat, we’ll most probably catch a glimpse of the black and red colours of its steep rocky walls. We continue the loop to the imposing mountain Kirkjufell before returning to the hut and a hot bath.
Difference in altitude
Day 3:Stórihver hot spring – Hrafntinnusker mountain hut – Landmannalaugar
We start our ascent through a concentration of steam vents on the hills of Brennisteinsalda, passing the crest to reach the great hot spring Stórihver. There we are met by an enormous opening emitting huge curls of vapor accompanied by a mystifying roar in this otherwise serene landscape. If the weather is favorable, we press on to the ice caves of Hrafntinnusker, before going around this obsidian mountain to reach the small mountain hut that lies there at an altitude of almost 1100 m. From there, an easy descent to Landmannalaugar and its hot springs.
Difference in altitude
Day 4: “The Hat” – “The Bold“ – Landmannalaugar.
The craters Hattur (the Hat) and Skalli “the Bold” that give us breathtaking views of close by glacier Torfajökull (1199 m) and the gorges of Jökulgil. If we are greeted with clear skies we might even catch a glimpse of the great Vatnajökull (the largest glacier in Europe) and the highest point in Iceland, and the immense ice caps of Hofsjökull and Langjökull. In the late afternoon a good soak in the hot baths in Landmannalaugar.
Difference in altitude
Day 5: Landmannalaugar – Sigalda – Reykjavík
We leave the Landmannalaugar hut and head north through the lava fields of Dómadalur and the lake Eskihlíðarvatn. From there we reach Sigalda where our transport is waiting, having picked up our luggage from Landmannalaugar. We return to Reykjavík where we arrive in the late afternoon.
Note : All times are approximate.
Guide for 5 days
Food for 5 days (from lunch day one to lunch day five)
Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts
Please note that we need a minimum of 4 passengers to be able to confirm the departure.
What do I need to bring?
Boots and Clothing:
Sturdy ski boots that fit your binding system.
Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
Long Johns (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
Light wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).
Warm Jacket – Wool or fleece (3rd layer).
Trousers – Strong and light material that dries quickly e.g. soft-shell.
Jacket with a good hood – Wind and waterproof, breathable material; e.g. Gore-Tex or comparable.
Pants/bibs – wind and waterproof, e.g. Gore-tex or comparable.
Gloves, 2 – 3 pairs of different thickness.
Mittens – waterproof with good insulation.
Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs.
Warm hat and/or Balaclava.
Puffy jacket (e.g. Primaloft or down)
Sleeping Bag – Down or synthetic. Aim for light weight and warm bag. Goose down with high “fill power” or top of the line synthetic bags are recommended.
Backpack (day-tours) for extra clothes and food during the day. Size: 20-30 L (1200 – 2000 cu in).
Towel – light weight and packable.
Change of clothes – e.g. long and short underwear, clothes for the hut.
Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 1 – 2L.
Camera, spare batteries and a memory card.
Personal first aid kit – including blister care.
Prescription medication and other personal health items.
Toiletries; Toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs etc.
Swim suit (depends on tour).
Nordic touring / Cross country skies (min width of 50 mm) with steel edges and strong but lightweight bindings, e.g. Rottefella 75 mm, NNN BC or SNS XADV Raid.
Skins covering the whole ski length and width in good working conditions.
Extra glue (adhesive) for skins.
Ski poles, strong with a big basket.
Wax/Klister – depending on your type of ski.
Gaiters (optional) – Calf or knee height and wide enough for the boots.
Dry-bags for electronics and extra clothing.
Light slippers for indoor use.
We will charge a cancellation fee of 100% if booking is cancelled 15 days or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 75% if booking is cancelled a month or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 50% if booking is cancelled 2 months or less before event
We will charge a cancellation fee of 15% if booking is cancelled 9 months or less before event
|Experience type||Multi day tour|
|Duration||5 days, 1 hours|
|Booking in advance||Cut off: 3 days|
|Physical difficulty level||Moderate|
|Know before you go||Minimum age of passengers is: 16|
|Live Tour Guide||English|