Day: 3 Landmannalaugar & Þjórsárdalur
Overnight location: Arhus Cabins or Hotel Hella. Breakfast included.
The journey to Landamannalaugar is a rough one, with unpaved roads, but it is worth it to see the highlands, surrounded by rhyolite mountains. Here you can choose to explore on your own or take a short hike through the lava fields and up the hills with the guide. Then a 90-minute hike up the rainbow mountain Brennisteinsalda, which is an incredible sight, with all its colors produced by the different minerals brought out from the Earth by volcanic action. You can also see hot sulfur springs along the sides, evidence of the active plates underneath. It is helpful to have sturdy boots with a good grip, and possibly a walking pole for this hike. You may also need swimwear and a towel, since there is a natural geothermal stream you might want to take a dip in, it is very rejuvenating. The route back to the accommodation takes you to Hjálparfoss in the valley Þjórsárdalur, with its interesting basalt formations and beautiful setting. The farm Stöng is nearby and has been excavated and restored near to its original location, as it was buried in a Hekla eruption in 1104. From there you walk a short distance to Gjáin, a beautiful green scene in the midst of a rocky, lava landscape. Þjórsárdalur valley is surrounded by volcanoes, including one of Iceland's most active volcanoes, Hekla, with over 20 eruptions since they began being recorded in the year 874, which gave it the nickname 'Gateway to Hell'.
Please note that there is a chance Landmannalaugar may not be accessible in May and June departures, in which case you will only travel to Þjórsárdalur.
Driving distance: (290km / 180mls)