Frostastadavatn in Iceland

Iceland's highlands

A Summer Guide to Iceland's Highland Gem

Iceland, celebrated for its dramatic landscapes and natural beauty, offers a treasure trove of experiences for nature lovers and adventurers alike. Among its numerous attractions, the Fjallabak Nature Reserve stands out as a must-visit destination, particularly for those drawn to the remote and rugged beauty of the Highlands of Iceland. This guide will take you through the essentials of planning a summer expedition to Fjallabak, focusing on how to get there, the best places to camp and hike, and the unique natural features that make this area so special.


Getting to Fjallabak

Located in the heart of the Highlands of Iceland, Fjallabak is not as easily accessible as more popular tourist spots like Reykjavik or the Golden Circle. The journey to Fjallabak is an adventure in itself, suitable only for 4x4 vehicles due to the rough terrain and river crossings. The reserve can be approached from several directions, the most common being from the north via the town of Landmannalaugar or from the south through Eldgjá, the largest volcanic canyon in the world.


From Reykjavik, the drive to Landmannalaugar, the northern gateway to Fjallabak, takes about three to four hours. The route involves traveling on the F208, a rugged highland road that offers stunning views and requires careful driving. It is crucial to check road conditions before embarking on your trip, as highland roads can be unpredictable and often impassable until early June.


Summer in Fjallabak

Summer is the ideal time to visit the Highlands of Iceland, particularly Fjallabak, due to the more temperate weather and longer daylight hours. From late June to early September, the region becomes accessible, revealing its full splendor. The landscape is a vibrant tapestry of lush moss, bright wildflowers, and stark volcanic features, providing a stark contrast to the snowy vistas seen in other seasons.


Camping in Fjallabak

One of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in the beauty of Fjallabak is by camping. There are several designated camping areas within the reserve, with facilities varying from basic to moderately equipped. Landmannalaugar is one of the most popular camping sites, offering amenities like hot showers, a small shop, and even a natural geothermal pool, which is perfect for a relaxing soak after a day of hiking.


It's important to remember that camping in Iceland requires strict guidelines to protect the delicate nature. Always camp in designated areas, follow no-trace principles, and be prepared for all types of weather, even in summer.


Hiking Trails in Fjallabak

Fjallabak is a hiker's paradise, boasting some of the most scenic and challenging trails in Iceland. The area is famous for its colorful rhyolite mountains, expansive lava fields, and serene mountain lakes. Here are a few must-do hikes:


Laugavegur Trail: Starting in Landmannalaugar and stretching to Þórsmörk, this 55-kilometer trek is Iceland's most famous hiking trail. It typically takes four to five days to complete and traverses a variety of landscapes.


Bláhnjúkur Volcano: For those looking for a shorter hike, climbing the Blue Peak offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lava fields. The hike is demanding but rewarding and takes about three to four hours round trip.


Ljótipollur Crater Lake: This explosion crater, filled with a strikingly beautiful red-rimmed blue lake, is accessible by a short hike and offers excellent photo opportunities.


Preserving Nature

While exploring Fjallabak, it's vital to maintain respect for the natural environment. The Highlands of Iceland are a fragile ecosystem, and the impact of human activity can be significant. Stick to marked trails, carry out all trash, and use eco-friendly products.



A trip to Fjallabak is more than just a visit; it's an adventure that brings you face-to-face with the raw, unspoiled beauty of nature. Whether you're navigating the rugged roads of Iceland, setting up camp under the midnight sun, or trekking through vibrant landscapes, Fjallabak offers an unforgettable experience that embodies the spirit of the Icelandic Highlands. Remember, each step taken in this pristine land should be with reverence and responsibility, ensuring that it remains untouched for generations to come.


By exploring Fjallabak, you will not only discover the heart of Iceland's nature but also connect with the spirit of the Highlands. This region continues to inspire and awe visitors with its majestic landscapes and natural wonders.