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  • Einar Páll Svavarsson

Laugafell and a long 4X4 highland drive


Laugafell camping and natural pool in Highland in Iceland
Laugafell camping and natural pool in Highland in Iceland

Driving a well-equipped 4X4 vehicle through the Icelandic Highland is an enthralling and probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people. Although a spectacular drive, the scenery is quite different from driving the exceptionally scenic drive in the east or west fjords. The Icelandic Highland is a place where you drive kilometers through black sands with a view of glaciers, rolling hills, and gray mountains with limited vegetation. However, fortunately, there are fascinating places in the Highland that we can even label as "oases," which are in striking contrast to the black sands, never-ending glaciers, muddy rivers, dusty gravel 4X4 tracks, and sandy mountains. One such place is Laugafell in the northern part of the highland road Sprengisandsleið.


Map of Highland in Iceland
Map of Highland in Iceland

A geothermal pool in the middle of nowhere:

Laugafell is a great place for a stop in the Highland in Iceland
Laugafell is a great place for a stop in the Highland in Iceland

On an island that is relatively young on the geological timeline and sits on magma, it is no surprise to find a warm geothermal pool here and there. At Laugafell, you will find one of the many fantastic geothermal pools located in the Icelandic Highland. The pool in Laugafell is one of the best and most impressive geothermal pools in Iceland. Not surprisingly, Laugafell draws a lot of visitors to the Highland. The temperature is perfect, and The Touring Club of Akureyri has built an excellent facility to make your visit as memorable as possible.


Quarantine for the wealthy lady from Möðruvellir, her people, and stock:

Laugafell camping
Laugafell camping

Unlike many spots and places in the Icelandic Highland, Laugafell has been known to Icelanders for centuries. This could be attributed to the reasonably short distance from the lower inhabited areas north of Laugafell. Another reason could be the presence of vegetation and warm water. In fact, old folklore tells the story of a very wealthy woman that moved all her family, servants, and stock to Laugafell in the middle of the 14th century to avoid contamination from the severe black death plague. Apparently, this decision saved everyone as they stayed in a kind of quarantine while the plague killed over 100 million people worldwide.


Access to Laugafell is not simple:


At Laugafell is one of the best natural pools in Iceland
At Laugafell is one of the best natural pools in Iceland

As the Icelandic Highland is open only from the beginning of July until the middle of September, it defines the time you can visit Laugafell. If you are driving north on Sprengisandsleið (F26), you need to turn west on the mountain road F752 and follow that road. If you are in the northern part of Iceland, you drive from south of Akureyri on F821 up to the Highland.


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