The secret of the Ljötipollur lake

  1. Iceland
  2. South Iceland
  3. The secret of the Ljötipollur lake
Written by SandrineUpdated on 05/03/22

A deep blue lake in the heart of a glowing red crater, dotted with touches of green, all in a 5-star setting! What a marvel! Overlooking the meandering Tungnaá, the lake of Ljótipollur deserves a visit, just for the show that awaits you at the top.

The glowing colours of the Ljótipollur crater at sunset

1Access to the lake of Ljótipollur

Located in the Fjallabak reserve, you will need a 4x4 to reach this little wild paradise. The lake is located at the junction between the F225 and F208. If you are coming from the north, we recommend the F225 rather than the F208 because this track crosses beautiful landscapes and the few fords are easy.

In 4x4

Just at the junction between the two tracks, a small steep track goes eastward and allows you to climb directly on the shores of the lake via a few bends for 2 kilometers. But beware, because this track is very steep especially at the end, with big stones and ruts that will have to be negotiated with caution. You will need a good 4x4 (and not an SUV) to cross the last meters. At the top, a parking lot is available. You will also be able to continue eastward on the trail.

The hills with red, yellow and green hues from the trail

By foot

If we don't have a 4x4 for the ascent, a nice hike takes you to the lake of Ljótipollur from the Landmannalaugar campsite. It will take about 2h15 from the campsite to reach the lake. The scenery is very beautiful, and even more so if you have the chance to come with the sun. Don't stop at the first point of view on the lake. Continue up to the car park to discover the sublime scenery on the other side.

2The lake and its crater

Once at the summit, the lake and its crater let themselves be embraced with a glance, revealing all their colours. Originally, it was an explosion dating from 1477 that formed the crater with a diameter of 1500 meters, which was then filled with water. The colours of the contours form a striking contrast and the shades of yellow and green add an exotic touch. In the distance, in the background, you can see the famous rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar.

Note that it is possible to walk around the crater on foot.

Our recommandation

If you can, come early in the evening, when the sun begins to go down, when the rays warm up the colors of the rocks. Once the sun is low, the lake will be in the shade, but the rest of the hills will remain illuminated..

3The surroundings and the view on the Tungnaá river

But the lake of Ljótipollur is not the only interest. From the top, to the northeast, you will discover an unobstructed view of the meanders of the Tungnaá. How beautiful! We only wanted to follow the trail to the east to discover the rest of this sublime landscape! Alas, having no information on the rest of this route, we did not dare to venture there, but one thing is sure, it will be on the program of our next expedition!

View from the lake of Ljótipollur on the meanders of Tungnaá
Another one more! It's just sublime, especially at sunset.

Heading west, the altitude offers a nice view of the great lake Frostastaðavatn and its rhyolite peaks. Wherever you look, everything is beautiful! And besides, there's nobody!

View on the blue water of Frostastadavatn Lake

4Night in a dream setting!

Having arrived at the end of the evening, we decided to spend the night in the car on the parking lot because the setting was so beautiful! During our stay, we did not find such a beautiful place to spend the night. The sunset gradually extinguished the colours of the hills, leaving a faint light to allow us to contemplate the scene to the end.

We're ready to fall asleep in a magical setting!

When we woke up, we once again admired this splendid setting. But we had to leave in order to discover the rest of the Landmannalaugar landscapes. It is a little reluctantly that we came down again, we would have stayed a little longer!

Our opinion
We like

Rock colours

The magnificent and breathtaking panorama of the Tungnaá

Quiet, away from the Landmannalaugar crowd

About us

We are Sandrine and Flo, French thirty-somethings. In 2019 we quit everything to live our dream, become nomads and travel around the world. We left with our baby, Lena, who was only 5 months old at the time. After a first trip around the Pacific Ocean by plane and a long 3 months stay in Hawaii, we left to discover Iceland for 3 months on board our 4WD pickup truck and truck camper. Then we continued our adventure in North America.

Today, if we can continue this adventure, it is above all thanks to our blog, Smartrippers! We created it one day in 2016, with the desire to share our good travel tips, without thinking that it would lead us there! We have developed it a lot over the years and have become experts on our 3 favorite destinations: Hawaii, Iceland and the American West. We now guide you to these destinations to help you plan the trip of your dreams!

Follow our adventures!