Mount Lómagnúpur: A Photographer's Paradise

Lómagnúpur mountain in the sunshine with a brown and mossy landscape.

Hidden in plain sight in the south of Iceland, Lómagnúpur Mountain is a paradise for photographers. Its sheer size and breathtaking surroundings make it an excellent location to stop on your road trip, watch the midnight sun and, most of all, capture beautiful photography. The mountain’s location in the south also makes it a frequent stop on tours of Iceland, as you may find it rising above you while you follow the Ring Road. 

Snow and ice close up with the Lómagnúpur mountain dusted with snow

About Lómagnúpur

Lómagnúpur mountain’s peak is 764 metres (2506ft) tall and overshadows others in the area. The most fascinating part of the mountain is its top, which appears to have been cut off. However, the flat top is created by a mixture of water and volcanic glass. The base of the mountain looks vastly different, with steep green moss climbing towards the rock. These two features create a unique and fascinating subject to photograph.

The mountain also suffered in the 1789 earthquake in Iceland, which caused a big landslide. The remains of the slide are still visible from the road today.

Folklore of Lómagnúpur

This mountain has been deeply embedded within Icelandic folklore. In fact, Lómagnúpur is home to one of the legendary protectors of Iceland, a giant who lives within the cliffs called Jarngrimur. He was said to have lived in this southern mountain in order to protect Iceland from potential invaders.

In addition to the folklore, the mountain appears in a saga, an ancient Icelandic story. In the Njáls saga, Lómagnúpur was used as a stop for the night by Flosi Thorgierson, a chief. He chose to stop here as he was on his way to seek revenge on his enemy. However, during the night, he is visited by a giant in his dream who told him that he and 25 other people seeking revenge would die. The giant's words eventually came true.


The reflection of Lómagnúpur mountain on the water in a lake

Hiking at Lómagnúpur

Hiking at Lómagnúpur can be beautiful but challenging. The mountain is steep and can be slippery even in the summer. The main hiking route starts on the west side of the mountain and involves climbing. Rated as difficult, it is well worth it for the panoramic views of the surroundings. The estimated time for the Lómagnúpur trail is approximately 7-8 hours.

For easier hiking routes nearby, head to Skaftafell National Park.

Photography at Lómagnúpur

The visibility of the mountain from miles away is one of the main reasons why so many visitors and avid photographers are drawn to it. From far away, you can see the details of carving and patterns in the rocks, as well as having a relatively clear backdrop. The flat area around the mountain is great for exploring and experimenting with different angles and heights to find the perfect shot.

Photographers also come here to capture the Northern Lights behind the mountain. The lack of proximity to cities means that light pollution at Lómagnúpur is minimal, making it a paradise for photographing the natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis.

The Ring Road driving past the iconic Lómagnúpur mountain landmark with snow.

How to get to Lómagnúpur

Getting to the mountain is easy, as it is located next to the Ring Road. This makes Lómagnúpur an ideal stop for photography and a true wonder while on a self-drive tour. The drive from Reykjavík takes approximately 3 hours. There is no designated parking, so keep your eyes out for the mountain after you pass Kálfafell. The drive is scenic, with plenty of attractions along the way.

Coordinates: N63° 57' 23.410" W17° 29' 18.167"

Where to stay near Lómagnúpur

Exploring the south of Iceland is a must, with incredible hiking in nearby areas and stunning black sand beaches near Vik. It is worth staying a few nights to make the most of your time here. Fosshotel Núpar is the perfect base to relax and unwind after a day of exploring South Iceland’s incredible sights.