3. Landmannalaugar Valley
As the start of the Laugavegur Trail, Landmannalaugar Valley is possibly the best-known place in the Highlands, and generally one of the best places for hiking in Iceland. It was created by a collapse of an enormous caldera a few thousand years ago, involving the eruptions of rhyolite lava—resulting in today’s orange, red, and yellow mountains There used to be a large ice cap covering the valley, the geothermal activity leaving its legacy in the form of hot pools. The subsequent eruption constituted the more common basalt—the black lava fields. Historically, the area has been used as an oasis by shepherds traveling on horsebacks as Landmannalaugar is also full of pastures—and because they learned the advantages of hot pools early on.