Iceland's Lómagnúpur Mountain Is a Photographer's Dream, Here's Why

Jennifer Cauli /
Jennifer Cauli / | © Culture Trip
Camille Buckley

Lómagnúpur is one of Iceland’s most photographed mountains and an iconic landmark in the Icelandic countryside. The highest cliff of the mountain stands at nearly 700 meters tall. When driving the southern part of the Ring Road, Lómagnúpur’s silhouette can be seen rising majestically from the flat expanse of black sand that stretches to the sea. The mountain, with its small pockets of vegetation and endless variations of rock face reflecting in the lake before it, makes it a photographer’s dream.

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Jennifer Cauli /

Lómagnúpur is not only a feast for the eyes but also holds significance in the Icelandic sagas. Stories in the sagas that refer to the mountain can be found in Njál’s Saga, one of the most famous sagas. In the saga, one of the main protagonists by the name of Flosi was forced to burn the character Njál’s farm to withhold his honour. The farm was close to Lómagnúpur, and one night Flosi dreamed that a giant by the name of Járngrímur walked out of an opening in the mountain and foretold the fate of the 25 men who ended up setting flame to the farm. This dream sequence is not surprising as fact or fiction, as the mountain’s presence definitely makes the onlooker feel dwarfed by its overwhelming expanse.

Jennifer Cauli /

Járngrímur is also said to be one of the guardian spirits who protected the country against foreign kings who wanted to settle in Iceland in the 6th century. The giant can actually be seen on Iceland’s coat of arms, where he holds an iron staff in his hand.

Jennifer Cauli /
Jennifer Cauli /

Adding to the myth that the mountain is the home of a giant is its history of landslides. Covered in large rocks, previous landslides have left their marks, even one documented in the 17th century, while smaller landslides can be seen closer to the base of the mountain. It is now part of the Núpstadir farmlands, which are on the list of protected national heritage sites in Iceland. The area surrounding the mountain consists of black-sand beaches, glaciers, lakes and volcanoes, creating a varied landscape that is remarkable from a geological perspective as well as for photographers. The mythology surrounding the mountain only seems to make it an even more intriguing landmark for the eye and the imagination.

Jennifer Cauli / © Culture Trip
Jennifer Cauli / © Culture Trip
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