Traveling and exploring new places is generally good for us – it helps us destress, broaden our minds, forget our everyday worries. Choosing Iceland as your next destination will make you spend lots of time deep in the relaxing nature amongst glaciers, lava fields and countless waterfalls. You can visit many places just by reaching them by car and still have a lot out of your trip. But it doesn’t end on just road tripping around the country. There is so much to explore and see that it’s a pity not to try at least one hike. If you’re healthy, your legs can take you to places no other thing can take you. Hiking offers so many benefits, like being in touch with nature, it costs nothing, it’s proved that it boosts your mood and it’s that kind of sport that is not competitive. We’ve got covered the most breathtaking short hikes in Iceland in one of our posts and now it’s time for the long, even multi-day ones!

Long-distance hiking is unfortunately not for everyone. It’s not advised to take it lightly – you need to own the right equipment, your fitness level has to be at least average and you need to be responsible. You absolutely need to carry a map, a compass and a GPS device with you. Iceland is a very demanding place to hike, you need to be prepared for every kind of weather as it changes dramatically. If you’re unsure whether it’s a proper activity for you on your own, you’re more than welcome to check out our guided hikes. It’s a perfect way to explore without that uneasy feeling if something’s bad going to happen. You’re going to be in good hands and well taken care of 🙂 Now let’s jump right into these hikes!

Laugavegur Trail

Length: 55km
Time: multi-day (around 4 days)
Difficulty: hard
Route type: point to point

The most famous hiking trail in Iceland. It can be combined with the Fimmvörðuháls trek to a super long and even more challenging hike. Laugavegur translates to „Hot Spring Route” in English which happens to be a very accurate description. It has its beginning in Landmannalaugar and finishes in the gorgeous glacial valley called Þórsmörk. The area is accessible only during a very short period of time from mid-June to mid-September – it’s the highlands after all. The F-roads leading to the start and from the end of trail need a 4×4 sturdy car. It’s also possible to book shuttle bus that goes from Reykjavik to both destinations twice a day – a round trip costs 15.300ISK and there’s absolutely no problem with rebooking your return ticket if you happen to finish the trek early or late.

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📌Laugavegur Trail is considered Iceland’s most popular hiking trail. It passes through a very colorful, varied landscape: from rainbow-colored hills to black volcanic deserts, neon green valleys to ice caves. ⁠ 📅It is recommended to hike in mid-July to mid-September⁠ 🚌Assure that buses are running on the days you want to start and end the hike.⁠ 🚌Reykjavik Excursions and Trex buses company travel to this destination. ⁠ 🚌The bus from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar takes 4 hours and costs $77 US. It runs from mid-June through mid-September (exact dates vary each year).⁠ 🚌The bus from Thorsmork to Reykjavik takes about 4 hours and costs $68 US. It runs from June 1 through September 20.⁠ 🗺️Map out your route for the Laugavegur trail⁠ 🏠Book your huts for the Laugavegur trek⁠ 🤑Most huts at the Laugavegur Trek are US$76-86 per night⁠ 🍜Carry food and water⁠ ⚠️Must pack items:⁠ 🔗Comfortable, broken-in hiking boots⁠ 🔗A comfortable, well-fitting backpack⁠ 🔗Waterproof pack cover⁠ 🔗Trekking poles⁠ 🔗Sleeping bag⁠ 🔗Headlamp⁠ 🔗Rain jacket and rain pants⁠ 🔗Wool socks⁠ 🔗Gloves⁠ 🔗Water bottles ⁠ 🔹🔹🔹⁠ amazing shot by⁠ 📸@h0rdur⁠ 🔹🔹🔹⁠ follow us for the best travel content and destinations on a daily basis!⠀⁠ 🔹🔹🔹⠀⁠ #icelandscape #icelandlove #iceland_tourist #tripiniceland #extremeiceland #icelandtrip #iceland2017 #icelandnature #unlimitediceland #instaiceland #iceland2018 #icelandsecret #icelandroadtrip #icelandtravel #iceland #wonderlusticeland #guidetoiceland #icelandphotography #icelandair #loves_iceland #icelandicnature #traveliceland #icelandexplored #absoluteiceland #icelandadvice #icelandic #igiceland #iceland🇮🇸 #icelandadventure #iceland_photography⁠

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The trek can be done independently; it’s possible to camp along the way (around 2000ISK) or sleep in huts that are equipped with mattresses and usually bathroom and kitchen. Always bring your sleeping bag and check the availability – they are often in high demand. Bear in mind that there’s no warm food sold in them; you need to bring your own. There’s a possibility to buy dried food, soda and energy or candy bars. The good news is that you don’t need to carry a lot of water as you can refill your bottle in streams along the way. Be prepared for any kind of weather, it’s not uncommon to snow in the middle of June! Wear sturdy boots and bring extra sock as you’ll have to cross unbridged rivers.

So what are the features of the hike that attract so many tourists? It’s the remote location and being so, so far from civilization combined with the physical effort you have to make in order to have this experience. The trek (or your legs!) leads you through dramatic landscapes such as geothermal areas, lava fields, black deserts, between glaciers and volcanos. And the thing that Laugavegur trail is most famous for are the rhyolite mountains that stand out with their colors – from bright oranges, through reds, blues and to greens. Once you approach the Þórsmörk environment changes dramatically – you get to enter such a lush area full of floral vegetation.

For more detailed information and ideas how to plan your trek we invite you to visit this page.

Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Length: 25km
Time: 10-11h
Difficulty: hard
Route type: point to point

Probably the second most popular trek in Iceland but a little bit more accessible that Laugavegur. It has its start in Skógar, next to the famous Skógafoss right next to the Rind Road. It ends in the valley of Þórsmörk. It’s possible to walk the whole distance in one day but it’s not necessary as there are two huts along the way that are called Baldvinsskáli and Fimmvörðuskáli. Just like with any other longer trek that takes you through the Icelandic Highlands, you need to be prepared for any kind of weather. You get to hike even 1000m above sea level and the conditions can be unpredictable due to closeness of glaciers and raw environment. Strong gusts of wind and snowstorms during summer time are not that uncommon! Detailed information about course of the trail can be obtained here.

There’s a lot of up and down walking on this trail so even though it’s not super long, it’s definitely on a more challenging side. Even though it’s hard, the views are going to recompense your hard effort – you’ll get to see uncountable amount of waterfalls, you’ll trek between two ice caps, canyons, birch forests and new leave fields! It’s started to be famous after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption which created two extra volcano craters called Magni and Modi and they’re usually hiked during the trek. The most breathtaking part of the trail is ascending from the craters right into the Þórsmörk valley which gives you such a mesmerizing view over the lush greens so different from what you’ve seen in the first part of the trail. It gives you real Lord of The Rings vibes!

Hornstrandir

Length: depends on your choice
Time: multi-day
Difficulty: hard
Route type: point to point

Hornstrandir is a Nature Reserve located in the Wesfjords. The Westjords themselves are a pretty remote location but Hornstrandir is on a whole other level. You can only get there by ferries that arrive from Ísafjörður mainly from June to August. You can check the schedule, prices and harbors in Hornstrandir here and here. During summer the ferry goes to: Aðalvík, Hesteyri, Veiðileysifjörður, Hornvík, Hrafnfjörður, Grunnavík.

The flora is extremely fragile due to long period of time of shedding the snow cover; it’s highly advised that the trekkers are particularly cautious about their steps. It’s an uninhabited part of the country so these features make it the best place to experience the true feeling of being alone in the middle of nowhere. You can go days without meeting anyone! It’s definitely a place that suits best an experienced hiker although it’s possible to book a tour with a guide if you’re not one. Bear in mind that there’s no road infrastructure and very little phone reception!

There’s no particular route in Hornstrandir that’s most famous or most breathtaking. This area has a few trails that could take +6 days to hike them (if not more!). One of the most spectacular landmarks is definitely Hornbjarg, a dramatic sea cliff. It’s covered in lush greens and then it suddenly cuts at the edge dropping over 500m right to the sea below. You can get the general idea of marked path down here on the map:

The Reserve has a couple of rules that you need to obey, like it’s forbidden to pick flowers, campfires are prohibited as well as wild camping. There are designated campsites where you can stay overnight as well as emergency shelters where you can stay ONLY in case of severe weather or illness. It’s best to leave the place in the same condition as it was before you. Keep in mind that there’s a slight chance of meeting a polar bear that can arrive on drift ice from Greenland. Remember to keep distance and report it as soon as possible.

Hiking this area is definitely not for everyone, not only fitness-wise. You need to be strong mentally to overcome difficulties along your way. You’ll get wet, cold, tired, you’ll have to cross ice cold rivers and hike very steep mountains with +15kg backpack. It’ll be hard, but at the same time the memories will be lifelong. Just like some say – prepare for the worst, hope for the best. If you’re not up to such challenge and still want to get a little bit of the pure Icelandic wilderness, you can choose to go there on a day-tour with a travel agency. It’s still going to be challenging, but you’ll have the comfort of someone else taking the responsibility.

There may be a lot to obey, remember and be cautious about while visiting Hornstrandir. But it’s a truly magical place that’s so untouched by humans. The quietness, the vast valleys, arctic foxes, all species of birds, fjords, steep mountain slopes… It does not get better.

Víknaslóðir Hiking Trails

Length: 80km
Time: about 5 days
Difficulty: challenging to hard
Route type: point to point

Another area that is rich in various hiking trails that can be combined in endless possibilities. Located far in the East near Borgarfjörður Eystri, translated to English means „The trails of the Inlets”. The trails cover about 150km distance and lead through fantastic valleys, unique mountains of all shapes and colours and wonderful sea views. The weather conditions are usually not that bad due to low altitude. The landmarks that are definitely worth a visit are: Brúnavík, Dyrfjöll, Urðarhólar, Breiðavík, Loðmundarfjörður or Stórurð. While hiking, you’ll find lots of abandoned old farms that used to be full of life decades ago. It’s also not uncommon to stumble upon a herd of reindeers!

There is not a particular path you should take; hikers usually choose their way depending on weather, although the route from Borgarfjörður Eystri/Bakkagerði to Seyðisfjörður might be the most common one. It’s about 80km long and takes circa 5 days to finish; the map of the whole set of trails is available here, although it’s advised to get a physical one in one of the close towns.

There are buses that go to and from these towns about once a day so in most situations it’s easier to actually hitchhike from the ending to starting point. There are 3 huts along the way and it’s best to book them in advance in case you spend the night simultaneously with some bigger group of tourists. Alternatively, there’s no problem with setting up a tent on campsites but be prepared for very little facilities. Remember to bring enough food supplies as you won’t be able to stock up for the next couple of days. There’s no problem with water though, there’s plenty of clean streams just like anywhere else in Iceland. Don’t forget to register your hike just in case of emergency.

The Víknaslóðir hiking trails are quite different from any other areas in the country. East Fjords are a pretty much remote area but it gets even wilder when you leave your car behind and hike for a couple of days. Even though it’s so much quieter than the trails around Ring Road, the path are marked perfectly and you won’t get confused about which way to go. The physical effort is paid off by black beaches, rhyolite mountains in all shades of yellow and pink, beautiful cliffs and deep, green valleys. It’s definitely an underrated gem so make sure you’ll pay a visit during your next stay in Iceland!

The Askja Trail

Length: 97km
Time: about 5 days
Difficulty: hard
Route type: point to point

A hike traversing through the rough area of Icelandic highlands, where in the middle of the trek you get to walk up the famous volcano. It’s a place of multiple calderas situated close to each other rising up to 1510m; fun fact – it was used by Apollo astronauts to prepare for their lunar mission. The good news is that it’s secured by Vatnajökull glacier so it doesn’t get that much rain. In 1895 a tremendous eruption took place which resulted in ashes covering half of Europe and mass emigration from Iceland. Now the biggest caldera is filled with water called Öskjuvatn lake, which happens to be the second deepest in Iceland. The nearby smaller one called Víti (translates to Hell) is filled with hot water in which you can actually take a bath but the temperature is no higher that 22 Celcius degrees. If you plan to do so, please contact the rangers if it’s safe or watch out for any signs saying that it’s forbidden. During heavier rainfalls the slope gets muddy and makes it difficult to get out of the caldera.

The hike itself has its start in Herðubreiðarlindir and ends in Svartárkot. It’s mostly walked from  the East to the West but it’s not problem to do it otherwise. No need to worry about a point to point walk – there are buses that are going to take you to and from both of those locations. The trail takes you over the largest continuous lava field and makes you traverse through 1300m Dyngjufjöll Mountains, where you can find snow even in the middle of summer. One of the things to remember is to carry your own water with you as there’s basically not natural fresh spring water to fill your bottle up with.

The trail provides possibility of sleeping in 5 huts along the way so you don’t have to worry of setting up a tent in such harsh conditions. Wise things to do is to book it in advance so there’s no unexpected surprises. Detailed information about the course of the trail is available here.

It’s a great hike for people who are not so eager to see beauty in a more common way, like lush valleys, sparkly blue rivers and stunning mountains with waterfalls by their side. The Askja trail takes you to a totally different environment and makes you respect the force of nature. It reminds of being in an actually very seismically active area but it makes it even more exciting!