HIKING IN ICELAND
Are you really into hiking and nature? Are you planning a different trip in Iceland? Check all you need to know about hiking in Iceland and get ready to join one of the best trekkings in the world. Hiking in Iceland you will be able to go through the unique and wild landscape of the highlands, with the coloured mountains, the geothermal hot springs and the lava fields. And not only there but all around the island you will find different hikes that will allow you feel the Icelandic nature in the best possible way.
- Why should I go on hiking in Iceland?
- More and more people are travelling to Iceland looking forward to hiking in the highlands of the Iceland. The reason is obvious: Iceland is a paradise for nature and hiking enthusiasts, with a unique and wild landscape. In any part of the island you can find good routes for hiking one day or several days but please take into account that in many of these routes there is nothing around, no services, only pure nature, so you have to come prepared for it. Of course, there are some routes that are not easy to do on your own, so, if you don't have much experience, we recommend you to book one of the hiking in Iceland tours we offer with English speaking guide, accommodation in mountain huts and everything organised. One of the most popular places to trek in Iceland is Landmannalaugar, the highlands of Iceland, a natural area with rhyolite colourful mountains. This is the starting point of the famous 4-day Laugavegur trek, which goes south towards the beaufitul Thorsmork valley and that is considered one of the best multi-day treks in the world. But all around the island there are different hikes to discover the amazing nautre of Iceland.
- How long are the hikes in Iceland?
- That's up to you. In Iceland, you can find all kind of hikes, from easy one-day hikes to multi-day treks in the highlands. In the most popular place, Landmannalaugar, you can do a one-day hike if you don't have much time but still want to know the area; three-days hike to go all around this incredible landscape; 4-day Laugavegur trek, so you are able to get to the beautiful Throsmork valley in the south, or even 6-day trek, so you can continue through the beautiful landscapes of Fimmvörduháls until Skógafoss waterfall. Another interesting multi-day hiking destination is the Hornstrandir fjords, in the Westfjords of Iceland, the uninhabited territory of the Arctic fox. Here the sense of remoteness is strong as there is no infrastructure and is really far from the rest of the island. On the other hand, we also offer one-day hikes near Reykjavík to enjoy the Reykjadalur valley or Glymur waterfall.
- What are the best hikes in Iceland?
- There are many hikes to do all around Iceland but these are probably the most famous ones that should carefully check:
- Laugavegur trek: Considered as one of the best 20 trails in the world by the prestigious National Geographic magazine, the Laugavegur trek runs between the rhyolite colourful mountains of Landmannalaugar and the incredible nature reserve of the Thórsmork valley. You will cross a wild landscape unique landscape formed by mountains of bright colors, steam rising from the ground and natural springs perfect for bathing. The level of difficulty of this trek is moderate and is really up to the weather conditions. You can complete this hike in four days staying at the mountain huts along the way at a normal pace.
Fimmvörðuháls hike: This hike begins at the famous Skógafoss waterfall, in the South of Iceland. You can choose between a one-day hike or a two-days hike to complete this trail. The trek goes along the river up into the mountains, with beautiful waterfalls on the way and an amazing gorge to walk along. In the mountain top you can stay in a hut for a night and then continue to Magni and Modi craters and the beautiful Thórsmörk valley. Please note that we offer the 6-days hiking tour which includes Laugavegur trek and then Fimmvörduhals hike doing it in the opposite way and finishing at Skógafoss waterfall.
Landmannalaugar trek: Ljótipollur crater, Fjallabak Nature Reserve, the geothermal hot springs, Brennisteinsalda and other rhyolite mountains, Graenagil Canyon or Laugahraun lava fields are some of the amazing places you will see if you do a hike in Landmannalaugar area. This area of rhyolite mountains offer different trails from 1 to 3 days. You can also join the Laugavegur trek and finish in Thórsmork valley the 4th day.
Hornstrandir trek: In the fjords at Hornstrandir you can see seals, whales, porpoises and Iceland's authentic wild mammal, the Arctic fox. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is the best choice for those who want to be away from noise and civilization. Only accessible by boat, this place of unspoiled nature will offer you unique natural landscapes: deep fjords, remote bays, impressive cliffs... It is located really far from the rest of the island, in the Westfjords. It can be a challenging experience as there is no infraestructure and you can hike for days without seeing a single person.
- Glymur waterfall hike: The hike to the highest waterfall in Iceland offers unique and unforgettable views. The path will take you through small caves and along a beautiful canyon until you reach the great waterfall located in the beautiful bay of Hvalfjordur. During the entire trek to the Glymur waterfall, you will be surrounded by an impressive landscape, ideal for a pleasant walk.
Hvannadalshnúkur climbing: This is the Iceland's highest peak with about 2,110 meters of altitude. To climb to the top is extremely difficult, so it is reccommended to book a guided tour and only do it if you are an experienced climber.It’s located on the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest in Europe and the peak hides the largest active volcano in Iceland, Öræfajökull. It is a 1 day hike but the terrain is really challenging, with deep crevices and extremely steep sections on the glacier but if you are experienced, it's totally worth it.
- Reykjadalur valley: In Hveragerdi, in the south of Iceland around 1 hour from Reykjavík, is where this trail is located. The hike up to the Reykjadalur valley is easy and very beautiful. In one hour you can reach the famous valley of springs where a perfect place to have a bath has been created. A spring with cold and pure water mixes with another geothermal spring, creating a lagoon within the river that has the ideal temperature to enjoy a relaxing bath. The Reykjadalur valley has also other natural geothermal phenomena, such as fumaroles and boiling muds.
- Are there any hikes near Reykjavík?
Yes, near Reykjavík you can do the one-day Glymur waterfall hike or the Reykjadalur valley hike. The hike to the highest waterfall in Iceland offers unique and unforgettable views and the starting point is just one hour by car from the capital. On the other hand, in the Reykjadalur valley, there are hot springs where you can have a bath after the beautiful hike. Another option is the Mount Esja, the mountain that you can see from Reykjavík. This trail is only 15 km from Reykjavík and you get to the top of the mountail, which is flat and is at 914 metres. These are the nearest options from the capital but you can also book with us one-day hikes with the transfers included from Reykjavík at Thórsmork or Landmannalaugar, you will have to get up early, though!
Can I go hiking in Iceland on my own? What are the difficulties of hiking in Iceland?
If you are an adventurer and prefer to go on your own, you have to follow the recommendations about hiking in Iceland. First of all, you have to carry and know how to use the compass and maps of the area well. Fog can make it difficult to find your way, and road signs are often under snow, especially in spring. In Iceland, location devices such as GPS are very useful. It is also essential to check the weather forecast before starting the trek. It can be checked by calling (+354) 902 0600. This number belongs to the Icelandic Meteorological Office service. You can find more information on the website: www.verdur.is/english/.
If you are going to hike in Iceland for a few days on the trails where there are mountain huts, it is necessary to book the spot in advance, especially in summer, when more people do these activities in Iceland. Many of these mountain hots are closed in winter. There is no food available at these huts, so you have to bring your own food and cooking equipment.
Another difficulty of hiking in Iceland is that you have to cross rivers up to one meter deep. There are very few bridges on the routes, and therefore it is advisable to have suitable footwear for these types of obstacles. Also, as Iceland has a varied weatehr, river beds can rise suddenly due to rains.
Iceland has one of the most pristine natures on the planet. You can drink the water from the rivers and lakes outside the city. When you go hiking in Iceland, the only animals you come across are sheep and horses from farms in the countryside. The vegetation of Iceland is very sensitive, so try to stay on the trails and not step on the plants. Icelanders take the preservation of the environment very seriously and for them nature is the most important treasure of the island.
What is included in a hiking tour in Iceland and what should I bring?
Check the details of every tour to know what is included. In general, the multi-day hiking tours include a professional English-speaking guide, the transfers from and to Reykjavík, accommodation in the mountain huts and meals. It is also good to know that some of these multi-day hiking tours include the transfers of the luggage from hut to hut, so you only need a small backpack during the hiking. It is necessary to bring waterproof hiking clothes, good waterproof hiking shoes, hiking socks, swimming suit, hat, gloves, backpack of 25-40 liters (according to the trek), slippers for accommodation, sleeping bag, pillow, medicines, towel, batteries, camera and hiking poles.
When can I hike in Iceland?
The hikes in the highlands of Iceland (Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, etc.) are only available during summer between mid June and mid September. During spring months it is maybe possible to do other easier hikes, like the ones near Reykjavík at the Glymur waterfall or Reykjadalur valley, according to the weather. If you are planning to hike in Iceland, then it is better to come only during the summer months when you have plenty of daylight hours, accessible hiking trails and better weather conditions.
Important note: All activities in the Icelandic nature are carried out under the own responsibility of the clients. ISLANDICA s.r.o. is not responsible for any accidents that may occur during the activities or due to the actions of the participants.The people who participate in these outings are accepting these conditions when booking a tour. ID 834