Reykjavik Excursions Blog
  • landmannalaugar, iceland, ísland, travel

Hike in the Icelandic highlands

Laugavegur & Fimmvörðuháls

17/5/2017 Blog

The Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls are two of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. The landscape is like nothing you have seen before, rhyolite mountains, green and lush valleys, lava fields and glaciers.

The Iceland on Your Own bus system is a great way to travel to Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk or Skógar to hike. The Hiking Passport allows you to take a bus to either Skógar, Þórsmörk or Landmannalaugar for your hike, and then you can take a bus back to Reykjavík from Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk or Skógar – just depending on which route you take.

 landmannalaugar, iceland, ísland, travel

Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is the start (or finish) of the Laugavegur hike, which takes 2-4 days. It is 55 km long (34 mi) and is famous for its wide variety of landscapes. There are four huts between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk, which need to be booked beforehand. If you do not book it, you can camp outside the huts for a small fee. There are also huts in Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk which you also need to pre-book.

It is, of course, possible to hike the trail in a longer time. Using the hiking passport gives you the freedom to stay as long as you like, as long as it is within the timeframe of the passport: 13 June – 7 September.

The hike ends in Þórsmörk, but from there it is possible to walk Fimmvörðuháls over to Skógar as well.

Please, note that the huts must be booked in advance if you want to stay there. It is also not possible to buy food on the hike so you need to bring all the food you need with you. If you do not have a place in the hut, you cannot use the kitchen facilities there, thus you need to bring your own. Additionally, the Laugavegur hike is demanding and you need to wear good shoes and be prepared for all kinds of weather. Please, do not go ahead if the staff in the huts tell you the weather is too bad to go on, don't go.

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Þórsmörk

You can also do the Laugavegur hike the other way around. Þórsmörk is a special place in Iceland. The valley is deep and closed in between glaciers, with Mýrdalsjökull at the end. This makes the climate there especially good and warm. It is probably one of the greenest places in Iceland.

The valley wasn't always this green, up until Katla's eruption in 1918, farmers had sent their sheep there to graze which resulted in a severe deforestation.

The glacial river Krossá runs through Þórsmörk and it can be difficult to cross it. However, a footbridge was built fifteen years ago which makes the crossing considerably safer.

From Þórsmörk, as stated before, you can start your hike towards Landmannalaugar, you can also hike Fimmvörðuháls towards Skógar. If you want, you can do shorter hikes in the area before starting your longer hike to Skógar or Landmannalaugar.

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Fimmvörðuháls and Skógar

Fimmvörðuháls is probably most famous for the „tourist“ volcano eruption in 2010, a month before the world famous Eyjafjallajökull eruption.  The Fimmvörðuháls hike is 22 km long (14 mi) and involves climbing about 1000 metres (3300 feet), but there are two huts on the way which you can stay in overnight, but you will need to pre-book it.

The eruption in 2010 opened two new craters, which were named Magni and Móði, after the sons of the thunder god Thor. The names are fitting since Þórsmörk is close by.

The reason the eruption has been called a „tourist“ eruption, is because it was not an explosive eruption like the Eyjafjallajökull‘s one and you could get quite close.

Skógar is a popular tourist destination in South Iceland. Skógafoss waterfall is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland, and not without reason; it is very picturesque. This summer it will be the location for the Night+Day music festival between July 14 and 16. The fesetival is hosted by the British band The xx.

The waterfall has also been used in films such as Thor 2 and in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.


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