With over half of the country made up of hills and mountains, Iceland is made for trekking. Throw in glaciers, geysers, hot springs and waterfalls, and you know you need to add it to your list, if it isn’t already on it. From challenging to more easy-going outings, read on for an insider’s guide to the best walking routes.
This is a beautiful route… IF you go to the right place! Recently a tourist, who had booked a hotel in Laugavegur shopping street in Reykjavik, mistakenly put the Laugavegur trail into Google Maps before driving from the airport and ended up on the other site of the country! It offers astounding scenery such as over Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork Valley and Lake Alftavatn. This trek starts at the geothermal paradise, Landmannalaugar, where you can take a dive in a hot spring before the long walk. From there you make your way up the highlands, where you see waterfalls, glaciers, black sands, more hot springs, geysers and volcanoes.
Fimmvorduhals is the area between the glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull, in southern Iceland. The hiking trail is around 30km (17 mi.) and is one of the most challenging hikes in Iceland, with versatile terrain. But difficulties are often rewarded and this is no exception as you enjoy one of the most fascinating landscapes you’re ever likely to see.
The Westfjords are often considered some of the island’s most stunning places. Hornstrandir Nature Reserve was established in 1975, but through the ages both nature and human life have been closely interwoven, as inhabitants have based their livelihood on the sea and bird cliffs. There are over 260 flower species growing in Hornstrandir so you can only begin to imagine its natural beauty.
If you don’t have much time to spare, this is the perfect opportunity to take a hike up Mount Esja, which is located only a 30-minute drive from Reykjavik. This hike is very popular among those living in the capital, especially during the summertime. Here you can choose to hike for only a couple of hours and walk up to the ‘big stone’ as Icelanders refer to it and have amazing views of the capital.
Glymur waterfall and Mount Hvalfell
The walk up to Glymur waterfall is easily worth it and gives you a view of Iceland’s highest waterfall. The beautiful walk takes you through Thvottahellir, which is a breathtaking cave that inhabitants once used to hang their laundry when it was raining. Thvottavellir means ‘laundry cave’. The walk takes around 2.5 to 3.5 hours and is located in Hvalfjordur.
Short walk to the hot river in Reykjadalur
Reykjadalur is close to Reykjavik, just outside of Hveragerdi. There you can hike for a couple of hours up the valley until you reach the hot spring river. Now finally, you can reward yourself with a unique Icelandic bath and wash the dirt of the day off you.
Seljavallalaug – sightseeing hike with a hot spring
If you want to get a bit further from Reykjavik, this might be the walk for you. It allows you to combine sightseeing with a dip in one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The Seljavallalaug is located near Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and is reached after a nice 30-minute walk up the mountain.
The Tindfjöll is a challenging hike with rough terrain but it rewards you with the best viewing points in Thorsmork. This walk starts from the hut in Langidalur and ascends from there to Tindfjöll. Most of the way is fairly accessible, with well-marked trails. The hills below the mountain are steep, so you have to traverse the side with great caution – i.e. don’t get too carried away with the view, as you really do have to watch your step.