Best hikes in Iceland

Best hikes in Iceland

Iceland might not be the best place if you want to go to the beach. However, if you are into hiking, Iceland is a place to go. You get to see different landscapes, exercise and feel the wilderness of Nordic nature. So here we go, best hikes in Iceland!

South Iceland

Landmannalaugar

Langmannalaugar
Perhaps best hiking place when visiting south Iceland.

The name is hard to pronounce, but you will also have a hard time to say how beautiful that place is. Landmannalaugar is in the middle of highlands in the south of Iceland. Offering campsite, natural hot springs, basic supermarket, a place for riding horses and kilometers of hiking paths.

Highlands Landmannalaugar is one of the best places for hiking for its diversity. Moreover, this national park goes under nickname Rainbow mountains, because volcanic activity created different colors of sand and rocks that are all around. At the same time, you will get to see some really blue glacier lakes. And snow. Even in the summer.

Talking about snow. It is good to know that you cannot get to this place during offseason. The weather just won’t allow it. Even in summer, you need to have a 4×4 car to get here, because the road is just not nice. If you are not planning to rent a car, don’t worry. There are some terrain busses that come from a town called Hella directly to this place. You can order online the tickets and see that it is possible to stay even for several days.

Thorsmórk

Thorsmork highlands
You can spend days just hiking. Thorsmork offer quite amazing views.

Thorsmórk is beauty similar to Landmannalaugar. Though you won’t see all the colors of the rainbow. There are more green grass and black sand from volcanoes that are right above the corner. From hikes in Thorsmórk, you also get to see a glacier. If you hike high enough, you get to see all these things at once.

If you are into adventures, you can try to hike to Thorsmórk from Skógafoss waterfall. Skógafoss is a waterfall, where there is a path all the way to the top of it, so you get to see the waterfall both from the land and from the place where the river is. If you follow the path around the river, against the stream, you will get to the Thorsmork in 20 km. For this, I would recommend waiting for weather that will be dry enough and good shoes, since there are parts of the path, where you might get hurt.

Because this is also established hiking place, you can find a campsite, bus station and supermarket around. There is the same bus company that goes to Landmannalaugar.

Hveragerdi

Hveragerdi
Hveragerdi is one of the best hikes in Iceland. It leads to a hot river where you can bathe while watching a sunset.

Now for a change. Hveragerdi is not a highland, bat path in geothermal place in Iceland. The hot river where you can bath makes it one of the best hikes in Iceland. You would walk for around 3 km, up and down a hill and finally come to the place, where from all of the sudden everybody wears just swimwear and are in the river. On your way there, you get to see several waterfalls and hot pond smelling like sulfur.

If you are going to do this path, important information to know is that there are not that many places for food, so you might want to pack some lunch or something on your way. The good thing about this path is that it is not too far from the bus stop and geothermal activity around allows to hike in any season. My recommendation is to do it in autumn, you can bathe in the hot river and watch the sunset in the middle of nature. If you are lucky, you can also see northern light while being soaked up in hot springs. The road is not too difficult to hike back in dark.

Vesmanneyjar

Hiking a volcano
There are not too many volcanoes to hike in Iceland, however, in Vestmanneyjar it is very safe.

When I lived in Iceland, I have heard a lot of people saying that they would like to hike a volcano. That is something that can be very dangerous since there is a lot of sand or snow and most of the volcanos in Iceland are still active. But there is one exception. Westman islands are on very south of Iceland. It is sort of hidden gem and not a lot of tourist would actually come here. But there is a whole new volcano that came to the world in 1973 and it is safe to hike. It is quite a short hike, but you will get hike a volcano and you can even sit in the place of the eruption and feel how warm it still is.

Except for this, there is a lot of hikes around these islands, especially on the cliffs where you can see puffins and maybe even whales from far. Because there are people living on these islands, so it is easy to find accommodation here.

East Iceland

Vatnajökkul

Skaftafell
One of the best hikes in Iceland leads to this beautiful waterfall in Skaftafell

East Iceland is full of glaciers, so there are not that many highlands to hike. This is one of the best hikes in Iceland because you can hike between glaciers and see different waterfalls – like the Skaftafell waterfall – and lakes. Actually, it is said that in this place is so many waterfalls that people stopped giving them names.

Unlike in southern highlands, the hikes are not too difficult, because the paths are usually pretty narrow. The only difficulty you can face would be if you decide to hike a glacier. For that go to the campsite and ask for guides, otherwise, it might not end well, glaciers are tricky to hike. If you come here in summer, you will also see here diverse fauna and flora. Which is just a nice bonus to these hikes.

North Iceland and Westfjords

Lake mývatn

Lake Myvatn
Lake Myvatn can show various landscapes and natural wonders. From volcanic areas to rocky hills

Lake mývatn is an area in the north with a lot of hikes. You get to see rocky terrain and crater where it is possible to hike all the way to the top. You can go to Askja for bathing in another crater. There are also volcanic areas around lake mývatn, so you won’t be missing on hot baths after a whole day of hiking.

This area is huge and it is important to divide it into several days on different places. Choose which natural wonder you want to see most and go for it. There are camping sites nearly at every national park. Usually, in the campsite, there are also supermarkets, since there is generally less population up in the north then it is in the south of Iceland.

Westfjords

Westfjords doesn’t really have one special location for hiking, because there is a road everywhere around the most interesting places. However, there are wonderful cliffs to hike and see the sea view from up there. These places are also great for watching local animals such as seals or different birds that find safety on the cliffs.

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9 Replies to “Best hikes in Iceland”

  1. I would love to hike in Landmannalaugar. We visited Iceland in April, and b/c of the time of the year, we couldn’t do anything in the interior. I definitely need to go back.

    1. Actually, in every tourist stand, they have basic trail maps which should be more than enough. They would tell you how long it is and how long it will approximately take to hike the trail and also what you will see around. So you can just pick it up there and it is for free.

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