The legendary Laugavegur Trail in Iceland is the country's most popular hiking trail, and something all hiking enthusiasts must check off their list. The hike takes from 4-8 days and features breathtaking views with every step, where you'll experience cascading multi-colored rhyolite mountains, ancient lava fields and the raw, stark contrast of Icelandic nature. Our guides are expert hikers and have years of experience hiking the Laugavegur trail. So don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity and book your hiking tour now!
The Laugavegur trail is Iceland’s most popular trek. Located in the Highlands, the trail goes all the way from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. The landscape is so varied and unique that National Geographic listed Laugavegur in the top 20 “Dream trails” in the world. Nowadays, Laugavegur is known worldwide for its magical sceneries. During the hike, it is possible to find colorful rhyolite mountains, black obsidian lava, hot springs, clear blue lakes, rapid rivers, black deserts, and finally, a bright green area full of vegetation.
Laugavegur is about 55-kilometer long from Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve to Thorsmork Valley. The Laugavegur trail is the perfect way to explore some of the most remote places in Iceland while enjoying the breathtaking beauty of this country.
Every summer, locals, as well as tourists, are hiking in the Highlands on this beautiful trek. There is only a short window of 3 months in the year to do it as the trail is available from mid-June to mid-September due to bad weather conditions. The roads that lead to the starting and finish points will also be open for this time period, depending on the weather. In the end of August and in September, there are chances of seeing the Northern Lights if the weather is correct.
Usually, people take 4 days to complete the trail and they do it from North to South (Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork) because it is the easiest way as the trail goes down in that direction. Along the trail, there are so many different landscapes that it is hard to remember that it is still the same country. From glaciers to waterfalls, geysers to volcanoes, everyone will be in awe of this unique trail. There is definitely everything Iceland has to offer in this one trek.
Starting at Landmannalaugar, a stunning place that greets hikers with steam rising from the surroundings and colorful mountains all around. Many hikers choose to spend one night in Landmannalaugar before taking off on the trail so they can explore the area and enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs situated right underneath a wall of lava - where the Eldhraun lava field stops.
From Landmannalaugar the trail takes hikers through Laugahraun lava field and over multicolored rhyolite mountains before arriving at Storihver hot spring. The area around the spring is most likely the only green area you will be coming across that day before you reach the first hut on the trail at Hrafntinnusker. The hut is called Hoskuldsskali and accommodates 52 persons on its two floors. The hut has a kitchen, equipped with all necessities and running water. There is no electricity in the hut except for the lighting that solely relies on solar cells that are located on the roof of the hut. Hrafntinnusker (literary meaning obsidian skerry) takes its name from the fields of obsidian that is highly characteristic of the area that otherwise is largely covered with sand making it like an island of black rock.
The distance from Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker is about 12 km.
Departing from Hrafntinnusker, over the black sand, the trail leads through a geothermally active area with all the splendor it brings, like the red and yellow mountains and gullies of Reykjafjoll mountains. From the top of Jokultungur, a view down to Alftavatn lake is sure to take your breath away. As you make your way down towards the lake the vegetation becomes richer and greener.
The hut at Alftavatn has sleeping space for 72 persons, good cooking facilities, WC and showers (must be paid for separately). The camping ground in Alftavatn is located right at the edge of the lake in amazing surroundings.
The distance from Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn is 12 km.
Following the trail from Alftavatn, you will soon come to Hvanngil gully, that is located within a few kilometers from Alftavatn. Here you can find a nice hut that accommodates up to 60 people. Hvanngil is a good alternative to Álftavatn for a place to spend the second night on the trail. Carrying on from Hvanngil, you cross a couple of rivers, some are bridged but you have to wade the others, Blafjallakvisl river being the biggest one. The landscape of this part of the trail is quite different from the first two parts. You will be traveling over a vast black sand desert skilfully decorated with green mountains and stunning views in every direction.
After a refreshing crossing of the glacier river Innri-Emstrua we start getting closer to the huts in Botnar which, for most, is the accommodation place for the third night. Botnar in Emstrur has sleeping space for 60 people in 3 identical huts that are all connected with a terrace that provides a great outdoors sitting area. Make sure not to leave Emstrur before you have taken the short walk to Markarfljotsgljufur gorge to admire this treasure of nature. A sight you definitely won't want to miss!
The distance from Alftavatn to Emstrur is 15 km
The last part of the trail leads you through a highly diverse landscape. From Emstrur the black sand desert continues for a while before you will enter into a more vegetated area. We will be traveling down from the highlands and leaving behind us the volcanic desert that we have been hiking through for the past days.
After we wade Thronga, the last river we have to cross on foot on the trail - both a cold and exciting experience, there is only a short walk through the dense birch forest before we reach Langidalur in Thorsmork. As you see you get closer to this charming highland hut, you will feel mixed feelings of relief but also sad that this unforgettable experience is over. Behind us are now 55 km of unique landscapes and an experience of a lifetime!
The distance from Emstrur to Thorsmork is 15 km.
If you want more, a 16-18 km hike from Thorsmork to Fimmvorduhals is a great addition to the Laugavegur trail. The trail starts with a magnificent view as we walk up the mountainsides of Þórsmörk Valley. The Fimmvörðuháls Pass lies between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull Glaciers. Here you can find the newly formed craters, Magni and Móði, formed in the volcano eruption in 2010. Check out our Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals trek where we add two nights in the beautiful surroundings of Thorsmork Valley, hiking up to Fimmvörðuháls and returning to Thorsmork to celebrate our accomplishments of the past days.
The strong point of joining a tour is that everything is already planned, the participants will have nothing to worry about. All the hikers have to do is enjoying the nature around them and follow the knowledgeable guide. Indeed, everything is taken care of.
The accommodation in the huts are already booked so no worries about the beds available. Everyone should however take his/her own sleeping bag and pillow. Going by yourself, it is always better to book the huts along the trail beforehand, even several months in advance. The huts are all about 55-60 USD per night (this fee is included in the tour) and are well equipped. Usually, they are heated, have kitchen utensils, toilets, lighters, tables and benches. They normally have running water and hot showers which are charged 4 USD for 5 minutes (this is not included in the price of the tour).
There are tours with camping instead of huts. The tents are of course provided during this kind of tours, as well as thin inflatable mattress. Camping costs around 10 USD per night, and 4 USD to use the hut kitchen. It is strictly forbidden to pitch a tent in a random place inside the Nature Reserve. Everyone has to respect the designated areas, which are all located around the huts, in official camping sites.
About the way to get to the trail and to come back to Reykjavík, there is nothing to worry about either. The pick up and drop off are included! There is no need to look for buses and wait for an incredibly long time at the bus terminals in the capital. Note that the roads going to both starting and finish points are only accessible by 4WD vehicles only. Plus, many people have big backpacks for this long trek. But by joining a tour, we will carry your luggage and all that’s left on your back is a day backpack (25-40L), lighter than a big one.
All the meals are included, no need to cook, or to worry about which food preserves the best and which one to eat first. No need for gas cylinder either. The guides will cook delicious meals for the group in the huts.
Joining a tour also brings safety to the trips. Our guides will always make sure to keep everyone safe and comfortable. The guides will know in advance the conditions of the trail and will be organized in case of bad weather. The trail is well marked but the weather is always unpredictable, even during the summertime. Fog is totally possible in summer, causing very low visibility and areas covered in snow are not rare.
They will tell the hikers about all the stories of the landmarks around the trek, about the environment and folklore tales. They know exactly where to stop to have the best pictures and views. As the daylight lasts forever during summer, the guides will even take a stroll at night with the most motivated ones to discover secret places off the beaten track. Remember that good hiking boots and sturdy hiking gear are a must.