Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice, where turbulent volcanic forces meet the icy touch of the Arctic to shape an island that is as desolate as it is beautiful. Blasted tundra, glistening glaciers and pounding waterfalls are among the many wonders vying for space in the Icelandic wilderness, and the best way to explore the extremes of this spellbinding country is to take a long walk into its heart, on the famous Laugavegur trail.
Stretching 55km from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk, the Laugavegur trail is the country’s most well-known hiking route. The four-day trek takes you past colourful mountains, warming hot-springs and steep ravines as you wind your way through the landscape of South-East Iceland.
The trail attracts a steady stream of hikers during its open season (June to August), but it is long enough to allow some distance between yourself and other hikers, so you can still feel that you are experiencing the scenery on a personal level, if that is what you are looking for.
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Almost every inch of the path offers an opportunity to take a great picture, and if you bring a camera along, you might struggle to put it away. Consider bringing a widescreen and waterproof camera to capture the sweeping vistas in weather that could become damp at any moment. Take a look at Techradar’s article about the best waterproof cameras for some expert advice. Hiking Iceland’s Laugavegur trail.
The trail is challenging and will put your endurance to the test, with long climbs, steep descents and rocky surfaces awaiting those who take on the challenge.
Although the trail is only open over the summer, don’t expect four days of glorious sun; the weather in the Icelandic interior is notoriously volatile, and is liable to change from sunshine to thick fog and rain at the drop of a hat. If you want to find out more about what to expect on the trail, take a look at the official trail website. Best Iceland trails best iceland hikes.
You should ensure that you are suitably dressed for the journey. Essential items include: comfortable hiking boots, a water/windproof jacket and overtrousers, thermal hat and gloves, and sunglasses in case of snow glare. Make sure your equipment is of a good quality and be sure to stock up on anything you need before you leave from an outdoor clothing specialist.
Above and Beyond is one such specialist, and their range of waterproof jackets and other clothing will have you covered for the very worst the Icelandic weather can throw at you. Where to go hiking in Iceland.
As the hike will take several days, there are two options for your overnight stays. The first, and most comfortable, option is to book a place at one of the six huts that are dotted along the trails at Landmannalaugar, Hrafntinnusker, Álftavatn, Hvanngil, Emstrur/Botnar and Langidalur in Thórsmörk. The second is to camp in one of the sites attached to each hut which you don’t need to book in advance. Where to stay on the Laugavegur trail Iceland.
Each hut has bunk accommodation, running water, and heating, offering a basic but pleasant night’s sleep. Due to high seasonal demand, many visitors opt to book a package deal to secure their place in their desired huts and transport to and from the trail. This package from Volcano Huts will cover you for your accommodation and transport.
The trail is very well signposted, with guideposts acting as comforting pointers in good weather. However, as the weather is prone to change, it may be a good idea to bring along a detailed map of the area. In addition to a map, it might also be advisable to pack a compass and GPS-unit that you can use should visibility become reduced. Camping on the Laugavegur trail Iceland.
The Laugavegur trail offers a beautiful but challenging opportunity to explore Iceland’s wilderness. The region’s open landscapes and wild mountains can mesmerise you for hours as you journey towards your goal. If you are looking to test yourself physically, as well as rewarding yourself with moments of wonder, then Iceland’s Laugavegur is the trek for you.
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Photo credits: Featured photo by Leon Dolman. In order of appearance thereafter, both Pinterest images by Alexander Hahn, hiking up a glacier by Leon Dolman, hiking through mist by Alexander Hahn, camping on the trail by Leon Dolman, footwear by Jenny Salita, volcano huts by Alexander Hahn.