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Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

Tackle Iceland's classic hut-to-hut trek. 55km of epic trekking through multi-coloured mountains, gorges and glaciers to the foot of Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

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Trip Ref #10063

Adventures / Wild Hikes

Trek the Laugavegur Trail in Iceland

Tackle Iceland's classic hut-to-hut trek. 55km of epic trekking through multi-coloured mountains, gorges and glaciers to the foot of Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

DURATION
5 nights
LOCATION
Iceland
FLY TO
Keflavik International Airport
Perfect for

Beginner and experienced hikers alike, with good fitness levels, able to be on the move for 6-7 hours a day while carrying their own pack.

DIFFICULTY
Challenging

Why it's much better

  • Complete one of National Geographic's '20 Best Hikes in the World'
  • 4 full days of hiking in one of Europe's most iconic landscapes: Iceland's southern highlands
  • Trek through the ethereal and otherworldly Landmannalaugar mountains, a multi-coloured geological wonder
  • Soothe tired limbs in the natural geothermal baths dotted along the route
  • Visit canyons, glaciers and stand at the feet of ancient volcanoes
  • Stay in atmospheric mountain huts in spectacular locations
  • Finish up in the beautiful highland valley of Þórsmörk - 'The Valley of Thor' - beneath the active volcano Eyjafjallajökull
  • Guides Expert, English-speaking local trekking guides
  • Accommodation 2 nights in a Reykjavik guesthouse, 3 nights in mountain huts
  • Meals All meals while on the trek itself: 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers Arrival airport transfer
  • Permits All permits and entry fees
  • Happiness Guaranteed We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it
  • Feel Good Vibes We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects

Day 1: Arrive in Reykjavik

Arrive at Keflavik international airport at any time on Day 1. Your driver will meet you in the arrivals hall and transfer you to Iceland’s capital city: Reykjavik. After checking in to your city guesthouse, you’ll have the rest of the day and evening free to explore Reykjavik’s array of quaint bars and cafes, art museums and churches.

Day 2: Bus to the start point at Landmannalaugar

Grab an early breakfast before your host picks you up at 07:30 ready for the drive to the start of the Laugavegur Trail. You'll drive to the trailhead at Landmannalaugar, passing several volcanoes as you pass through the Dómadalur area.

Arriving at noon, you’ll have lunch and then it's time to lace up your hiking boots and start the trek. You’ll head south into the mountains. The trail immediately winds through small gorges, past steaming hot springs and yellow mountain ridges. Yes, we mean yellow.

After 4 or 5 hours of trekking, you’ll reach Hrafntinnusker mountain hut late in the afternoon. You’ll have dinner and spend the night sleeping in the cosy hut, surrounded by nature.

Trekking distance: 12km - Elevation ascent/descent: 470m/ - Duration: 4-5 hours

Day 3: Trek from Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn (Swan Lake)

After some coffee and breakfast to fuel you up, you’ll leave the mountain hut to continue along the next stage of the Laugavegur trail. From Hrafntinnusker you'll descend down in to the gullies of Jökultungur. Here there are hundreds of steaming hot springs and mud pools. Shortly after these, the trail starts to deliver spectacular views to the south. Look out towards the Álftavatn (Swan Lake) and the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers as you hike.

In the afternoon, you'll arrive at Álftavatn hut where you can rest your feet and reflect on an amazing day of trekking.

Trekking distance: 12km - Elevation ascent/descent: /490m - Duration: 4-5 hours

Day 4: Ancient Volcanoes and Black Deserts - Trek from Álftavatn to Emstrur

Today’s trekking route passes the foot of the green conic volcano of Stórasúla before approaching the black deserts of Mælifellssandur Then you will head towards another ancient volcano, the Hattfell, before entering the Emstrur region where farmers used to graze their sheep in summer. That's a lot to take in in one day!

Before arriving at the Botnar mountain hut, where you'll stay the night, there is a short detour to visit the magnificent Markarfljót canyon, cut almost 200m down into the rocks south of Hattfell.

Trekking distance: 16km - Elevation ascent/descent: /40m - Duration: 6-7 hours

Day 5: Trek to the finish at Þórsmörk and transfer back to Reykjavik

This is the final stretch of the Laugavegur Trail. Continue hiking up and down through the undulating valleys and gullies of Emstrur, where the mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier rises only a couple of kilometres away. As the trek progresses, you'll notice the vegetation start to grow thicker and higher as you descend in to Þórsmörk's green valleys, filled with arctic birch forests and colourful flowers.

The trek reaches a climactic finish at Þórsmörk underneath the shadow of the famous volcano Eyjafjallajökull. There’ll be time for celebratory high fives and a few photos - for that all important proof that you completed the Laugavegur trail - before you hop on a bus back to Reykjavik around 17:00.

Arriving late into Reykjavik centre around 21:00, you may have a drop of energy left for a drink in town. Either way, you'll be soaking up the fact that you've just finished one of the world’s great treks.

Trekking distance: 17km - Elevation ascent/descent: /300m - Duration: 6-7 hours

Day 6: Trip ends in the morning at Reykjavik guesthouse

After checking out of the guesthouse in the morning, you are free to travel on to other parts of Iceland, stay on in Reykjavik for longer or head to the airport to catch your flight home.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

During the trek you’ll stay at classic Icelandic mountain huts dotted along the Laugavegur Trail. These huts have dormitory style accommodation.

Hrafntinnusker Hut

Hrafntinnusker hut is located at the foot of Hrafntinnusker hill in the Southern highlands on the Laugavegur Trail itself. The hut offers sleeping bag accommodation for up to 52 people in bunkbeds and on platforms in communal halls. There are basic amenities such as gas stove for cooking, kitchenware, running water and a dry indoor toilet. This rustic mountain hut has no electricity or showers available.

Álftavatn Hut

Álftavatn mountain huts are located on the shores of the beautiful lake Álftavatn in the Southern highlands. The huts offer sleeping bag accommodation for up to 72 people in bunk beds. The huts are equipped with furnaces for heating, gas stoves for cooking, kitchenware and running water. There is, however, limited electricity available. The toilets and showers are located in a separate building.

Botnar / Emstrur Hut

Botnar huts are located in the green Emstrur area, close to the glacial river South Emstruá, on the Laugavegur Trail. The huts offer sleeping bag accommodation for up to 60 people, split between 3 huts. Each hut is equipped with gas stoves, kitchenware and running water. There is no electricity and the toilets and showers are located in a separate building. Botnar huts make for a peaceful and relaxing stopover on the Laugavegur trek.

The Laugavegur trail in Iceland's southern highlands stretches 55km from the hot springs at Landmannalaugar to the beautiful Þórsmörk (The Valley of Thor). The scenery is spectacular, made up of rhyolite hills streaked in orange gravel, pale blue tarns, black sand deserts and the huge icy behemoths of glaciers Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and _Tindfjallajökull

One of the most famous and photogenic sections is the mountains of Landmannalaugar, part of the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Landmannalaugar sits at the edge of Laugahraun lava field, which was formed in an eruption around the year 1477. The volcanic activity in the area has formed spectacular geological wonders all around, most famously the multi-coloured mountains of Landmannalaugar, an otherworldly palette of red, pink, green, blue and golden yellow.

The route is dotted with geothermal hot springs - a fixture of Icelandic living - which make for welcoming pit stops at various points.

Start Point

Your trip starts at Keflavik airport in Reykjavik where you'll be met by your host. Transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, so please let your host know your flight times.

Finish Point

Your trip finishes up at your guesthouse in Reykjavik on the final morning. There's no transfer included, however the bus to the airport is very easy to book and locate and your host is on hand to help arrange this if needed.

Yes. This is a hut-to-hut trek in Icelandic wilderness, so there is no luggage transport available on this tour. You will carry your own luggage and the food supplies will be divided equally. Please leave around 8-10 litres of free space in your backpack for food. 50-75 litre backpacks are generally fine on this trek.

The Laugavegur trail is not paved, but in some places paths have formed. It is sometimes a bit rocky but very accessible to those used to hiking in uneven terrain.

River Crossings You will need to cross rivers every day except on the first day. The water level in the rivers changes from time to time due to seasonal conditions. In some cases we you'll be able to step from stone to stone to get to the other side. In other cases you'll need to take your shoes and socks off, put on river crossing shoes and wade the rivers. Neoprene socks and sandals or neoprene shoes (beach shoes) are the best choice to bring along. Your guide will provide you with advice on river crossing as well as help you to cross the rivers. Trekking poles might come in handy when wading rivers as well as crossing with a partner.

Phone Signal Phone connection can be unstable on the trail and you might have to hike up the nearest hilltop to find a network. It is not possible to connect to WiFi in any of the huts, but you might be able to connect to 4G in some of them as well as along the trail.

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from Reykjavik
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Meals on day 1 and 6, dinner on day 5
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Sleeping bag hire ( if you don't bring your own )
  • Luggage storage in Reykjavik
  • Airport transfer on day 6

You'll need to have good fitness levels for this trek. You'll be hiking for 5-7 hours each day on 4 consecutive days of hiking. The route isn’t overly technical and doesn’t reach high altitudes, so beginner hikers will be fine - providing you have good fitness levels and a pair of broken in hiking boots!

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 people and a maximum of 16.

The emphasis during the trek is on light weighted and easily prepared meals. The trip leader will prepare the group’s evening meals with some assistance from group members. For dinner you'll have soups, pasta with smoked salmon, couscous, sausages and freeze-dried meals. Breakfasts will consist of muesli, porridge, crispbread, swiss miss, tea and coffee. For packed lunch you'll make sandwiches from the various ingredients we will hike with; Icelandic flatbread, pâté, salami, cheese, peanut butter, smoked salmon. Snack items include biscuits, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, fruits and energy bars.

Vegans and vegetarians can be accommodated on this trek. Please let your host know in advance.

As the old Iceland saying goes, “In Iceland, if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”. Icelandic weather is famously fickle so you’ll need to prepare for all weathers: from balmy all day sunshine in the mid-twenties, to wind and rain - and everything in between! This is all part of the adventure, of course, but be sure to pack good waterproofs incase the rain gods come calling.

Remember that in Iceland the summer is nearly 24 hours of daylight, so don’t forget your eye mask!

There are luggage lockers at BSI central bus station - you will be here in the morning on day 2 to take the bus to Landmannalaugar. ALternatively there are four other centrally located places in Reykjavik which your host can direct you to store luggage if you prefer to do this on day 1 after arriving in Reykjavik.

You can pre-book at http://www.luggagelockers.is/.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

Our group adventures are adult only, however, if you would like to bring children along this can be arranged by requesting a private trip with the host. This trip has been completed by children as young as 7, although they did not carry their own backpack, so please factor this in when considering hiking with children.

The water in Iceland is drinkable everywhere and you’ll have access to taps at each of the mountain huts. We suggest you bring a couple of reusable water bottles to load up at the start of each day.

Any water in rivers, streams, pools and snowmelt is ok for drinking. Even though the water carries a little bit of silt or soil it is safe to drink. Guests bringing a Lifestraw of Water-to-go bottle can fill up on the move from the glacial streams and rivers on the route.

Bags

  • Trekking backpack 50-75 litres
  • Waterproof liner for backpack

Clothes

  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Lightweight down/synthetic fill jacket
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Buff or neckscarf
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts / skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear (for thermal pools)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals/jelly shoes/beach shoes for crossing rivers

Other

  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Eyemask
  • Lunchbox
  • Headtorch
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Spare camera batteries
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x1 ltr (2 of these if you have room)
  • Quickdry towel
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks
  • Water purification tablets/treatment system
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