On this magnificent tour, you will explore the most famous trail in Iceland – Laugavegur, named one of the best in the world by the National Geographic magazine. You will set your own pace in an unforgettable adventure that will take you from the Landmannalaugar’s bubbling geothermal area to the lush, green Þórsmörk valley. You can choose to walk fast or slow down to completely enjoy the magnificent nature around you, including sights of yellow rhyolite mountains, black sand deserts, great canyons and mighty volcanoes.
- The colourful mountains of Landmannalaugar
- Contrasts of black sand and green moss
- The green valley of Þórsmörk
Click to view map
*This map is only for general reference; detailed route maps will be provided in your pre-departure package.
Day 1: Reykjavík/Landmannalaugar – Hrafntinnusker | 12 km
You will take the public bus from BSI bus terminal leaving at 07:00 h (meeting time at 06:30 h), which during the summer months drives along the mountain tracks that lead to Landmannalaugar, passing by the Hekla volcano and other volcanoes in the Dómadalur area. Arriving in Landmannalaugar at noon, it is a good time to have lunch and then head south into the mountains. The trail takes you past small gorges, steaming hot springs and yellow mountain ridges. In the late afternoon, you will arrive at Hrafntinnusker mountain hut, where you will stay for the night.
- Walking for the day: 12 km, 4-5 hours, ↑470 m
- Overnight in Hrafntinnusker hut
Day 2: Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn | 12 km
From Hrafntinnusker you descend in the gullies of Jökultungur with hundreds of steaming hot springs and mud pools. Here you enjoy fascinating views on the south to the Álftavatn area (Swan Lake), and the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. In the afternoon you arrive at Álftavatn hut, where you will overnight.
- Walking for the day: 12 km, 4-5 hours, ↓490 m
- Overnight in Álftavatn hut
Day 3: Álftavatn – Emstrur | 16 km
You pass at the foot of the green conic volcano of Stórasúla before entering the black deserts of Mælifellssandur. Heading towards another ancient and verdurous volcano, the Hattfell, you enter the Emstrur region where farmers used to graze their sheep in summer. Before arriving at the Botnar hut where you will overnight, you can visit the magnificent Markarfljót canyon cut almost 200 m down into the rocks south of Hattfell.
- Walking for the day: 16 km, 6-7 hours, ↓40 m
- Overnight in Botnar hut
Day 4: Emstrur – Þórsmörk | 17 km
You continue up and down through the small valleys and gullies of Emstrur, where the great Mýrdalsjökull glacier rises only a couple of kilometres away. At the end of the day, the vegetation starts to grow thicker and higher as you descend into Þórsmörk’s green valleys (the woods of Thor), filled with arctic birch forests and colourful flowers. Accommodation in one of the huts in Þórsmörk.
- Walking for the day: 17 km, 6-7 hours, ↓300 m
- Overnight in Thorsmork Mountain Huts
Day 5: Þórsmörk – Valahnúkur/Reykjavík | 5-10 km
You spend the morning in Þórsmörk with the possibility of walking along one of its numerous paths. For example, visit the Sönghellir cave (“Song cave”) or climb the small mountain of Valahnúkur from where magnificent views can be enjoyed, before taking the afternoon bus back to Reykjavík. Arrive at Reykjavik Central bus Station at around 19:30 h. No overnight is included
- Walking for the day: 5-10 km, 2-5 hours
What to Expect
The accommodation on this trek is in dormitories at mountain huts. All of the mountain huts are heated, some have electricity, and some have hot water. Where showers are available, there is a small fee to use them (~ 500 ISK/3-4 EUR payable on the spot). The huts are equipped with gas stoves and kitchen utensils; there will be running cold water in all the huts. Some huts have flushable toilets; others have outhouses. The mountain huts have no private rooms available; all rooms are dormitories. There are bunk rooms with single and twin beds; participants have to be prepared to share a bed with a stranger. You need to bring a sleeping bag, or you can rent one when booking the tour. We recommend bringing a power bank to charge your electronic devices.
No meals are included in the price, but a food package can be additionally booked. Special dietary meals are not possible on self guided tours. Please, note that you have to bring your own food from Reykjavik for the whole tour as the huts do not serve any drinks and meals.
Difficulty & terrain
This is a demanding but rewarding trek (read more about difficulty grades). It is appropriate for physically active walkers with some experience in trekking in mountainous terrain with a backpack. Children under 7 years are not allowed on this tour. The tour is not suitable for solo walkers. The walks are 6 – 7 hours per day. The trail is well marked, so the navigation is easy. The main difficulty is crossing rivers. You will get some advice about this in the roadbook.
When to go
This self guided tour can start every Friday from 24 June to 26 August 2022. The departures in 2023 are every Friday from 23 June to 25 August.
Update: All 2022 departures are fully booked.
There are limited seats available – up to 8 people on a departure. The climate of Iceland’s coast is subarctic. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures generally higher annual temperatures than in most places of similar latitude in the world. The south coast is warmer, wetter, and windier than the north. The average daily temperatures in June – August are 11°C – 13°C, and at the night – 6°C – 7°C.
What to bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. For your own well being and safety, we strongly suggest following the advice of our equipment list; this includes having good quality rain-gear, tops and bottoms! Please note that cotton clothing is not appropriate for any strenuous outdoor activity. Modern outdoor clothing is by far more comfortable and will greatly improve your experience.
- Transport from Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar on day 1 and from Þórsmörk to Reykjavík on day 5 by public bus
- Detailed information pack
- 4 nights’ accommodation in mountain huts dormitory-style
- Airfare and airport transfers
- Accommodation and meals in Reykjavík (highly recommended to book at least one night before and one night after the tour)
- Luggage transfers (can be additionally booked)
- Meals (can be additionally booked)
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme
Options, extras & supplements
- Sleeping bag rental
- Accommodation in Reykjavík before and after the tour
- Luggage transfers – 1 piece per person up to 18 kg. Luggage transport should correspond to the number of people travelling.
- A food package with easily prepared food for the entire tour (min. 2 persons) – can be booked only in combination with the luggage transport.
- Hiking poles rental
- Shower in the huts, where showers are available – you have to pay about 500 ISK (3-4 EUR) for 5 min use on the spot
Keflavík International Airport (KEF) is located about 50 km southwest of the capital. It is a 45-minute drive to Reykjavík. In order to reach the city, you can take Flybus, operating every day, all year long, in connection with all incoming flights. You can check for more information here or use the Omio travel planner above. Private airport shuttles can be booked here. It is also possible to take a taxi from the airport to the city.