The 5 Best Multi-Day Hikes in Iceland
Iceland is well-known for its jaw-dropping landscapes, and the best way to explore them is by getting up close and personal on foot. Hiking is superb in the countryside, and there are a multitude of multi-day hikes that will leave you in awe. From the volcanic highlands to the picturesque East Fjords, these are the best multi-day hikes in Iceland.
1. The Laugavegur Trail – Highlands
Iceland’s most famous hike is popular for a reason. Stretching from Laugavegur in the highlands to the hidden valley of Thórsmörk, this is a hike worthy of your bucket-list. Along the way you’ll experience the best of Iceland’s incredible highland region, passing gorgeous valleys, colorful mountainsides, glittering glaciers, and sweeping volcanic landscapes. Camping out in huts along the way gives you a chance to mingle and share the experience with like-minded adventurers. For an added challenge, tack on an extra day to hike over Fimmvörðurháls, the mountain pass that separates Thórsmörk from the small settlement of Skógar in the south.
Laugavegur Trail Accommodation
Accommodation along the way is either in the mountain huts or camping. The huts get booked out well in advance, so get in early. Camping costs significantly less, but you must pitch your tent next to the huts.
- Landmannalaugar Hut and Campsite
- Hrafntinnusker Hut
- Álftavatn Hut (restaurant open until 11pm; pre-book your meals here)
- Emstrur Hut
- Thórsmörk accommodation is either at the Volcano Huts (with a restaurant) or a bit further south inside the hut at Básar.
For those who decide to cross over the Fimmvörðurháls Pass, it can be done in one or two days. Generally the Laugavegur trekkers will complete it in one, but if you want to take it a bit slower you can book into the Baldvinsskáli hut.
Laugavegur Trail with a Campervan?
The best way to do the Laugavegur Trail with a campervan is to start in Skógar (where you’ll leave the campervan at the campsite), hike the trail, and then catch the bus back from Landmannalaugar to Hella. From here, you can transfer onto another bus that takes you back to Skógar to pick up the camper and continue your journey.
2. Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon - Northeast Iceland
The epic Jökulsárgljúfur is a 25km-long canyon in the northeast of Iceland, hiding away a beautiful 2-day trek that too often gets ignored. Carved out by the river Jökulsá á Fjöllum over thousands of years, hiking along the canyon’s side is to get a glimpse at the raw elemental power of Iceland. Giant waterfalls, basalt columns and gorgeous canyon views await along this trail, and hardly any other people. Starting at either Dettifoss (Europe’s most powerful waterfall) or the verdant Ásbyrgi canyon, follow the western side of the canyon and stay overnight at the Vesturdalur campsite (open from June 7 until September 15).
The best way to complete this trail with a campervan is to have a designated driver who will pick you up when you’ve finished (they can even stay overnight with you at Vesturdalur campsite). Hitching a ride back down from Ásbyrgi to Dettifoss is also a possibility if you leave your camper in the parking area.
3. Víknaslóðir Trail – East Iceland
The eastern region remains as one of Iceland’s most underrated areas for travel. The hiking is fantastic, and the weather is often much better than the rest of the country. Summers are mild, and there’s a fair amount of sunny days that make this multi-day hike one of the most beautiful in the country. Rather than a set route, Víknaslóðir is more an entire network of trails that criss-cross over the giant fjords of the coast. There are several different routes to take, but for this article, we recommend the 3-day trek between Borgarfjörður Eystri and Seyðisfjörður. Between these two towns in the east are several uninhabited bays, remote and silent. The scenery is astounding; towering mountains, rushing waterfalls and rivers, and spectacular views out to the Atlantic Ocean are all a given. You’ll also pass the ruins of some farms, giving the entire hike an even more remote feel.
Víknaslóðir Trail Accommodation
Hiking this trail with a campervan means that you’ll have to make use of the eastern region’s public transport system. From Seyðisfjörður, you can catch a bus to
4. Hornstrandir – Westfjords
The remote Hornstrandir Peninsula at the top of the Westfjords is a hiker’s dream destination. With epic cliffs plunging into the ocean and hundreds of waterfalls streaming down the side, the scenery is out of this world. Almost completely uninhabited, beautiful hiking trails are scattered across the area, providing plenty of opportunities to glimpse arctic foxes and spectacular views from mountain passes. There are several ways you can craft an itinerary here – study the ferry schedule to see the areas where you can be dropped off and picked up. Most hikers opt to spend four days on the peninsula with the following itinerary.
Hiking Hornstrandir in Four Days
- Day One: catch the ferry from Ísafjörður to Hesteyri and hike over the mountain pass into the bay Hlöðuvík.
- Day Two: spend the day hiking towards Hornvík, with a detour to Hælavíkurbjarg before you reach the campsite.
- Day Three: return hike to Hornbjarg, a sheer cliff that drops over 100m into the teeming ocean below. Camp again at Hornvík.
- Day Four: Cross over the mountain pass to Veiðileysufjörður to catch the ferry back to Ísafjörður.
5. Lónsöræfi – Southeast Iceland
One of the true last remaining hidden gems in Iceland, the Lónsöræfi Nature Reserve in Southeast Iceland is an area carved out by the huge power of Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier. Remote, rugged and extreme, only experienced hikers should attempt any longer treks in the area. The most obvious route heads inland from the southeast and finishes at Mt. Snæfell in the eastern highlands. Along the way you’ll pass incredible gorges carved out from the glacial rivers, gushing waterfalls, and even get up close and personal with Vatnajökull. From its end point at Mt. Snæfell it can be quite difficult to get back to civilisation, so we recommend renting our 4x4 Camper 4-pax and have a volunteer (or two) that wants to explore around the southeast instead of attempting the hike. That way, they can also drive along the mountain roads to pick you up when you arrive at Snæfell.