Venturing the 98 miles (158 km) to the remote Icelandic region of Thorsmork, or "Thor's Valley", in southern Iceland from the capital of Reykjavik is an endeavor best explored by a combination of self-driving and public transport. This is due to the sections of the route near Thorsmork that are impassable by regular and even most four-wheel-drive cars.
It's also possible to reach the area strictly by public transportation, or even by foot (during summer months) from footbridges over the Krossá River. Because of the location, it's only possible to travel by car and public transport to this region during the summer months of May through October. For those interested in visiting during the winter months, a guided tour with super-jeeps will be the only option.
Thorsmork is a hiker's dream, with ridiculous mountains and a lush valley as the playground, surrounded by three glaciers: Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull.
Along the way to Thorsmork, self-driving travelers have the option to stop at the three main attractions in the Golden Circle; Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss, and Geysir. Once back on the Ring Road (Route 1), you may want to see Urriðafoss near Hella or venture around the trails near the active volcano of Hekla.
For more detailed information about what to expect when visiting Thorsmork, check out this article.
Duration: 4-6 hours
Driving from Reykjavik to Thorsmork takes approximately three hours if going directly. However, it's wise to allow for extra time to explore along the way as well as for difficult road conditions once veering off of the Ring Road (Route 1) onto the F249 road. This roadway requires a 4x4 vehicle to navigate several river crossings where you will then reach one of the parking lots where you can then take the mountain bus equipped to handle the large (and dangerous) river crossing. It is not possible to cross this last portion of the river by car.
On your way, you will pass right by Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi, a cave waterfall, both of which are fantastic stops and nature at its finest. Once in Thorsmork, the hiking trails in the untouched southern Icelandic highlands will beckon, and the views of the dramatic landscape will be mind-blowing.
Duration: 4-5 hours
During the summer months, travelers can take the line 52 bus from the Mjódd station just outside of the city (10 minutes from Reykjavik by taxi) directly to Hvolsvollur. It is possible to take the line 3 bus from downtown Reykjavik's Ráðhúsið station and then transfer at Mjódd, however, this will add an extra ten minutes. Once in Hvolsvollur, visitors can park in the lot at the Lava Centre, where the bus to Volcano Huts (a main starting point for activities in Thorsmork) will take you the rest of the way. This is a great option for those looking to explore the area around Hvolsvollur either before or after spending time in Thorsmork.
By Group Transfer
Duration: 3-4 hours
Many group tours operated by various companies offer transportation into Thorsmork. Most depart right from Reykjavik either from the Harpa Concert Hall or BSÍ terminal. This option is only available during the summer months as well.
Duration: 5-7 hours
It's possible to make the trek up the F249 with an appropriate 4x4 vehicle until the big river crossing, and then hiking the remaining 3km into Thorsmork via the footbridges.