If you're a hiker, Iceland is the country for you. The locals are big trekkers, so you'll find entire regions protected for and devoted to hiking, and offering some of the most scenic landscapes in the country. So, whether you're looking for a short and scenic day hike or want to embark on a multi-day hut-to-hut trek, Iceland offers it all.
What's perhaps most appealing is the ability to weave hiking into almost any activity. If you want to see a glacier, why not hike atop one? If you're excited to experience some of the country's famed waterfalls, opt for the hiking trails rather than the roads. Suppose you're interested in Iceland's geologic and volcanic history—trek to an active volcano!
Hiking is truly engrained in the Icelandic culture and daily life for many locals. Therefore, you can find incredible hiking opportunities throughout the country, regardless of which regions of Iceland you plan to visit.
Iceland is known for its glaciers—it's home to Europe's largest glacier, after all! So, if you'd like to experience this unique landscape, do it with an icy hike (and add in a cave exploration while you're at it).
Skaftafell Blue Ice Cave & Glacier Hike
Combine two of Iceland's most popular activities by enjoying a glacier hike that takes you deep into the country's beloved ice caves. You'll start near Skaftafell and trek along Europe's largest glacier as your guide reveals the story behind these ice caps, including how they form and why they constantly change. Then, head into one of the electric-blue ice caves, which make their appearance during the country's frigid winters. The unique caves feature interesting ice formations that change every year. Read More
Sólheimajökulll Glacier Hike
Glacier hiking is a popular and exciting activity in Iceland, and Sólheimajökulll is a favorite, as it often displays various colors. At any time, this famed ice cap (which connects to Vatnajokull, Europe's largest glacier) appears blue, white, or even crystal clear. This hike takes you along the ice, passing deep crevasses and water cauldrons. As you walk, enjoy learning all about Iceland's famed landscapes and their important connections to the country's volcanoes and mountain ranges. Read More
As the land of fire and ice, you can even add active volcanic hiking to your bucket list. Whether you climb to Geldingadalir Volcano or walk across "Steam Valley," you can explore the country's volcanic activity via impressive hikes.
Geldingadalir Volcano Hike
Hiking on an active volcano might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and certainly a must-do when visiting Iceland! Starting in the town of Grindavík, you'll first hike through unique terrain covered in rocks and lava fields. The steep and slightly uneven ground eventually leads you to a viewing area, where you'll have the perfect scene of Geldingadalir Volcano. Although it's not always erupting with lava flows, you might see steam emerging from its peak. Read More
Reykjadalur Valley Hike
Part of the Hengill Volcanic System, Reykjadalur Valley (known as "Steam Valley") offers a unique landscape complete with steam rising from the ground. By following the marked trail, you'll reach the area's famed hot river, where you can swim in its warm waters (the top of the river is typically the warmest). Other highlights include bubbling mud pools (although not swimmable!) and fumaroles, cracks in the Earth's crust that release steam. Read More
Mountains & Waterfalls
With so much land devoted to hiking, you can easily experience Iceland's famed mountains and waterfalls with a trek.
Hiking in the Thórsmörk Valley
Discover some of the most impressive mountain views in Iceland by hiking in the Thórsmörk Valley, carved by glaciers and set along the country's South Coast. There are plenty of trails to enjoy, most beginning and ending at the Volcano Huts that offer excellent views of the valley and surrounding landscapes. Most hikes scale ridges, curve around mountains, descend into valleys, or cross the mighty and scenic Krossá River. Read More
Glymur Waterfall Hike
Although you can view many Icelandic cascades from the road or via a short walk from a parking lot, Glymur Waterfall requires a hike—but the effort is worth it, thanks to the incredible views along the way! The moderate hike has a couple of steep portions, taking you through the scenic Botnsdalur Valley and offers views deep into a river canyon. Other highlights include a log crossing and passing through a cave. Read More
Hiking in Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar is a colorful hiker's paradise, complete with both short and multi-day routes that take you through the incredible scenery of Fjallabak Nature Reserve. The area is known for its variety of trails that weave amongst rhyolite mountains, blue lakes, and geothermal hot springs. Getting to Landmannalaugar is half the fun, as some driving routes pass through scenic valleys, by waterfalls, and over rivers. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Hiking Itinerary in Iceland
Not much science goes into planning a hiking itinerary since nearly the entire country offers some form of trekking! Regardless of where you want to go, you can find hiking in all regions of Iceland, including the Westfjord Region, Golden Circle, South Coast, East Iceland, and Northern Iceland.
How many days to spend in Iceland varies with what you hope to accomplish. For example, if you plan to fly into Reykjavík, you can easily achieve a hike or two in just a few days. But if you'd like to bounce around the country or try some multi-day or remote hiking, you'll want to give yourself at least one week in Iceland.
Remember that hiking can take up an entire day, so you'll want to plan accordingly. Likewise, if you opt to visit Iceland in the winter, it's worth giving yourself more time since you'll have limited daylight.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include hiking experiences in Iceland: