Don't have a lot of time to roam around Iceland? This compact yet comprehensive itinerary is a great introduction to the wild and wonderful wilderness. Experience the remote grandeur of Þórsmörk, see old and new lava formations (some still steaming!) on and around Eyjafjallajökull crater, and witness the thundering majesty of Skógafoss waterfall — all in just 3 days.

Highlights

  • Discover Þórsmörk, or Thor's Valley, and explore its impressive geology
  • Navigate the Magni, Móði, and Eyjafjallajökull craters on foot
  • Hike through the Fimmvörðuháls pass for close observation of lava formations
  • Follow the Skógaá River all the way to the epic Skógafoss waterfall
  • Stay in remote mountain huts

Overview

This complete crossing over Fimmvörðuháls is one of the most famous hikes in Iceland, along with the Laugavegur trek. Its popular trail takes you past the site of the 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Fimmvörðuháls has since become a major trekking destination in Iceland, showcasing exciting geological features and spectacular nature.

The trail winds its way from the nature reserve of Þórsmörk to Skógar, traveling over a newly hardened batch of lava. There is no access for vehicles all the way to the hut on Fimmvörðuháls, so you'll be trekking where the crowds cannot go. Accommodations in mountain huts only serve to highlight the remoteness of this beautiful area.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Reykjavík - Þórsmörk Þórsmörk hut
Day 2 Þórsmörk - Fimmvörðuháls Fimmvörðuháls hut
Day 3 Fimmvörðuháls - Skógar - Reykjavík Reykjavik (self-arranged)

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Reykjavík to Þórsmörk

The vast Þórsmörk Valley, named after the god of thunder, Thor
The vast Þórsmörk Valley, named after the god of thunder, Thor

You'll begin early in Reykjavik, hitching a ride on a regular public bus in the morning to the beautiful Þórsmörk, or Thor's Valley, tucked behind glaciers in the southern highlands. You'll arrive in Þórsmörk around noon and enjoy lunch together. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to explore this natural wonder. A unique area, Þórsmörk is beloved among Icelanders for its widely contrasting geological elements, including glacial rivers, snow-capped mountain ranges, and lush valleys covered with moss and ferns. After you've had your fill of the picturesque scenery, you'll spend the night in one of the huts in Þórsmörk.

Day 2: Þórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls via Eyjafjallajökull and More

Observing craters and glaciers in preparation for a challenging hike
Observing craters and glaciers in preparation for a challenging hike

You'll start the day by crossing the river Krossá on a footbridge to enter the magical landscapes of Goðalönd, or the land of the gods. Nestled at the foot of two glaciers, this is a wonderland of ridges and cliffs covered by a multitude of flowers and grasses fit for gods and humans alike. You'll continue up the hills, walking along the Kattarhryggir ridges with impressive views towards of Útigönguhöfði mountain and up to Morinsheiði heath.

You'll reach the end of the Morinsheiði plateau and arrive at the two craters Magni and Móði, which erupted prior to the main Eyjafjallajökull crater. You'll have many opportunities to observe and photograph lava up close and to take note of its many contours and colors: green and yellow from sulfur, red craters where the lava still glows warmly just below the cracks at its surface. At day's end, you'll make your way up the high pass of Fimmvörðuháls to reach the hut between the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers, where you'll spend the night.

Hiking Distance: 7-9 miles          
Hiking Duration: 6-7 hours

Day 3: Fimmvörðuháls to Skógar, Return to Reykjavík by Bus

Towering Skógafoss waterfall is surrounded by myth and legend
Towering Skógafoss waterfall is surrounded by myth and legend

You'll start the day by heading down to Skógar, on a path that takes you over a desolate heath and past an old hut. You'll trace the path of the Skógaá River as it flows towards the famous Skógafoss waterfall, exploring its many hidden gorges and waterfalls along the way. After taking in the glory that is Skógafoss, you'll return on the scheduled bus to Reykjavík, arriving at the city's BSI bus terminal in time for you to check into your hotel, go out for a celebratory meal, and reminisce about a journey you'll remember for years to come.

Hiking Distance: 7-8 miles             
Hiking Duration: 6-7 hours

Hildur
Written by Hildur J, updated Mar 18, 2019