Discover Iceland's famous Laugavegur Trail on this eight-day adventure. Journey through an active geothermal world of lava fields, the Rhyolite Mountains, and snow-covered passes. Cross through a black-sand desert and reach the enchanting, native forestry. Enjoy the wild and rare flora and fauna, typical Icelandic food, and hot springs. This back-to-basics camping trek follows a rhythm designed to maximize your connection to—and enjoyment of—this unique environment. Available as a guided or self-guided tour, luggage transport can be arranged if you prefer to trek with just a day pack.

Highlights

  • Explore the highlights of Reykjavík's burgeoning dining and nightlife scene
  • Discover active volcanoes, craters, and vibrant peaks in Landmannalaugar
  • Relish the glaciers, valleys, and stunning Lake Alftavatn in the Rhyolite Mountains
  • Take in the green slopes and gullies surrounding the incredible Þórsmörk Valley

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Reykjavík & Self-Guided Tour Reykjavik
Day 2 Landmannalaugar Mountain & Volcano Trekking Landmannalaugar
Day 3 Rhyolite Mountains Trek - Hrafntinnusker to Lake Álftavatn Lake Alftavatn
Day 4 Cross the Emstrur Desert & View Hattafell Emstrur-Botnar Hut
Day 5 Explore Þórsmörk Valley Thorsmork
Day 6 Þórsmörk - Discover Goðalönd & Fimmvorduhals Pass Thorsmork
Day 7 Final Hike in Þórsmörk & Return to Reykjavík Reykjavik
Day 8 Visit the Blue Lagoon & Depart From Reykjavík  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Reykjavík and self-guided tour

Hallgrímskirkja
Hallgrímskirkja

Welcome to Iceland! A travel representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your accommodation in the capital city. Enjoy the rest of the day and evening exploring Reykjavík at leisure. 

Walk through compact downtown to check out the unique street art scene. Head to the water for the Sun Voyager Sculpture and the Harpa Concert Hall, with its unique, glass architecture. Visit Hallgrímskirkja, a church on the hill, and take the elevator to the top of the tower for a great view of the city below and panoramic views of the area.

For delicious lunch and dinner recommendations, consider the below:

  • Messinn
  • Sea Barron
  • Kol Restaurant
  • The Coocoo's Nest
  • Kaffivagninn (lunch only)
  • Café Loki

If you are interested in checking out Reykjavík’s nightlife scene, visit the following bars:

  • Craft Cocktails
  • Mikkeller & Friends
  • Skúli Craft Bar
  • KEX Hostel Bar (live music on weekends)

Day 2: Landmannalaugar Mountain and volcano trekking

The landscapes of Landmannalaugar
The landscapes of Landmannalaugar

This morning, take a bus to the multi-colored massif of Landmannalaugar, located in the heart of the beautiful Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

Take the famous Dómadalur route and stop to marvel at Hekla, one of Iceland's most active volcanoes. Set up camp, and depending on the conditions and motivations, walk to Ljótipollur or climb Bláhnúkur. Ljótipollur means "Ugly Puddle," but contrary to its name, it is a stunning crater lake famous for its bright colors and visible lava layers. Bláhnúkur translates to "Blue Peak," and is an impressive volcano with views of five glaciers in good conditions.

In the evening, dip your feet and relax or swim in Landmannalaugar's warm river before bed.

Trekking Duration: 3 hours

Day 3: Rhyolite Mountains trek - Hrafntinnusker to Lake Álftavatn

Lake Alftavatn
Lake Alftavatn

Today, trek through the beautiful Rhyolite Mountains in one of the most active geothermal areas on the planet. Explore the glacier-topped volcano of Hrafntinnusker and venture into the heart of its vast, collapsed caldera.

The day's hike heads through a series of small, hidden valleys at the foot of the Tindfjöll Glacier. Tonight, camp near the stunning Lake Alftavatn.

Trek Distance: 15 miles 
Trek Duration: 7-8 hours

Day 4: Cross the Emstrur Desert and view Hattafell

The view of Hattafell in the Emstrur Desert
The view of Hattafell in the Emstrur Desert

Today, cross the Emstrur Desert, a vast landscape of black sand, which is periodically interrupted by impressive, bright-green mountains. These lonely, imposing mountains jump out of their monochrome surroundings, creating truly unique views.

Explore the impressive Hattafell cone before arriving at your campsite.

Trek Distance: 10 miles
Trek Duration: 5 hours

Day 5: Explore Þórsmörk Valley

The lush, greenery of Thorsmörk
The lush, greenery of Thorsmörk

Þórsmörk, or Thorsmörk to use the English spelling, is known as "The Woods of Thor," and is named after the God of Thunder.  Discover the lush area—vastly different from yesterday's desert landscapes.

As you descend into Þórsmörk Valley, little by little, the harsh landscape softens into an alpine area of green slopes and gullies. 

Trek Distance: 10 miles
Trek Duration: 5 hours

Day 6: Þórsmörk - Discover Goðalönd and Fimmvorduhals Pass

Eyjafjallajökull Glacier
Eyjafjallajökull Glacier

Cross Krossá River via the footbridge to enter Goðalönd. Nestled at the foot of two glaciers, this is a wonderland of ridges and cliffs covered by an extensive array of grass and flowers.

Continue along the ridges to a contrasting volcanic landscape to view the Fimmvorduhals Pass. The aftermath of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption is evident here amongst the craters and lava field. 

Then, spend the night back in Thorsmörk.

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

Day 7: Final hike in Þórsmörk and return to Reykjavík

An aerial view of Reykjavík
An aerial view of Reykjavík

Today, enjoy a final, half-day of hiking for 3-5 hours in Valanukhur Mountain, a beautiful finale viewpoint to take in at the end of the trek. 

Then, head back to Reykjavík by bus. If you would like to explore more of the capital city, stroll around Reykjavík Harbour or join a whale-watching tour. Spend some time learning about Iceland’s history at the Settlement Exhibition or the National Museum of Iceland. Snack on a world-famous hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, or hop between cafés.

Revisit the suggestions for dining and nightlife options from your arrival day, and enjoy the final evening of the trip in Reykjavík at your leisure.

Day 8: Visit the Blue Lagoon and depart from Reykjavík

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

Wake up and enjoy a hearty, local breakfast in Reykjavík. Some suggestions include the following:

  • Bergsson Mathús (opens at 7 am)
  • Sandholt (also opens at 7 am)
  • Reykjavík Roasters (for great coffee)
  • Brauð & Co. (if you like bread and pastries)

After breakfast, a travel representative will meet you at your hotel to collect your trekking equipment. Enjoy more time in the capital, visiting sights you may have missed upon arrival or yesterday.  

Stop by the Blue Lagoon on your drive to the airport, where you can enjoy a geothermal soak before you fly home.

 

To see more great European trekking itineraries, see kimkim's round-up of Europe's best hut-to-hut hikes.

Map

Map of The Laugavegur Trek - 8 Days
Map of The Laugavegur Trek - 8 Days