5 Most Exciting Hikes in Iceland

Mere mention of Iceland often conjures up images of active volcanoes & areas of geo-thermal activities, stunning landscapes, huge waterfalls & glaciers, the mysterious Northern Lights and very few people! One of the ways to soak up the beauty of this ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ is to explore on foot. We have trekked in different parts of the world including the EBC Himalayas and we think hiking always gives us best opportunities to let ourselves immerse into the surroundings and appreciate a place differently.

Hiking in Iceland
Laugavegur Trail. By Chmee2/Valtameri – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11393212

Iceland trips offers several options for such explorations and we have curated here some of the best hikes in the country and the ones which we would like to do when we get to Iceland. So “on with the butter” (Icelandic phrase to mean “get on with it”)!

Borgarfjörður eystri

When I said very few people, I meant very few people! There are just over 100 residents here but for hikers nothing could be better. Bakkagerði can be the home base for many hiking trails offering spectacular views.

Hiking in Iceland
Iceland Puffin. By http://www.cgpgrey.com, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37261675

Home to the beautiful and colourful Puffins, this place is often called the Hiker’s Paradise. Over the period of time even the infrastructure, is geared around the requirements of hikers.
From the black sand beaches to high mountains this place has it all. Lastly after those tiring long walks one can slide into one of the many spas.

Eyjafjallajökull Volcano:

It may do well to learn to pronounce this if you are planning to hike to this place. Start with Eiyafyal…and hope your luck holds out. You get the idea.
This is one of the most active volcanos in these parts, with all white ice-cap of 100 SqKm and the last eruption was as recent as 2010 when air travel was not possible due to volcanic ash. The ice cap melted partially and created a flood like situation too.

Hiking in Iceland
Eyjafjallajökull Icecapped Volcano. By Remy Osman – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10038022

At around 2.5 drive from Reykjavik, the trail starts at the base of the volcano and is about 6 KM round trip. The trail starts steep and passes through Glaciers and it is advised roping up and to wear crampons before the arduous slog to the top at 1666M and hope there is no eruption! Because if you are lucky you will steam coming out of the crater. We did a volcano trip in the Philippines once and that was just a piece of cake but this does seem to be a lot tougher.

Fimmvörduhals

When you are in Eyjafjallajökull can Fimmvörduhals be far behind?
How does a trail that starts at the base of waterfall and which includes over 20 waterfalls sound like? How does it sound that you will be on a high pass between two volcanoes, Eyjafjallajökull and Katla? It is said Katla rumblings is followed by Eyjafjallajökull eruptions.

Hiking in Iceland
Fimmvörduhals Hike. By Chmee2/Valtameri – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8869443

The end point of this 25-30 KM hike, which may take 10 -14 hours, is God’s Land (no, I am not joking). The trail ends in Thórsmörk (Thor is a Norse God) via Goðaland (land of Gods). Some parts of it does look similar to Kuari pass trek , however it would not be right to compare.
It is possible to break this into a two-day hike and make use of the couple of mountain huts on the way to stay the night.

Glymur

At 198 metres it is the second highest waterfall in Iceland and is about 1 hour drive from Reykjavik.
It used to be highest till, the scientists spoiled it by discovering a higher water fall called Morsárfoss which is just 2M higher, that is 200M. The trails winds via dirt tracks and caves.

5 most exciting hikes in iceland
Glymur Falls. By Andreas Tille – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=259164

There is one place where you have to walk on a log bridge across a river, with a rope for support, at the head of the waterfall. Whew! A wrong step and you take the short cut to the bottom. In fact, at times the water level is high and the crossing could be extremely dangerous.
There are specific points along the trail from where one can enjoy the incredible views of the water fall.

Laugavegur

This is billed the mother of all hiking trails in Iceland. The route is over 70KM and takes about 6 days. It starts at Skógar to Landmannalaugar.
The views are truly spectacular and out of the world, meaning, some places look not of this planet at all. At some places the sceneries look like painting. The best part is no permit is required. You may either sleep in tents or huts along the way. Part of the trail is expected to be slippery and rocky so be well shod.
There is a shorter version of this hike available which 55 KM only, if you don’t have the time. If you have even lesser time then there is even shorter hike which is just 22 KM . If you have even lesser time… I suggest you stay at home. 😊
This trek may be started from either end and is equally enjoyable.

Get ready for the fun!
These are just a few of the hiking or trekking options in Iceland, but they are probably the more important ones. We hope someday we will get there and do that.

Have you done any treks in Iceland? Do let us hear of your experiences of these or any other treks in Iceland.

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21 thoughts on “5 Most Exciting Hikes in Iceland

  1. We went to Iceland last year but didn’t get a chance to visit any of these, so I found this article really interesting. Hiking the active volcano sounds like an epic adventure. Glymur looks impressive too, we visited Gullfoss waterfall

  2. Great post, we went in March just after the heavy snow and had a good time. We liked it so much we rebooked to go this summer. Hopefully, it will be a bit warmer and we can try some of these hikes.

  3. I long to visit Iceland yet I just haven’t found the time. These hikes look incredible. As a landscape and travel photographer, Iceland looks the perfect destination.

  4. I was in Iceland a year ago and it was one of my favorite places I’ve ever been too. Shame it’s so expensive though :/

  5. We so want to go to Iceland. The waterfall looks absolutely gorgeous. Have been reading about Iceland for a long time now. I just wish we are able to visit Iceland this year.

  6. As per my view, Iceland hikking destination are not as famous as the ones in Europe or even in India, but I must say that Puffin is simply a stunning bird. I’ve also heard that special tours are organized for Iceland Puffin watching in Reykjavik. Now that will be really special. Though, great post Nisha…

  7. We’ve been to Iceland a couple of times but haven’t made it out on any of these hikes. Would love to check them out sometime! Eyjafjallajökull Volcano would be awesome to hike and I’ve been wanting to make it out on the Laugavegur trail as well!

  8. Iceland has some of the best hiking ever! It truly is a gorgeous country. I didn’t get to do all of these but the ones that I did were stunning. I would love to go back and spend more time visiting the country.

  9. Ok… I can’t pronounce half those names… But I sure can see how amazing those trails are. I sure would want to spot those puffin along the way. And that waterfall there just looks so Pristine and nice. Have to dig in deeper now

  10. Last month I had read about Iceland in detail and that is when I got acquainted with some of these names. Still don’t know how to pronounce them though;) but I was stunned at the natural diversity of the country’s it has glaciers, volcanoes, caves, forests, waterfalls, hot springs!
    These is a fabulous curation. My favourite would be the first one where I can see the puffin 🙂

  11. These really look like fantastic hikes. Iceland is a country with so much natural beauty. And those puffins are adorable! I would die to meet one in person.

  12. Wow. This is in the summer?I havent go to Iceland but will be planning my trip there soon.I would really want to see puffin. It looks adorable and cute!

  13. I now have a new purpose in life – to see an Iceland Puffin!!! I had no idea they lived here but they look so cute. Actually I am very keen to do some hiking in Iceland and am planning a trip there in the next few months, so I will keep this in mind. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Love it and already feel like making a visit there. I am going to be in Iceland’s neighbourhood soon, but will have to give it a miss once again. Bookmarking it for my hike planning there in future 🙂

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