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The 5 Best Treks and Hikes in Iceland

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Looking for a trek or hike in Iceland? Iceland has some of the most beautiful scenic treks available for any avid hiker. Many of the popular hikes include views of waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, and northern lights. With these amazing sights, one must experience them personally rather than through pictures on the internet.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to different hikes and you must choose what is right for you and anyone that may be accompanying you on your trip.

Things to Consider when choosing the right trek in Iceland:

  • Trail Difficulty: Some trails are easy and some are longer and harder. Please therefore consider what suits your interest and fitness level. Please also note that not all trails are appropriate for children.
  • Price: How much are you willing to spend on your adventure? While day hikes are cheap, the longer treks where accommodation and guide is required, will be more expensice.
  • Length of Tour: How long are you willing to be gone? How many days do you think you can trek without becoming too tired?
  • Trek type: What do you want to see on your trek?

Picking the perfect trek will lead to the perfect vacation!

Below, you will find the 5 best treks and hikes on Iceland, in random order, including their trek facts, highlights, and lowlights.

The 5 best treks and hikes on Iceland

1. Glymur: Iceland’s Tallest Waterfall Hike

Glymur Waterfall
Glymur waterfall in Iceland

Glymur Waterfall is considered as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. It is a great hike for people located in Reykjavik, with only 1 day available for a hike. This waterfall is Iceland’s tallest at 198 meters height. It is hidden in a canyon close to the city of Reykjavik. This trail is only 5.5 kilometers long unless a longer hike is desired and that one is ten kilometers and also goes up to Hvalfell Summit.

Hike Facts

  • Duration: 3-6 hours, depending on whether you choose the short or longer route.
  • Starting and Ending Location: The trail is about an hour away from Reykjavik and once you arrive, you need to drive to the rear end of the fjord rather than going through the tunnel under the fjord. There will be a sign to tell you when to turn. The trail starts and ends here.

Highlights

  • The trail crosses a lava cave and goes through a river.
  • This trail offers some of the best views in this particular area, including of course Glymur Waterfall itself.
  • The hike only lasts about three to three and a half hours, if picking the shorter route.

Lowlight

  • There are a few steep and slippery areas on the trail but there are ropes to offer support.

2. Fimmvörðuháls Trail 

Skogafoss Waterfall, one of the five biggest waterfalls
Skogafoss waterfall in south of Iceland

For a great one-day hike (or two if you wish to spend the night), this trail is perfect because it passes twenty-six waterfalls. It is about twenty-five kilometers long with a climb of about one thousand meters in altitude. This trail is one of the most popular in Iceland.

Trek Facts

  • Duration: 1 day
  • Starting and Ending Location: The hike starts at the Skógafoss waterfall and ends in Thórsmörk.
  • Lodging: Fimmvörðuháls Mountain Hut, if you wish to spend a night. 
  • Elevation: 1,000 meters above sea level
  • Best Season: Mid-June to September

Highlights

  • The trail passes along two of the youngest mountains in the world at just six years old.
  • This trek passes between two volcanoes: the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano and icecap and also the famous and very active Katla volcano.
  • You will get to view up to twenty-six waterfalls on this trek.

Lowlight

  • Returning to the city from Thórsmörk could be quite tricky. To get back to the ring road, you must drive on a gravel road and through several river crossings for approximately one hour. It is recommended to catch the local bus rather than drive it yourself, as you may get lost. 

3. Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals Trek

Landmannalaugar one of the most Icelandic looking places in the world
Travelers passing through Fimmvorduhals hiking trail in Iceland

This five-day trek will take you past some of the world’s most scenic views. The Laugavegur trek and Fimmvorduhals trek is one of the few assisted treks in Iceland, meaning that you will be accompanied by guides who will transport your food and luggage on a vehicle. On the trail you will see hot springs, geysers, and glaciers. This trek is known for its wide variety of landscapes.

Trek Facts

  • Duration: 5 days and 4 nights
  • Accommodations: Mountain huts in Alftavatn, Hrafntinnusker, Emstur, and also in Thorsmork, if you spend the night here.
  • Starting and Ending location: This trek starts in Landmannalaugar and ends in Thorsmork.
  • Trekking Difficulty: Moderate
  • Best Season: Mid-June through mid-September

Highlights

  • This trail passes near hot springs that the locals use for soaking throughout the year.
  • You can see several geysers on the trek.
  • Glaciers and glacier rivers can also be viewed.
  • Eyjafjallajokull: This glacier, icecap and volcano erupted in 2010 and formed two new craters which can be seen on the trek.

Lowlight

  • This is a five-day trek which might be a little long and difficult for the untrained hiker.

4. Two Day South Coast Trek – Ice Cave, Skaftafell & Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon

Stunning view of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
White-blue ice piled up in turquoise water of Jokulsarlon Lagoon

This trek is definitely a cold one. The winter is the best time to explore the south coast of Iceland in order to see its natural wonders and beauty. During this trek, you will have the opportunity to explore both the south coast and visit one ice cave located in a glacier. These are things that you can only see in the winter.

Trek Facts

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Starting and Ending Locations: Pick up for the trek starts in Reykjavik at 8:00 in the morning and at the end, you will be driven back to your starting location.
  • Trekking Difficulty: Easy
  • Best Season: Mid-November to mid-April
  • Accommodation: Hotel Skaftafell
  • Good to Know: Children as young as ten years old can attend this tour.

Highlights

Lowlights

  • This is a winter tour and it will be very cold. Remember to wear your warm weather clothing.
  • There is some driving involved in this trek as you go from each location on the tour. 

5. Two Day Northern Lights and Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in Iceland
View of Kirkjufell volcano in the coast of Snaefellsnes peninsula

This two day trek will allow you to experience the northern lights, a glacier, and beautiful waterfalls. You can also see beautiful fjords, volcanic peaks, sea cliffs, and golden beaches. All of this is located in the western part of Iceland and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Trek Facts

  • Duration: 2 days
  • Starting and Ending Locations: You will be picked up from your hotel in Reykjavik in the morning and will be returned there on your way back.
  • Trekking Difficulty: Easy
  • Best Season: Mid-November to the end of April
  • Good to Know: Children as young as eight years old can attend this tour.

Highlights

  • The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is one of the most iconic in Iceland. Although you might see gorgeous scenery in every other trek, the hikes in the Snaefellsnes Peninsula are some of the most breathtaking. You can even visit the gorgeous Snæfellsjökull National Park to see the Snæfellsjökull glacier
  • You will get to experience the Deildartunguhver hot spring.
  • You will get to see both the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls.

Lowlight

  • There is some driving in a mini-bus involved in this tour.

We hope you found some inspiration for your upcoming hiking and trekking adventure in Iceland. Please do not forget to check the best time to visit Iceland and also the best time to view Northern lights in Iceland.

A few more pictures to help you decide which of the 5 treks on Iceland you'd like to do: 

Glymur Waterfall
Glymur waterfall in Iceland
Skogafoss Waterfall, one of the five biggest waterfalls
Skogafoss waterfall in south of Iceland
Landmannalaugar one of the most Icelandic looking places in the world
Travelers passing through Fimmvorduhals hiking trail in Iceland
Stunning view of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
White-blue ice piled up in turquoise water of Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall in Iceland
View of Kirkjufell volcano in the coast of Snaefellsnes peninsula
 
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