Iceland Best Hikes - Take Me There Iceland

Iceland Best Hikes

Iceland is a paradise for nature-loving hikers, offering numerous and diverse options. If you plan your visit during the summer, all possibilities will be available for you to enjoy, with weather conditions most conducive to long walks.

The well-known and popular trails begin just a few kilometers away, at a very easy level, and can extend to several days where each day involves around 20 challenging kilometers, akin to the renowned Tour du Mont Blanc trek.

You’ll witness almost everything nature has to offer – breathtaking waterfalls, lush meadows, hot springs, canyons, black sand beaches, volcanic mountains, and that’s just part of the list. Iceland’s nature is so unique, and the hiking trails lead to some of the most beautiful spots in the world, accessible only on foot.

Iceland Hikes

Table of Contents

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hiking trails in Iceland

What is the best time to go hiking in Iceland?
The summer months, from late June to early September, are ideal for hiking as the weather is milder, and the days are longer.
Are permits required for hiking in Iceland?
A: Permits are generally not required for hiking. However, some specific areas or private lands might have restrictions, so it’s essential to check in advance.
What are the must-visit hiking routes in Iceland?
A: Popular routes include the Laugavegur Trail, Fimmvörðuháls Pass, and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Each offers stunning landscapes and unique experiences.
Is camping allowed along the hiking routes?
A: Yes, camping is allowed in most areas. However, it’s crucial to follow Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment. Some areas might have designated camping sites.
How challenging are the hiking trails in Iceland?
The difficulty varies. While some trails are suitable for beginners, others, like the Laugavegur Trail, can be more challenging. It’s important to choose a route that matches your fitness level and experience.
What should I pack for a hiking trip in Iceland?
A: Essentials include waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a map and compass, a first aid kit, and sufficient food and water. It’s also wise to check the weather forecast before embarking on your journey.
Are there guided hiking tours available?
Yes, numerous tour operators offer guided hiking tours, providing valuable insights into Iceland’s unique landscapes and ensuring a safer and more informed experience.
Are there wildlife concerns while hiking in Iceland?
A: While Iceland has minimal dangerous wildlife, it’s essential to be aware of Arctic foxes and migratory birds. Respecting their habitats and keeping a safe distance is advised.
Can I drink water from streams and rivers during my hike?
A: In most cases, the water is safe to drink directly from streams and rivers. However, it’s recommended to bring a water purification method to ensure your safety.
Are there emergency services available on the hiking trails?
Emergency services are limited in remote areas. It’s crucial to have a communication device, such as a satellite phone, and inform someone about your hiking plans. The 112 emergency number can be dialed in case of emergencies.

Our Top Ten Picks

Our definitive list of the top ten choices is grounded in our personal preferences and the feedback we’ve gathered from thousands of travelers for whom we meticulously crafted their Iceland journeys. While we acknowledge that many other travelers might present a slightly different list, and perhaps some may differ significantly, what’s certain is that each route below is worth the effort, promising to take you to places that only that specific route can truly unveil.

Reykjadalur Hot Springs Hiking Trail

Round Trip | 8 km | 2-3 hours | Easy to Moderate
Reykjadalur, translating to “Smoky Valley,” is a beautiful and unique valley situated on the outskirts of the charming village of Hveragerði, approximately 45 km south of Reykjavik.
The valley is rich with hot springs, steaming vents, and bubbling mud, with its central attraction being a warm river perfect for a refreshing dip. Reykjadalur is part of a larger area named after the dormant volcano, Hengill, which last erupted 120,000 years ago.
Reykjadalur Hot Springs Hiking

How to Reach Reykjadalur?

To reach the parking lot for Reykjadalur, enter the town of Hveragerði and proceed straight on the main street until you pass the golf course on your right. There, you’ll find signs leading to the hot river parking lot. At the entrance, you’ll also find a small café called Dalakaffi, offering services, delicious cakes, and coffee.

Walking Route to the Hot River

The hiking trail begins from the parking lot, crossing a bridge over a wide river. The trail is approximately 6 km round trip and takes about an hour each way. Starting from the lower point near the parking lot, it climbs over several hills before descending into the picturesque valley.

Geothermal Paradise

The route offers fascinating views of hot springs and steaming vents. One notable spot is Drottningarhola, known as the “Queen’s Hole,” a drilled hole emitting hot steam. As you approach the high point of the trail, you’ll see a beautiful waterfall, Djúpagilsfoss, cascading into Djúpagil canyon. The trail provides a comfortable vantage point for the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.

Important Tips for the Trail:

  • Near the hot springs of Reykjadalur, there is a bridge. On both sides of the bridge, there are holes and pits in the ground bubbling with hot water and mud. While the waters are mesmerizing, avoid touching them!
  • Limited privacy for changing clothes at the hot river. The bathing area is arranged with wooden platforms dividing it into four sections. There are no organized changing rooms or facilities except for the restroom at the beginning of the trail.
  • Check the weather forecast before starting the hike. If wind speeds exceed 8, the weather might be too stormy to reach the hot springs. As long as the wind speeds are below 8, the weather is generally suitable for the journey to the hot springs.

Stórurð Hiking Trail

Round Trip | 12 km | 5-6 hr | Moderate

Starting Point

This trail stands out as one of the most beautiful and rewarding day hikes in Iceland. Fortunately, it is also a moderately challenging route suitable for hikers with reasonable fitness levels. What adds to its allure is its relative distance from the Ring Road, ensuring it’s often less crowded.

Despite its accessibility, Stórurð is one of the country’s most picturesque and unique destinations. To fully absorb the tranquility of Stórurð and relish the breathtaking views of Dyrfjöll, consider dedicating a full day to the trail, starting with a morning walk and concluding with a relaxation at Borgarfjörður.

Spectacular View

Begin your adventure near Vatnsskarð Lake, following Road 94. Ascend Geldingafjall hill for a panoramic view of Dyrfjöll and the valley leading to Njarðvík Bay. Stórurð, with its magnificent lake and colossal boulders, creates a natural wonderland. Dedicate ample time to explore this unique destination, especially if you’re traveling with children.

The trail allows you to choose your starting and ending points, with consistent trail length and difficulty. Options include retracing your steps or exploring alternative routes for the return journey.

Make sure to dedicate a full day to the trail. Begin your journey in the morning, concluding with an evening meal and relaxation at Borgarfjörður.

Trail Logistics:

Starting Point: Near Vatnsskarð Lake, along Road 94.
Parking: Small lots on both sides of Vatnsskarð Lake.
Ascent: A steep ascent up Geldingafjall hill, the most challenging part of the trail.
Descent: A predominantly horizontal path, offering breathtaking views of the rugged mountains and valleys.

Return Options:

Retrace Steps: The shortest and quickest option.
Njarðvík Route: Explore Dyrfjalladalur valley, then ascend along the road (or hitchhike) back to the car.
Urðardalur Valley: Walk west along the river, providing a different perspective of Héraðsflói Bay, its black sand beaches, and surrounding mountains.

Svartifoss and Sjónarnípa

Round Trip | 7.4 km | 2.5 – 3 hr | Moderate

Starting Point

Svartifoss Waterfall

One of the most popular trails in Skaftafell park is the hike to Svartifoss waterfall, where a crossroads presents the choice to either complete a circular route or follow signs to Sjónarnípa. The trail to Sjónarnípa leads to a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the vast Skeiðarárjökull glacier and the surrounding mountains. The well-marked path takes you all the way to the observation point, and from there, the return path leads back to the visitor center.

Trail Highlights:

Svartifoss Waterfall: Begin your journey with a visit to the iconic Svartifoss waterfall, a spectacular natural wonder surrounded by basalt columns.

Scenic Crossroads: At the crossroads near Svartifoss, decide whether to complete a circular route or venture toward the stunning viewpoint of Sjónarnípa.

Sjónarnípa Viewpoint: Follow the signs to Sjónarnípa for an awe-inspiring view of the Skeiðarárjökull glacier and the majestic mountains in the vicinity.

Well-Marked Path: The trail is clearly marked, ensuring a straightforward and enjoyable hiking experience for visitors.

Commence your journey by exploring the enchanting Svartifoss waterfall, surrounded by the unique hexagonal basalt columns. As you reach the crossroads, the option to extend your adventure to Sjónarnípa unfolds. Follow the signs to this captivating viewpoint, where the panoramic scenery of the Skeiðarárjökull glacier and the mountains awaits. Take in the breathtaking views before retracing your steps back to the visitor center.

Þórsmörk Panorama Trail

Round Trip | 6 km (with extension option) | 1.5-2 hr | Moderate

Starting Point

Thorsmork Panorama

Embark on a captivating adventure through the Þórsmörk Panorama Trail, a scenic journey that leads you up and across the Valahnúkur mountain (454 m). As you ascend, be prepared for an awe-inspiring 360° panoramic spectacle, revealing the volcanic wonders of Þórsmörk and the striking presence of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano & Glacier.


Valahnúkur Summit: Conquer the Valahnúkur summit, standing at 454 meters, to witness an expansive vista that encapsulates the mesmerizing volcanic landscape of Þórsmörk. Marvel at the grandeur of the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano & Glacier that dominates the horizon.

Langidalur Hut: Descend to the Langidalur Hut, a perfect spot to take a well-deserved break and replenish your water bottle. Bask in the tranquil surroundings before continuing your journey.

Húsadalur Valley: Traverse the picturesque Húsadalur Valley, adorned with lush birch woods that provide a serene backdrop to your trail experience. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty that defines Þórsmörk.

Volcano Huts: Conclude your adventure at the Volcano Huts, where a welcoming restaurant offers refreshments to rejuvenate weary hikers. From here, catch a convenient bus back to your starting point or onward destination.


Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked for ease of navigation, and detailed maps are available for purchase at the Volcano Huts.

Difficulty Level: While the trail is of moderate difficulty, there are some steep sections during the ascent to the Valahnúkur summit. Take your time to navigate these parts, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views.

Time Estimate: Allocate approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the full circle, allowing for a leisurely pace that enables you to savor the panoramic views and immerse yourself in the unique landscapes of Þórsmörk.

Explore the enchanting Svartifoss waterfall, surrounded by the unique hexagonal basalt columns. As you reach the crossroads, the option to extend your adventure to Sjónarnípa unfolds. Follow the signs to this captivating viewpoint, where the panoramic scenery of the Skeiðarárjökull glacier and the mountains awaits. Take in the breathtaking views before retracing your steps back to the visitor center.

Fimmvörðuháls Hike

Point to Point | 24 km | 9 hr | Moderate

Starting Point

Discover the unparalleled beauty of the Fimmvörðuháls hike, a day-long adventure that stands as one of the most diverse and captivating experiences in the realm of Icelandic trekking. Beginning at the awe-inspiring Skógafoss waterfall, the journey unfolds a landscape of remarkable contrast and natural wonders.

The expedition commences amidst the verdant beauty of Skógafoss, with the Skógá River accompanying the hike, revealing 25 enchanting waterfalls along the way. As you approach the towering ice caps, the lush greenery transforms into a rugged, barren terrain, characterized by fresh, black volcanic soil—a testament to one of the youngest landscapes on Earth. Traverse between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, absorbing the stark beauty of this volcanic moonscape.

The descent into Thórsmörk is a study in contrasts. Lime green moss blankets the black soil and rocks, leading the way to a surprising encounter with a forest before reaching the picturesque destination of Básar.

This challenging hike spans 25 km (15.5 miles) one way, with a total ascent of 1400 meters (4600 feet). It’s a day of endurance and breathtaking scenery, demanding approximately 8 to 10 hours, or potentially longer depending on your pace. For those seeking a thrilling challenge, Fimmvörðuháls offers an exceptional opportunity.

Essential Details:

  • Distance: 25 km (15.5 miles) one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 1400 meters (4600 feet) total ascent
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Duration: 8 to 10 hours*
  • Season: Mid-June to September (outside this period, a guide and proper equipment are essential)
  • Start and Finish: Skógafoss and the Básar Hut in Thórsmörk

*Note: Consider the two-day option, spending the night at Baldvinsskali Hut or Fimmvörðuháls hut. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

While the average completion time is 8 to 10 hours, the pace varies. Some estimates extend to 12 hours. For brisk hikers, completion in under 8 hours is achievable. Our team completed the hike in an impressive 6 hours and 45 minutes, showcasing the potential for a truly invigorating adventure.

Múlagljúfur Canyon Hike

Out-and-back | 5.8 km | 2.5 hr | Moderate

Starting Point


Embark on a captivating journey through the stunning landscapes of Eastern Iceland with the Hangandifoss and Múlagljúfur Canyon trail.

One of the most impressive and dramatic canyons in Iceland, this walk along the precipice leads to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking the river at the canyon’s base and the waterfalls cascading within. The canyon is also a bustling nesting area for many birds. While the trail is partially marked, navigating it is straightforward, especially in good weather conditions.

Trail Overview:

  • Trail Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 5.8 km
  • Duration: Approximately 2 hours 18 minutes
  • Difficulty: Considered challenging
  • Best Time to Visit: May to October

Highlights: Begin your exploration at Hangandifoss, one of Iceland’s tallest waterfalls, nestled within the picturesque Múlagljúfur canyon. Immerse yourself in the natural wonders of canyons, rivers, waterfalls, and volcanoes.

Trail Details:

  • The trail is a favorite for birding, hiking, and running enthusiasts, ensuring a dynamic and lively atmosphere.
  • Encounter fellow nature lovers along the way, adding a communal charm to the journey.

Navigating to the Trailhead:

  • Access the trailhead with a short drive from Route 1 (main road).
  • For precise location, input coordinates 63.9886667, -16.3971589 in Google Maps to navigate the unmarked gravel road.

A few tips:

  1. Enhance your Icelandic adventure by combining this hike with a visit to the nearby Glacier Lagoon, just a 20-minute drive away.
  2. The trail extends approximately 6.4 km round trip, with an elevation gain of about 440 m, offering a moderate challenge suitable for those in good physical shape.
  3. Prepare for an unpaved gravel road that may not be marked on Google Maps, ensuring a smoother journey.
  4. Optimal months for the trail are May to October, providing favorable weather conditions and optimal trail conditions.

Veiðileysufjörður – Hornvík Hike – Hornstrandir

Out-and-back | 38 km | 2 Days | Hard

Starting Point


Nestled in the remote and rugged beauty of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in Iceland, the Veiðileysufjörður to Hornvík hike promises an unforgettable journey through pristine wilderness and awe-inspiring landscapes. This trek offers a rare opportunity to escape into the untouched beauty of the Arctic, exploring one of Iceland’s most secluded and challenging hiking routes.


  • Distance: Approximately 38.5 kilometers (24 miles) round trip
  • Duration: Full-day adventure (consider overnight camping for a more immersive experience)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous, suitable for experienced hikers
  • Season: Late June to August (weather conditions and daylight are crucial considerations)

Getting There: Before setting foot on the trail, your journey begins with a ferry ride to Veiðileysufjörður. This scenic boat ride is not just a means of transportation but an integral part of your adventure. Marvel at the coastal panoramas and the looming cliffs as you approach the starting point of your trek.

A few tips

  1. Be Wary of the Mountain Pass:

    • While most of the trail is considered manageable, approximately 20% of it involves navigating through a mountain pass, where snow-covered terrain and blizzard winds pose challenges.
    • Exercise caution in these conditions, and be prepared for sudden weather changes. It’s recommended for hikers willing to take calculated risks.
  2. Snowy Sections and Glacier Rivers:

    • Expect snowy sections on the trail, especially in the mountain pass. Be equipped with appropriate gear for snow hiking, and stay vigilant in foggy conditions.
    • When crossing glacier rivers under the snow, choose the safest paths and take extra care. Proper waterproof footwear is essential.
  3. Hornvík Camp 1 to The Horn:

    • From Hornvík Camp 1, you have the opportunity to hike to The Horn, a captivating destination with breathtaking views.
    • Crossing a river on this route is necessary. Follow the advice of the local ranger at Hornvík Camp 1 regarding the safest crossing points. The water is clear with a sandy bottom.
  4. River Crossing Safety:

    • When crossing rivers, opt for the land route, as advised by the ranger. Always prioritize safety and choose clear water areas with sandy bottoms.
    • Cold water is expected, but with careful navigation, crossings can be manageable. Take necessary precautions to keep your feet dry.
  5. Alternative Return Option:

    • If you started the hike from Veiðileysufjörður to Hornvík, consider arranging a boat pickup with Borea from Hornvík for the return journey.
    • Weather conditions may impact boat availability, so be mindful of potential delays. In challenging weather, the boat service might not operate, and you might need to return through the mountain pass.

Remember, tackling the Veiðileysufjörður to Hornvík hike requires both physical preparedness and a willingness to adapt to varying conditions. Always stay informed, heed local advice, and prioritize safety above all to make the most of this incredible Icelandic adventure.

Landmannalaugar-Thórsmörk Trek

One way | 55 km | 4 Days | Hard

One of the world’s renowned and arguably the most famous trek in Iceland is the Landmannalaugar-Þórsmörk Trek, also known as Laugavegur. Attracting numerous adventurers annually, this trail spans southern Iceland, connecting two iconic sites—Landmannalaugar’s geothermal wonders and Þórsmörk’s lush valley. Covering a distance of 55 km, the trek unfolds a diverse tapestry of landscapes, featuring rainbow-colored mountains, impressive glaciers, warm geothermal springs, flowing rivers, and vast lakes.

This trek is a true testament to the country’s diverse beauty, featuring volcanic terrains, vibrant hot springs, and stunning river crossings. Here’s your essential guide to making the most of this remarkable trek.

Landmannalaugar-Þórsmörk Trek is not just a hike; it’s an exploration of geological wonders and a test of one’s endurance. With each step, travelers witness the ever-changing scenery, creating memories that linger long after the journey concludes.

Fascinating Facts about Landmannalaugar and Thórsmörk:

  1. Landmannalaugar:

    • Known for its otherworldly rhyolite mountains, Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland nestled in the Icelandic Highlands.
    • The area boasts multicolored hills, steaming hot springs, and the striking Laugahraun lava field.
  2. Thórsmörk:

    • Thórsmörk, or the Valley of Thor, is a lush oasis surrounded by glaciers and rivers.
    • Glacial rivers like Krossá offer dramatic scenes, and Eyjafjallajökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers provide a breathtaking backdrop.

Trekking Tips for an Unforgettable Experience:

  1. Seasonal Considerations:

    • The Landmannalaugar-Thórsmörk trek is best undertaken from late June to early September when the weather is more favorable.
    • Expect varied conditions, including snow patches and river crossings, so pack accordingly.
  2. Trail Highlights:

    • Marvel at the vibrant landscapes of Landmannalaugar, soak in the natural hot springs, and witness the beauty of the Brennisteinsalda volcano.
    • Traverse challenging terrains, cross rivers like Throngá, and revel in the diverse ecosystems as you approach Thórsmörk.
  3. River Crossings:

    • Be prepared for river crossings, particularly at Throngá. Plan your crossings carefully and consider the use of hiking poles for stability.
  4. Accommodations:

    • Both Landmannalaugar and Thórsmörk offer basic accommodation options, including huts and campsites. Booking in advance is recommended.
  5. Clothing and Gear:

    • Dress in layers to adapt to changing temperatures and weather conditions. Waterproof gear, sturdy hiking boots, and a good backpack are essential.
  6. Guided Tours:

    • For those seeking guidance and local insights, guided tours are available. Experienced guides can enhance your trekking experience and ensure safety.

The itinerary

Day 1: Landmannalaugar – Harfntinnusker (12 km, 4-5 hours, ascent: 470 meters) – The journey begins at the Landmannalaugar cabin (Coordinates N63°59.600 – W19°03.660), leading you through easy terrain to the colorful rhyolite mountains of Brennisteinsalda. Along the way, marvel at the breathtaking views and take a dip in the geothermal Stórihver hot spring. Be cautious of snow-covered sections and follow the marked trail, using waterproof boots for stability. The day concludes at the Harfntinnusker cabin (Coordinates N63°55.840 – W19°09.700), offering accommodation for up to 52 people.

Day 2: Harfntinnusker – Álftavatn (12 km, 4-5 hours, descent: 490 meters) – Day two predominantly involves descent, passing through beautiful valleys and occasional snow-covered slopes. Take extra care when crossing rivers, and use sandals or suitable footwear for river crossings. The trail offers striking views, and if weather permits, a detour to the summit of Mount Háskerðingur provides a breathtaking panorama. The day ends at Álftavatn, where two cabins (Coordinates N63 51.470 – W19.640) provide accommodation for up to 52 people.

Day 3: Álftavatn – Emstrur / Botnar (15 km, 6-7 hours, descent: 40 meters) – The third day introduces more plains, with the option to switch to lighter footwear during fair weather. Prepare for river crossings, utilizing sandals for ease. The trail leads to the Hvanngil cabins, offering a refreshing stop. Continue to the stunning Nyrðri Emstruá river, cross several streams, and reach the Botnar cabins (Coordinates 63°45.980 – 19°22.480), accommodating up to 40 people.

Day 4: Emstrur (Botnar) – Þórsmörk (15 km, 6-7 hours, descent: 300 meters) – Exercise caution on the steep trail leading to the Syðri-Emstruá valley, where a beautiful bridge spans the river. Navigate through the Almenningar area, cross the Þröngá river, and witness the landscape transform once more. The Langidalur cabin in Thórsmörk (Coordinates 63°40.960 – 19°30.890) awaits, offering accommodation for up to 75 people. Explore the diverse hiking options in the area, including an ascent of Mount Valahnúkur for breathtaking views.

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