We tried to see how much we could do in Iceland including the infamous Laugavegur trail, and I think we managed to do a good job! I had the time of my life.
Highs & Lows
All the colours in the ground and all the steam coming out everywhere!
Super expensive :(
Going to Iceland was a bit of a crazy idea for us because we didn’t really know what to expect but having been there two times by now I wouldn’t have a second thought of moving there if I really could. It is the most amazing place I have ever had the chance to hike around, and would love to come back many times. We looked for the best multiple day hike to do and we found out that the Laugavegur trail was on top of the list by far. Before we did this trail we spent a couple of days in Reykjavik, which is a wonderful town. It is not big and no building reaches more than 10 stories but the people and culture is really kind and there is a lot of places and sights to check out. Close to Reykjavik we did the Golden Circle, just like all other tourists do, but it was worth it to check it out. We spend two nights in Reykjavik and then we took the bus to start the hike. The trail is five days in total, but the first and last day is only the bus, the three days in between is covering a good amount of distance on foot.
The Laugavegur trail is a very popular trail, but everything combined it is indeed (one of) the best multiple day hikes you can do in Iceland. They will take you with a bus to the start of the trail, a campground in the middle of nowhere called Landmannalaugar. After walking three days and sleeping at two campgrounds along the way you will get to the last campground which is in a region called Þórsmörk, where you will sleep the last night. In those three days hiking you will maybe cross only one or two unpaved roads, that are solely for the most in need supplies for the campground, but everything else is done by foot or helicopter. There is no sign of humanity along the road, except for the sign leading you the way. You can shower in the campgrounds and sleep in the hut or in your own tent, but there is no food or electricity for the hikers. You need to carry your tent, all your clothes, food, sleeping equipment and snacks for three days on your back. Most people take the bus back to Reykjavik after the last night in Þórsmörk, but you can also walk one or two extra days to the coast, it will take you to Skogar, a place where they have a very very touristic huge waterfall. The walk itself is less interesting than the three days before, but you will end your journey with a view of the ocean and a huge crowd of tourists welcoming you back to society. We took the bus back to Reykjavík after Þórsmörk, we had more stuff to do that summer.
The Golden Circle of Iceland is a group of the most popular and characteristic natural sights in Iceland, all close to the city and all doable in one day. It is very popular, since Iceland has some agreements with airline companies to have tourists have a cheap transfer for one night in Reykjavik, so many tourists will take their day off to do the Golden Circle. It is very worth it anyways, we went for it and I advice you to check it out if you can! Make sure to check out Reykjavik too, they have some amazing places and it is really cute town in general.
On the golden circle we did Þingvellir, a crack in the earth of two platonic plates and the sight where one of the first ever parliaments was born. We did Gulfoss, one of Europe’s biggest waterfalls and the boiling water fountains of Geysir, after finishing the formal road with a walk around the Kerið Crater. On our way back to the city we came across a mountain valley so beautiful we had to get out and take a short hike off-road.
It’s a couple hours bus drive starting in the early afternoon and we arrived at Landmannelaugar at dinnertime. You can cook yourself a dinner and then hangout in the beautiful hotspring 5 minutes out from the campground with the other hikers. The next day we started the hike, leaving early will not avoid any crowds, but it will assure that you have all the time to take breaks and enjoy the view, and make use of the facilities in the next campground in time without being bothered. I will not tell you anything about the hike, you have to see for yourself. Dress in layers, be prepared for any weather conditions and bring some powerbanks. At the third camp Emstrur you will have the chance to walk to a huge canyon close to the hut, it is hall an hour extra hiking but I strongly advice you to take a look, it’s really worth it! If you want you can take a look at the pictures we made, but you have to see for yourself if you get the chance.
Q & A
Restaurant recommendations?This coffee place in Reykjavik was really good but I don't know what it was called. Everyone knows about it though so you just have to ask around.
Tips you would give a friend?Keep in mind that the Laugavegur trail, Reykjavík, the dehydrated meals you have to bring for the hike and Iceland in general is VERY expensive. Buy as much as you can in your own country, especially the food for the hike.
Packing tips?The best packing tips are on the websites for the trail, one tip I can give you is to bring cheese spread on the hike, or peanut butter. It doesn't go bad, bring some crackers and load them.
Any surprises?Yes, THE WEATHER! The weather is always bad in Iceland, rain and storm and clouds all day. But we were very lucky, we had no rain, and a lot of sun. Be prepared for some nasty weather.
Booking details?Do mind that you need to book a place in order to do the Laugavegur trail! They don’t want it to be too crowded so they only let a certain amount of people in each summer. Booking a tour and/or transportation has nothing to do with this, you need to do that yourself too.