Iceland’s Laugavegur Trek
One of Iceland’s best-loved treks through unforgettable landscapes.
Reviews 2 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
Iceland is now firmly established as one of the best, most dramatic trekking destinations. The variety of landscapes has been created over the centuries by volcanic eruptions and gigantic glaciers. One of the most popular trails is known as the Laugavegur Trail, and this is the focus of our week. All meals are included while camping, and we start in the colourful Landmannalaugar Mountains before heading to the dramatic Thorsmork region where we discover the craters from the 2010 eruption. Few trekking routes can match the striking vistas on offer here. In addition, the early departures offer long days, up to 24hrs daylight in July, while the late August and early September departures bring with them some darkness and with that the chance to see the Northern Lights.
* All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners
* 2 nights hotel, 5 nights participatory camping
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 8 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
* Airport transfers (to meet any flights)
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Iceland’s best-known trekking route
- Natural hot pools, waterfalls, lava fields, craters and volcanic fissures
- 24 hr daylight in July, chance of Northern Lights in late August
After a Flybus transfer to our hotel we begin with a briefing from your leader, usually at 1830. Here you will have an outline of the the week ahead and the chance to ask any questions.
Transfer to the colourful Landmannalaugar highlands for a daywalk before setting up camp.
We transfer up to the unmistakable Landmannalaugar Mountains. The drive will take approximately 4 hours as we head through the south of Iceland, up the Thjorsardalur valley towards Mt Hekla, an enormous volcano which in centuries gone by has been responsible for enormous destruction. Here we turn into the Highlands and the black volcanic desert of the Fjallabak area. The Fjallabak Nature Reserve is one of the most popular areas in Iceland for trekking with a landscape like nowhere else, from black volcanic plains to multicoloured rhyolite mountains. At the heart of all this are the Landmannalaugar Mountains where we pitch our camp before having lunch.Typically most trips begin the Laugavegur trail today, however, we take the opportunity to enjoy a daywalk in these unique surroundings.Our afternoon walk heads to the top of Blue Peak and across the black Laugahruna lava field. The hot pools originate in this lava field, which was created in 1477, the last known eruption in the area. This area is believed to be the southern end of the Bardarbunga volcanic system. The last eruption in the Bardarbunga system was a fissure eruption in the northern end of the system from 2014 to 2015. Some 150 km north of Landmannalaugar, it was the largest eruption in Iceland for over 200 years though luckily did not have the same impact on air travel as the more famous Eyafjallajokull eruption of 2010. Our guide will prepare the evening meal in our mess tent, though group members are expected to pitch in and help with food preparation and washing up.
Trek through the multicoloured rhyolite mountains towards Alftavatn Lake.
For the next two days we cross the Torfajokull volcanic area (rhyolitic stratovolcano). An area formed by series of subglacial volcanic eruptions which today are most commonly found in Iceland or in Antarctica. The area consists of rolling rhyolite hills with numerous hot springs and sulphur vents and is the largest rhyolitic area in Iceland.We start by crossing the Laugahraun lava field to the slopes of Brennisteinsalda, known for its photogenic spectrum of colours. We take a short but very worthwhile detour to the top.En route we pass the Storihver hot spring, cross the high plateau and enter the Hrafntinnuser area. Here steam rises from the hundreds of vents, and our route passes numerous hot springs along the way. Our support vehicle will be waiting in Hrafntinnusker and we pitch our camp. Weather permitting there is the chance to climb the nearby hill, Stodull for a 360° view of the area.
We head south towards the massive Markarfljotsgljufur Canyon and walk to Emstur hut.
Today we continue from Hrafntinnusker and across the Torfajokull Massif. The route meanders southwards past steaming hot springs and boiling mud pools before dropping down Jokultungur to the black volcanic plains of the Myrdalsjokull Glacier. The view is spectacular on a clear day with the Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers in the foreground, separated by stark black volcanic plains. The landscape changes completely to Palagonite ridges and peaks with black volcanic plains and big glacial rivers all around. Our aim for the day is Alftavatn lake (Swan Lake) where again make camp.
Cross the highlands along the Markarfljotsgljufur Canyon to the Thorsmork Valley.
Our route continues south towards the Myrdalsjokull Ice Cap, crossing the black volcanic landscape as we go. There are several rivers in this area, the largest of which have rudimentary brides, however many do not and we will need to make our own way across. Shortly before arriving at Emstrur we head off west to the Markarfljotsglufur Canyon. The Markarfljot River carved this canyon to a depth of 200 metres and it is well worth our time. After the Markarfljostgljufur Canyon we continue the short distance to Botnar in the Emstrur area, a small green oasis in the black volcanic desert.
To Thorsmork across the edge of the Myrdalsjokull Ice Cap.
We start the day by crossing the Emstrur glacial river on our way to Thorsmork. Heading along the western edge of Myrdalsjokull ice cap the black volcanic landscape slowly gives way to greener vegetation before we arrive in the lush Birch-covered area of Thorsmork (Thor’s woodland). The Thorsmork Valley is a beautiful place with glaciers, rivers and dramatic wind-swept mountains and has been a favourite of local and international walkers for decades. We continue across the Thorsmork Valley and over the Krossa glacial river at the bridge, to end at our camp in Basar.
Daywalk in Thorsmork, heading for the Fimmvorduhals Pass and seeing the new craters formed in the 2010 eruption; transfer to Reykjavik, arriving late afternoon, stopping to visit Seljalandsfoss Waterfall on the way.
Today we walk to the Fimmvorduhals Pass. It was here that the now infamous eruption of 2010 began. The pass itself lies between the Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull glaciers and our aim is to walk to the two craters the formed that day, named Magni and Modi after the sons of Thor. The landscape changes gradually and we find a new lava field full of fresh twisted lava formations on our way up to the craters themselves, from where there are fantastic views across the valley. After our walk we board the bus and drive to Reykjavik (approx 3 hours) for our final night. En route we stop at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, one of Iceland’s best known, where water cascades over a 60-metre drop and there is enough of a relief back into the rock that you can pass behind the water itself.On arrival in Reykjavik we can check in and then head out for our final meal together. The leader will be on hand to recommend or book a local restaurant for the group.
Our trip ends in Reykjavik.
Those wishing to spend extra time in Reykjavik will find it time well spent as this busy city has plenty to offer, from the Harpa Concert Hall to the many restaurants and cafés, not forgetting the geothermal baths, a key part of Icelandic culture.
Camping & Hotel
Campsite in Landmanalaugar with Mt. Bláhnjúkur in the backThe first and last two nights are spent in Reykjavik. Here we usually use Hotel Cabin, Klettur of the Fosshotel Baron offering comfortable rooms with en suite facilities. As hotel availability in Reykjavik can be scarce during the summer due to strong demand, we may occasionally use an alternative hotel of the same standard.
When camping we usually stay at organised campsites, with good facilities and showers are available for a small fee (about £2) at some, included at others. Some also have a launderette service or facilities for washing clothes.
We use spacious two-person tents with sewn-in groundsheets and separate flysheets are supplied. We provide a dining tent with a table, campstools, and LED lamps. Please note that some campsites in Iceland cannot be pre-booked, and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Occasionally in busy periods we may use campsites different to those outlined in the itinerary.
Single accommodation, including a single tent, is available on request.
All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 dinners included
Typical Meals when camping:
Breakfast: fresh fruit; yoghurt; porridge; muesli; bread; jam; tea/coffee.
Lunch: bread and soup; cheese; tuna; biscuits.
Evening meal: A combination of the following: meat (including Icelandic specialities such as smoked lamb), fish, pasta, beans, noodles, vegetables, and hot drinks. We will also have a few bars of chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits and some sweets to sustain us on the walks. Those who prefer evening drinks are advised to buy them in the duty-free in Keflavik airport on arrival.
Dietary requirements – vegetarians can be catered for, please advise at time of booking. As this is predominantly a camping trip, there is limited flexibility whilst in camp. If you have specific dietary requirements please ask at time of booking to allow us to check with our local partners. Unfortunately, due to the remoteness of some locations, we are unable to cater for vegans.
This trip is classified Level 3, Moderate.
Walks are of varying length and distance on this trip. The longest day is around 7 hours. This trek is on a clearly defined path, however there can be some loose ground and uneven terrain.
Walks are subject to change in the event of adverse weather conditions. While camping, members are expected to participate, including erecting and dismantling your own tent and helping the leader with some kitchen duties and the preparation of meals.
Luggage is transported by minibus from camp to camp, meaning you will only need to carry provisions for each day, see packing list for further details.