Thanks to a new Icelandic airline, it’s cheaper than ever to fly to Iceland. And with the scenic, almost other-worldly landscape and all its geothermal activity (can you say hot springs?), Iceland is the perfect place to explore and “Be Snikwah!” And what better way to motivate you than by checking out a list of the six best hiking trails in Iceland? So go ahead, grab your best sportswear, and head to the mountains! Or, as the Icelanders say, “Ganga á fjöll!”
1. The Laugavegur Trek. Named by National Geographic as one of the World’s Best Hikes, The Laugavegur Trek is the most well-known and popular hike in Iceland – and for good reason. The trail stretches on for 55 km (34 miles), from the hot springs of Landmannalauger to the glacial valley of Pórsmörk, and has a variety of side treks. Make sure to bundle up in your warmest active wear when exploring the ice caves!
2. The Fimmvörðuháls Trail. The Fimmvörðuháls Trail has become increasingly more popular since Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption in 2010, now including a whole new mountain to see. Spanning from Pórsmörk to Skógar, the trail is 23 km (14 miles) and usually takes place in a very demanding single-day hike. In the summer, nighttime is almost nonexistent, so a sun safe shirt (hint, hint) is a must for this ten hour excursion.
3. The Old Kjalvegur Trail. As a considerably flatter and easier walk, the 39 km (24 miles) Kjalvegur trail is usually split into a relaxing three days with only four to five hours of hiking per day. The hike includes plenty of geothermal area, providing plenty of opportunity to check out some of Iceland’s famous hot springs!
4. The Askja Trail. The Askja Trail is not to be taken lightly but it is definitely worth the effort. The hike covers 89-97 km (55-60 miles) from the oasis Herðubreiðarlindir to the Svarákot farm in Bárdardalur valley. With its unpredictable weather (blizzards in the summer!) and massive expanse of lava fields, you’ll need to bring the right gear. Wicking sportswear (wicking, you say?) would be your best bet in this temperamental weather.
5. Vatnajökull National Park. Within this national park is a 55 km (34 mile) trail from Snaefell to Lónsöraefi that will never fail to impress. The hike has everything from glaciers, valleys, rivers, and a birch wood forest to abandoned ruins, waterfalls, and Tröllakrókar. And after a day of adventure tires you out, the trail is lined with huts that are about as luxurious as a hut can get with heating facilities, gas cookers, and mattresses.
6. The Víknaslóðir Trails. Translated as the “Trails of the Deserted Inlets,” Víknaslóðir holds one of Iceland’s most beautiful coastlines and is known as the central province of the elves. The area, untouched by mass tourism, contains endless opportunities with 150 km (93 miles) of possible trails with black sand beaches, abandoned ruins, natural mountains, and even reindeer herds. The magical landscape will be sure to keep you outdoors, so don’t forget your UV sportswear!