The Laugavegur Trail, located in the south part of Iceland, connects the area of Landmannalaugar to the forested valley of Þórmörk. It is one of the most popular hiking routes in the country. Around 4/5 days are necessary to complete the trek; although you can add 2 additional days to join Skógafoss through Fimmvörðuháls Pass !
Laugavegur means literally « the way of the water », which makes sense according to the countless watering points you cross. Along the way you cut through 3 rivers, walk by different lakes and follow the waterway.
If you want to see photos of this trek : click to see my personal Laugavegur experience !
The Laugavegur Trail is popular, but far from being easy ! A good endurance and a preparation are needed if you want to enjoy the trek. Provide yourself a map, a gps and a compass before starting the route. You also should register yourself on safetravel.is (as every treks in the country) to let the rangers know when you left. It is possible to camp along to Hrafntinnusker, Alftavatn, Hvanngil, Laugahraun and Botnar.
1st day – Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker
This first day hike is quite challenging. Most of the walk is up-hill and the highest altitude you reach is much of the season covered by snow ! This is unlikely to be somewhere you want to camp unless you have real experience and specialised equipment.
Starting with the area of Laugahraun, you walk along a rocky/black lava part before climbing up the colourful slopes of the Brennisteinsalda volcano. All along you cross various hot springs with their usual smell of sulfur. The path to the hut will likely be covered in snow but should be clearly marked. If you still have energy remaining, visit the nearby ice caves – just 1.5 km from the hut.
2nd day – Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn
The second day is most down-hill, but take your time to not hurt your knees !
The camp location in front of the lake is beautiful, especialy with a good weather, but it’s also really windy ! In case of strong wind, there is another campsite, named Hvanngil, 3.8km further away, that is very sheltered !
3rd day – Álftavatn to Botnar
A river-crossing appeared just behind the camp of Álftavatn, but it is rarely more than calf-deep. However you will find 2 others river-crossing on the way to Botnar !
The other one, after an hour of walk isn’t very deep neither (in any case you should ask the rangers about it in Álftavatn). But the third one can be as deep as your bum ! Make sure to protect the bottom of your bag and try to find the highest point in the river by seeing the rocks underwater. You might want to take off your trousers as it would be all wet if you keep wearing it !
Except the rivers crossing, all the day-hike is pretty flat, and very black sandy looking. It could get foggy quickly so be sure to bring a compass with you as the way can be a bit random at some point.
Botnar is located downhill between 2 valleys, which makes the camp location surprising !
4th day – Botnar to Þórsmörk
This day is probably the easiest of all, as it stay relatively flat all the way, with nice landscapes. Midway you start to see green scenery in the horizon and your hear the birds singing again, which makes you realiwe you haven’t see green decor for a few days !
Once you arrive at Þórsmörk, you finish the Laugavegur trail, congratulation ! 2 options are available : End the treck here and take the bus to go away.
Or start the optionnal way of the Fimmvörðuháls trail. Take care, this 2 days walk is nothing compare to the Laugavegur trail : ask the rangers first what the forecast should be and listen their advice.
Optional : Fimmvörðuháls trail (25 km)
A huge diversity is waiting for you if you choose to go further (or to start from here who knows) : 26 waterfalls, 1 volcano and 2 glaciers, nothing less! It is one of the most popular route in Iceland that would take you up to 8 – 12 hours.
It is also possible stop halfway and sleep in a hut. You should taking in consideration the weather, as the walk can really become tricky with bad forecast conditions, especially if the top is all snowy.
5th day – Þórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls
On the way to the infamous Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010, you’ll have to go up between the two glaciers, Eyjafjallajokull and Mýrdalsjökull, to the recently formed lava and the new craters, Magni and Móði.
The way up from Þórsmörk is really challenging and requires good training!
If you want to take a break in the middle, you can find Baldvinsskali Mountain Hut, which offers a nice vew and a warm place to eat.
6th day – Fimmvörðuháls to Skogar
Mostly waterfalls and green landscape !