A few tips for hiking the Laugavegur Trail

→ Distance / ↑ Ascent Time Map
→ cca 55 km / ↑ 2400 m 2-4 days See below
Printed maps selection

A lot of words have been written about the Laugavegur Trail. It’s a regular member of top-ten-hikes-in-the-world articles. Because of that, I’ll limit myself to just some tips which could be helpful for fellow hikers.

Lava field at the beginning

It’s busy, it’s incredibly nice and it’s worth doing. It took us 2 days to hike it but most of people take longer.

Inside the Rainbow mountains

To reach the starting points (Landmannalaugar or Thórsmörk), there are direct buses from all of the important places around including Reykjavík. It’s possible to hitchhike but it takes time. It took us all day to hitch from the country’s capital to Landmannalaugar and about half a day to partly walk / hitch from Thórsmörk to the Ring Road.

It can get snowy up there

The higher parts of the trail (between Landmannalaugar and Álftavatn) can be very snowy. We hiked it in mid-July and still had to walk many kilometres through snow. It wasn’t dangerous in terms of terrain (no steep icy ridges where falling means death) but good hiking boots are essential. I cannot overemphasise the necessity of being prepared for any kind of weather. On the first day we had heavy rain and freezing wind, the day after strong sun and on the third day, when we were done, the weather was so bad that the upper part became impassable and the trail was closed for a few days.

I mean really snowy, you can walk on snow for many hours

The campsite up in Hrafntinnusker was very windy and cold. Nobody we met that day stayed there even if they had been planning to, everyone opted for a longer day of hiking and continued on to the next campsite, Álftavatn. The campsite at Álftavatn is in a windy area so if you can, go to 4 kms further to Hvanngil which is well sheltered. The campsites in Landmannalaugar and Thórsmörk were offering gas canisters and basic groceries. Nevertheless, if you don’t want to pay €6 for a can of beans or €20 for a small gas canister, make sure you have enough food and gas on you.

You’ll see heaps of gree volcanos

You don’t need cash, huts accept plastic. It was 2000 ISK for a campsite, 500 ISK for 5 minutes of a hot shower.

You’ll aslo have to cross a few rivers. Some of them are quite deep!

Even though the trail is well marked with visible poles, you definitely should have a map or GPS. The weather can change suddenly in Iceland and getting lost up there is not fun.

The landscape is stunning all the time

Phone and data reception is very good on most of the trail.

Another green volcano

The wardens at the huts/campsites are not very helpful. Most of them are young teenagers and it seemed as though they’d flipped a coin to decide whether to stack shelves in a supermarket or work as a warden for the summer.

I was speechless when I saw this deep canyon with the glacier river

All in all, the Laugavegur is definitely worth doing. Even if it can get a bit busy, you’ll see scenery that is not even close to what you might have seen before.

Map

Total distance: 52883 m
Max elevation: 1048 m
Min elevation: 208 m
Total climbing: 2406 m
Total descent: -2776 m
Download
Hiked with Anna in July 2017. Photos taken by me and my lovely Sony a6000

 

About the Author

Michal
I lived pretty common life for a while. I did my studies, my second studies, my third studies, my first job, my second job and my third job. I wasn’t really sure what’s going on so in 2014, I left my home country to learn about the world. I’m still not sure what’s going on but I enjoy it much more.

4 Comments on "A few tips for hiking the Laugavegur Trail"

  1. The Laugavegur trail is certainly well marked, but sometimes the marks are not visible because of too little visibility or if these are still under snow. Nonetheless, I think taking a map is very important because it is always good to know where you are. I find it very risky to write that you do not need a map. Tell that to people who have already lost their lives on this path (luckily not so many) because they have just heard such things as “you do not need a map” or “the trail is marked”. I know that a few people walk without a map, but if the weather suddenly changes and they have no orientation where they are, then it’s too late, just because they did not want to spend $ 10 on a map. Instead they prefer to spend $ 15 (or more) for a can of beer.

    • Hi Uwe! Thank you for you comment. You’re definitely right. When I was writing the article, I was comparing Laugavegur trail with other hikes I’ve done in Iceland. Comparing to them, Laugavegur Trail is the first class hike with excellent marking. I was thinking more about hikers like me – experience trampers who know what to do in the mountains if things go wrong. I kind of forgot for a bit that it’s still Iceland with its harsh weather and that the most of people hiking the trail are tourists, often with very little mountainous experience. Thank you for reminding me to be more carefull in saying things like “you don’t need a map”! I’ve deleted that section. All the best

  2. Hi,
    Laugavegur Trail is one of my favorite place for hiking. I wish i can go there. I am planning for a trip there. So this is a very helpful post for me.@

    Thanks for sharing this kind of write up.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.