Unforgettable 12-Day Small-Group Highlands Hiking Tour with Transfer

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Tour starts
Reykjavík, Iceland
Starting time
12 days
Ending place
Reykjavík, Iceland
July - Aug.
Minimum age
16 years old


Prepare for the adventure of a lifetime when you choose this twelve-day hike through Iceland’s magnificent Highlands region. Outdoor enthusiasts seeking a multi-day hike in the Highlands, including the famous Laugavegur trail, with meals and accommodations included, should book this guided small-group tour today. 

This tour is ideal for adventurous travelers who want to experience an approximately 93-mile (150 kilometers) multi-day hike in the awe-inspiring Icelandic Highlands. The Highlands are known for endless incredible hiking opportunities, including the Laugavegur trail. 

On this tour, you will trek through the most remote areas of Iceland, where you will rarely see other hikers. This is ideal for those seeking total peace as they explore these untouched regions of the island. 

The excursion starts in Reykjavik, where you will meet your guide and group at the central bus station before being transferred to Hvolsvollur, where your adventure begins. There is no hiking on the first day, but you will have the chance to get to know your guide and fellow hikers over a tasty meal. 

Over the next two days, you will explore the beautiful Landmannalaugar valley, known for its incredible geothermal activity. You will have memorable views as you hike through fields of lava rock, over colorful mountains, and across bubbling rivers and streams. 

The tour continues on days four and five with hikes in Fogrufjoll mountains, which translates to “beautiful mountains,” and the lava field Skaelingar. Each night you will stay in modest but cozy mountain huts, some of which have showers nearby. 

Each day of this tour brings you to awe-inspiring locations throughout the Highlands. On day seven, you will trek through vibrant green hills before reaching the mountain hut, where you will spend most of the day relaxing and enjoying the peaceful views in preparation for the next day.

Day eight is the trip's longest hike, taking you from the green valley across canyons and rivers. As you near your cabin, you will find a natural hot spring that, depending on weather conditions, is ideal for a relaxing soak. 

You will continue to be amazed by the natural beauty of the Highlands each day. On the eleventh day, you will reach the famous Thorsmork valley, known for its unforgettable views, before ending your hike with a celebratory barbecue dinner at the cabin. Get some rest and prepare to return to Reykjavik the following day. 

This tour is ideal for adventurous travelers with a decent level of fitness and hiking experience. Your accommodations are basic but comfortable, and you will end this trip with lifelong memories of your trek through Iceland.

Travelers seeking an unforgettable twelve-day hiking adventure in the Icelandic Highlands should book this guided small-group tour today. Check availability now by choosing a date.

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Experienced, certified guide
Licensed driver
Private 4x4 vehicle for transfers
Accommodation in all mountain huts along the trail
Accommodation in hostel for first night
All meals during hiking days
All cooking equipment
Agency support 24/7


Hot Spring Bathing

Daily itinerary

Day 1
A 4x4 vehicle traverses a black sand desert in the Icelandic Highlands.

Day 1 - Reykjavik to Hvolsvollur

On the first day of your twelve-day adventure, you will meet your experienced hiking guide and the rest of your group in Reykjavik. The meeting point is the BSI Reykjavik central bus station.

From the bus station, you will hop in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle to transfer to your starting location in Hvolsvollur. The drive takes around an hour and a half and gives you a wonderful glimpse at the stunning landscape you will be hiking in for the next twelve days.

Your accommodation for the first night is in a comfortable and charming hostel in Hvolsvollur. Getting a good night’s rest is essential in preparation for your upcoming adventure!

After settling into your room and perhaps taking a quick walk around the small, charming town of Hvolsvollur, it is time for a briefing session with your guide. You will discuss the trip itinerary, go over safety regulations, and learn more about the destinations you will be visiting. This is a great time to ask any questions about the adventure.

The safety briefing takes place over a delicious group dinner. Please note that the dinner and drinks on this first night are not included in the price of your trip.

This first day of the tour is perfect for learning more about your upcoming journey and getting to know your guide and fellow hikers. Take some time to prepare your backpack to ensure you are ready to begin your hike in the morning.

Your guide will discuss appropriate clothing and gear well before your tour’s departure date. As a rule of thumb, outdoor activities in Iceland require warm, waterproof clothing with wool or synthetic base layers. A raincoat, rain pants, hat, gloves, and waterproof, sturdy hiking boots are also a must-have.

Set out your clothing for your first day before cuddling up in bed. Tomorrow, your adventure begins!

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Day 2
The rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic Highlands are unforgettable.

Day 2 - Arrive at Landmannalaugar

After a hearty breakfast at your hostel, it is time to head out to your first hiking location at Landmannalaugar geothermal valley. Your group will take a transfer in a 4x4 vehicle that can easily and comfortably navigate the rough Highland roads.

Landmannalaugar, which translates to “People’s Pools,” is a stunning region of the Highlands known for fantastic hiking opportunities and the chance to bathe in natural hot springs. As you first enter the area, you will be amazed by the unique geology here.

The Landmannalaugar area in the southern Highlands can be characterized by colorful rhyolite mountains. The rhyolite rock creates peaks and valleys in breathtaking red, pink, green, blue, and gold shades.

You will begin the adventure of a lifetime in these vibrant hills. Once you reach the trailhead, it is time to don your backpack and head out.

As you walk, your guide will educate you on the history and geology of the region. The natural hot springs dotting the region have been used for hundreds of years by the area’s settlers. Weary after a long day of traveling, hunting, or building, it is no surprise that the settlers enjoyed relaxing in a hot bath!

You should pack a swimsuit and towel in your pack to be prepared if you end up coming across a hot spring. Nothing heals sore hiking muscles like a soak in one of Iceland’s incredible natural hot pools!

As the day comes to an end, you will reach a unique mountain hut nestled in the peaceful hills. The tour operator books your spots at the huts in advance, so everything is settled upon arrival. Have some dinner and relax before heading to bed to rest up for another exciting day.

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Day 3
Landmannalaugar in the Icelandic Highlands is filled with unique and beautiful sights.

Day 3 - Landmannalaugar

Your third day allows further exploration of the magical Landmannalaugar region in the Icelandic Highlands. After a filling breakfast at the hut, it is time to head out on the trail.

Soak up the beauty of Iceland as you trek through the rhyolite mountains, ancient lava fields, and green valleys with sparkling rivers and lakes. The region’s ecological diversity and stunning, otherworldly views will take your breath away.

One of the route options includes a trail up the Blahnjukur volcano. This amazing route provides long, sweeping views over the valley and the possibility of spottings five different distant glaciers on a clear day.

After a day of trekking, you will return to the cozy mountain hut for dinner and another great night’s sleep. These mountain huts are basic but comfortable and are the perfect accommodation for those interested in exploring the most remote regions of Iceland.

Throughout the twelve-day hike, you will be staying in a handful of rustic mountain huts that are run by the Icelandic Touring Association. There are over 40 huts nationwide, each offering unique locations and experiences.

The huts are basic but comfortable, providing shelter from the elements. Some of the larger cabins will have kitchen facilities, toilets, running water, and showers, while others may require you to fetch water from nearby sources and use outhouses.

The Landmannalaugar hut is one of the larger ones, holding up to 78 guests over two floors. There is running hot water, a well-equipped kitchen, and shower facilities. You will be sleeping in one of the comfortable bunk beds, which your guide has booked ahead of time.

This is your last night in Landmannalaugar, so take advantage of the opportunity to explore the beautiful nature surrounding the hut and take plenty of pictures. After a delicious dinner with your group, it is time to organize your gear and then head to bed.

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Day 4
Highland lakes are magical sights.

Day 4 - Langisjor and the Fogrufjoll Mountains

On the fourth day, you will have breakfast at the Landmannalaugar hut before transferring in a 4x4 vehicle to Langisjor lake. Located in the Vatnajokull National Park, this lake is renowned for its untouched beauty.

Enjoy a walk along the stunning natural lake and marvel at the beautiful views. Steep, vibrant green slopes lead to the bright blue waters, creating a beautiful contrast.

Langisjor lake is far removed from any sort of civilization and is considered one of the clearest lakes in the Highlands. This nearly 250-foot (75 meters) deep lake is a great location for adventurous trout fishers.

From Langisjor, you will hike through the magnificent Fogrufjoll mountains. Fogrufjoll translates to “beautiful mountains,” and you will quickly see why they were given that name! Like many of the hikes on this twelve-day tour, today’s hike is in a remote location. There is a chance that your group will be one of the only groups of people you encounter today!

Navigate the stunning landscape and enjoy the complete serenity of a remote location where the only sounds are that of nature. The Vatnajokull glacier can be seen looming in the distance throughout the day.

Vatnajokull glacier is the largest glacier in Iceland and the second largest in Europe. This massive beauty spans around 3,000 square miles (7,900 square kilometers), around 8% of Iceland’s total landmass. It is truly an unforgettable sight!

After a lovely hike through the mountains, you will arrive at your hut for the night. This renovated shepherd’s hut is small but comfortable, offering a gas stove and running water. No shower is available tonight, but you will be grateful for a warm cabin and cozy bed!

Explore the mountain hut’s surroundings before tucking into bed. Be sure to get a good night’s rest in preparation for tomorrow’s adventures.

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Day 5
Continue your 12-day hiking tour of the Icelandic Highlands at the Skaelingar lava fields.

Day 5 - Skaelingar Lava Field and Hvanngil Canyon

Day five provides some of the most otherworldly views of the whole tour. The Skaelingar lava field looks like the landscape of an alien planet and is an unforgettable location for hiking.

The Skaelingar lava field, located along the Skafta river, is a large expanse of black volcanic rock formations covered in vibrant green moss. It can be challenging to traverse, but the unique terrain makes the trouble well worth it.

As you follow the river through the volcanic landscape, you will come across stunning black sand deserts and glacial waters cutting through the moss-covered fields of rock. Eventually, you will arrive at the amazing Hvanngil canyon at the base of the towering Uxatindar mountain.

The Hvanngil valley is a beloved feature of Iceland. Located along the popular Laugevagar hiking trail, Hvanngil offers beautiful views of green hills, volcanic formations, and incredible mountains on every side. In the valley is the jaw-dropping Hvanngil canyon.

Cut deep into the rhyolite rock that makes up the mountains of this region, the Hvanngil canyon is genuinely unique and mesmerizing. The rock formations in the canyon will delight you as you wander through the incredible landscape.

This route is relatively easy compared to some of the terrains you have already conquered, allowing you to enjoy all the fantastic views. Today’s hike leads you to the cozy Hvannagil hut.

This mountain hut is charming and will surely be thoroughly enjoyed by your group as you rest up and refuel with a hearty dinner. The Hvannagil mountain hut, also operated by the Iceland Touring Association, comprises multiple buildings holding up to 60 guests and a stable, campground, and toilet and shower facility. There is a small kitchen with a gas stove and running cold water.

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Day 6
Marvel at rushing waterfalls as you hike through the Icelandic Highlands.

Day 6 - Eldgja Canyon, Ofaerufoss, and Holaskjol

Enjoy a nice breakfast at the Hvannagil mountain hut before departing for today’s magical hike. Your first destination is Eldgja, or “Fire Canyon.”

Eldgja canyon is an awe-inspiring sight. This stunning green canyon is the largest volcanic canyon in the world, measuring in at nearly 900 feet (270 meters) deep and 25 miles (40 kilometers) long.

The canyon, which is no longer considered an active volcanic area, is part of the large Katla volcanic system, which is still quite active. Eldgja hasn’t seen an eruption since 939 AD, but that eruption was one of the largest of all time.

The ancient eruption at Eldgja was so massive that it changed the climate of the entire planet, cooling the global temperature and causing food shortages across Eurasia. Unsurprisingly, a visit to Eldgja today is something you will never forget!

Hike through the moss-covered rocks as you make your way to the Ofaerufoss waterfall. This two-tiered waterfall is an incredible sight, dropping 130 feet (40 meters) down a vibrant green cliffside into the canyon.

The required hike to get to Ofaerufoss means it is rarely crowded, allowing the opportunity to enjoy the majestic beauty in private. This is a lovely spot for a picnic lunch before continuing your hike.

The second half of your day takes you through lush green fields, a welcome treat after days spent navigating rugged volcanic rock. Icelandic shepherds use these fields as summer grazing fields for their sheep.

When you reach tonight’s mountain cabin, you can celebrate your accomplishment. You are now halfway through this hike, which is well worth celebrating!

Tonight’s mountain hut is quite comfortable, with a kitchen and two floors of sleeping quarters. Showers are available at the nearby bathhouse, and you will have a filling and tasty meal with your group before retiring for the evening.

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Day 7
Hiking through beautiful grassy meadows is a nice change from the volcanic rocks of previous days.

Day 7 - Meadow Hike and Rest Day

Day seven of your Icelandic trek is fairly relaxing in preparation for more difficult upcoming days. After a nice breakfast at the Holaskjol hut, you will begin your day with a pleasant stroll through rolling green hills.

Throughout the hike, you can access the beautiful, cold waters of the Sydri Ofaera river. This river flows through the Eldja canyon before joining the Skafta river and provides nice background noise for today’s hike.

Your route today isn’t as long as some of the others, so you will reach your next mountain hut after a relatively short time. Take advantage of this early finish and explore the incredible natural beauty surrounding the cabin.

Day seven is considered an acclimation day, allowing you to rest any sore muscles and catch up on sleep before a long hike tomorrow. The mountain huts are nestled in a lovely green hollow and are in a beautiful location for a casual stroll before you turn in.

Take your camera, journal, or book with you as you explore and enjoy peaceful alone time. There are numerous great spots to sit and relax with views of the lush green valley.

Tonight’s huts provide valuable amenities, such as a gas stove, running cold water, and a bathhouse. Since you have extra time at this location, you might be able to meet some hikers outside of your group and share exciting stories of your adventure so far!

Remember that some of the mountain huts along the route are sleeping bag accommodations only. Since you won’t always have a bunk bed, packing a comfortable sleeping bag for this tour is very important!

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Day 8
The sun sets over the mountain ranges of the Highlands in Iceland.

Day 8 - Maelifellsandur to Strutur

After a restful night, eat a healthy breakfast to fuel up for your eighth day! Today’s hike is the longest of the entire tour, so prepare to leave early.

Enjoy magical views as you continue to follow the Sydri Ofaera river before crossing the canyon again. As you climb out of the canyon, look back and relish in your accomplishment.

Marvel at the beauty of the black volcanic boulders littering the landscape. Many of the rocks are streaked with vibrant green moss, creating an interesting contrast of colors.

Much of your day will be spent crossing Maelifellssandur, a large plain made of gravel and sand. This plain is located north of the Myrdalsjokull glacier, which you will likely see in the distance.

On the eastern side of Maelifellssandur is the lone Mount Maelifell. Maelifell is a volcano rising 2,595 feet (791 meters) from the Maelifellssandur plain. The volcano was once concealed by the Myrdalsjokull glacier but became exposed when the glacier began to melt at the end of the last Ice Age.

Continuing towards your destination, you will come to a natural hot spring. If the weather conditions allow, you can enjoy a soak here!

Thanks to the geothermal activity in Iceland, there are numerous natural hot springs all over the country. Some can be pretty crowded, but a hot spring in a remote location like this one is unlikely to have a crowd and can be enjoyed in total peace.

Since there is the possibility of hot springs bathing during the tour, you will want to ensure you pack a swimsuit and towel. There are no changing facilities at natural hot springs like this one, but you can always duck behind a boulder!

After your bath, you will make your way to the Strutur mountain hut for the night. Have a well-deserved rest after your long day of hiking.

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Day 9
A group of hikers walk past a glittering lake in the Icelandic Highlands.

Day 9 - Alftavatn Lake

Bright and early on day nine, your adventure continues. Depart from your cozy hut and traverse wild paths through the mountains as you make your way toward one of the jewels of the tour, Alftavatn lake.

Today’s hike is around 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) and takes you through spectacular landscapes. The colorful rhyolite mountains making up the terrain are always a remarkable sight.

Prepare to be amazed as you reach Alftavatn lake. A true oasis in an area of fairly sparse vegetation and wildlife, Aftavatn lake is a feature providing copious amounts of flora and fauna.

Located in the remote southern Highlands, you can only reach Alftavatn by a multi-day hike along the Laugavegur trail. This means the area is practically untouched, and you are not likely to see many other travelers.

Alftavatn lake is known for its incredible bird-watching opportunities. The Highland lake is home to dozens of bird species, including ducks, eagles, and many swans. In fact, Alftavatn translates to “Swan Lake'' and is one of the largest swan breeding grounds in the country.

From the lake, you can enjoy unforgettable views of the glacial waters, surrounding mountain peaks, and long-range views of the magical Highlands. Be sure to get your camera out when you reach this awe-inspiring location!

Two mountain huts near Alftavatn can accommodate 72 guests. There are kitchens equipped with gas stoves, running cold water, and a bathhouse and showers. As with the rest of the mountain huts, there is a 500kr fee to use the showers, and you can pay the warden with a card or cash.

Now that you are nearing the end of your hike, you will have your evening routine down to a science. Enjoy dinner, organize your pack, and cuddle up in your sleeping bag to rest up for the last few days of the journey.

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Day 10
The black sand peaks in Iceland are often comprised of volcanic rocks.

Day 10 - Black Desert to Emstrur

Savor your coffee and breakfast at the mountain hut as you prepare for another day of memorable hiking. Today’s final destination is the Emstrur mountain hut. 


Traverse a striking desert made entirely of black sand, remnants of the many volcanic eruptions that have left lava rocks scattered across the island. This black sand is one of the most iconic images of Iceland, and hiking across it is an experience you will never forget. 


Throughout your hike, you will be crossing a handful of rivers. Some will have bridges, natural or manmade, while some will require walking through the glacial waters. If you aren’t fully awake yet, you will be once you step into the ice-cold river!


In the distance, you can see the Myrdalsjokull glacier. This glacier is the country’s fourth-largest ice cap, covering 232 square miles (600 kilometers). Myrdalsjokull sits atop the notorious Katla volcano, monitored heavily by Icelandic scientists to prepare for its overdue eruption. 


In the afternoon, you will reach the Hattafell volcano. This volcano is striking, with the bright green moss-covered slopes rising sharply above the black desert.


Past Hattafell, you will descend into the Emstrur valley. This pastoral region is used as summertime sheep grazing fields, so you will likely encounter a few of the wooly creatures during your walk!


Emstrur is beautiful, providing views of green fields surrounded by mountains and volcanoes such as Hattafell and Storu Sulur. The grassy meadows are a nice change from the volcanic landscape you have been hiking in for the last few days.


The nearby Markarfljotsgljufur canyon is a sight that cannot be missed. The beautiful canyon was formed thousands of years ago from lava flow after the notorious Katla volcano erupted, carving out a 656-foot (200-meter) deep section of the Highlands.


Tonight you will stay in the lovely Emstrur hut. There are three lodges accommodating up to 60 people in comfortable bunk beds. The huts have a kitchen with a gas stove, cold running water, and a shared bathhouse and showers.


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Day 11
The Thorsmork valley is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Iceland.

Day 11 - Thorsmork

Day eleven is your final day of hiking, and you are ending your journey on a high note. Thorsmork is one of the most famous areas in the Highlands, and once you gaze upon the incredible beauty here, you will understand the fame. 


Before reaching Thorsmork, you will depart from your cabin and further explore the quiet beauty of Emstrur. With the Katla volcano looming in the distance, you will cross glacial moraines and volcanic landscapes before reaching the forested edge of Thorsmork. 


Named after Thor, the Norse god of Thunder, Thorsmork is a nature reserve in the southern Highlands. It is one of the most popular areas in the country for hiking, photography, and 4x4 tours. 


Due to its remote location, it is impossible to reach Thorsmork in winter. As you hike through the region, you will see how the harsh but beautiful landscape would be impassable with the addition of ice and snow.


The landscape of Thorsmork is unique and magical. With jagged mountains, volcanic rock, lush green moss, and even peaceful birch forests, this reserve has something for everyone. 


Since this is your last hike of the tour, be sure to take it all in and soak up the natural beauty of Iceland. There is almost a microclimate here in Thorsmork, where the relatively warmer and calmer weather creates a fog that blankets the region and makes for stunning photographs. 


Tonight is your final night in the charming mountain huts. The Thorsmork hut is fairly large and spacious, providing comfortable bunk beds for your last night and a kitchen, bathhouse, and showers. 


To celebrate the completion of this fantastic twelve-day tour, your group will have a barbecue dinner. Talk, laugh, and reminisce on your amazing experience as you enjoy delicious local food and drink with your newfound friends.


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Day 12
Thorsmork valley in the Highlands of Iceland offers magical scenery.

Day 12 - Return to Reykjavik

Today is the final day of your unforgettable twelve-day hiking adventure through the Icelandic Highlands. There is no hiking on the itinerary today, but if you wake up early, you can have one final stroll through the beautiful nature on the outskirts of the mountain hut. 


After breakfast, everyone will load their bags into the 4x4 vehicle and begin their return to Reykjavik. The drive from Thorsmork to Reykjavik takes around two hours and provides beautiful views of towering mountains, rushing waterfalls, and endless volcanic rock fields. 


It is possible to request a transfer to the Keflavik International Airport for your return home, but it is recommended that you return to Reykjavik. After twelve days of intensive hiking, you will appreciate a good night’s rest before a long flight!


When you reach Reykjavik, it is time to say farewell to your new friends. Your guide and hiking group will say their goodbyes, and thus, your tour is complete. 


You will arrive in Reykjavik in the late morning or early afternoon, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the capital of Iceland. Try some of the famously delicious and inventive cuisines, walk to famous sights such as the Hallgrimskirkja church, or stop in at some of the educational museums throughout the city. 


Consider booking tickets for a relaxing soak at one of the thermal baths in the area, such as the luxurious Sky Lagoon or the world-famous Blue Lagoon. These geothermal spas are the best way to relax and relieve sore muscles. Massages are also available, and after this tour, you certainly will appreciate it!


If you have a few days in Reykjavik before your departure, consider booking some of the exciting day tours in the area. Take a whale-watching boat tour departing from the Reykjavik harbor for the chance to spot some of the resident gentle giants.


The Golden Circle is a famous route starting and ending in Reykjavik, and it is well worth your time. Before heading home, visit beloved attractions such as Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Geysir geothermal area.


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What to bring

Warm, waterproof hiking clothes
Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots
Personal first aid kit/medication
Backpack (no suitcases allowed)
Sleeping bag
Camp shoes and clothing
Water bottle

Good to know

You will receive a detailed packing list upon completion of your booking. Technical mountain gear is not necessary.

Due to the unpredictable Icelandic weather, good waterproof hiking gear is required.

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