Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork | Four-day camping tour
Camp along Iceland’s most popular - and arguably most beautiful - trail, with this four-day guided tour along the Laugavegur hiking trail. Taking you from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, this tour is perfectly suited to those who love the outdoors, camping, and fully immersing themselves in nature.
This tour begins at the BSI Bus Terminal, unless you opt for a hotel pick-up, which will take you there. Once your group is gathered, you’ll hop on a public bus, that will take you to the beginning of the Laugavegur trek in the unbelievably beautiful Landmannalaugar region.
Your first day here will be easy and relaxed; you’ll set up camp, then spend the afternoon hiking through the brightly coloured rhyolite mountains and geothermal areas, until coming to a warm river. You are welcome to enjoy a refreshing soak, easing any tension from your muscles in preparation for the journey ahead.
The second day will be more challenging, but incredibly rewarding. You will start by hiking through Landmannalaugar’s hot spring areas and along towering mountain ridges until you reach a stretch of dramatic, steaming lava fields.
This incredible region is called Hrafntinnusker, and you will make your way across it until you reach the serene, beautifully located lake, Álftavatn. It is on the banks of this that you will set up camp for the evening, in the shadow of the glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull.
The third day will start impressively, as you skirt around the moss-coated, cone-shaped volcano Stórasúla. You will reach the black sands of Mælifellsandur, a haunting, desert-like stretch that you will cross to reach a second verdant volcano, Hattfell.
A little south of here is the Markafljót Canyon, a magnificent and dramatic feature worth marvelling over. You will set up camp this evening near Botnar, a location in the remote, long-deserted farming region of Emstrur.
After packing up camp on the fourth day, you will travel across the rolling landscape of this region, the glacier Mýdalsjökull rising just kilometres from you. The further you traverse, the less barren the landscape will get, signalling that you are reaching the far end of the Laugavegur trek. Soon, you will start to descend into a forested valley, thick with birch trees and covered in wildflowers: Þórsmörk.
On the fourth afternoon, you will be no doubt struck in awe at the beauty and diversity of the ‘Valley of Thor’. You will have a good chance to admire it as you travel all the way through. Once you emerge on the other side in the evening, you’ll find yourself at a bus stop, where a public bus will whisk you back to Reykjavík.
This is the hiking trip of a lifetime, and for the adventurous and nature-loving, there is no better way to experience it than when combining it with camping.
If the idea of such an immersion in nature appeals to you, then do not hesitate to book. Prepare to be blown away by Iceland at its best. Check availability by choosing a date
- Available: July
- Duration: 4 days
- Activities: Hiking, Hot Spring Bathing
- Difficulty: Easy
- Minimum age: 16 years old
- Languages: English
Landmannalaugar ("The people's pools") is a vast area of stunning and unique beauty, the true heart of Iceland's southern Highlands.
Landmannalaugar is a truly rare area, both geologically and aesthetically. The area can be found nestled beside the raven-black Laugahraun lava field, a sweeping expanse of dried magma which originally formed in 1477. Landmannalaugar itself is made up of windswept rhyolite mountains, a rock type that creates a full spectrum of dazzling colour on the mountainside. Shades of red, pink, green and golden yellow all change their tone, keeping in movement with the sun rays and creating an area of wilderness that resembles no place else on earth.
Landmannalaugar is primarily known for its natural geothermal baths, hence its name "The People's Pools". For centuries, Landmannalaugar has served as an area of shelter and respite for weary travellers who use these soothing springs as a means to relax after tiring excursions. Today, visitors to the highlands should always bring a swimsuit and towel, just in case one of these naturally occurring hot pools should crop up along the hiking trail.
The area marks the northern end of the Laugavegur, one of Iceland's most popular hiking trails. It is also home to many other notable trails, however, including the path onto the mighty Mt. Brennisteinsalda ("Sulphur Wave"). Visitors can also traverse the trail up the Bláhnjúkur ("Blue Peak") volcano, whose summit allows for a sweeping view of up to five glaciers on clear days.
Multiple operators run daily tours to Landmannalaugar from mid-June to mid-September, during which time The Icelandic Touring Association operates a small shop, three camp sites and a mountain hut equipped with sleeping bags and accommodation for up to 80 visitors.
- Find Highland Tours here
Nestled between the glaciers Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull is Þórsmörk (Thor's Valley), a nature reserve in the southern Icelandic highlands. Þórsmörk is one of Iceland's most popular hiking destinations.
Strictly speaking, Þórsmörk is a valley and a mountain range between the Krossá, Þröngá, and Markarfljót rivers. Locals, however, often use the name "Þórsmörk" when referring to a much larger region that is composed of the area between Þórsmörk proper, and the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano.
Landscapes and Geology
Contrasting vistas of lush oases and roaring glacier rivers cutting through black desert expanses not only make Þórsmörk unique to Iceland but to the entire world. Parts of the valley are rich with moss, fern, and Birchwood, while jagged mountain ridges and ice-capped peaks crown the horizon.
The valley's climate is warmer and calmer than usual in south Iceland, which often causes Þórsmörk's mountains to be cloaked in a veil of mist that materialises when the warm valley air ascends and mixes with the descending cold breath of the glaciers above.
Þórsmörk's surrounding hills, slopes and mountains are beset with small valleys and gullies that make for some of Iceland's most astonishing hiking routes. Experienced hikers, therefore, have a wealth of trails to trek, varying in distances and difficulty. In fact, Þórsmörk offers two of the most popular trails in Iceland, the Fimmvörðuháls and the Laugavegur.
Fimmvörðuháls is a 30km trail that takes you into the hills beneath the Eyjafjallajökull glacier volcano and to the volcanic craters Magni and Móði, which are still steaming from the eruption of 2010. The 55 km Laugavegur path takes you from Þórsmörk to the Landmannalaugar geothermal area which is home to an incredible wealth of hot springs and rhyolite mountains of vibrant colours.
Accommodation and How to get there
During winter (October 16th - April 30th) the road into Þórsmörk is impassable. In summer (May 1st - October 15th) a special 4x4 mountain bus runs three times per day from the BSÍ bus terminal in central Reykjavík. Once there you have the choice setting up base in a small hut, a private room, a dormitory or in Þórsmörk's campsite. Please note that the huts, private rooms and dormitories must be booked well in advance.
The glacier volcano of Eyjafjallajokull (1651 m) is located at the borders of the South Icelandic highlands. It featured prominently in world news in 2010 when ash from its eruption halted air traffic in Europe.
An ice cap of about 100 km with several outlet glaciers covers the caldera of Eyjafjallajökull that stands at the height of 1651 meters. The diamaeter of its highest crater is around 3-4 km2 wide and the rim has several peaks.
Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano lies north of Skogar, and to the west of Myrdalsjokull glacier and the massive volcano there; Katla.
Eyjafjallajokull is thought to be related geologically to Katla in Myrdalsjokull and eruptions in the former have often been followed by eruptions in the latter.
The 2010 eruptions
The end of 2010 saw some small seismic activity that gradually increased and resulted in a small eruption in March of 2010, characterized by a flow of alkani-olivine basalt lava.
This first stage lasted until April 12th and created the volcanic craters Magni and Modi at the Fimmvorduhals trail. They are so far Iceland's newest vocanic craters, and still eminate steam with lava glowing under the surface.
However it was the second phase of the eruption that started on April 14th that created the huge ash cloud that rose about 9 km into the skies.
This eruption halted air traffic in Europe for days, and its estimated that as many as 107.000 flights may have been cancelled during the week it lasted.
The ejected tephra measured around 250 million cubic meters. This ash cloud lasted for six days and some more localized disruption continued into May. The eruption was officially declared to be over in October 2010, as the snow on the glacier had ceased to melt.
Future volcanic developments?
Eyjafjallajokull erupted in years 920, 1612 and again 1821-1823.
Its latest eruptions were the two that occurred in 2010.
Future volcanic developments remain unclear. The area is still highly active and can be quite unpredictable. It continues, however, to be closely monitored by The Icelandic Meterological Office.
Myrdalsjokull is a glacier in the south of the Icelandic highlands. It is the country's fourth largest glacier, covering nearly 600 km2. It's highest peak reaches around 1500 meters. Under the icecap is the volcano Katla.
Katla is active and has had at least 16 eruptions since the year 936, usually erupting every 40-80 years. It's latest eruption was in 1918. Myrdalsjokull is to the north of the village Vik and east of the famous Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano. The popular Fimmvorduhals trail lies between the two glaciers. Due to Eyjafjallajokull's eruption in 2010 the area is closely monitored.
Alftavatn is a deep and decorative lake on the Laugavegur hiking trail in South-West Iceland.
Alftavatn is a place of great serenity and beautiful landscape and is one of the stops on the trail. There are huts there built by the Icelandic Touring Association, that accommodate 72 people. They are equipped with gas stoves, utensils and cold running water.
The Laugavegur is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. The scenery is breathtaking in its beauty and extremely varied, displaying examples of most all that Icelandic nature has offer.
The trail connects the nature reserves Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork. The most common route is to set off from Landmannalaugar, stopping by the huts at Hrafntinnusker, Alftavatn, Hvanngil and Emstrur (Botnar). People usually divide the hike into 5-6 days. The whole trail is about 55 km.
Starting time : 06:50
Guide for 4 days
Food for 4 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 4)
Transportation to and from Reykjavík
Communal camping equipment
Transfer of luggage during the trek.
Sleeping bag (can be added for 6850 ISK)
What to bring:
Sturdy Hiking Boots – preferably waterproof with ankle support.
Gloves, hats, several pairs of warm socks
A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts.
Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day. 25 – 40L (1500 – 2500 cu in)
Sturdy shoes for crossing river
Light weight and warm sleeping bg
Towel – light weight and packable.
Sunglasses & sun protection.
Personal first aid kit
Walking pole, pen knife, camera, waterproof bag (all optional)
Good to know:
The tents bed two people each. If you would like your own, you can specify for an additional 10,000 ISK.
Day 1 - From Reykjavík to Landmannalaugar
Your first day will begin at the BSI Terminal, where you will meet your group and take a public bus to the Landmannalaugar region. This drive will last about three hours, and take you through some stunning scenery, past the notorious volcano Hekla, and the Dómadalur range.
Once you reach Landmannalaugar, you will set up camp. The rest of the day is then yours. You could use the opportunity to take one of many hiking trails to the geothermal areas or rhyolite mountains, or simply unwind in a natural hot spring, surrounding by incredible nature.
You will spend the night in Landmannalaugar.
Day 2 - From Landmannalaugar to Álfavatn
For day two, you will spend up to eight hours hiking through some incredibly beautiful regions. You will trek out of Landmannalaugar, to Hraftinnusker, passing beautiful mountain ridges, dramatic lava fields, and bubbling hot springs. You will then descend into the gullies of the mountain Jökultungur, where the hilly, grassy terrain is broken by steaming geothermal areas.
As you continue South, you will have stunning views of the 'Swan Lake', otherwise known as Álftavatn, and the glaciers Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. You will reach the banks of this lake, where you will set up camp for the night.
Day 3 - From Álftavatn to Emstrur
The third day will centre around crossing the vast black-sand desert-like region of Mælifellsandur. You will start by passing the cone-shaped volcano Stórasúla, noted for its bright green colouration, before reaching this desolate stretch.
Your trek across the Mælifellsandur will finish once you reach a second volcano, Hattfell. This marks the start of the Emstrur region, which was once a popular place for farmers to let their sheep graze. It is now, however, long-since deserted. Before setting up camp, you will visit the dramatic Markafljót Canyon.
You will spend the evening near Botnar in Emstrur.
Day 4 - Emstrur to Þórsmörk
For the final day of your trek, you will walk through the hills and gullies of the Emstrur region, in the shadow of the mighty Mýrdalsjökull glacier. As you travel, you will notice the vegetation grow thicker and thicker, marking the beginning of your final destination, Þorsmörk.
You will spend your afternoon crossing this beautiful area, amongst a forest of birch and across a carpet of wildflowers. By evening, you will reach the public bus stop, and jump aboard for a return journey to Reykjavík.
You will finish this tour back at the BSI Bus Terminal.