Grab your vacation experience by the horns with this independent bus and hiking tour into the scenic Þórsmörk nature reserve!
Þórsmörk is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Iceland, a must see for all nature and photography enthusiasts, as well as those who are seeking a day of peace and natural spectacle. This gorgeous area is a favourite among hikers, offering endless hiking trails through a diverse and beautiful volcanic landscape. From Þórsmörk it is easy to see three of Iceland’s most instantly recognisable glaciers, the always sublime Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull and Tindfjallajökull.
You will begin your tour by bus from Reykjavik. You will be issued an audio guide throughout your trip, meaning you are free to indulge your curiosities and learn more about the incredible environment around you. Part of the way through your journey to the nature reserve, you will transfer across to a specially designed mountain vehicle, a ‘monster truck’ that is more than capable of crossing tricky terrain, including rough back country roads and glacial rivers.
Once you arrive in Þórsmörk, the bus will come to a halt at the Volcano Huts situated at Húsadalur. There, you will find a restaurant to eat some lunch and information boards that enlighten you further about the area’s history and geological make-up, as well as what the best hiking trails are! From the Volcano Huts, you are free to choose the trails that best suit you. When you’re ready, it’s for a day of hiking the Icelandic wilderness!
If you would rather hang back and take it easy on the tour, there is still plenty to be done and seen around the bus stop at Húsadalur. There are incredible panoramas of the surrounding area, and a small pool and sauna in which to relax.
Join this exciting tour to Þórsmörk today and you too can experience the dramatic scenery that makes this area so special! Check booking availability by choosing a date.
The Icelandic highlands cover the major part of the country and many of Iceland’s main natural attractions can be found there.
The central highlands cover a vast area, all at an altitude above 500 meters high, with numerous mountains reaching a height between 1000 and 2000 meters. Most of these higher mountains are covered by glaciers. Two of the highest mountains in the country (over 2000 m high) are located in Vatnajokull, namely Hvannadalshnjukur (2109 m, located in the southskirts of Vatnajokull) and Bardarbunga, a subglacial volcano northwest of Vatnajokull (2000 m).
Three of the largest glaciers in Iceland are located in the central highlands. These are Vatnajokull in the southeast (Europe’s largest glacier), Hofsjokull in the center of Iceland and Langjokull, west of Hofsjokull.
Various highlands paths lie between the glaciers, open for cars around June/July. One of the major ones are Kjolur, connecting South and North Iceland (the road is located between Hofsjokull and Langjokull). Sprengisandur, is another important path, connecting South and North, and located between Hofsjokull and Vatnajokull (Tungnafellsjokull, to be exact).
Kaldidalur is a highland path stretching west of Langjokull, from Thingvellir towards the Borgarfjordur district. It then continues further north as Storisandur.
Geologically, almost all the mountains south of the glaciers are tuff mountains. They were formed during the Ice Age, as well as the area north of Vatnajokull. Volcanic activity is confined to tuff areas of the country and in the south highlands are some of its most active and famous volcanoes, Hekla, Eyjafjallajokull and Katla in Myrdalsjokull (Iceland’s fourth largest glacier).
The northwest and central-north highlands consist of ancient basalt formations and it is the same for the mountains of the Eastfjords.
There are a few oases in the highlands that have unique vegetation and wildlife. The most important of these are Thjorsarver, Nyidalur/Jokuldalur, Herdubreidarlindir and Eyjabakkar. The pink-footed goose has its main nesting places at Thjorsarver and Eyjabakkar. Thjorsarver was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990. Reindeers reside in the east highlands.
Having described the landscape and wildlife, we have yet to mention one last important thing: Away from crowds, noise and bustle, the highlands offer unique silence, serenity, peace and extreme natural beauty.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and the northernmost capital of a sovereign state in the world.
Despite a small population (120.000 and more than 200.000 in the Greater Reykjavik area), it is a vibrant city that draws an ever increasing number of visitors. It is the financial, cultural and governmental centre of Iceland. It also has a reputation of being one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world.
The city of Reykjavik is located in southwest Iceland by the creek of the same name. Throughout the ages, the landscape has been shaped by glaciers, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and the area is geothermal. Much of the current city area area was subglacial during the Ice Age, with the glacier reaching as far as the Álftanes peninsula, while other areas lay under the sea. After the end of the ice age the land rose as the glaciers drifted away, and it began to take on its present form.
The coastline of Reykjavik is set with peninsulas, coves, straights and islands, most notably the island of Videy, and seabirds and whales frequent the shores. The mountain ring as seen from the shore is particularly beautiful. Mount Esja is the highest mountain in the vicinity of Reykjavik and lends its distinct feature to the whole area. This majestic mountain is also highly popular for climbing. Other notable mountains that can be seen from the seaside are Akrafjall and Skardsheidi and on clear days one may even see as far to the legendary Snaefellsjokull glacier, at the end of the Snafellsnes peninsula.
The largest river to run through the city is Ellidaa in Ellidaardalur valley, which is also one of Iceland‘s best rivers for salmon fishing.
There are no trains or trams in Iceland, but most people travel by car. The city also operates a bus system. There are two major harbours in town, the old harbour in the centre and Sundahofn in the east. The domestic Reykjavik Airport is located at Vatnsmyrin, not far from the city centre and close to Oskjuhlid and Perlan. The international Keflavik Airport at Midnesheidi heath then lies around 50 km from the city. Cars, jeeps and bicycles can be readily rented in the city and many organized tours are also being offered.
The local arts scene is strong in Iceland, with both annual events and single ones, many of whom have hit the international stage. For the annual ones please check our articles Best Annual Events in Iceland and the Top Ten Festivals in Iceland. Major events taking place in Reykjavik include the Iceland Airwaves, Gay Pride, RIFF (The Reykjavik International Film Festival), The Reykjavik Literature Festival, Cultural Night, the Reykjavik Arts Festival, Food & Fun, the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and the Sónar music festival.
Among famous people from Reykjavik are artists Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sigur Ros, writers Halldor Laxness (born in Laugavegur) and Arnaldur Indridason and mayor Jon Gnarr. For more well-known and fairly-well known Icelanders, check our article on the subject.
You might also want to check our article on some of the many things to see and do in Reykjavik, such as visiting the city‘s many museums, exhibitions and galleries, checking out live music, visiting the Harpa music hall or the theatres, visiting the lighthouse at Grotta, the main shopping street of Laugavegur, visiting the old harbour and the flea market, going on a bird- and whale watching tour or visiting Videy island. We also have a top ten list of things to do.
Make sure to visit the public square of Austurvollur, one of the city‘s most popular gathering places, where you‘ll also find the national parliament, Althingi, the state church a statue of independence hero Jon Sigurdson, as well as cafés, bars and restaurants. Austurvollur was central in the 2008 protests, along with Laekjargata, home to the House of Government. You are also not likely to miss the great church of Hallgrimskirkja that towers over the city from the hill of Skolavorduholt, wherefrom you‘ll get a great view of the city.
Try a walk by the city pond, greet the many birds that frequent the area and visit the city hall, stationed by its banks. The Hljomaskalagardur is a beautiful park that lies by the pond, it ideal for a nice walk and sometimes concerts get held there. Further off is the campus of the university of Iceland, the Nordic house and the Vatnsmyri wetland, a particularly pleasant place, but be mindful of not disturbing the wildlife there and keep to the pathways.
For a nice swim on a warm day, we particularly recommend Nautholsvik beach.
Visit the Laugardalur valley, home to one of the city‘s best swimming pools, as well as the Asmundarsafn gallery, a beautiful botanical garden and a domestic zoo. A walk by the Aegissida beach, with it‘s old fishing sheds, in the west part of Reykjavik also holds a particular charm. The aforementioned Elllidaardalur valley is also a popular resort.
Another place that offers one of the city‘s best (and free) views is Perlan, up in Oskjuhlid hill. The hill itself is a popular resort, with over 176.000 trees and great opportunities for walking and cycling.
Travel to Alftanes to see the president‘s house at Bessastadir, which is also a historical site in it‘s own right, having been the educational centre of Iceland for centuries. Nearby is a beautiful lava field, Galgahraun, well worth a visit, though there is currently an environmental struggle going on as to it‘s future state.
The city is furthermore a short drive from many of Iceland‘s major attractions, most famously the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. In close vicinity you‘ll also find the Heidmork preservation area, a favourite pastime resort of the people of Reykjavik, as well as the Blue Mountains, one of Iceland‘s most beloved skiing venues.
Check our Best of Reykjavik guide further for tips on the best cheap things to do in Reykjavik, some of the best restaurants in the city, happy hours, the top ten value places to eat and our two articles on the famous Reykjavik nightlife; Nightlife in Reykjavik and Nightlife and mating.
Finally, we‘d like to stress that these are only some suggestions of the many things you might check out in Reykjavik. Whatever you choose to do, we hope you‘ll be able to make the most of your visit and we wish you a pleasant stay in our capital.
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.
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.
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.
Departure time : 08:00
Return bus fare
Sturdy hiking boots
Drinks / Lunch