Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

Hike through the incredible wilderness of the Strútur trail on this five-day trekking tour through Iceland’s Highlands. This is the second component of a series of three related tours, that can be combined or taken individually.

If you select this tour without any additions, your day will start with your pick up from the BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavík. Your bus will take you straight to the Highland region, but not immediately to where your trek will start. You will first make a stop in the beautiful Landmannalaugar area, where you can spend two and a half hours exploring the colourful rhyolite mountains, or else basking in a geothermally heated pool.

You will then return to the bus, and make one more detour, to the vast canyon of Eldgjá, before heading to Hólaskjól, where your guide will be waiting for you. You will stay in a mountain hut in this area, and spend the evening admiring the surrounding beauty.

On day two, you will start your trek properly. Your journey through rolling green hills will take you to the serene lakes of Álftavötn. You will then follow the river Syðri Ófæra, cross it at a natural bridge, and reach your mountain hut at the far side of the lakes. This is an incredibly tranquil, beautiful location; it feels like you are retiring in another world.

You will continue along the river on your third day, and watch as the green meadows around you dissipate into a strange world of black sands, twisted lava, and creeping moss. You will round a dramatic mountain called Svartahnjúksfjöll, until reaching another river, Hólmsá. You have to cross the chilly, glacial water, but do not despair; a natural hot pool called Strútslaug is waiting on the other side so that you can warm up almost instantly with a refreshing bath. You will retire to a mountain hut nearby. 

The beginning of day four will be defined by one of the Highlands’ most renowned areas: the desert-like stretch of black volcanic sands, Mýrdalssandur. You will cross this region with the glacier Mýrdalsjökull rising to the south, and the Torfajökull rhyolite massif dominating the north. Eventually, you’ll reach the Hvanngil Valley, which is as verdant and dramatic as the sands were dark and barren. This is where your hut is waiting.

On day five, there is still hiking to be done before returning to Reykjavík. You will follow the river Kaldaklofskvísl in the shadow of the mountain Stórasúla, notable for its striking green colour. You then climb the path of Brattháls, before eventually reaching the ‘Swan Lake’, Álftavatn. As you head to the huts on the lake’s north side, be sure to keep an eye out for the birds that call the area home. Your bus will be waiting at the huts for an afternoon return journey to Reykjavík unless you are taking the third volcano trail.

Do not miss this hiking excursion through one of Iceland’s most untouched, diverse, and beautiful regions. Check availability by choosing a date.

Search for the 'Four-day Highland hiking tour | Volcano trail part 1' and 'Four-day hike to Landmannalaugar | Volcano trail part 3' for the itineraries of the tours you can combine this with.

Quick facts

Tour information:
  • Available: Jul. - Sep.
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Activities: Hiking, Hot Spring Bathing
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum age: 16 years old
  • Languages: English
  • Highlights: Eldgjá, Landmannalaugar, Mýrdalsjökull, Strútslaug, Álftavatn, Laugavegur hiking trail, Myrdalssandur, Torfajökull, Stórasúla
Pickup information:
  • Starting time : 06:50

Please be at your pickup location in time for your departure. Should your pickup location be at a bus stop and you need assistance finding it, seek guidance in your Hotel's reception or contact your tour provider directly.
  • Guide during the trek (until noon on day 5)

  • Food for 5 days (from lunch on day 1 to lunch on day 5)

  • Sleeping bag accommodation in mountain huts

  • Cooking gear

  • Transfer of luggage.

  • Bus from Reykjavík to Hólaskjól via Landmannalaugar and from Hvanngil (Álftavatn) to Reykjavík

  • Sleeping bag (can be added for 6850 ISK)

What to bring:
  • Sturdy Hiking Boots – waterproof with good ankle support.

  • Thermal underwear, light fleece/wool layers

  • Soft-shell trousers or similar

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers

  • Gloves, hats, warm socks

  • A duffel bag for the transport of your overnight gear between huts.

  • Backpack for extra clothes and food during the day

  • Sturdy shoes for crossing rivers (sandals or old trainers, not flip-flops)

  • Light Sleeping bag

  • Towel

  • Sunglasses & sun protection. 

  • Water container – thermos flask or water bottle 0,5 – 1L. 

  • Personal first aid kit

  • Toiletries

  • Walking pole, camera, dry bag (optional)

Good to know:

You may add a pick-up from your hotel to the BSI Bus Terminal for an additional 5000 ISK. Be sure to specify when booking.

Daily itinerary

Day 1 - Reykjavík to Hólaskjól

Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

On your first day, you will board a bus from the BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavík, and take it to the Highlands. You can elect to be picked up earlier in the morning and be taken here at an additional cost if it is more convenient. Of course, if you also are taking the first of the 'Volcano trails', you will already be in the Highlands and can refer to the third day of that tour to see your plan.

Though this tour does not include a hike through the famous region of Landmannalaugar, you will make a two and a half hour stop here en route. In this time, you can enjoy one of many walks, or else bask in natural, geothermally heated water. You will also make a stop at Eldgjá, a beautiful ravine known as 'the Canyon of Fire'.

Finally, you will reach your destination: the cabin at Hólaskjól. Here, you will meet your guide and the rest of your group. You can spend your evening admiring the natural beauty of this area.

Day 2 - Hólaskjól to Álftavötn

Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

Your second day will start with a hike alongside the glacial river Syðri Ófæra, as you make your way to the lakes of Álftavötn. This walk will take you through a serene landscape of grassy hills.

Once you have reached the lakes, you will need to cross the river over a natural bridge, so make sure you have some old trainers or sturdy sandals with you. You will continue trekking to the far side of this area, to a traditional hut.

You will spend the night here, on the banks of the lake.

Day 3 - Álftavötn to Strútur

Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

Day three consists of the most hiking, but will take you through a dramatic wealth of scenery.

You will start by continuing along the river Syðri Ófæra, still surrounded by greenery until you reach Edgjá, the Canyon of Fire, once more. Here, the landscape will become volcanic, dramatic, and barren.

You will keep hiking through this area, to the massif of Svartahnjúksfjöll, which you walk all the way around. On its far side is another river, called Hólmsá, which you will be required to cross. Though the water is frigid, there is a natural hot-spring on its far side called Strútslaug, which you are invited to bask in to warm up.

Close this welcoming pool is your hut for the night, called Strútur, which is equipped with showers.

Day 4 - Strútur to Hvanngil

Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

On day four, you will leave Strútur and head to the black-sand deserts of Mýrdalssandur. This is a haunting and bleak area, but not without great natural beauty. It sits in the shadows of two glaciers: Mýrdalsjökull to the south and the Torfajökull to the north.

You will be required to cross more rivers before reaching the valley of Hvanngil. The desert will end dramatically, thrusting you into a world of strangely coloured palagonitic rock and earth. Your mountain hut awaits you at the mouth of this great valley.

Day 5 - Hvangill to Reykjavík

Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

For your final day, you still have several great destinations to reach. You will follow the river Kaldaklofskvísl and pass by the verdant Stórasúla mountain. After this, you will ascend a small pass called Brattháls, from the top of which you will have great views of your final destination, Álftavatn, or 'Swan Lake'.

A hut awaits on the northern side of this lake. If you are taking the third volcano trail, then you will be residing here for the evening. Otherwise, a bus will pick you up from outside it, and whisk you back to Reykjavík. You can expect to return at approximately 19:30.

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Five-Day Highland Hiking Tour | Volcanic Trail Part 2

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