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Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

Ju Ker
By Ju Ker
Verified Local

Laugavegur, meaning « hot spring route » is the name of the famous hike from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk.

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Why is it a must-do?

Landmannalaugar is the most popular site of the highlands. This pure beauty can be discovered by foot when you're hiking on the laugavegur hiking trail. However, many other hiking trails allow you to discover Landmannalaugar with different level of difficulty.

Landmannalaugar is located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Highlands. The landscapes are shaped by volcanic activity, which forged reddish craters, mountains of rhyolite, valleys covered with small streams, winding between fields of ash and large lakes. This region is one of the most spectacular in Iceland. The colors of the landscape are incredible and the light, which I always find very special in Iceland, always makes them more intense and deep.

Find all the activities in Iceland during summer here.

Landmannalaugar

Wanna go for a day? Why not!

After I hiked for 6 days on the Laugavegur trail, I stayed few days to enjoy the surroundings and hiked other "local" and shorter trails around Landmannalaugar. If you want to take this option, many day tours are organised to Landmannalaugar : this one is a one day trip and the best to discover the amazing site (and it allows you to hike for 6 hours!). It's still the best option if you're not staying a long time in Iceland and want to discover the master piece of the highlands and Landmannalaugar. My advice : have a look at the weather forecast before booking :)

Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

Wanna go for the laugavegur hike? Here are the main steps!

Whether you are hiking the trek in either direction, it is crucial to follow the main steps described below (or to double them if you feel capable). Indeed, it is forbidden to camp outside these areas, in order to respect the environment, the whole path being a nature reserve.

In the sense in which I realized the trek, you can hike all the way in six days, marked by huts and camping areas (if you do the trek in the opposite direction, you'll just have to reverse the difference in altitude):

1. Skógar - Fimmvörðuháls : 13,2km // + 983m - 52m

2. Fimmvörðuháls - Þórsmörk : 10,4km // + 213m - 988m

3. Þórsmörk - Emstrur (Botnar) : 15,9 km // + 730 m - 440m

4. Emstrur (Botnar) - Álftavatn : 18,2 km // + 392 m - 368m

5. Álftavatn - Hrafntinnusker : 10,3 km // + 634 m - 144m

6. Hrafntinnusker - Landmannalaugar : 10 km // + 273m - 679 m

I do not find it relevant to give you time for each steps it really depends on your shape, your pace, your breaks - including photographic (which can be long) - and the weather (the wind in the face will surely slow you down but you will probably have fewer breaks). Overall, I advise you to leave early, not to wait for the thinning (sometimes it will never come!) And especially not to overload yourself and take a backpack that you can carry ! If you have a look at the difference in altitude, whether you go up or down, you will be cursed for having to carry 30 kg for almost 1000 meters. Otherwise, if this trek is done in 6 days and if the weather is nice, you'll really have to take the time to appreciate the beauty of the landscape - don't rush :)

Fimmvörðuháls

How to get to the starting points?

Below you will find the full description of the trek to practice alone. Know that to go to Skógar or Landmannalaugar, many buses run. It will depend on the choice of route you choose, I advise you, however to hike from Skógar to Landmannalaugar, just because you will discover more and more spectacular landscapes (yes, yes it is possible :)).

Eyjafjöll

Several bus companies offer the route (check dates and times, highland roads open only from June to September):

To Skógar:

- Sterna: choose line 12 / 12a - possible departure from Reykjavik

- Reykjavik excursions: choose departure and arrival - possible departure from Reykjavik

- Straeto: choose the line 51 - you need to consult the schedules

To Landmannalaugar:

- Sterna: choose line 13 / 13a - possible departure from Reykjavik

- Reykjavik excursions: choose departure and arrival - possible departure from Reykjavik

- Trex: this company offers a passport that allows you to book your return ticket from Reykjavik, without imposing a precise return date: once you arrive at your final destination, you have plenty of time for your hike and then return to Reykjavik from your choice Þórsmörk or Landmannalaugar.

These same companies of course ensure the return to Reykjavik!

The trip will cost you around 15 000 Kr (about 125 € / person for the Trex Pass (for me the best option)).

You can also book directly the Highland Hikers Passport.

Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

Where to stay for the night ?

The booking website is the same for all the steps! Know that if you want to sleep in a hut during the high season, you will need to book really early! Sometimes all rooms are full several months before. The accommodations are located along the hiking trail. However, if you have no room in the accommodation, you can still camp on the campsite just nearby the accomodation (you will have access to the toilet and water). Depending on your route, you can stay in an accomodation or at the campsite: Fimmvörðuháls, Þórsmörk (there are two possibilities: Básar (my favorite!) And Langidalur), Álftavatn, Hrafntinnusker and Landmannalaugar. On the huts booking website, you will have all the required information (including GPS location).

The accomodation will cost you 9500 Kr (70 € / person) for a night in a hut against 2000 to 2500 Kr (15 to 20 € / person) for one night at the campsite (hot showers are not included).

Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

My advice and informations to remember if you want to hike alone !

- do not attempt this hike if you do not feel like walking for a long time and in difficult conditions (rain, wind, snow (yes it can snow in summer...), carrying your packback for a long time...).

- do not forget to consult the weather forecast before leaving (you can consult the weather forecast either by clicking here or by asking in the morning, before you leave for your hike, at the campsite or your accommodation. You can also check this website about the road conditions (if you're coming by car). Finally, you can check the website about the security during your trip : on this website, you will find informations about your security and you can also register your trip and itinerary.

- some will say that a GPS is not useful because the path is well marked. Maybe there are right, however in thick fog, wind, snow, some part of the path are not obvious and clearly marked. A GPS is not what weighs the heaviest in your pocket, so maybe taking one is the best choice!

- do not forget to take warm clothes, windproof and waterproof: the icelandic rain is sometimes horizontal, you must be ready to have waterproofs for every part of your body (shoes, pants, jacket...) including your backpack and the inside of the backpack - you can take the rainproof "poncho" (strong and resistant) with no hesitation :)

- plan enough food: you never know what will happen to you and treat yourself  with a piece of chocolate after walking 5 hours in the rain can be heaven! Also note that shelters open late and close early during the season - check out their website. You will find some huts on your way that also offering food. This will be an extra budget to add to transportation and accommodation but sometimes, maybe you will need to have "real" food. Please note that you will not have many shops on the way apart from small grocery stores with basic products in Þórsmörk (Básar) and Landmannalaugar.

- fill your water bottle and your water reserves as soon as you notice a stream. Your first kilometers, between Skógar - Fimmvörðuháls then Fimmvörðuháls - Þórsmörk, will be quite physically demanding and you will definitely need water! You won't need to treat the water, just make sure you collect running water.

- plan equipment suitable for (heavy) wind, rain, snow: ban the first price products especially for your tent (exit tents that are set up in 2 seconds), your backpack (opt for comfort first) and shoes / rain gear. In Iceland, even if your clothes and shoes are Gore-Tex, you can finish soaking to the bone, I can tell! Also plan to store your clothes / sleeping bag in a waterproof bag ;)

- also plan to take hiking sandals to cross the rivers (which you can easily cross but not barefoot!). To cross river, you need first to choose the most suitable place for the crossing (the place where the river is the widest). Then, when you will cross the river, you must stay in front of the current and progress upstream in diagonal. Everything will be alright! :) The water comes down glaciers so it will very cold but...kind of refreshing (to a certain point) after walking during hours!

Feel free to contact me for more information !

Laugavegur : the hike that should be on your bucket list !

Have a nice trip ! Góða ferð !

 

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