Adventurers and explorers come from around the globe to take in the wonder that is Iceland. If you’ve been swept up by wanderlust, trekking in Iceland is the perfect activity for making magical memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
While the country’s name may evoke images of desolate arctic mountains and its famous volcanic topography, the weather isn’t as fierce as you may think. With an adventurous spirit and some quick planning, you can find some of the best day hikes in Iceland.
Hiking in Iceland is a journey you can enjoy nearly year-round. Today, we’re going to show you how to take advantage of this unique landscape with some of the best Iceland backpacking trails. So, pack your bag, tie your boots, and let’s get moving!
Why You Should Hike in Iceland
Hiking is a great way for you to embrace the splendor of nature around you. You can explore one of nature’s greatest wonders through a beautiful volcano hike. Iceland offers you the opportunity to delve into a multitude of natural phenomena outside the Golden Circle, along with the standard tourist routes. Iceland hiking trails will lead you past gorgeous geysers, grand volcanoes, immaculate hot springs, and stunning lava fields.
Iceland holds some of the world’s most mysterious sights. Whether you’re looking for majestic whales, signs of life hidden amidst a black desert, or the breathtaking Aurora Borealis, hiking in Iceland is the best way to uncover the country’s natural wonders. Iceland should definitely be on your bucket list, especially if you’re an avid lover of the great outdoors.
What To Pack for Iceland Hiking
Iceland is a well-known tourist destination, welcoming countless travelers each year. However, most will find themselves in metropolitan areas or on shuttle bus tours touring frequently visited sites. You don’t need to restrict yourself to Iceland’s standard locales, as the wide-open country is free to explore. Regardless of whether you’re setting out for a short day hike or plan on taking a campervan to Iceland’s remote regions, you should make time to get out and discover the best of Iceland scenery.
If you plan on backpacking Iceland, you need to be aware of what to pack. Because hiking in Iceland requires some planning, we’re going to help you remember what to take on your trek. Before you begin throwing miscellaneous items into your bag, you need to determine the length of your excursion, learn how to contact the local Icelandic emergency services (112), and let someone know where you’re going.
If you plan to take short hikes in Iceland, you can get away with just a warm pair of boots, a thermos of water, layered clothing, and your smartphone. The best part is that Iceland offers hikers free access to clean drinking water on most of its trails, so you can cut down on the weight of a large water bladder.
Longer, multi-day hikes require a bit more planning and structure before you embark on your journey. Here is a short checklist to help you get started.
- Sturdy, broken-in hiking boots.
- Rugged backpack.
- Map of the region.
- A phone, with service in the hiking location.
- First-aid kit.
- Waterproof jacket and pants.
- Warm jacket.
- Wool socks.
- Warm gloves and a hat.
- Multiple layers of underclothing (t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and thermal underwear base layers).
- Gaiters, to keep water out of your boots.
- Swimsuit, for those gorgeous geothermal hot springs.
If you want to reach the wildest areas of the country, you should also consider renting an Iceland camper van — that way you’ll never be too far from emergency resources.
The Best Hikes in Iceland
Hiking in Iceland doesn’t always mean journeying into the wilderness for weeks at a time. Some of the best hikes in Iceland are day trips. However, for those seeking a longer escape from the constraints of civilization, Iceland is home to some of the most fantastic multi-day hikes, too.
Glymur Waterfall Hike
If you want the best view of the highest waterfall in Iceland, then you need to take a short, 4-6 hour hike to Glymur. While it’s not an exceedingly difficult hike, you’ll need to traverse running water by walking across a log or two. It’s not a frequently visited tourist destination, meaning you’ll have a better chance of experiencing the beauty of the Þvottahellir cave in seclusion.
Another short, 6-hour trek will take you to the panoramic sights of Landmannalaugar. Many wondrous trails originate at Landmannalaugar, and the trip there is a splendid hike in of itself.
In Landmannalaugar, you can step onto the Brennisteinsalda-Bláhnúkur loop, giving you access to some of the most iconic photo opportunities set against steaming fumaroles. Many find this to be the easiest hike in Iceland.
While in Landmannalaugar you might want to embark on the Laugavegur, which will take you across a black obsidian lava field into geothermal hot springs. Hiking in Iceland offers another amazing sight: the Blue Peak (Bláhnúkur). Standing at over 3,000 feet, this blue-black volcano is a definite must-see.
Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals
The Laugavegur hike can be extended into a nearly week-long endeavor if you combine it with the Fimmvorduhals trek. This outing stretches nearly 50 miles, from start to finish. You’ll see some of the most amazing spectacles you’ve ever come across. Rife with mountains, rippling hot springs, and the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, you’ll capture memories that will last you through the ages.
If you’re up for a multi-day journey that’ll take you through the Westfjords in northwest Iceland, we have the hike for you. The Hornstrandir is a notoriously difficult hike, making it all-the-more enticing. To see a truly mesmerizing landscape filled with jutting mountains, lush fjords, and imposing cliffs, the Hornstrandir is your best bet. Be warned that self-reliance is a prerequisite: you’ll be on your own and you won’t have a vehicle.
Hiking Iceland with Rent.is
Contact Rent.is for more information on hiking in Iceland. We’re sure to have the perfect Iceland camper rental to suit your travel needs and get you on the trail. Lace-up your boots and step into the adventure!