Explore Iceland: The 8 Best Multi-Day Hikes

Explore Iceland: The 8 Best Multi-Day Hikes

By Claire WhittersDestinations

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Beckoning the thrill-seekers and intrepid adventurers, Iceland offers some of the most beautiful trekking environments in the world. Unrivaled in its natural beauty, visitors can indulge in geysers, waterfalls, fjords, glaciers, lava fields, black sand deserts, rhyolite mountains, natural hot springs, and more.

This incredible destination floating in the North Atlantic Ocean boasts the perfect opportunity for outdoor pursuits, presenting three national parks, numerous nature reserves, and an uninhabited district. One of the greatest ways to explore the moonscape is by trekking—thus, we curated a list for you. Keep reading the discover the best long-haul hikes in Iceland and begin planning your next big adventure!

1. Laugavegur Trek

The Laugavegur Trek is Iceland’s most popular long-distance hike—and for good reason! Stretching over 54.0 km from Landmannalaugar to the Þórsmörk glacial valley, this trek exhibits the natural beauty and topographic diversity of Iceland. Explore the sundry landscape, trekking through lava fields, gorges, glaciers, black deserts, past hot springs, and the country’s famous rhyolite mountains.

Offering unrivaled scenery and manageable terrain, this route is characterized as moderate on the difficulty scale—though bad weather warrants extreme conditions. Eager adventurers can opt for primitive or more comfortable accommodations along the way, choosing to camp or reserve a remote hut off the footpath. Due to this route’s popularity, those hoping for a hut-to-hut trek are encouraged to book months in advance. If you are considering this incredible trip, check out our self-guided Laugavegur trekking tour or our Laugavegur hut-to-hut tour.

Location: Southwest Iceland
Distance: 54.0 km
Days Recommended: 2-5 days
When to do: June-September

Laugavegur Trek

Laugavegur Trek

2. Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Indulge yourself with scenes of countless waterfalls, lush canyons, lava fields, and grassy plateaus as you wander through the glaciers of Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull along the Fimmvörðuháls Trail. Travelling 25.0 km from Þórsmörk Valley to the Skógafoss Waterfall, this challenging hike is a popular addition to the Laugavegur Trek. It is no surprise that visitors from all over the globe hail to Iceland for this adventure—the moonscape boasts an other-worldly experience.

Though this trek is manageable as a day-hike, most opt to break it into a two-day adventure, staying in the Baldvinsskali Hut or Fimmvörðuháls Hut along the way—make your reservation far in advance to secure a spot! Get the best of both worlds, and combine the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls treks into one, epic long-distance trail. If you are interested, learn more about the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trek and book our Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals trekking tour for a week of amazing scenery with experienced guides.

Location: Southwest Iceland
Distance: 25.0 km
Days Recommended: 1-2 days
When to do: June-September

Fimmvörðuháls Trail

Fimmvörðuháls Trail

3. Iceland’s Volcanic Trails Trek

Explore the Nordic destination on foot by way of the Volcanic Trails Trek. Spanning 90.0 km in the Southern Highlands of Iceland, this demanding route is reserved for experienced backpackers and intrepid spirits. Travelling from Reykjavík to Álftavatn, adventurers will wander through the Vatnajökull National Park and connect to the famous Laugavegur Trail. Offering magical scenery, this trek provides scenes of multiple volcanoes, moss-cloaked lava fields, crater lakes, black deserts, multi-colored mountains, and more.

Summiting Mt. Sveinstindur and demanding numerous river crossings, this trek is best ventured with a knowledgeable guide. Hikers can expect rustic accommodations—staying in mountain huts along the way (these required reservations far in advance). Though challenging, this wonderful hike provides an unforgettable experience. Learn more about Iceland’s Volcanic Trails trek and book the guided 7-day Volcanic Trails tour.

Location: Southern Iceland
Distance: 90.0 km
Days Recommended: 5-10days
When to do: July-August

Iceland’s Volcanic Trails Trek

Iceland’s Volcanic Trails Trek

4. The Askja Trail

Explore the Icelandic wilderness by way of the Askja Trail. Stretching 100.0 km from Herðubreiðarlindir to Svartárkot, this amazing route explores the volcanic wilderness, beautiful mountains, and waterfalls, lava streams, and past Askja Caldera. Compared to other trekking routes in the incredible Nordic country, this one remains a hidden gem—so trail markers and route infrastructure are primitive, but that’s all part of the charm, don’t you think?

Boasting other-worldly scenery, this route beckons the exploration of visitors and locals alike. Though this hike is accessible as solo mission, guided tours are recommended. Explore the solidified lava fields and indulge in the wonderful scenery as you travel from hut to hut. Note this route travels at high elevations—so be prepared to weather storms in July and August alike.

Location: Central/ Northeast Iceland
Distance: 100.0 km
Days Recommended: 5 days
When to do: July-August

The Askja Trail

The Askja Trail

5. Kjölur Trek

Setting out from Hveravellir, the Kjölur Trek travels over 40.0 km between the glaciers of Langjökull and Hofsjökull, past several geothermal features, waterfalls, lava fields, and more. Enjoy a quintessential Icelandic experience as you tackle this not-so-taxing trek! Unlike many long-haul hikes in this Nordic oasis, this route is relatively easy-going.

Enjoy the scene of the surrounding mountain ranges as you wander along the glacier eroded terrain. Relish in the convenience of hut-to-hut trekking or rough it and tent along the way. If you are planning to camp be sure to pack an extremely warm sleeping bag as nights are extremely cold—even in July and August. Don’t forget to pack a towel and swimsuit to take advantage of the natural hot springs along the way.

Location: Central Iceland
Distance: 41.0 km
Days Recommended: 2-3 days
When to do: June-September

6. Shadow of Vatnajökull Trek

The Shadow of Vatnajökull Trek travels through the remote regions of eastern Iceland. This wonderful adventure stretches 80.0 km from Mount Snæfell to the charming Lónsöræfi region. Those seeking a hike that highlights the archetypal landscapes of Iceland should consider another trek, but this route is ideal for those hoping to step off the beaten path. Explore vast plains, serrated canyons, the colorful rhyolite hills, and the Tröllakrókar Cliffs as you wander through the terrain formed by the Vatnajökull glacier.

The best time to tackle this trek is in July and August when the weather is warmer and more comfortable for backpacking expeditions—especially for those opting to camp. Those yearning for a more luxurious experience can enjoy the comforts of hut-to-hut hiking along the way. Check out our article about the Shadow of Vatnajökull Trek for additional information and tip and tricks.

Location: Eastern Iceland
Distance: 80.0 km
Days Recommended: 4-8days
When to do: July-August

Shadow of Vatnajökull Trek

Shadow of Vatnajökull Trek

7. Viknaslodir East Fjords Trek

The Viknaslodir East Fjords Trek is an impressively beautiful adventure along the east coast of Iceland. The 74.0 km route travels through majestic fjords from Borgarfjörður toSeyðisfjörður. Though this route is manageable in 3 days, many opt to tackle this trek in 5 days—taking the time to savour the unrivaled scenery of deep fjords bisected with majestic rivers and waterfalls. If you are lucky, you may even spot reindeer!

Explore farm ruins and lush valleys shrouded with fog and appreciate the beauty and topographic diversity of the Nordic country whilst enjoying the time for self-reflection. Accommodations along this route are limited to backcountry camping and huts. Those who opt to venture this route sans guide are encouraged to use a trail GPS to navigate this route.

Location: Eastern Iceland
Distance: 74.0 km
Days Recommended: 3-5days
When to do: July-August

Viknaslodir East Fjords Trek

Viknaslodir East Fjords Trek

8. The Hornstrandir Trek

The Hornstrandir Trek boasts a memorable experience in the Westfijords, offering breathtaking scenes of the arctic tundra, crested peaks, dramatic fjords, lush meadows, and some of Europe’s largest bird cliffs. Travelling over 86.0 km from Hesteyri to Veiðileysufjörður, this wonderful route boasts some logistical challenges– there are no roads, nor trekking infrastructure in Hornstrandir, thus adventurers are required to take a boat to and from the nature reserve.

Explore the untouched wilderness as you explore the remote natural sanctuary, accompanied only by nosy arctic foxes. As there is no backpacking infrastructure, adventurers must come prepared with an adequate amount of food, water, clothing, gear, a warm sleeping bag, and a tent. Note this area is subject to extreme weather, so hikers should be prepared for varied conditions. Here’s a great guide on backpacking the Hornstrandir Trek.

Location: Northwest Iceland
Distance: 86.0 km
Days Recommended: 4-8days
When to do: July-August

The Hornstrandir Trek

The Hornstrandir Trek

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