Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail is famed for leading hikers past lava fields and across glaciers. The route also showcases natural hot springs, black arctic deserts and lush valleys. Most impressive, the trail is considered one of the world’s most beautiful hikes.
I first learned about the Laugavegur Trail when one of my writing conferences was slated to be held in Iceland. Naturally, I Googled “Iceland hiking trails,” since I always like to hike somewhere cool when I travel. Much to my delight and surprise, I discovered Iceland is home to one of the world’s best hikes.
Intel on the Laugavegur Trail
Now, the Laugavegur Trail’s hiking season is roughly the end of June to the end of August. But our conference was in September, and we’d be hiking beforehand. Would the huts along the route still be open? Luckily, they were. So we missed out on the crush of humanity during peak hiking season that sometimes equates to no room in the huts, or sleeping on the floor. However, the downside was that the weather was a little nasty. But while we had some cold and rainy days on the trail, the scenery was so gorgeous, so surreal, that it didn’t matter.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of hiking this trail, know that buses leave Reykjavik daily (during the season) for the trail’s start in Landmannalaugar. You can hike several days and end in Þórsmörk, where buses go back to Reykjavik. However, you can also hike one more day to Fimmvörðuháls to experience the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers and spot the newly formed craters Iceland’s famous 2010 volcano eruption.
We selected this option, and the hiking was great. However, the downside is that there is no bus service from Fimmvörðuháls, so we had to hire an expensive cab ride (about $250 in 2014) back to the capital. In retrospect, we probably should have hiked back to Þórsmörk the following day and caught the bus.
The Laugavegur Trail hike is currently one of my top three favorite hikes in the world. Go for it if you can!
And While You’re in Iceland …
As I mentioned, I traveled to Iceland for an annual travel writing conference. While in Reykjavik, I didn’t have time to check out the penis museum. But one of my colleagues did, so you can read what that’s like. She’s also written about Iceland’s Yule Lads and how to bake geyser bread. Finally, I penned a piece on touring Reykjavik’s Catholic cathedral.
My top recommended gear for hiking the Laugavegur Trail: Quality rain pants and raincoat. You always have to be prepared for rain in Iceland. I love my Sierra Designs rain pants. They’re super lightweight, yet very protective. The only downside is that they may rip if you go through a lot of bramble. I also love my REI raincoat.
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