Trails: Laugavegur




The hiking trail between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk is one of the most popular hiking trails in Iceland. National Geographic listed it as one of the most beautiful trails in the world.

It is unusual to find so much variety in the landscape. The trail goes through incredibly colourful rhyolite mountains, black obsidian lava, wheezing hot springs, lakes clear as a mirror, black sandy desert and ends in a lush forested area.

Besides allowing for plenty of time to enjoy the hike itself, it is strongly recommended that hikers use the opportunity and stay some time in Langidalur in Þórsmörk at the end of the hike. Þórsmörk is a veritable hikers paradise with great many beautiful hikes, both long and short. Hut wardens will provide all necessary information.

Many choose also to end the trek with a hike over the magnificent Fimmvörðuháls and end up in Skógar.

Below you will find all necessary information about the hike and detailed description of each hiking day. Note that at the bottom of this page you will find a map detailing the route, a list of all the huts along the way and some photographs.

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How do I get there?

During summer it is possible to drive 4x4 jeeps to Landmannalaugar along the roads Fjallabaksleið nyrðri (F208) or Dómadalsleið (F225). Similarily one needs a 4x4 jeeps to drive into Þórsmörk (F249). It is entirely up to the Icelandic Road Authority to decide when these roads open depending on snow conditions and how the roads are holding up after the winter.

Those who choose to complement the Laugavegur trail by hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail, end up in Skógar, that lies on the Icelandic Ringroad / Highway One. Skógar is accessible for all cars, all year round.

Several bus companies offer scheduled bus fares to Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk during summertime, for example Trex and Kynnisferðir. The buses stop right outside the huts and the campsites.

The bus companies also offer so-called Hikers' bus pass / passport that is valid for a single transfer from Reykjavík to the starting point of choice (Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk or Skógar) and back to Reykjavík again from the finishing point (Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk or Skógar).

When is it open?

Access and passage on the trail vary from year to year depending on weather, snow conditions and when the Icelandic Road Authority opens the roads to Landmannalaugar and other huts along the way (F208/F225/F210).

On average one can assume that the trail is open from June 25 to September 15.

Þórsmörk usally opens sooner or in the beginning of May. 

How long does it take?

The travelling schedule depends on what suits the hikers. Many use the sleeping bag accommodations found in the huts along the trail while others choose to stay in tents.

Similarily, some run the length of the trail in a single leg, while others use at least four days to enjoy all the fantastic and beautiful spots along the trail.

It is highly recommended to take ample time for the hike, or at least three to four days, plus two to three days in Langadal in Þórsmörk at the end of the hike, to enjoy the multiple hiking possibilities there. If hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail as well, you need to add at least one extra day.

Waymarks and rivers

The whole trail is well marked and has enough traffic that the danger of getting lost is minimal. However, in bad weather and fog, when visibility is close to zero, everything will change. This is especially true during the first two parts of the trail, from Landmannalaugar up to Hrafntinnusker and then down to the lake Álftavatn. This part of the way sees a lot of fog and bad weather and early summer this area can also be covered with snow.

The hikers must keep in mind that they are in the middle of the Icelandic highlands, reaching an altitude of more than 1200 meters. You must be prepared for every type of weather, even snowstorm in the middle of July.

While some rivers on the way have footbridge, at least three rivers have to be waded. Generally, they are not difficult to cross but they can grow without a moments notice in rain and ablation. Be extra careful and always let the current help you get across.

The mobile connection on the trail is sketchy but you should be able to find a connection close to all the huts except for Emstur where you have to go up a hill to get a phone signal.

In which direction?

Due to the popularity of the route, it is a one-way trail during the midst of summer, the traditional way i.e. from Landmannalaugar south to Þórsmörk.

It is fair to say that almost all Icelanders who hike Laugavegur take the north to south route, from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, as the trail slopes down in that direction. In addition, the view that suddenly opens across the southern part of the trail, Álftavatn and the southern glacier from Jökultungur, is pure magic and sits forever in the memory of those who have experienced it.

Huts and camping

There are six cabins and camping grounds along the way, all owned by Ferðafélag Íslands (Iceland Touring Association, FÍ). See the hut tab at the bottom of this page where all the cabins and camping on the trail are listed. There you will also find a detailed description of each hut.

Keep in mind that it is absolutely prohibited to pitch a tent outside designated areas inside the Nature Reserve. All the huts along the way have camping grounds.

In Landmannalaugar there are great facilities and sleeping bag accommodations for 78 people. In Hrafntinnusker 52 can sleep and 72 in the cabins in Álftavatn. In Hvanngil there is room for 60 people and the same number in the Botnar cabin in Emstrur. Þórsmörk offers a large and spacious chalet with room for 75 people.

Read more about camping

Equipment, supplies and food

The Laugavegur trail can be challenging. It lies in the Icelandic highlands, far away from all villages or farmhouses. The terrain is very varied and the weather is totally unpredictable. Thus it is not uncommon to be snowed upon in the middle of summer.

Please keep these facts in mind when preparing yourself for the hike and only bring good and sturdy hiking gear, good hiking boots (please, no sneakers) and wind and waterproof clothing. Preparation is key to safe travel in Iceland so read all the information you can come across before you leave.

All the huts along the trail sell some supplies, such as backpacking dried food, soda and candy bars as well as stoves and gas. Only in Langadal in Þórsmörk is it possible to buy beer and wine.

Please note that it is not possible to buy hot, ready-made meals in our huts along the trail so all hikes must carry their food along with them. The water in rivers and streams along the trail is in most cases potable so there is no need to carry water.

Sanitation and garbage

All the huts have toilets and running water and everywhere, except in Hrafntinnusker, can hikers take a hot shower for a fee.

It is absolutely forbidden to throw away and leave garbage, including toilet paper and leftover foods out in the open nature. You must bring it with you and dispose of it in proper garbage bins.

Please note that no garbage can be left in the hut in Hrafntinnusker, Emstrur or Baldvinsskáli. From there you have to carry your trash with you to the next hut.

Respect the nature

Those who hike Laugavegurinn do so to experience the spectacular nature along the trail. The Icelandic environment is very fragile and all hikers must exercise great care and respect for the nature.

Please stay on the trail, only pitch your tent in designated camping grounds, avoid stepping on the fragile moss or leave marks or trails where there are none. It only takes one set of footprints for many more to follow.

We emphasize that nothing can be left in nature, neither organic leftover food nor toilet paper. The general rule is to leave nothing but footprints on the trail and take nothing but pictures and memories.

Additional information

The guide booklet Laugavegur Hiking Trail offers good hiking tips and describes each leg of the way plus suggesting some interesting evening hikes from each of the huts along the way. 

Fjallabak Nature Reserve is a 160 page book, mainly about the area surrounding Landmannalaugar.

Several maps cover the entire hiking trail, including the special map Þórsmörk Landmannalaugar which is in the scale 1:100 000.

In addition the Landmannalaugar Hiking Map is a detailed, drawn map for those who want to hike around Landmannalaugar. 

Last but not least we suggest you take a look at a beautiful photobook of Laugavegur.

All of these books and maps can be bought at the FÍ online store, at the offices of FÍ, Mörkinni 6 in Reykjavík and in the hut in Landmannalaugar. The booklet Laugavegur Hiking Trail and the special map Þórsmörk Landmannalaugar is also available for purchase in other huts on the Laugavegur trail.

Read rest of FAQ: Here


Below you will find detailed descriptions of routes between huts on Laugavegur trail, i.e. from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk.

There are many ways of hiking Laugavegur, though splitting it into four days of hiking is most common. We recommend that first time hikers allow plenty of time for the hike, thus being able to enjoy the varied trekking and the shorter hikes that can be done from each hut.

12 km. 4-5 hrs. Ascent 470m

The first part of the route is the shortest, but as the accumulated elevation is close to 500m and this is the first day of the hike, many people find it strenuous. The weather is unstable in this area and there is often some snow on the trail, increasing the difficulty.

The trail starts by the hut in Landmannalaugar, it passes through Laugahraun lava field and then up alongside Brennisteinsalda mountain. This is a good stop for views of the colorful Landmannalaugar area.

The trail continues up onto a plateau, where small ravines cut through the landscape. Many people stop for lunch by the geysers in this area, Stórihver being the most noteable. From there the trail continues towards Hrafntinnusker, through obsidian fields which are often covered with snow in early summer. Fog is common in this area so hikers must follow the trail and waymarkers carefully.

12 km. 4-5 hrs. Descend 490m

From Hrafntinnusker, the trail follows the slopes of Reykjafjöll. There are many snow filled ravines on this part of the trail. Hikers must cross these carefully, as the snow often melts faster from below, creating thin snow bridges.

The trail continues along Kaldaklofsfjöll, through colorful ravines, to the edge of Jökultungur. If the weather is good you can see three glaciers from this point – Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Tindfjallajökull.

The trail heads down from here and is steep and rocky in some parts. At the bottom of the descent you reach Grashagakvísl river. The river can sometimes be crossed on snow bridges in early summer, but is usually crossed by wading on foot. The rest of the way to Álftavatn is mostly flat.

16 km. 6-7 hrs. Descend 40m

Álftavatn - Hvanngil (4 km, 1 hour)

From Álftavatn, the trail crosses Brattháls and takes you down to Bratthálskvísl river. The river is crossed on foot, but is generally the easiest river crossing on the trail.

The trail heads up onto another hill, with great views of the landscapes around. Hvanngil is reached soon after.

Some hikers prefer to stay in Hvanngil instead of Álftavatn.

Hvanngil - Emstrur (12 km, 5- 6 hours)

From Hvanngil, the trail leads to a footbridge on Kaldaklofskvísl river. Shortly after, Bláfjallakvísl river is reached, and needs to be crossed on foot. This crossing is generally not difficult, but can get very challenging as the river often grows when it rains.

After the crossing, the trail follows a road for some time. Innri Emstruá river is crossed on a bridge and a little further, the trail turns off the road. This part of the trail has almost no vegetation so in dry weather and strong winds you can expect sand in the air.

The Botnar huts in Emstrur are not visible until right before you reach them.

15 km. 6-7 hrs. Descend 300m

From Botnar, usually referred to as Emstrur, the trail soon drops down towards Fremri Emstruá. The river runs through a narrow canyon and is crossed on a footbridge. The trail climbs back up shortly after the crossing.

The trail will start going downhill gradually, passing through two ravines, Slyppugil and Bjórgil. Both are great spots for lunch. You will start to see more and more vegetation the closer to Þórsmörk you get. After crossing another river, Ljósá, on a footbridge, the trail crosses the last big hill on the trail.

On the other side of the hill, Þröngá river awaits. It is the final river hikers need to cross on foot and can be challenging when it has been raining. The river bed is often rocky.

From Þröngá there is a short distance left, through Hamraskógar forest. The trail finally drops down into Langidalur valley in Þórsmörk, where the Laugavegur trail ends.

Many people choose to add Fimmvörðuháls trail to their itinerary. For more information about Fimmvörðuháls trail, click here: Fimmvörðuháls



Ferðafélag Íslands
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Ferðafélag Íslands
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Ferðafélag Íslands
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Ferðafélag Íslands
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Ferðafélag Íslands
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Þórsmörk / Langidalur

Ferðafélag Íslands
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