Anonymous said: I will be traveling to Iceland in June 2012. I will have about a week and a half in the country, and hope to do some day hikes and at least one backpacking trip. I am considering the Laugavegruinn trail, but am open to suggestions. I also plan to do some day hiking. Do you have any recommendations, either for backpacking destinations or day hikes in Iceland? If you could not see it all, and had to choose just one or two parts of the country to spend time, where would you choose? Thank you!
Laugavegurinn is the most popular trek in Iceland. Here’s a previous post I wrote about Laugavegurinn. Around 10.000 people do the hike each summer. The reason for its popularity apart from the amazing and ever changing landscape is its accessibility. There is a reasonably well marked trail the whole way (still, bring a map, compass and gps) and there are several huts along the way and scheduled buses go to both ends of the trail. Although there are countless other great hikes available, there aren’t any this long with such accessibility. So if you are looking for a 3-5 day hike and you don’t have the experience to navigate unmarked land, then I wouldn’t recommend many other hikes.
For day hikes, you have many more options. If you don’t do the Laugavegur trek, then you should at least do the Fimmvörðuháls trek between the Þórsmörk valley and Skógar and look at the new volcano from 2010. This trek can be done in one day or you can stay in the hut at the top. Once you are in Þórsmörk you also have dozens of wonderful day hikes to choose from.
If you are willing to head off into the highlands, either in a rental 4x4 (one big river crossing) or by taking the bus, you can go to Kerlingarfjöll. This volcanic mountain range has a bunch of great day hikes in valleys full of geothermal steam and glacial ice. The place has a serviced camp site and accommodation but almost no people.
Skaftafell is the Mecca of hiking in Iceland. The park offers countless trails for day hikes and lots of possibilities for longer hikes along unmarked trails for the more experienced. Along with Þórsmörk it is also my favorite place in the country and the place where I sometimes work.
You could also take a look at guided backpacking tours or get inspirations for your own tours (if you have serious experience).
I spent my day walking around on top of the Vatnajökull glacier today, so thanks look look for this submission.