Hiking in Iceland
Find Trails into the Great Unknown
Iceland is the hiker's paradise. More than half of the country lies above 400 meters (1300 feet) and the landscape is extraordinarily diverse, with large areas covered with colorful mountains, lava fields, glaciers, hot springs, lakes and black sands. The rugged nature has been shaped by the elements to form a majestic scenery unlike any other place in the world.
Hiking trails are as numerous as they are diverse, so trek overviews for the entire country are hard to come by. Individual trails can be examined in great detail at local tourist information centres around the country. Many mountain huts are also available for booking along known paths, allowing visitors to prolong their hikes and explore their destinations in greater detail.
During the summer months, hiking in the highlands of Iceland becomes a popular pastime. The Laugavegur trail, which runs between Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk, is as popular a destination with locals as it is with foreign visitors, and remains one of the most extraordinary walking trails in the world. It offers a great variety of landscapes, mountains in various colors, hot springs and glaciers, rivers and lakes. The difficulty of the track depends extremely on the weather conditions. Limited accommodation is offered in six huts along the trail, subject to booking, and campsites around the trails. Camping in the wild is not allowed within nature reserves and not recommended in the surrounding area due to environmental reasons.
The Laugavegur trail is one of the most extraordinary walking trails in the world.
Organized hiking tours are available for booking all around the country. Day or weekend tours are popular during wintertime, and longer tours are organized during summer. You can take an organized excursion or go hiking yourself. If you organize your trip independently, caution should be exercised at all times. Make sure you bring adequate clothing and provisions, and that someone knows where you are going. Visit www.safetravel.is for further safety information and to register your travel plan in case of an emergency.
Iceland is known as one of the best places in the world for birdwatching. A large number of birds make their home along Iceland's coast, including some of the largest colonies in the world for certain types of sea fowl. Iceland's wetlands are also a conducive habitat for many species of birds.
Due to its position on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it. Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round.
Travelling around Iceland on two wheels is both challenging and rewarding. There is no better way to experience the beauty of Iceland than from the saddle of your bicycle. Many bike enthusiasts come to Iceland to enjoy the Ring Road, the well-known highway number 1, that runs around the country. Others choose more difficult paths into the highlands.