Skip to content
Landmannalaugar - Hiking in Iceland

Laugavegur Hiking Trail: How to Get to Landmannalaugar, Þórsmörk and Skógar

Landmannalaugar - Hiking in Iceland
Landmannalaugar© Lovepro via Flickr

Landmannalaugar is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Iceland. The magnificent landscapes are made more stunning still due to geothermal activity – mountains in all the colours of the rainbow and geothermal hot springs. In fact, Landmannalaugar means “the People’s Pools” so if you’re a person, it’s for you!

To get to these places, you can either rent a car, go by bus, or take a private day tour, depending on your budget and preference.

Laugavegur - Hiking in Iceland
Laugavegur© Graham van der Wielen via Flickr

The trail from Landmannalaugar south to Þórsmörk is called Laugavegur (The Hot Spring Route) and is 53 km, or roughly a four-day walk. The starting point is Landmannalaugar (600 m altitude above sea level), and along the route, there are huts for accommodation and campsites. Huts need to be booked well ahead, as the spots fill up quickly. Note that wild camping outside designated campsites is forbidden. 

Hrafntinnusker - Hiking in Iceland
Hrafntinnusker© Claire Cox via Flickr

Most people choose to start in Landmannalaugar as it means you will be walking downhill instead of up. The first stop along Laugavegur is Hrafntinnusker (Obsidian Reef), and on that first day, there’s an increase in elevation by 470m. The following day, you hike to Álftavatn (Swan Lake) and the elevation decreases by 490m. The next huts are in Emstrur and the final stop is Þórsmörk which is 300 metres above sea level.

It’s good to keep in mind that there are four glacial rivers to be waded, up to a metre deep.

The rivers are usually deepest where they are narrow. They are all located in the last two days, or between Álftavatn and Þórsmörk; the last one Þröngá being the deepest. It´s a good technique to hold hands while wading the rivers.

Krossá / Þórsmörk – Hiking in Iceland
Krossá© Helgi Erlingsson via Flickr

From Þórsmörk, you can catch the bus back to the city, or you could continue down to Skógar if you want an even longer hike. The trail between Skógar and Þórsmörk is called Fimmvörðuháls and is slightly shorter than Laugavegur, or about 23-25 km. It’s also a popular single-day hike on its own.

For the more ambitious you can also hike from south to north, going from Skógar to Landmannalaugar, as it is more challenging to go uphill (many Icelanders do that actually).

If you’re looking for shorter hikes, it’s good to go into Þórsmörk as there are several options for short day hikes or longer ones.

Fimmvörðuháls - Hiking in Iceland
Fimmvörðuháls© max.touriste via Flickr

How to get to Landmannalaugar,
Þórsmörk and Skógar?

Bus Transfer

A number of bus companies offer Hiking passes to and from the area, allowing you to arrive at one end of the trail and depart from the other. 

But how does it work? It’s very simple. With a passport, you can take a bus to the hiking bases of Skógar, Þórsmörk or Landmannalaugar; and then take the bus back from any of these places when you’re done with your hike, taking as much time as you like during the valid time of the passport.

If you have the bus passport, you don’t need to book the single legs within the route beforehand (unless you are more than 5 people). You could even stop on the way for sightseeing.

Guided Tours to Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls

If you don’t feel like hiking for four days, you can take a guided tour to Þórsmörk or Landmannalaugar. The jeep takes at most 10 people or so, so the itinerary will be more relaxed and flexible. The jeep is capable of driving over snow and can thus enter places that even the off-road buses can’t. The other benefit is the safety and comfort of having a guide for your hike, so you don’t have to worry about finding your way and they will know how to respond in case anything unexpected happens. They can also tell you all about the beautiful places you’ll be seeing and the history and geology of Iceland. Finally, the guide will have detailed information about the conditions in the highlands and they will be able to alter the itinerary with respect to weather and conditions.

In addition to the day tours, you can do a complete trekking tour of Laugavegur and/or Fimmvörðuháls, where the luggage is shuttled between stops for you. For information about these, please send us an email.

Renting a Car

It must be a 4X4!

If you’re headed to Landmannalaugar or Þórsmörk. Without a 4WD vehicle, it’s neither practical nor wise to drive the F-roads at the mountain’s back. You can get stuck and/or destroy your car, and you can’t get insured for F roads on a smaller car. Skógar is on route 1, so you can still drive there in a small car.

Visit our tour information centres for more tips and info!

Sign up for our monthly newsletter!

* indicates required

Related articles