Units

Laugavegur Trail

Southern Highlands, Iceland

Print map
Send to phone
Save
More
Directions to trailhead
Export trail to GPX file

Overview

Stretching from the rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar to the lush green valley of Þórsmörk, the Laugavegur Trail offers a stunning variety of landscapes that seem to belong to another planet. It’s no wonder that National Geographic named it as one of the 20th best trails in the world.

Many choose to spend an extra day hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail from Þórsmörk to Skógar. This 15.5 mi route includes a steep ascent between two glaciers followed by a slow descent to the Skógar coastline, and the views will not disappoint.

Length
48 mi
Duration
4-5 days
Elevation Gain
7579 ft
Difficulty
Challenging
Best Time To Hike
Mid Jul - Mid Sep
Trail Type
Point to Point

Logistics

When To Go

The trail is generally open from June 25 to September 25. However, trail access varies from year to year depending on weather and snow conditions, so be sure to check with the Icelandic Road Authority to make sure the roads to Landmannalaugar are open.

How To Get There

The Laugavegur Trail is located in the Southern Highlands of Iceland, around 112 mi east of Iceland's capital Reykjavik (which has an international airport).

Most people hike the trail from north to south. In this case:

  • The trail starts in Landmannalaugar. To get to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik, there are several bus companies that offer scheduled bus fares, including Trex, Sterna, and Reykjavik Excursions. You can also drive there yourself along the roads Fjallabaksleið nyrðri (F208) or Dómadalsleið (F225), assuming you have a 4x4 jeep and the roads are open (check the Icelandic Road Authority website before you go).
  • The trail ends in Þórsmörk (or Skógar, if you’re also hiking the Fimmvörðuháls trail). Several scheduled bus services can take you back to Reykjavik - see bus companies above. Þórsmörk is accessible by jeep (F249), and Skógar is accessible for all cars all year round.

Permit

No permit is required to hike the Laugavegur Trail. However, if you’re planning on staying in any of the huts, these need to be reserved well in advance. See the Huts & Campsites section for more info.

Huts & Campsites

There are six huts and camping grounds along the trail. You can either choose to stay in the huts or camp in the campsite next to the huts. If you wish to stay in the huts, be sure to book these several months in advance. All huts have toilets and running water.

If you choose to camp in the designated campsites outside the huts, you will need to pay a camping fee of ISK 2,000 per night. It is prohibited to camp outside the designated areas.

Know Before You Go

The trail lies in the Icelandic Highlands, were the weather can be unpredictable and vary drastically. Snow in the middle of summer is not uncommon. Make sure you have the proper gear to deal with these types of conditions.

While most rivers can be crossed by bridge, at least three rivers have to be waded. They are generally easy to cross, but the current can pick up very quickly in rain and ablation.

Links & Resources

Ferðafélag Íslands

Bus to Landmannalaugar

Icelandic Road Authority

Map & Trail Notes

Day 1

Landmannalaugar - Hrafntinnusker

6 mi
2178 ft
712 ft

Most people opt to spend their first night in Landmannalaugar. This gives you ample time to rest before starting the hike and lets you enjoy the famous Landmannalaugar hot springs.

The first part of the route might be the shortest in distance, but the steep ascent to Hrafntinnusker can make this day quite strenuous. Be prepared to walk through snow as you make yourself up the mountain.

The trail leads up to the lava field of Laugahraun, crosses it, and then heads downhill before heading up again to the plateau, just below Brennisteinsalda. The trail then continues to Stórihver, a beautiful vegetation spot that’s a good place to rest your legs. From here, it’s about an hour walk to the Hrafntinnusker campsite.

Day 2

Hrafntinnusker - Álftavatn

7 mi
338 ft
2064 ft

The descent from Hrafntinnusker into the Álftavatn valley is breathtaking. Enjoy incomparable views over the entire trail and the three glaciers Tindfjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

The road down Jökultungur is quite steep and rocky, so be careful. At the bottom of Jökultungur the Grashagakvísl river awaits and can in some cases be crossed on a snow bridge. If not, you need to ford by wading on foot. From there is an easy route southwest to the campsite at Álftavatn lake.

Day 3

Álftavatn - Emstrur

10 mi
768 ft
892 ft

The descent from Hrafntinnusker into the Álftavatn valley is breathtaking. Enjoy incomparable views over the entire trail and the three glaciers Tindfjallajökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

The road down Jökultungur is quite steep and rocky, so be careful. At the bottom of Jökultungur the Grashagakvísl river awaits and can in some cases be crossed on a snow bridge. If not, you need to ford by wading on foot. From there is an easy route southwest to the campsite at Álftavatn lake.

Day 4

Emstrur - Þórsmörk

9.5 mi
1181 ft
2034 ft

The trail heads east from Emstrur, and you’ll soon reach the bridge over the Syðri-Emstruá river. From there, the path lies along Langháls and towards the junction of the rivers Markarfljót and Syðri-Emstruá. It is recommended to walk to the edge of the gorge where the rivers meet, before hiking south through Almenningar.

When the trails comes down from Kápa, hikers have to cross the river Þröngá, which in most cases is not difficult but can be quite rocky. The river marks the boundary of Þórsmörk, and another hour and a half of hiking through the pleasant woodland Hamraskógar will take you to the Skagfjörðsskáli cabin in Langidalur, Þórsmörk.

Day 5

Þórsmörk - Skógar (optional)

15.5 mi
3113 ft
3832 ft

The steep initial ascent and following descent to the coastal area of Skógar makes this by far the most strenuous day, but also the most rewarding. You’ll enjoy epic vistas and beautiful waterfalls, including the famous Skógafoss waterfall situated on the Skógá river.

Most of the route is marked with stakes and the trail itself is mostly obvious except at the top where it is covered with snow and can be unclear. If you choose to hike across Fimmvörðuháls, be sure to bring a good map, compass and GPS device.

Once you reach Skógar, you can take a bus (that you booked ahead of time) back to Reykjavik.

Send to phone
coming soon!
Our mobile app, with the ability to download trail maps to your phone and view them on the trail, is coming soon!

Enter your email below to be notified when it's out.
Unlock trail
Laugavegur Trail
Print or download topographic trail map at any zoom level
Access trail map offline with the Wayfinder mobile app (coming soon)
Download trail GPX file to your preferred GPS device
Save card for later use
Support
Use the form below to send us a message.