Laugavegur: Trekking in the Land of Fire and Ice

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The 4-day Laugavegur Trek from Landmannalaugur to Þórsmörk is often listed among the world’s classic treks, so naturally it was on our must-do list for Iceland. We intentionally saved this premier attraction for the end of our trip. We did this for two reasons: first and foremost, we needed to get in shape for this intense backpacking adventure through the Highlands; second, it is recommended that trekkers wait until mid-July to attempt the hike, when the weather might be milder and the trails more likely free of snow.

We took a Reykjavík Excursions bus from the BSÍ terminal in Reykjavik to the northern starting point at Landmannalaugur. As with so many aspects of travel here, bus transportation has been designed to make it easy and convenient for trekkers to arrive at the starting point. We tried to make a reservation the day before our intended departure, but the kind agent said there was no need to be concerned; simply show up 20 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure, buy a ticket and go.

Because this is the high season for this trek, we were worried that the bus might be full and that we wouldn’t get a space. Every seat on our bus actually was taken, but Reykjavík Excursions simply brought out another bus so that all passengers wanting to leave that day could be accommodated.

In fact, traveling by bus in Iceland couldn’t be easier. The network of bus lines has been designed for convenient transfer points at petrol stations and major points of interest all over the country, so it is easy to string together bus routes to take you within shooting distance of most places of interest.

The bus journey to Landmannalaugur takes about five hours and travels along some bumpy, gravel F-roads where 2-wheel drive cars are not allowed, often fording glacial run-off rivers better than 4-wheel drive SUVs. Along the way, the eager trekker is treated to a visual feast of Highlands scenery: mountain lakes, glacial streams, black volcanic wastelands dotted with flowers, mossy green mountains jutting up from the plains with waterfalls tumbling off them, and views of the two glaciers that form the southern end of the trek: Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull. The drive alone was magnificent.

The Laugavegur Trek can be done in either direction, but we were advised to hike from north to south as you end up doing most of the climbing on the first day and spend the remaining 3 days on a gradual descent toward Þórsmörk. We knew that the trek was popular, but we were still a bit taken aback when we arrived at the tent city known as Landmannalaugur. This is a popular stop for many group trekking tours as well as day hikers who don’t plan to tackle the entire trek, so the scene was a bit overwhelming. Picture a rocky flat expanse butting up to the beginning of an ancient lava field, populated by a tent city in a rainbow of colors sprawling for acres and acres. It wasn’t exactly the remote wilderness location that we were expecting.

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The busy campground had a large WC/shower facility with flush toilets and a sheltered cooking area with picnic tables and kitchen sinks for cleaning. It even featured the Mountain Mall, an old green school bus that has been converted into a kaffihus/convenience store selling simple provisions, coffee and candy alongside a second bus functioning as a shelter with chairs, a table and tourist literature for reading.

After setting up our tent and anchoring it with lava rocks to keep it from blowing away, we sought out the warden for advice on a good day hike. We hit the Mountain Mall for a soul-warming coffee and hot chocolate before setting out on the suggested 5.7 kilometer Bláhnúkur/Grænagil hike.

This spectacular hike takes you across a flat glacial terrain, crosses a runoff river and then ascends the steep ridge of Bláhnúkur, one of the highest peaks in the area.  The summit provided a near-360 degree panoramic view of the entire area including the campground, its surrounding valley and the lava field rising above it; we couldn’t take our eyes off the surrounding rhyolite mountains which were painted in shades of teal blue, rust orange and beige. Steam from geothermal vents rose up like smoke signals adding a sense of mystery.

Click to enlarge photographs and view as a slideshow.

After taking in the view, we descended down into the Grænagil valley and walked back alongside a small stream and over the lava fields, a great preview of the 4-day trek we were about to begin.

After dinner, we joined the crowd in the natural stream-fed hot pot for a late evening warm up. A curious mix of hot and cold water, the challenge of this hot pot was to find a pocket where the temperature was warm enough without scalding us. Every now and then, you would have to move because a cold current would come through and destroy the balance. It was funny to watch the looks on other bathers’ faces as they found and lost their perfect pools.


Day One: Landmannalaugur to Hrafntinnusker
The next morning we set off on day one of the Laugavegur, a 12 kilometer stretch that would take us up a 500 meter ascent across a lava field and to a first plateau. As soon as we began, a slight drizzle started up; this became par for the course over the next several days. It seemed that as soon as we put on our rain pants and windbreaker, the rain would stop. If we dared take them off and pull out a camera, the rain would start right back up again. We quickly learned to just keep the rain gear on and roll with the weather.

As we strolled along the plateau, the trail passed through a geothermal field with steaming sulfurous vents and fields of shiny black obsidian. Near the end of the day’s climb we crossed several snowfields just as a heavy rain and fog set in, obscuring our view of the surrounding mountains.

We finally arrived at the first hut/campground Hrafntinnusker, eager to find shelter from the weather.

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Unlike the rest of Iceland, you are asked not to “wild camp” along this trail but to use designated campgrounds or sleep in huts in order to keep the environment as clean and undisturbed as possible. At each of the five designated stops on the trail, there are huts maintained and operated by FÍ, an Icelandic hiking club. They offer dorm-style beds, a small kitchenette and a common room, and hut space can be reserved well in advance if you like. If there is availability when you arrive, you can purchase a space for 5000 krónur (about $40 US). In the event of dangerous weather, you are informed that campers may join you in the already crowded hut to seek shelter for the night.

As campers, we were surprised to discover that the hut was not available for our use at all and headed back out into the elements. We set up our tent inside a circular shelter of low, volcanic stones that offered some protection from the wind but none from the rain. Lacking alternative shelter, we napped in our tent before making dinner huddled around the one sink available to campers. After dinner, with a break in the rain, we walked around a bit to keep warm before turning in for the evening, happy to have a dry tent.

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Day Two: Hrafntinnusker to Hvannagil
We awoke the next day to high overcast skies but fortunately no rain. After a breakfast of biscuits and gravy (courtesy of Backpacker’s Pantry), we hit the trail for Hvannagil, 16 kilometers away. Day 2 of the Laugavegur was a visual feast from start to finish. After traversing a few glacial snowfields, we soon left the black stone fields peppered with shiny obsidian and passed into a region dominated by colorful rhyolite peaks, reminiscent of the Altiplano in Bolivia. We passed steam vents and small hot pools, smelling faintly of sulfur, and marveled at the blue-green algae that were growing in them.

After ascending to a ridge, we were stunned by what we saw. It was as if somebody had just flipped a page in a magical picture book as we suddenly had an entirely new landscape before us. In place of the rounded rhyolite hills, there was a phenomenal verdant valley below. The scene was surreal, resembling the illustrated 3D topographic overview of the hike rather than real mountains.

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We felt as if we had been instantly transported to Hawaii. The isolated ridges and peaks looked like islands from Lost, carpeted in lush green velvet and floating above a black sand sea. As we descended into the valley, we gradually passed these mountain islands, appreciating their height and grandeur from “sea level.” The way these mountains jutted up abruptly from the flat, black plain was truly striking. One of the great joys of trekking is the opportunity to see features at a distance and then see how they change as you approach and move past them. The segment to and through these green islands kept us in awe the whole time.

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And it kept our mind off our first river crossing. We approached with trepidation, knowing that we would have to ford this icy cold river carrying our packs and wearing nothing but Crocs for protection from the freezing temperatures. At first, the crossing point was not obvious, and other hikers seemed just as apprehensive as us as we contemplated traversing the rushing river filled with boulders. Finally, we picked our point, shuffled our way through the knee-deep water and made it across, feet numb, but with body and gear intact. Hallelujah!

Twelve kilometers into the day’s hike we arrived at Àlfavatn, the first of two possible stops. Àlfavatn has a fairly new hut, showers and a sizeable campground situated near the shore of a large mountain lake. We stopped to take in the view over a late lunch before pushing on to the next camp at Hvannagil. IMG_6349

In addition to wanting to get another 4 kilometers down the trail and a second river crossing behind us, Hvannagil has a much smaller campground. Camping there would free us from some of the larger trekking groups that we were sharing the trail with and would make for a more serene evening. We forded the next river with ease, knowing now what to expect, and set our tent up amid the protection of lava formations that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings.

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Despite the beautiful golden sunset that lit up the valley and surrounding mountains, we were informed that severe weather was expected the next day. The forecast warned of dangerously high winds and the possibility of heavy rain. People in Reykjavík, apparently, were being warned to stay indoors to avoid harm. Rosá and Pali, two Icelandic guides for the hiking club FÍ, offered to reserve us space in a hut at Emstrur for the following evening. Although reluctant to forego the comfort of our trusty tent, we accepted the offer and headed to bed relieved to know that we would have shelter from the storm for the next evening.


Day Three: Hvannagil to Emstrur
We awoke early on Day 3 of the trek and started hiking by 8 a.m. The trail for Day 3 was described as flat and fairly desolate. As it turned out, we found the landscape to be quite striking. We traversed a plain of black sand with tufts of sea campion and pockets of arctic river beauty scattered as far as the eye could see. Lush green mountains provided a dramatic backdrop. Day 3's trek took us through fields and fields of black lava stones. IMG_6401

We paused to watch a long train of horses crossing a river and then made our way through an elevated canyon. We crossed one fairly wide river that day that rose to just above our knees. A fellow hiker, already on the other side, told us to “Just breathe!” And we did, but just barely. A few hours into our hike, we were surprised to see the hut at Emstrur come into view nestled in a valley just below us. We had arrived at noon, having made great time. As it turns out, the threat of bad weather turns out to be a good motivator!

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We checked into our hut and spent much of the afternoon enjoying four walls and a roof as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. After four hours, cabin fever set in, so we took a short walk to view a nearby gorge. Just as we got there the skies opened up, and the wind started howling. We fought our way into the wind all the way back to the hut, grateful for a cup of hot tea when we arrived.

We shared the hut that evening with the two Icelandic guides and several of their countrymen, a Swedish couple, four French trekkers, and a honeymooning couple from Switzerland. It was fun to swap travel stories and share this cozy space with such an international crowd. Everyone took turns using the two-burner stove to make their dinner, and at 10 p.m. everyone, on cue, quietly made their way to bed, two to a bunk. There were 19 of us crammed into a 10×8 foot room…and only 3 snorers! Looking out at the tenters camped below and seeing how the wind was violently pushing the rain flies around, we were glad to be indoors this one evening.


Day Four: Emstrur to Þórsmörk
Having survived the wind storm, we set off on Day 4 for Þórsmörk, 15 kilometers away. The final day of the Laugavegur Trek began with sun and clouds and a descent into a stunning canyon with rust red, black and green rock strata. We had to do a short bit of rappelling with the aid of provided ropes before crossing a bridge over the rushing river below. Just as we did, a rainbow appeared over the canyon, an auspicious start to our last day.

The trail then took us to the confluence of two rivers with crazy views of the sculpted canyon walls and waterfalls tumbling down the opposite side of the canyon. As we crested the ridge near the halfway point of the day, we turned our back on Myrdalsjökull, the glacier dimly visible for much of the day, and looked down into the Þórsmörk valley. The sun came out and lit up the valley below which was dominated by a devil-horned mountain and cut by a river canyon extending off toward the horizon. As we descended, we passed though a sea of red grasses and the base of Eyjafallajökull, the volcano that erupted most recently in 2010, came into view, its peak shrouded in cloud.

Only one obstacle stood between us and our final destination—one final river crossing, and this one, we had been told, was the most challenging. So we followed the lead of hikers ahead of us, removing shoes, socks and pants (no shame here) in order to keep our bottom halves dry. This time the river was deeper and wider, and the current was much stronger than what we had encountered before.

So, with a fair bit of self-encouragement, we locked arms, pointed our toes upstream and shuffled sideways, taking care not to get disoriented by the rushing water at our thighs but focusing instead on the far shore. The force of the water and the noise were intense, but we made it across no worse for the wear and feeling energized for the last few kilometers. As we strolled down the lush green valley, we passed through a birch forest speckled with purple and yellow wildflowers more typical of warmer, lower elevations. With spirits high we strode into camp, having successfully completed the 54-kilometer Laugavegur Trek.

Here’s a fun, quick video summing up our four days on the trail:

There are three different places to stay at Þórsmörk. Two huts/campgrounds run by Icelandic hiking clubs are located in the valley. These are closer to the pass between Myrdallsjökull and Eyjafallajökull and are worth staying at if you intend to make the 25-kilometer hike over to Skógar. Though possible to do this hike in one long day (providing you are fit and the weather cooperates), it is recommended to break it up at the top of the pass where you can stay overnight at the Fimmvörduháls hut, explore the volcano and have time to enjoy the views at the top.

Because we had decided only to do the Laugavegur Trek, we chose to stay at Þórsmörk’s third campground. This site offered hot showers, a hot pot, a restaurant/bar and a cooking shelter for campers, which all sounded irresistible after so many days on the trail. It also happened to be closest to the end of our trail and very convenient for catching the bus back to Reykjavík. Although it started to rain (no surprise anymore), we attempted to warm up in the hot pot, described more accurately by a British teen trekker as a “warmish, slippery puddle.” She was right; we felt like frogs trapped in this algae-lined mini-pond. We had to practically lie down in order to cover our bodies in water barely warm enough to enjoy. We had to laugh as we clawed our way out and scampered to dry off.

We celebrated that evening in the bar with a cold Viking Classic (from a can) and a complimentary shot of Black Death, an Icelandic spirit made from potato and spiced with cumin. The following morning we caught the bus back to Reykjavík, satisfied by the constant visual feast that was the Laugavegur Trek.

An edited version of our adventure on the Laugavegur Trail appeared in the second issue of Sidewalk – a hiking and backpacking magazine. Check it out!

43 thoughts on “Laugavegur: Trekking in the Land of Fire and Ice

  1. Hi!
    I’m planning on walking this track in july and after looking at your pictures I’m getting very excited. I’m a bit worried though that the amount of hikers destroys the experience of nature. How did you experience it? Was it mainly at the camp sites that it was crowded or was it a stream of people along the track as well?

    Thanks for sharing!
    Lydia

    1. Thank you! The last thing you have to worry about in Iceland is crowds. We did not find the hike over run at all. Having said that, Laugavegur is a popular trek, and there will be plenty of other hikers in the camps in the evening. You will also find hiking groups in the huts, but we always enjoyed the company of the other hikers after a long day on the trail. If you are looking for a really remote experience, you might try hiking in the Hornstrandir of the Westfjords. We didn’t have enough time to do it, but you probably wouldn’t see anyone else there for days. Either way, you are going to have an amazing experience. Iceland is a fantastic destination, and hiking the Laugavegur was a true highlight. Enjoy!

  2. Great, post…really enjoyed reading about your experience. My wife and I are going to Iceland in early August and have done a lot of research about this hike. How was the wind during your trip? (we bought sand/rock anchors for our tent, as read that stakes are pretty useless). How well marked is the trail? Do you have any photos of the markers? Did you need to bring a gps? Were the camping areas near the huts very crowded or were you able to easily find a suitable spot. Thanks in advance!

    1. Thanks, Matthew. You and your wife are going to have a wonderful time hiking the Laugavegur Trail. The wind is an issue in some places, but previous campers have built wind shelters out of rocks to help with that. We did use our stakes and then added rocks to help weigh things down. The trail was very easy to follow. We don’t have any photos of markers, and I actually don’t recall what they looked like. You won’t have any trouble finding you way, so don’t worry about GPS. We did not find the camping areas particularly crowded, which was good for us as we are very slow hikers and are typically the last to find spots. We’ll be doing a post soon with short videos from our Iceland hikes, so be sure to stay tuned for that. It might give you a better idea of what being on the Laugavegur is actually like.

      1. Thanks so much for the reply, looking forward to the videos! Do you have any recommendations for an online source for paper maps? Or are they easy to find once in Iceland? We are also hiking in Skaftafell, did you happen to go there? Thanks again!

      2. I am pretty certain that we bought a trekking map at the main tourist office in Reykjavik. I know we had one, and we did not order it ahead of time, so I think that they are pretty easy to find on the ground. The only big hike we did in the Skaftafell region was Skaftafellshedi. You can read about it in our Splendid South post: https://takeahikephotography.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-splendid-south/. It was beautiful and well worth doing, but we didn’t do anything longer than that. I don’t think you can go wrong hiking anywhere in Iceland!

  3. Hi,
    We are planning on doing the trek backwards, so from South to North. Did you hear from any other travelers doing this and if so, any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Natalie! You will have a fantastic time doing the Laugavegur in whichever direction you choose. In our memory, it seems that most people hiked from north to south. I think this is because it is generally easier in that direction, but none of the ascents/descents are particularly steep. All of the scenery is spectacular, but our favorite was on our day 2, so you will be saving the best for the end. One thing to consider is that you will come to the hardest river crossing on day 1. It might be nice to get this over with right away, but you won’t have the luxury of building up confidence before you get there. It’s not that bad, and the rest will be easy by comparison. Have a wonderful time and be sure to let us know how it goes!

  4. Hi!

    Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed reading your blog. We are planning to do the trek this summer and wondered whether there were any parts that were particularly steep or scary. How was the section where you needed to rappel?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Rosie,
      You will have an amazing time. The trail is definitely steep in some places, but the footing is great and not slippery at all. The section with ropes is only a few feet high. I took off my pack and handed it to my husband before descending and was fine. I found the worst part to be fording the rivers, but, if I can do them, you can, too–I am a total scaredy cat, so you should be fine. Have fun and let us know how it goes, please!

  5. Hi,

    your trip is absolutely inspiring, I’m planning to do it this August and Im a solo Traveler who has a little bit of experience in hiking as well.. is it easy to do it Solo with no guide??

    was wondering if i have to join a group but its a bit of restriction for me as a photographer and expensive as well..

    would appreciate your advice on this

    thanks

    1. If you are comfortable and have experience hiking on your own, I think that you would be fine doing the Laugavegur trail solo. The trail itself is very well-defined and easy to follow. Having said that, you should keep a close eye on the weather before starting out. Just before arriving at the first camp, there is a memorial to a young hiker who got lost in a terrible storm just a few kilometers from the hut and died. Dense fog can be an issue and can blow in very quickly, though we were lucky not to experience that. River crossings might also be a challenge for you. If you don’t feel comfortable crossing on your own, wait for other trekkers to arrive and cross with them. Bring proper clothing (rain gear and lots of layers), be cautious and you should be fine. If you feel like this might be out of your comfort zone, you could base camp at Landmannalaugar and do day hikes from there. The scenery around the camp is magnificent, and there are lots of other hikers around who you might join up with. Good luck to you!

  6. Hi,
    This looks great
    I was thinking about doing this trail with my friends, do you have to pay for camping? (we won’t have much money!)
    Thanks

  7. What a great post! I’m planning to tent-camp along the trek with my husband this summer, but I’m interested in booking a hut in Thorsmork at the end! Sounds like your hut is a mountain hut from volcanohuts.com. Is that right? We want to do Laugavegur, but not intending on extending the hike to Skogar. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Megan! You are going to have a wonderful time in Iceland, and I am sure hiking the Laugavegur will be a true highlight of your trip. I looked at the website for volcanohuts.com. It looks like the place we stayed, though I am not 100% positive about that. We camped, so I can’t speak about the huts, but we definitely enjoyed chilling out in the dining room after 4 days on the trail. Let me know if you have more questions about the trek. Cheers!

  8. Hello, there. I appreciate you sharing information on this trek. I have a group of hikers I am organizing to do this trek in late august – just a few questions-
    1. i cannot tell which month you did the trek but is it usually still crowded if we do this august 19-22?
    2. we want to do it in reverse – start in porsmork as we would like to do the f26 highland bus ride that ends in myvatn in the north. are there things to consider if you are doing it in reverse? pros and cons?
    3. how many river crossings were there?
    4. how was the wind at night? how bad was it? we plan to tent the entire time.
    5. is there water along the route for daily refill?

    thanks so much for the advise.

    1. Thanks, Marinel. Here are the answers to your questions:
      1. We did the trek in late July, which is prime season. We didn’t find it too crowded then, so I think you should be good in late August. I would make sure the weather is agreeable before you set out.
      2. Generally, people do this trek from north to south, but there’s no problem doing it in the opposite direction. You will have more uphill hiking than downhill, and you will come to the toughest river crossing first. You will hit the prettiest scenery towards the end, which I think is a plus.
      3. We can’t remember if there were 4 or 5 river crossings. The toughest one is closest to Porsmork. Be prepared for super-cold water.
      4. It was very windy most nights. Be sure to set up your tent inside the rock walls that have been constructed to get a little protection from the wind when possible.
      5. Yes. there is water along the trail.
      Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks, this was very helpful. I think we will just do it in reverse to get done with the tough river crossing 🙂 I forgot to ask a few other things – what is the situation with cooking? We plan to eat dehydrated food from REI and just boil water. As campers, do we need to bring stove, fuel, cooking ware or do the huts have fuel and stove that we can use at least? And can we use them? As to camping, can we pay in credit card or do we need cash? Thanks.

      2. Going in reverse will be great. I always like getting the toughest parts out of the way first, too. Then you can just relax and enjoy the rest of your time.
        You will definitely need to bring all of your own gear for cooking with you. As a camper, you are not allowed to hang out in the huts for cooking or getting out of the weather, so be prepared to spend all of your time outdoors no matter what the conditions are. (If the weather is deadly, they’ll let you in.)
        You can usually pay for everything with a credit card in Iceland. I honestly don’t remember how we paid for our campsites on the trek. We did pay for the one night we spent in a hut with a credit card, so I imagine that using them is possible at all the camps. It’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, though. You will want it if you would like to use the shower facilities at the camps.

  9. Thank you for sharing your trip!

    I saw someone else posted about travelling solo. This will be my first solo trip and solo hike. I plan to camp the whole way. I have done other hiking before. Do you think it is safe for a solo female traveler in her 20’s? How close are the tent spots? I would rather not be isolated far away from other tents at night.

    Is the trail busy enough that if I wait for a while at a river crossing, some other hikers should eventually appear? I am hesitant to do those alone.

    Last question! Did you bring dehydrated food with you on the plane?

    Thank you!

    Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea,
      Iceland is a very safe country in general, so I don’t think you need to worry about anyone bothering you on the Laugavegur Trail. The tent sites are not designated spots, and everyone camps in pretty close quarters, so you shouldn’t have any trouble meeting other hikers.
      The thing you do need to be concerned about, though, is the weather. Storms can brew up quickly in the Highlands of Iceland, and visibility can become non-existent. Since you do not need a permit to do this hike, reservations to camp or advance bus tickets, I would keep my eye on the weather and try to do it in a 4-day window that has a good forecast. If the weather turns for the worse, consider staying put in camp and waiting it out. There is a very sobering monument near the first day’s hut to a young Japanese hiker who got lost in a whiteout less than a mile from safety…
      The Laugavegur is Iceland’s most popular backpack, and you will definitely come across plenty of other hikers on the trail. If you are uncomfortable crossing a river on your own, absolutely wait for other hikers and ask if you can join them. I found all the crossings very manageable (but painfully cold!) except the last one near Þórsmörk. The river was the deepest and flowing strongly. I was happy to have Matt with me to lock arms and cross together. I found this a good reason to hike from north to south. It allows you to do that crossing last after you have some experience with others under your belt.
      We did bring dehydrated food with us from the States. We are vegetarian and were worried about what we might find in Iceland. Because we already had stuff with us, we did not do much investigating to see if dehydrated foods were available to buy. I am sure they would be quite expensive, so it might be best to bring them with you from home.
      One last thought, if you are nervous at all to do this trip by yourself, consider joining one of FI’s group hiking trips. We ran into a group on our second and third nights on the trail. They seemed to be having a really nice time, and they were all quite friendly. That could be a good option for you. Here is a link to their home page: http://fi.is/en/home/
      If you have any more questions, just let us know. Have a wonderful time in Iceland!
      Alison

      1. Thank you for all that information, incredibly helpful!

        Did you bring any extra tent supplies other than regular pegs? I have heard that there is difficulty pegging tents down due to sandy ground/high winds.

      2. Sure, Andrea! We always have these little rock anchors attached to the corners of our tent. It almost looks like a little parachute that you can spread out and put rocks in to help anchor down our tent. We got them at REI many years ago. I don’t recall exactly, but I am sure that we used them on the Laugavegur. It is very windy, and there are plenty of rocks around to help anchor you down. You could always put rocks inside your tent and/or between the stake and your tent for some extra weight.

  10. So… the soundtrack to your video is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh, and for writing such a great synopsis of the trek.

    My husband and i are planning to hike the laugavegur trail in early August. I’m a big wimp when it comes to the cold and am in pretty average shape. We couldn’t get a spot in the Hrafntinnusker hut, so I’m trying to figure out what we should do. Our options seem to be:
    A. Suck it up and camp at Hrafntinnusker (Burr!), or
    B. Hike from Landmannalaugar to Alftavatn in 1 day.

    Based on your experience of the trail, what would you recommend?

    1. Hi Julie,
      We are jealous that you are going to do the Laugavegur this summer. It’s such a beautiful hike! That’s a bummer that you couldn’t get space in the hut at Hrafntinnusker. It seems a shame to have to carry a tent and use it for just one night, but I would definitely recommend going with Plan A. The leg on Day 2 from Hrafntinnusker to Alftavatn is the most beautiful of the trek, and you don’t want to have to just pass it by because you have so many miles to cover. The weather in Iceland, particularly in the Highlands is such a factor as well. If you have a bad day, you might be able to wait out the weather for a few hours and still make it to your destination, provided you have a reasonable distance to go. Besides, freezing outside in strong winds is part of the quintessential Laugavegur experience. You wouldn’t want to miss that, right? You might check back with the hut and see if they have any cancellations. Maybe you will get lucky! Please let us know how it goes for you.
      Happy trails!

  11. Your photos are so amazing! Discovering your blog has been the highlight of my cold, sick with flu miserable week! Thanks for brightening my days! X

    1. Thanks so much, Anna! We are sorry to hear that you aren’t feeling well, but glad to know that our little corner of the internet is helping pass the time while you are under the weather. We hope you feel better soon!

      1. Cheers guys! Just a winter flu, probably the only time I can get a break and rest up on the couch with the ipad! Lol

  12. Hello,

    My friend and I will be hiking this trail in late August and I am wondering what tent/ type of tent you used & would suggest since it can be very rainy and windy in Iceland. I am considering investing in a sturdier backpacking tent than the one I currently own or renting one in Iceland if it is cost effective since I am flying from the US.

    Thanks in advance!

    Mitch

    1. Hi Mitch! Sorry for the slow reply. We have been backpacking all summer and are finally getting back to things in civilization. We used an REI Half Dome tent for this trek, and it did fine with the wind. There are little rock walls built up to provide some protection. We did spend Night 3 inside because it was so windy, and we could see the campers having trouble with their tents. If you have a really lightweight tent, maybe it’s worth picking up something a little more solid. We brought all of our own gear with us, so I don’t have any information about renting. Sorry… Hope you have a great trek. Happy trails!

      1. Thanks for the info! My friend and I decided to share his REI Half Dome tent because he is already in Iceland with his tent. Glad to hear you that tent worked well for you! I’m flying in this Friday and startking the trek nest Monday!

  13. Hi

    I am hoping to do this hike in mid-July, but am unsure what to do about storing my luggage after I arrive, as I understand there is no storage at the International Airport. I was planning on arriving late at night and taking the bus to the BSI terminal, then heading to Landmannalaugar that morning, but I don’t know what I’ll do if all the lockers are taken there.

    Do you have any advice? Did you have to utilize locker storage for this last part of your trip?

    Thanks
    Ryan

    1. Hi Ryan,
      We faced the same dilemma of what to do with all of our extra stuff when we did the Laugavegur and came up with a pretty creative solution that worked for us at the time. Because we were renting a car both before and after our trek with the same company (SADD Cars), we asked if we could store a few bags with them and were very grateful when they said yes. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for you. To the best of our recollection, it seemed like the storage at the BSI terminal was more of a room rather than individual lockers, so we don’t think you need to worry about it being full. Having said that, it’s been quite a while since we did that trek (2012), so it would probably be best to investigate a little further to make sure that s still the case. Have you tried calling BSI directly to inquire? We just remember how laid back they were about the trip out to Landmannalaugur. We were super worried that the bus would be full, and they just get another bus if the seats are filled! You will love Iceland and this trek. Have a great time!

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