Laugavegur Hiking Trail Online Guide - Day-by-Day Itinerary
The Laugavegur Hiking Trail is usually done in 3 – 5 days and in 3 – 4 stages where travellers stay in huts or camp along the trail. You can make your own version and skip stages or stay longer in certain places and have walks around areas of particular interest to you. Keep in mind your personal fitness and capabilities and remember that this time it really is the journey and not the destination that matters. Enjoy the trek and soak in the natural beauty of the trail.
Times are approximate and will vary according to fitness, pace of group and weather conditions.
If you intend to do a shorter version, we recommend combining the first two days in one stage (Landmannalaugar – Álftavatn, 22 km) or the second and third days (Hrafntinnusker – Emstrur, 27 km).
Day one: Landmannalaugar - Hrafntinnusker
- Distance: 12 km, 4 – 5 hours
- Elevation increase: 470 m
- Starting coordinates GPS: N63°59.600 – W19°03.660
- Finish coordinates GPS: N63°55.840 – W19°09.700
Starting the trek from – Landmannalaugar brings you to an easy hike through the lava field of Laugahraun towards the colourful mountain Brennisteinsalda. There you start a gradual climb through dissected hills with views of an incredible spectrum of colors. After 3 – 4 hours you should arrive at the Stórihver geothermal area and hot springs. About 2/3 of the way is likely to be covered with snow until late summer. At an elevation of around 1.000m you can expect fog to show up suddenly and without warning. The trail is clearly marked but hikers must be careful not to loose the track in poor visibility.
Hrafntinnusker Hut (Höskuldsskáli) will appear suddenly about 2 km past a memorial of a traveller, who sadly died of hypothermia in this area in June 2004.
Evening walks from the Hrafntinnusker hut: 20 minute walk to Mt. Söðull (beautiful views) or 40 minute walk to ice caves. Ask warden for more information.
Day two: Hrafntinnusker - Álftavatn
- NEW: Restaurant in Álftavatn is open 7 am - 11 pm
- Distance: 12 km, 4 – 5 hours.
- Elevation decrease: 490 m
- Starting Coordinates GPS: N63°55.840 – W19°09.700
- Finish coordinates GPS: N63°51.470 – W19°13.640
Heading out from the Hrafntinnusker hut the trail takes you through a valley with small ravines that sometimes may be filled with snow. A short and steep incline leads you to the highpoint of today’s walk. If the visibility is good, a side trip to the summit of mountain Háskerðingur (1.281 m) will reward you with a breathtaking view. This is best done from the western slope of the mountain. But take care as you have to cross a glacier on the way. Ask the hut warden for further information.
Soon after you will leave the colorful rhyolite mountains and enter an area with contrast of dark palagonite mountains and white glaciers. You will also notice a considerable increase in vegetation. The trail down the Jökultungur is quite steep and care must be taken during the descent. The last few kilometers to the huts by the lake Álftavatn are on flat land. The two huts at Álftavatn take up to 52 persons.
Evening walks: Hike up Mt. Brattháls, which takes 1 – 2 hours return. Wet feet are included as it’s necessary to wade the little stream running from Lake Álftavatn. Another good hike takes you up the Mt. Torfatindur (818m), estimated walking time 1 – 2 hours.
Day three: Áftavatn - Emstrur (Botnar)
- Distance: 15 km, 6 – 7 hours
- Elevation decrease: 40 m
- Starting Coordinates GPS: N63°51.470 – W19°13.640
- Finish coordinates GPS: N63°45.980 – W19°22.480
The trail leads you over the Brattháls Ridge into Hvanngil Ravine, wading across the small Bratthálskvísl River. In the Hvanngil Ravine you will find two huts, one built for sheepherds in 1963 and one for tourists, built in 1995. As Álftavatn and Hvanngil are only 5 km apart, Hvanngil can be used as an alternate accommodation. The huts have toilet facilities, showers and a small camping site in an old lava field.
Leaving Hvanngil you cross a bridge over the Kaldaklofskvísl River. On the eastern bank of Kaldaklofskvísl River the trail splits in two. You should take the path leading south to Emstrur and Þórsmörk. The other branch leads east to Mælifellssandur (Road F 210). Soon after that, another river has to be waded.
For a few kilometers, the Laugavegur Trail joins a mountain road. You can stay on the road all the way to the Emstrur hut or take a hiking trail alongside the road.
You will have to cross the powerful Nyrðri Emstruá River on a bridge that the road will take you to. After crossing the bridge you will traverse few kilometers on flat land until you suddenly find the Botnar huts in Emstrur.
Evening walk: Markarfljótsgljúfur canyon is a 40 to 90 minute hiking tour with beautiful views of the canyons and neighboring mountains.
Day four: Emstrur (Botnar) - Þórsmörk
- Distance: 15 km, 6 – 7 hours
- Elevation decrease: 300 m
- Starting Coordinates GPS: N63°45.980 – W19°22.480
- Finish coordinates GPS: N63°41,4 – W19°35,59
In about 45 minutes, after heading out from the Emstrur huts you should be on a steep path leading towards the canyon of Syðri-Emstruá River. The river can be crossed on a hiking bridge in a narrow part of the canyon, with the river raging beneath your feet. From the canyon you will be walking through a hilly area known as Almenningar with the first view of Þórsmörk in sight. At the end of Almenningar you will have to wade the Þröngá River the deepest on the Laugavegur Trail. When wading it is good practice to go hand in hand and head downstream or to use hiking poles to keep your balance. After crossing the Þröngá River you will enter the forested area of Þórsmörk. Follow the path to an intersection with signs that show directions to different huts in Þórsmörk. From there you should reach the Volcano Huts in Húsadalur Þórsmörk or Langidalur hut in 30 minutes.
Evening walks: In Þórsmörk you will find many possibilities for evening walks such as onto the Mt. Valahnúkur or to the Sönghellir Cave.