Best Hikes in Iceland

Best Hikes in Iceland

Picture this: you’re stood in the middle of the Icelandic wilderness wrapped up in your warmest hiking gear, being buffeted by ice-cold wind while surrounded by glacier-capped mountains, crashing waterfalls and lush-green hillsides. And you’re just standing there, slap bang in the middle of this beautiful landscape, taking it all in. There is something truly magical about donning your walking boots and leaving the car behind as you embark into the rugged wild that fills this Scandinavian Island. Roam past everything from boiling pits of bubbling mud and steaming fumaroles to quietly creaking glaciers and blacker-than-black sand beaches. Whether you’re a hiking novice or an all-round outdoor extraordinaire, you will find trails you will love on our list of the best hikes in Iceland


  1. Mount Esjan
  2. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula
  3. Fimmvörðuháls Trail
  4. Landmannalaugar
  5. Laugavegur
  6. Hornstrandir


Mount Esjan

Leave the rosy corrugated roofs of Reykjavik behind and hop aboard a bus to Mount Esjan on the outskirts of the city. This is one of the best hikes in Iceland for views of its capital and it offers a whole host of wonderful hiking opportunities from its base, all the way to its table-like top. Although the mountain is only 3000ft tall (about twice the height of the Empire State Building), some parts of the hike are demanding, with ropes and steps provided where climbing is necessary (a true Icelandic adventure). The easier trail winds through tiny forests before reaching Steinn, the first viewpoint, and carries on, becoming more daring as you near the top. The views out over Reykjavik are spectacular and make for a stunning day of hiking.


The Snaefellsnes Peninsula

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is brimming with exciting day-long hikes. From heading to the summit of the glacier topped Snaefellsjökull volcano (ten hours, moderate level) and the arrowhead-shaped Kirkjufell (three hours, expert level) to the black sand-filled Dritvik Cove (one-and-a-half miles, easy level) and the rocky Arnarstapi Cliff walk (one-and-a-half miles, easy level), there really is something for everyone. Meander past coastal caves filled with nesting birds and clamber up jagged volcanic formations on some of the best hikes in Iceland.


Fimmvörðuháls Trail

As Iceland’s most famous trail, Fimmvörðuháls had to go on our list of the best hikes in Iceland. This one-to-two-day hike is 15.5 miles long and moderately difficult. It takes explorers across the top of the thundering Skógafoss waterfall, where you will be able to see the majestic falls and its misty rainbow, before following a path along the river, past more majestic waterfalls and down thrilling canyons which may just be some of the most beautiful in Iceland. Rest your weary legs in a mountain cabin for the night, before exploring volcanic craters and incredible glaciers as the dawn sun turns everything a shade of dusty pink.

Waterfall in Iceland



Some of the best one-day hikes in Iceland can be found in Landmannalaugar, an area famed for its rainbow rhyolite mountainsides, undulating lava fields and steaming geothermal hot springs. Here, you’ll find walks for all ages through fields of solidified lava, moderate hikes around age-old craters and more advanced adventures including summiting the mountains that overlook Landmannalaugar. The Blahnúkúr Brennisteinsalda Loop is one of our favourites on the peninsular and is without a doubt one of the best hikes in Iceland, made even more spectacular when combined with a soak in the nearby hot springs. You will need an authorized 4x4 to get onto the peninsular for most of the year, so bear that in mind before donning your hiking boots.



This 34-mile hike will take you past some of the country’s most otherworldly landscapes and sights, putting it firmly on our list of the best hikes in Iceland. This moderate hike takes around four days, winding through hot springs (the route is rather fittingly called the ‘Hot Spring Route’), through black lava fields and past mossy oases. Venture through meadows and along aquamarine rivers until you reach the vibrant valley of Thorsmork which is surrounded by cragged-toothed mountains and slow-moving glaciers.



Hornstrandir is located in Iceland’s most remote hiking area: the Westfjords. This six-day hike, which is fairly challenging, winds through Arctic tundra, breathtaking fjords and craggy mountains, and takes you past some of Europe’s largest bird nesting colonies nestled in cliffs. The 53-mile route gives you the chance to explore one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas and isn’t for the faint hearted. A dventurers must be entirely self-reliant and you may literally be the only people in the whole area leaving you to explore the whopping fjords and colourful wildflower meadows in blissful isolation.


Written by Immy Kelly

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