Before I’d even finished the trek, just halfway through, I had pretty much made up my mind that this was the best hike I’d ever done and couldn’t imagine how there could possibly be a better week long hike anywhere in the world with so much variation, scale, weather, challenge and just absolutely incredible and unique views. That was even after being battered by 80kmph+ winds and rain for 16 hours.
I’m going to write a lot of details because I found it bloody difficult to get any useful information on Iceland from Google in general. Information on Thórsmörk and Landmannalaugar was worse, but when in the country there are loads of tourist information brochures that aren’t online.
There is so much to cover and so many photos so I’m going to break this into separate posts. I actually a have ton of panoramas that I can’t stitch together until I pick up my laptop in Scotland so I feel like half the wow-factor is going to be missing, but anyway…
I actually bought mine last time I was in Iceland, but you can pick one up in most gas stations, information shops or directly from the Ferðakort Map store in Reykjavik. The Map Shop has been set up at the Iðnú Bookstore at Brautarholt 8 in Reykjavík. Price about 1,550ISK.
I camped because the huts are more expensive than hostels and there’s no need to book camping, but I imagine huts need to be booked well in advance to secure spots. Especially Útvist and Baldvinsskali huts over Fimmvörðuháls as camping there is a little risky.
The huts between Landmannalaugar and Thórsmörk on the Laugavegur trek are managed by FI and cost 7,500ISK per person.
The huts between Skogár and Thórsmörk on the Fimmvörðuháls trek are managed by two separate companies.
Útvist hut looks nicer and has a nicer view for 7,500ISK.
Baldvinsskali is again managed by FI and costs 6,000ISK per person.
Alternatively, camping is 1,800ISK except at Húsadalur where it’s 2,000ISK and Fimmvörðuháls where it’s free if you’re crazy enough!
Food & Water
Firstly, it’s Iceland. Pure water is everywhere and in abundance. You can even drink it straight from the glacier!
I packed 5 days worth of food to get me from Landmannalaugar to Thórsmörk and bought it all at Bonus in Reykjavik for 7,700ISK. They had plenty of museli, packet rice/pasta, canned food and snacks.
There was no powdered milk so I ended up with Nesquick haha. I didn’t see any good trail mix, but you can buy things separately and DIY. No Uncle Ben’s rice sadly. It just wasn’t the same…
I imagine there is a small and expensive general store in Landmannalaugar (because Thórsmörk has one), but I didn’t look because I didn’t need anything. The Thórsmörk store mostly sells luxury items (wine, beer, chips, chocolate bars) because I think most people take tours with jeeps carrying supplies. Worst case there is a restaurant in Thórsmörk, but be prepared to pay anything from 2,700 – 4,700ISK for meals.
There’s a tiny shop in Fossberð in Skogár on the other side which has some basics.
It can be fookin’ windy, rainy, freezing or sunny. Pack wisely and consider the wind when camping. I saw quite a few flattened tents at Álftavatn.
There are numerous buses and timetables that aren’t hard to find from Reykjavik Excursions or Sterna. I took the Reykjavik Excursions one way ticket from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar (8,000ISK) because I was hitchhiking east afterwards.
The Day by Day
Day 1 – Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker
The bizarre landscapes of Landmannalaugar with lava, rhyolite mountains, snow, greenery and volcanic activity. I was lucky to have such blue weather.
Day 2 – Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn
Leaving the foggy lands beyond Hrafntinnusker and heading into greener pastures. Unfortunately a big storm was coming, but you could see that the views would be spectacular on a sunny day.
Day 3 – Álftavatn to Emstrur
Walking out of green land and into a strange black sandy desert covered in moss. A horrible day of weather to cross the black desert, but followed up by a grey, but dry day to see the stunning views of the glacier and nearby canyon.
Day 4 – Emstrur to Thórsmörk
Walking alongside the glaciers, but the views were a bit indifferent. For the first time you start to see bushes and shrubs before fording the river into Thórsmörk (Thor’s Forest) and seeing a forest and trees for the first time below the commanding glaciers.
Day 5 – Thórsmörk
People normally spend this day hiking around Thórsmörk or resting and I did this as part of Day 6 instead to catch up a day.
Day 6 – Thórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls
Hiking up, up, up and out of the valley to the bizarre landscape of lava, snow, ice and volcanoes at Fimmvörðuháls.
Day 7 – Fimmvörðuháls to Skogár
A long, but leisurely stroll down to Skogár past waterfall after waterfall. Oh, and plenty of Icelandic sheep too. A very misty day that added to the scenery.
Again, there are numerous buses linking Reykjavik with Landmannalaugar, Álftavatn, Emstrur, Thórsmörk and Skogár. Plus buses that go east of Landmannalaugar and Skogár.
I tried my hand at hitchhiking from Skogár to Vik at 8.30pm at night. It took a little over an hour, but a couple of Canadians picked me up Finally some redemption for them after the lame experience in Toronto. Is it a coincidence they were from Vancouver instead?