Iceland is a breath-taking country known for its nature – fiery volcanoes, fjords, mountains, rivers, geysers and the famed Aurora Borealis. A veritable nature’s paradise, the country is a fantastic place to discover the outdoors and engage in adventure sports such as hiking. Here are three gorgeous trails that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Iceland.
The Laugavegur Trail
This hike is by far the most popular among locals and international visitors alike. It offers a diverse range of landscapes from colorful mountains and incredibly hot springs to majestic rivers and stunning lakes. It is a 55-km trek (Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk) that can be done in a span of 4-5 days. Anyone who is reasonably fit can do the hike. There are 6 huts along the trail for accommodation and it is also possible to camp. However, you must bring your own gear. The best time to do hiking in the highlands is during the summer months from mid-June to September.
Hornstrandir Tour and Hike
Hornstrandir is in the Westfjords and is the country’s northernmost peninsula. Its nature reserve is one of the most stunning areas in Iceland. Hiking through the area will take around 5 days if you are walking daily from 3 to 7 hours. The reserve is characterized by magnificent cliffs with Arctic flora and fauna dotting the scenery. One of the biggest bird colonies in the country can be found in Hornbjarg Cliff. Some of the wildlife you can see in Hornstandir includes 2 species of seals, the lovely Arctic fox and 12 species of whales on the coast. The reserve is remote and the only way to access it is by boat. A hiking trip to the area must be well-organized, taking into account adequate food and supplies as well as protective gear against the cold, water and wind as the weather is unpredictable and can change without warning. Should anything go wrong, basic survival skills can help you pull through before help arrives.
If you continue beyond Þórsmörk, you can hike all the way to Skógar. The route is 25km long and can be done in a day. Note that this is a rigorous hike and will take you 10 hours to complete. This hike is simply stunning as you can see several types of landscapes in one day passing 26 breathtaking waterfalls, climbing up mountains, visiting the famous Eyjafjallajökull (which erupted in 2010) and Katla volcanoes. For photographers, the hike is a surreal experience and a day might not be enough to savor each sight and capture its beauty through the lens of a camera. There is a hut midway through the hike that can accommodate up to 20 people if you decide to break your journey and stay the night.
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