With its dramatic landscapes of volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, hot springs and lava fields, Iceland makes for a magical hiking destination.
In fact, one of the best things about hiking in the achingly scenic Nordic nation is that, as there are so many trails here, it’s very easy to escape the crowds. And if embarking on a solo hike sounds a bit too daunting, there are a huge number of guided trekking tours available catering to all kinds of tastes, budgets and needs. We’ve dug deep and picked out 5 of the best.
Hiking, Hot Springs and Northern Lights (4 days)
This tour by Icelandic Mountain Guides is a great way to see plenty of Iceland in a short space of time – including the iconic Northern Lights. The adventure begins with a hike through the Thingvellir National Park along the fault lines that show the rifting of the earth’s crust. Your guide will regale you with stories about the historical events that have taken place here and why it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Next, you’ll drive on to the rest of the Golden Circle, namely the spouting springs of Geysir and majestic Gullfoss waterfall. Other highlights include a visit to the vast Nesjavellir geothermal power plant, a hike up the Sólheimajökull glacier, a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights, and the option of bathing in the Geothermal Baths of Fontana Spa. The tour ends in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. From $1,279 per person.
Laugavegur Trek (11 days)
Running from the Landmannalaugar geothermal springs to the Þórsmörk nature reserve, the Laugavegur long-distance trail in southern Iceland is one of the country’s most celebrated hiking routes. It takes in dozens upon dozens of jaw-dropping landmarks and natural attractions, such as the awe-inspiring wonder of Skógafoss, Þingvellir National Park and Heinabergsjökull Lagoon where you’ll get the opportunity to go kayaking on its tranquil waters. The immersive tour also starts and ends in the vibrant capital city of Reykjavik, offering some urban respite from the all-consuming natural wonders that will bombard you for the rest of the trip. From $8,615 per person.
Trekking Eastern Iceland (6 days)
Dotted with humbling fjords, breathtaking waterfalls, and picturesque fishing villages, Eastern Iceland is an adventure unto itself – and intrepid travellers can experience this otherworldly region in its truest form on this fully-guided six-day trek. Hiking highlights include a trek through Borgarfjörður valley where you might catch a glimpse of the “hidden people” as you pass through legendary elf communities, an excursion to the stunning sites around Mývatn lake including a stop off at one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe, and traversing a trail through the smoking lava fields of Leirhnjúkur that’s often compared to a martian landscape. From $1,711 per person.
Skaftafell Glacier Hiking (3 hours)
If you don’t have the time or budget for a multi-day hiking adventure, this short tour in southern Island could be for you. Over three hours, you’ll get a taste of Iceland’s majestic landscapes as you head to Svínafellsjökull glacier, situated on Iceland’s highest mountain range, where you’ll learn the basics of rope work as you hike to the top. You’ll also get to learn about the natural phenomena, outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest ice cap in Iceland. At the top, you’ll have free time to explore the ice sculptures and gaze into deep crevasses and moulins that can reach all the way down to the bottom. From $1,711 per person.
Ultimate Iceland Adventure (11 days)
Taking in the length and breadth of the country, this immersive tour is a thrilling way to experience Iceland’s most challenging but rewarding hiking trails. Over the course of 11 days, you’ll navigate trails on foot that run through some of the nation’s most picture-postcard spots, including Þingvellir National Par, Seljalandsfoss, and Skógafoss, as well as going kayaking in the beautiful Heinabergsjökull Lagoon. Off the hiking trail, there’ll also be more sedate stop-offs, including in the tiny but bustling fishing port of Haeimaey, the only inhabited island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago. From $8,615 per person.