Iceland is one of the world’s most striking countries. With its remote location in the north Atlantic Ocean, it’s a nation that captivates and fascinates travelers from all over the world. From its famous geysers and epic waterfalls to the awe-inspiring northern lights, it’s hard not to fall in love with the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’.
Hiking in Iceland is the best way to see this country’s striking scenery up close. There's no better way to get to know this country than by exploring its diverse and unique landscape on foot. You don’t have to travel far out of Reykjavik to find some tremendous hiking routes, but no matter where you go, you’ll discover a unique landscape and some truly spectacular natural wonders.
With dormant volcanoes, black sand beaches, and hidden freshwater lagoons, hiking is an excellent way to explore all that Iceland has to offer. These are some of the best hikes in Iceland.
Iceland has countless beautiful waterfalls, but this one is just a short trip north from capital Reykjavik. Walk through the Hvalfjordur valley, via two river crossings and a cave, to Glymur's cascading waters. This is Iceland's second-tallest waterfall, measuring 650 feet high.
Known as ‘the Pearl of the Highlands’, Landmannalaugar's peaks tower over various hiking trails. Among southern Iceland's most picturesque settings, the area's settlements date back to the Viking age. Hike amid lava fields and alongside crater lakes, before taking a dip in a natural hot spring.
Breathe in the pure mountain air from the summit of Mount Esja, also known as Esjan. Well-maintained routes take you along terrain of varying difficulties, but your hiking efforts are well worth it. The views en route are spectacular, and the panoramic vista of the Reykjavik skyline is your reward at the top.
This multi-day excursion is a favorite for local hikers and visitors alike. The goal is Askja, one of Iceland's most spectacular calderas. On the route, you'll encounter the moonlike landscape of the country's largest continuous lava field, with numerous volcanic peaks and rocky terrain.
At the top of many hikers’ bucket lists, the Laugavegur trail is one of the world's finest. Taking several days to complete, you’ll trek across a geothermal landscape past volcanoes and glaciers. Bring your camera—the immaculate natural beauty on this hike is like nowhere else.
Hiking in Iceland requires preparation. The country has famously unpredictable weather even in summer, so make sure to bring warm layered clothing, sufficient water and food, a first aid kit, and a good pair of walking boots, especially in the winter. Always check the latest trail and weather advisories for updated information. Visit during the winter months, and you may see the northern lights, while summer offers near-endless daylight.
The best time to go to Iceland is in the summer: the temperatures are pleasant and the days are long. Depending on the region you are going to, you can also go in May or September, when there are fewer tourists and the climate is still pleasant, but be warned: some trips and sites are closed during these months. Between October and April, the country is nearly always in darkness, but you can see the magnificent aurora borealis if you are ready to brave the cold and the night.