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Iceland: A Hiker’s Paradise

|September 20, 2018
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

Struggling to choose your next hiking destination? Read on to learn why Iceland is a hiker's paradise and discover the country's most spectacular hiking trails!

When people think of hiking in Europe, they tend to think of themselves exploring Germany’s picturesque Black Forest, ambling along Ireland’s coastal trails or even trekking through the Alps.

However, there is every reason to think that Iceland, the Land of Fire and Ice, has all of these great places beat.

Read on to discover why Iceland is considered a true hiker’s paradise!

A Unique & Diverse Landscape

Simply put, Iceland is one the most eye-catching and beautiful countries in the world. There’s nowhere else on Earth where you’ll find such a dazzling variety of awe-inspiring natural wonders; geysers, waterfalls, glaciers and imposing mountain ranges are all nestled side by side in a land that is like no other.

Hiking on Fimmvörðuháls. Captured by Norbert Zoho

Iceland’s eclectic collection of geographical features make it one of the most desirable hiking locations in Europe. Considered a hidden gem, hikers and climbers of all experience levels, from absolute beginners to accomplished experts, can enjoy mountains of hiking opportunities!

Iceland’s Most Popular Hiking Trails

Those who come to visit Iceland have a virtually endless list of options to choose from when it comes to selecting their hiking routes. Below, our team of seasoned Arctic adventurers have picked out three of the very best hiking locations that the fabled Land of Fire and Ice has to offer, providing everything a budding explorer could want, from challenging climbs to majestic views.  For even more recommendations, read our detailed guide to Iceland’s best hiking routes!

Landmannalaugar, a Geothermal Paradise

Part of Iceland’s famous central highland region, Landmannalaugar is a unique geothermal area located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve which boasts numerous exciting treks and trails to explore.

Some of the most popular hiking routes Landmannalaugar has to offer include:

  • The Laugavegur Trail
  • Brennisteinsalda Mountain Trail, also known as the Sulphur Wave Trail
  • Blahnjukur Mountain Trail, also known as the Blue Peek Trail
  • Ljótipollur Trail, which directly translates into ‘Ugly Puddle Trail’
  • Hellismannaleið Trail
  • Sprengisandur Trail

The Laugavegur Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Iceland, and with good reason. Each year, thousands of tourists and locals visit the region to undertake this breath-taking hike.

Departing from Landmannalaugar, you’ll travel deep into the highlands where you’ll encounter glaciers, hot springs, geysers and volcanoes. At the end of the trail, hikers will find themselves in Thorsmork, a lush green valley which takes its name from Thor, the Norse god of thunder. If you'd like to begin your hike in the beautiful Thorsmork Valley, our super jeep day tour and hike offers thrill and adventure.

The valley, which is said to have been created by Thor himself, is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Iceland (which is saying a lot!). With this in mind, be sure to pack a good camera!

Snæfellsjökull Glacier Adventure

Standing more than 1,400 meters tall, the mighty Snæfellsjökull Glacier is found at the edge of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Western Iceland and is famed for its magnificent views of both land and sea.

A hike to the top of the glacier usually takes between 6 and 8 hours, but the lengthy trek is well worth it in the end! Once you’ve submitted the snow-capped peak, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the east coast of Greenland, as well as the clear blue Arctic ocean beneath. Be sure to pack suitable glacier gear for this adventure, you won’t want to feel the biting cold at the top.

It is small wonder that the fantastic scenery of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula inspired French author Joules Verne to write his classic science fiction novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It really does look like something from out of this world – a genuine land that time forgot!

Discovering Glymur Waterfall

At almost 200 meters tall, Glymur Waterfall is the second highest waterfall in all of Iceland and has become one of the most popular hiking routes in the country. The Glymur Waterfall Trail begins at Hvalfjordur (which loosely translates to ‘the whale ford’), before meandering through lush green landscapes and finally arriving at the imposing waterfall.

The trek is perfect for hikers of all abilities and fitness levels and can be completed in a breezy 3 or 4 hours. This short excursion is the ideal day trip for visitors who have a passion for outdoor adventures but don’t have too much time to dedicate to them – perfect for weekenders.

Glymur Waterfall is an area steeped in legend and mysticism. A local folktale tells the strange story of how this area received its name. The story of Glymur Waterfall is one of magic, betrayal and an angry whale – essential bedtime reading!

Arctic Adventures Hiking Tours

Arctic Adventures offers customers a wide range of hiking tours, which take in all of the above hiking routes and a great many more.

One of the most popular hiking tours on offer is our 3-day Hiker’s Package. The multi-day tour allows hikers to see the very best of Iceland, including the Reykjadalur Hot Springs, Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve, Thorsmork Valley and The Golden Circle.

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