10 Reasons to Hike the Laugavegur, One of the Best Trails in the World
I’ve traveled halfway around the globe, but hiking the Laugavegur trail was the most incredible experience of my life. This hiking trail is known as the best in Iceland – or possibly even one of the best hikes in the whole world. The trail is 55 km (34 mi) long, it will take you into the middle of the Icelandic wilderness, far from any paved roads or modern amenities.
The trail starts in Landmannalaugar, a colorful valley spotted with steaming hot springs that you can even bathe in if you would like to take a break. Completing the hike takes two to four days, with stops at the mountain huts and campsites along the way. At the end, you will arrive in a lush green oasis called Þórsmörk, ‘Thor’s valley’.
Those who have been bitten by the wanderlust bug probably know that the most mesmerizing beauties are often hidden from the eyes of the crowd. You have to get out of your comfort zone to find them and when you do, your prize is much greater than a few nice views.
1. Discover the Unique Icelandic Highlands
The uninhabited wilderness in the interior of Iceland is called the Icelandic Highlands. Endless black deserts, rough volcanic mountain ranges, glistening glaciers, lush geothermal oasis: these are just a few faces of the mysterious Highlands. This area is the essence of Iceland and it will soon be proclaimed as the largest National Park in the country.
2. Walk Through Fire and Ice
Rough fields of solid lava stretch for tens of kilometers, covered with thick, green moss and snow patches here and there. Steam rises from the ground and snowy peaks sparkle in the distance. An enthralling blend of fire and ice will surround the hiker in all directions.
3. Bathe in a Natural Hot Spring
Some of Iceland’s most active volcanoes are close by the trail. The word ‘Laugavegur’ translates as the ‘Hot Spring Route’ which refers to the impressive volcanic activity in the area. There is a natural hot spring at Landmannalaugar, just where the trail starts. Bathing in this naturally warm water in the middle of nowhere is the experience of a lifetime!
4. Meet New Friends from All over the World
You will travel with like-minded adventurers from all over the world. Together, you will step out of your comfort zones, share in pain and joy, and develop strong bonds with each other. This is how the most beautiful friendships form, don’t they?
5. Meet Yourself on the Way
The Laugavegur trail is the Arctic El Camino. Walking the trail has amazing psychological benefits. When I decided to do it, I knew that it would be more than just a beautiful walk. Hiking in the wilderness, fighting with the elements of nature, admiring indescribable natural sights – leads to a higher level of thinking, another state of mind. An ultimate kind of peace awaits you at the end of the journey.
6. Challenge Yourself and Enjoy the Benefits
The Laugavegur trail can be challenging both physically and mentally. Making it your personal mission, you’ll discover more about yourself and improve your strength, resilience, and self-awareness. Happiness is usually the end result of successful challenges!
Hiking on Fimmvörðuháls. Captured by Norbert Zoho
7. Have a Compelling Story to Tell
… On your blog, for your grandchildren, on a first date, at a job interview. Whoever is listening to your story about backpacking in the Icelandic wilderness, watch their eyes widen and shine while you talk about this epic experience, they will surely fall instantly in love with your storytelling.
Hiking on Fimmvörðuháls. Captured by Norbert Zoho
8. Laugavegur Is Perfect for Solo Travelers
Iceland is the safest country in the world. Its other amazing benefits are that the nights are completely bright in summer and there are no dangerous animals. This is the main reason why it is one of the top destinations for solo travelers. This is also why I chose it when backpacking by myself. I wanted to be safe but also to feel courageous at the same time and I absolutely got what I was looking for.
9. Continue Towards Glaciers and Volcanoes
One of the latest volcanic eruptions took place in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano made itself world famous. Its two new craters, Magni and Móði are located on the Fimmvörðuháls trail which starts in Þórsmörk, where the Laugavegur ends.
The Fimmvörðuháls trail leads between three glaciers and two volcanoes and ends at the stunning Skógafoss waterfall. Connecting the two trails, Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls will give you 5 or 6 days of pure adventures!
10. Laugavegur Is One of the Best Hiking Trails in the World
Now that you know all of the details, would it surprise you to hear that National Geographic chose the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails as one of the top 20 best hiking trails in the world? They are definitely the most beautiful hiking trails in Iceland!
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