How To Plan For The Laugavegur Trek In Iceland

Remember that time I hit you with loads of images from the beautiful Laugavegur Trek? I hope you do, and I hope it led you to immediately make up your mind to tackle this trek someday.

Considered Iceland’s most popular hiking trail, the Laugavegur Trek (or Laugavegurinn) spans 55km from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk (Thorsmork). It passes through a very colorful, varied landscape: from rainbow-colored hills to black volcanic deserts, neon green valleys to ice caves. This is not a trek for wildlife spotting or tree hugging – nope, just wide open landscapes that seem to have sprung from another world.

Now that I’ve convinced you that it’s the most beautiful hike in all the land, I’m going to help you plan for the Laugavegur Trek: everything from how to get there from Reykjavik, to where to stay on the trail, to what to pack.

Laugavegurinn Trek

1. Research Bus Timetables in Iceland

There are only 2-3 months out of the year where it’s possible to hike the Laugavegur Trek. Outside of mid-June through mid-September, the roads leading to and from the trail are impassible and buses do not run. Depending on weather, i.e. how heinous the winter was, there may be too much residual snow to make the trek in June. I highly recommend playing it safe and planning your Laugavegur Trek for somewhere in the mid-July to mid-September range.

Thus, the very first thing you should do is check to ensure buses are running on the days you want to start and end the trek. Reykjavik Excursions is the main bus company serving Iceland, but Trex also runs buses to the trailheads. You might also consult Nordic Adventure Travel which consolidates the various timetables on a very messy, confusing website.

You’ll want to check what time buses run between Reykjavik and Landmannalaugar, as well as Reykjavik and Thorsmork (or alternatively Skógar, if you want to add an extra day to your trek).

Laugavegur Trek

2. Map Out Your Route for the Laugavegur Trek

Then, with bus schedules at hand, it’s time to piece together your route for the Laugavegur Trek. You can do the Landmannalaugar-Thorsmork section comfortably in 4 days/3 nights; however, if your time in Iceland is not so limited, I encourage you to add extra days to more thoroughly explore the region. You have a few options here:

  • Stay an extra day in Landmannalaugar – The only swimmable hot spring along the trek is in Landmannalaugar, so unless you’d like to kick off your lengthy first day of hiking with a dip or start the trek from the south, consider alloting an extra day to swim or do some short day hikes around Landmannalaugar. Plus, this is the most beautiful region along the Laugavegur Trek – why WOULDN’T you want more time here?
  • Add an extra day to trek from Thorsmork to Skogar – In stark contrast to the rest of the trail, this 25km segment is speckled with waterfalls and craters. It’s doable in about 10 hours, though you might prefer to take your time and spread it across two days of hiking.
  • Add one or more days to sample the day hikes from Thorsmork – Thorsmork is paradise for day hikes, which you can enjoy without having to lug around a big backpack. There are hikes you can follow into the valley or up into the surrounding mountains, most of which run through the forest – something that the rest of the trail is sorely lacking. There’s also a hike that leads to the foot of Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which is worth doing if you won’t be taking a separate glacier tour in Iceland.

Laugavegurinn Trek

You’ll want to plan your route so that you arrive early enough on your last day to catch the bus back to Reykjavik. (I may or may not have inadvertently planned on taking a bus back on the same day I was due to fly out of Reykjavik… oops!)

Also consider the direction in which you’d like to tackle the hike. Trekking north to south is most common, as Landmannalaugar is 300m higher in elevation than Thorsmork – though it can very well be done in reverse.

Laugavegur Trek map
Source: Nordic Adventure Travel

3. Book Your Huts for the Laugavegur Trek

As soon as you know approximately where you’ll be trekking each day, you should book your huts. Ferðafélag Íslands (FI) hosts several huts along the trail which they highly recommend trekkers book several months in advance. The huts are in full operation while the buses are still running to/from the trail; if buses aren’t running, then the huts are closed for the season.

Most huts along the Laugavegur Trek are 6500kr ($54 US) per night, but before you let sticker shock take hold, consider the value here. I don’t know about you, but there’s precious little I want more after a long, arduous, and potentially wet day of hiking than to envelop myself in warmth and sprawl out on a mattress to recover from the day. In addition to heat and beds, these huts come fully equipped with kitchen utensils, lighters, tables and benches, and well-kept bathroom facilities. Some even offer hot showers (5 minutes for 500kr/$4 US).

Alternatively, if lugging a tent and enduring the cold and wind aint no thang to you, you have the option of camping outside of the huts for 1200kr ($10 US) per night, plus 500kr ($4) to use the hut kitchen. Theoretically, you could save $40/night this way and still be able to hang out and cook dinner in the heated hut before retreating to your (cold, confined, wildly uncomfortable) tent for the night.

Laugavegurinn TrekTents at Landmannalaugar
These are the huts available for booking along the trail (in order from north to south), which you can reserve for 6500kr/night by emailing fi@fi.is:

  • Landmannalaugar
  • Hrafntinnusker
  • Álftavatn*
  • Hvanngil*
  • Emstrur (Botnar)
  • Þórsmörk (Langidalur)

* These huts are a couple km apart, so you’ll book one or the other but not both

Since Þórsmörk (Thorsmork) is a hub for several day hikes and is more easily accessible than Landmannalaugar, it actually hosts 3 separate huts. The above mentioned Langidalur is a FI hut, but there are two other hut options in Thorsmork as well:

  • Húsadalur – owned and run by Volcano Huts, this slightly fancier accommodation provides private cabins as well as the standard bunk huts, with bonus luxuries like a hot pool, sauna, and restaurant. Huts are 6500kr/night and can be booked on the Volcano Huts website.
  • Basar – owned and run by Utivist, this is the cheapest hut option on the trail at 4200kr/night ($35 US). You can reserve your spot by emailing utivist@utivist.is.

Laugavegur TrekÁlftavatn
A few other things to note about the huts on the Laugavegur Trek:

  • You are expected to carry all your garbage with you throughout the trek. Only a couple of the huts have trash bins, so it’s mostly carry in/carry out.
  • Each hut is looked after by a warden, who will ensure the heat is turned on for the evening and that everyone is checked in for the night who has a bunk reserved. Wardens are happy to provide trekkers with information about the trek – be sure to ask them what the “night hikes” are at their hut!
  • Some wardens assign bunks, while others leave it first come first served. The nice thing is that they tend to assign the double beds to those who have booked together and save the single beds for the solo trekkers. If you’re concerned about potentially having to share a double bed with a stranger, you might want to aim to arrive on the early side.
  • Huts do not provide linens or pillows. Bring a sleeping bag!

Laugavegur Trek

4. Pack Appropriate Gear and Supplies for the Laugavegur Trek

You’re going to be tackling a challenging trek in the remote southern highlands of Iceland. Don’t make it any harder for yourself by being careless with your packing. Instead, take the time beforehand to procure essential gear and stock up on light yet filling foodstuff.

There is a restaurant and small shop at the Volcano Hut at Húsadalur where you can pick up extra gear and snacks, but it won’t do you much good if you’re starting the trek up at Landmannalaugar. Better to pack and carry in everything you’ll be needing for the entire trek.

And what exactly do you need to pack, you might ask? Read on for my best tips on what food and gear to bring on the Laugavegur Trek!

Food

One thing you won’t have to worry about is water. As long as you are equipped with water bottles and/or a camelbak pack, you can easily refill with clean water each day at the huts along the trek.

Food, on the other hand, you’ll have to carry in with you. What you bring depends on your dietary needs and preferences, but in general you’ll want to pack food that is filling and light in weight. Consider these tips:

  • For easy munching during the day while you’re on the trail, pack trail mix or protein bars. (I brought a bag of homemade trail mix from NYC, far cheaper than buying the ingredients in Reykjavik and more filling than bars)
  • Bring perishable items to consume on Day 1. Cheese and meats should still be good to eat, so take advantage while you can! (We brought pitas, salami, and cheese to make sandwiches for lunch on the first day)
  • The most satisfying, easy, nonperishable meal I’ve come up with for camping trips and treks? Chili! Grab cans of kidney beans, chickpeas, and some other bean with chili sauce, throw it all in a pot, and warm it up. The cans hold a lot of weight, so you might want to make chili earlier on in the trek to lose the weight in your pack.
  • Tuna’s another great nonperishable yet filling food.
  • Pasta is a no-brainer for an easy meal – but instead of toting along a big jar of tomato sauce, bring a tiny jar of pesto to put on it.

Gear

Weather is very unpredictable in Iceland. You should go into the Laugavegur Trek expecting to encounter rain, wind, and hail, and then consider yourself lucky if you’re not met with all three!

In addition to the obvious jacket and wool layers, be sure to include these must-pack items in your backpack for the trek:

  • Comfortable, broken-in hiking boots
  • A comfortable, well-fitting backpack
  • Backpack raincover
  • Trekking poles
  • Sleeping bag
  • Headlamp
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Wool socks
  • Gloves
  • Water bottles and/or Camelbak that can hold at least 2L in total

Laugavegur Trek

Heading to Iceland?

If this article helped you, I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d consider making your Iceland trip purchases through the following affiliate links. Any profits I make through your purchases go directly into covering the ever-increasing cost of running this site at no extra cost to you! :)

  • Use booking.com to find the best hotel deals
  • Use Airbnb to book an apartment for your Iceland accommodation (use this link and get $25 off your first booking!)
  • Use amazon.com to buy any hiking or camping gear you need for your Iceland trip

Check out my other posts about Iceland:

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How to plan for the Laugavegur Trek in Iceland

Frugal Facts

As of September 2014 —

Via Ferðafélag Íslands (FI):
Huts along the Laugavegur Trek are 6500kr ($54 US) per night, while campsites are 1200kr ($10 US) per night. A 5 minute hot shower is available at some of the huts and costs 500kr ($4 US).

Via Reykjavik Excursions:

  • The bus from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar takes 4 hours and costs 9000kr ($74 US). It runs from mid-June through mid-September (exact dates vary each year).
  • The bus from Thorsmork to Reykjavik takes 3.5 hours and costs 7500kr ($62 US). It runs from May 1 through October 15.

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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  • Meg Muckenhoupt

    Frugal effort vs. money question: are there outfits that will transport your luggage from hut to hut? If so, any idea how much they cost? I’ve been trying to find details online, but it’s been hard slogging by internet standards. If someone would carry a tent and food for less than the cost of a hut stay, it might be worth it.

    • lindsaypunk

      That’s a great question! Honestly, huts and food are cheap enough that they’re worth it. No one really camps along the trek in tents or brings much of their own food.

      And you can hire a porter to carry anything you want between huts! I had one carry my big backpack with all my cold weather gear and clothes, which made trekking a bit easier :) Hard to say what the cost would be because I did a package but maybe $20/day? Highly recommend!

      • Jilly Frijoles

        HI Lindsay!
        How did you go about hiking the porter? Were they offering their services at the trail head or is this something you pre-arranged?

        • lindsaypunk

          Hey there! I didn’t hire a porter – I carried my own gear! I didn’t see anyone with porters either, so I don’t think this is something that’s done on this trek. The only thing that comes close is booking a tour, and I believe they transport all food/gear for you along the trail so all you carry is your daypack.

          • Cronmoax

            Just a note: the second half or your initial response sounds like you did in fact hire a porter. ;)

            And you can hire a porter to carry anything you want between huts! I had one carry my big backpack with all my cold weather gear and clothes, which made trekking a bit easier :) Hard to say what the cost would be because I did a package but maybe $20/day? Highly recommend!

  • Amanda Shea

    Hi Lindsay! Would you recommend booking the first hut, Landmannalaugar? Is that simply a departing point after getting off the bus, or do hikers stay there overnight before beginning the trek?

    • lindsaypunk

      Great question! If you have the time, I say book it. That’ll give you a day to do some shorter hikes around Landmannalaugar as well as enjoy the hot springs there. We had to start the trek right away when we arrived so I missed out on those :(

  • Claire Spitzer

    can i do this hike solo? is it easy to get lost along the trail or is it well maintained? do you happen to know anything about camping outside of the designated camping sites? thanks!!

    • lindsaypunk

      YES, you can! It’s very well marked and trafficked enough that if anything happened to you, you’d run into other people in little time. I wouldn’t recommend camping outside of designated areas – I imagine the terrain would be ill-suited for tents elsewhere!

  • Vikram

    Hi Lindsay,

    I’ve been following your blogs over the last couple of weeks ever since I’ve booked my trip to Iceland for July this year with my partner. Your blogs have been fantastic and very informative, which has made our planning for the trip a breeze to an extent :). I’ve just booked the huts for this hike as well – starting from Skogar and finishing up at Landmannalaugar in 4 days. We have 2 days before this hike and 3 days after the hike in Iceland and confused where/what we do on these remaining days? Reading your other blogs for your Iceland trip, we want to do all of them but won’t be able to. Would you recommend anything in particular that we must do over these days? Both of us are going to Iceland for the very first time and we can see ourselves going there again for sure. We had to book the hike in the middle of our holidays in Iceland, as the huts were available only on these dates. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Vikram

    • lindsaypunk

      Hey there! So glad to hear my blog has helped you plan your trip! :D Yeah, it’s kind of hard to do a roadtrip when you only have a couple days at a time, but I would recommend renting a car after the hike and spending 2-3 days in the southwest/south of Iceland. It’s very easy driving and lots of stuff to see within a short distance :) Also recommend the Blue Lagoon – yes, it’s touristy, but AMAZING. Great way to spend a few hours!

  • Irene Arieputri

    Hi Lindsay,

    Let’s say I decide to camp (instead of booking the huts), do I still need to make any reservation or I can just go immediately to the campsite? I actually have quite plenty of time to spare in Iceland. Was wondering which one of the “extra days” options that I should go for (or maybe all? :P). After all I’m also considering to visit the Blue Lagoon and Lake Myvatn (for their natural baths), so is the hot spring at Landmannalaugar worth a visit?

    Cheers!

    • lindsaypunk

      Great question! I don’t *think* you need to reserve campsites, but you may want to double check. There aren’t a whole lot of campers, so space is not likely to run out at the sites. If you have extra days, I say go for them all! ;) If you want to swim in a hot spring, definitely add a day in Landmannalaugar. Otherwise the #1 thing you should add on is a day hiking from Thorsmork to Skogar.

      • lindsaypunk

        Also, re: the hot springs — I haven’t been in Landmannalaugar’s, but it’s small and just smack in the middle of nature, so I think it’s worth doing. Blue Lagoon is a whole other level of hot spring – it’s a commercialized spa, basically, and you could spend several hours soaking in the water there. Myvatn is very similar but less crowded, I’ve heard. Both are pricey, while Landmannalaugar is free :D I LOVED Blue Lagoon despite it being expensive and touristy, so it’s definitely worth doing!

  • lindsaypunk

    Happy you found me as well! :) I was also worried about the river crossings, but they’re all doable. I’d recommend hiking with someone and watching them cross first, then follow in their footsteps – much less scary this way! Also helps to take off your boots and put on some sandals or even just another pair of heavy socks while you cross – better than crossing barefoot! And take trekking poles if you can, they’ll help you keep your balance.

  • lindsaypunk

    Hey there! I wasn’t able to do the extra part of the trek to Skogar, so I can’t say for sure. When I originally researched the trek, I didn’t see anything that indicated that this segment would be any more challenging or less marked than the rest of it… so I’d think you’d be fine there! :)

  • Maria Piquet

    Hi Lindsay, Thanks for all of these details about your trip. Super helpful in planning my own later this summer. Do you know of any hut alternatives in Emstrur (Botnar)? The one run by FI is fully booked so I’m scrambling for another option.

    Thanks!
    maria

    • lindsaypunk

      Hey Maria! I don’t believe there are any other huts closeby, unfortunately :( Get on the waiting list if you can – otherwise maybe consider camping for a night? (But then you’d have to carry a tent all that way, eek!)

  • Nina Bockstael

    Thank you for this wonderfull information! I already did a road-tour through South-Iceland. Next year, I’ll do this trail. Is it physically difficult? And how did you prepared for it? Thx! :)

    • lindsaypunk

      Glad it was useful for you! :) I’d say the hike is pretty challenging. I didn’t do anything special to prepare for it, but I was already pretty in shape from crossfit and cycling which I think helped. That said, my friend who does triathalons and yoga found it really difficult, so I think it may have more to do with the type of fitness you do, not so much whether you’re fit.

      Another thing to consider is that you’ll be carrying a heavy pack the whole way, which adds a whole other level onto what’s already a challenging hike on its own. If you have some experience trekking with a pack, it’ll serve you well! If not, maybe consider doing shorter walks at home with a pack just to get used to it.

      Best of luck to you! It’s worth it! :D

  • Richard W

    Hi! Question on booking the bus…do I need to do it beforehand on line or can you buy at the bus station the day before? I want to get the hiker’s pass but I’m concerned there could be no seats on the day I want to go (on a fairly tight schedule). Are there enough buses running the #11 route that I don’t need to worry about not finding a seat?

    • lindsaypunk

      I would book ahead online if you know your dates – pretty sure they recommend doing this. I think you can buy the day of, but there’s no telling if the bus will be booked. I don’t believe they make many runs per day.

  • Arby Lapira

    Hey Lindsay! I was wondering if we have to book campsites for the night, or is it a first come first serve basis? You made sleeping in a tent so enticing, I just want a piece of it ;) Just kidding, we’re just doing this on a really tight budget :)

    Thanks in advance!

    • lindsaypunk

      hahaha! I didn’t camp, so I’m not 100% sure, but there aren’t set campsites and there weren’t many tents set up at any hut, so I’d be extremely surprised if you had to book ahead. Plenty of room all around! :)

    • Christopher

      I did this hike last year, we did not book ahead of time. I did it in early August, there were lots of people camping, so it pays to get to the campsite early to get a good spot. The warden tends to be pretty occupied with the bunk-dwellers, and not too concerned with making campers pay, so you could get away with it pretty easily. But the wardens were also super helpful, so I paid most times.Sorry if this is too late to be useful.

  • Cateq

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m going to be doing this trek next week and am booked for the huts. I’m curious how well heated the huts were. I’m debating how heavy a sleeping bag I need to bring.
    Thanks for your help!

    • lindsaypunk

      Oh they’re quite well heated. I had a down sleeping bag that’s rated 20F, but I don’t think you need one that warm. It won’t be super warm when you go to bed (the hut warden may turn the heat off/down, I can’t recall), but you won’t freeze by any means.

      • Cateq

        Thank you!! That’s super helpful!! Do you think they stay warm enough that just a fleece liner bag would be warm enough??

        • Shannon Holcomb

          I’m debating about the fleece liner vs sleeping bag as well. What would your suggestion be?

          • Cateq

            Hey Shannon,
            I got back from my trip about 2 weeks ago. The huts were generally very warm however in some of them they did cut the heat off or lower it overnight. The huts held the heat well but they did cool down some. When we were there the weather was unbelievably beautiful and warm (55ish degrees) so I’m not sure how much that impacted how warm the huts were.
            I run cold generally so I erred on the side of caution and brought a 30 degree bag. I was plenty warm and hot one night. I think a fleece liner would have been fine but I would probably have ended up sleeping in a couple layers. I think a travel bag or really light weight one made for 65 degrees would have been perfect.
            This is probably more detail than you were looking for but given how hard it was for me to find information I wanted to give more than less. Hope this helps and have a great time!

          • Shannon Holcomb

            Thank you Cateq!! I’m doing the hike next week and this is super helpful!!

  • Mallory J Mazer

    Hey! Just found your blog and am so happy I did! I am doing this hike with my boyfriend at the end of August and we are (sigh) tenting. I’m looking into booking the bus however from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar as we are travelling from north to south. Your recommendation was to book via Reykjavik Excursions?

    • lindsaypunk

      Yep, they’re the main bus service! I’d book in advance just for peace of mind :) Have so much fun!!

      • Mallory J Mazer

        Also, another question! Since we are tenting, I think I read that campers are allowed to use the hut kitchen facilities for a cost. Is this correct?

        • lindsaypunk

          Yep, it’s true! :)

  • Meghan Reading

    Great read! Thank you! I fly into Reyk at 6:40 in the morning and want to start the hike that day. Is it feasible to combine day 2 & 3? I only have 3 days to do the hike. Thanks!

    • lindsaypunk

      Hmm, I suppose you could – it’d be one very long day, though! :)

  • Christopher

    I did this hike last August, was just looking it up again because my little sister wants to do it too. I’m a bit surprised that a wesbite called “Frugal Frolicker” would advocate sleeping in the huts along the trail. I camped the whole way, and I didn’t mind it at all. It seemed crazy to me that so many people were willing to pay $50 to sleep inside, just to avoid camping. For the most part, the campsites were grassy and comfortable. One of the campsites (don’t remember the name, the first one out of Landmannalaugar, that was at the highest altitude of all the campsites) was quite windy, but they had built cool rock walls to surround each tent site to keep people protected from the wind. For those with flexible morals, the wardens tend to be busy with the bunk-dwellers and not too concerned with collecting the measly camping fee. But they are also extremely helpful, so I usually paid. Every campsite has at least a couple side hikes to do (about an hour round trip each), and the side hikes were way better than the hike itself. The hike goes where it has to to get to the the next campsite, but the side hikes just go to beautiful places. Plus, inexplicably, almost everyone is content to lounge around the campsite after spending maybe 4 hours hiking, so you have the most beautiful scenery of the trip almost to yourself…

    If you sleep 4 days on the trail, that’s over $150 you save by camping vs. sleeping in the bunkhouses, assuming you pay. You can cut your costs by a half if you choose to camp – that’s frugal.

    I don’t mean to be critical, this is a very useful page for anyone planning the hike, much better than anything I found before I went. But camping really isn’t as bad as all that. Also, I think you’d be doing everyone a service if you emphasised the side hikes a little more – they really were my favorite parts. I have pictures of some if you want to include them, let me know. I was frustrated by seeing so many people just stay at the campsite when half an hour away was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen…

    • lindsaypunk

      Hey Chris – thanks for your thoughtful, well-written remarks here! Bear in mind that everyone has different preferences, though, before you judge them for being willing to pay more to sleep in huts, or choosing to spend their afternoons relaxing instead of venturing out again to do the side hikes.

      I was deliberate in comparing the huts vs camping options so that other hikers can make the choice for themselves, but I didn’t go into detail about why I opted for the less-frugal hut option. There were a number of reasons why I was willing to pay $120 more for the luxury: my friends and I had never done a multi-day trek carrying heavy bags and didn’t know how we’d fare lugging tents and sleeping pads, we didn’t want to risk being freezing or wet at night, and we just wanted the experience of staying in huts and communing with fellow hikers from around the world.

      Does this invalidate the philosophy behind my blog and travel style? I don’t think so. It was absolutely the right choice for me and my friends on this hike. If I were to do the Laugavegur again though, I’d want to camp – now that I know that carrying a tent and trekking in rain and sleet is something I can handle! :)

      • Christopher

        Sorry, I wasn’t trying to invalidate your philosophy in any way. Maybe my wording was a little strong. But, you have to admit, your anti-tent rhetoric is pretty strong too ;)

        All I really meant is, this image of tent camping as being cold, wet, and uncomfortable isn’t really accurate. A good tent keeps you dry and a good sleeping bag keeps you warm, so there’s no reason to be uncomfortable in a tent. And sharing the weight of a 2 person tent isn’t so bad – a couple pounds each.

        I’m not saying nobody should choose to sleep in the huts. I realize everyone is different, with the money they are willing to spend and the ‘hardship’ they are willing to put up with. I’m just trying to encourage those who might consider camping.

        • Kara B

          Hey Christopher!
          What kind of weather did you encounter when you went? What kind of sleeping bag is needed? Any tips on where to find relatively cheap priced sleeping bags and one man tent?

          • Christopher

            Hey, the weather was fairly mild, a bit rainy, I’d say always above ~50 degrees during the day. I had a “20 degree (Farenheit)” bag, I would’ve been miserable in actual 20 degree weather but I was fine on this hike. Maybe 40 degrees at night? That’s just a guess, but I was never uncomfortable. Definitely bring good rain gear, though. I’m not sure how representative my experience was, but I think everyone gets rained on at least a little.

            I got my tent super cheap at an employee garage sale at an outdoor store here, but I’m not sure that’s a tip you can use… I guess the internet is your best bet, and it pays to shop around – the same sleeping bag can vary by up to about a factor of 2 at different stores. There’s a bunch of cheap outdoor gear websites to choose from.

  • John McMahon

    I am thinking of visiting Iceland in April of next year. You said access the roads are closed before June. What does this mean exactly? Is the land area still open? I like tent camping so not having huts available isn’t a big deal to me and I am used to winter backpacking in the states so having to hike in a couple extra miles because a road is closed also isn’t a big deal. Are we talking feet of snow or inches? Should I pack snowshoes?

    From the pictures it looked like at least one camping area wasn’t very far from a road / parking area so having to hike a little bit just to camp for the night would be fine with me. Not actually sure I want to do the entire trek in April but I could see doing sections if the land isn’t closed during the off season. Completely unfamiliar with how Iceland does land management

    • Ah, the roads in this area are completely closed off with snow this time of year. Vehicles can’t pass through at all. The turnoff from the main road to Landmannalaugar is really really long, would be more than a mission to snowshoe all that way. I’m not really sure how much snow they get, but if they don’t even bother clearing it I’m assuming more than just a couple inches. There was residual snow left in parts of the trail when I was there in August – I can only imagine what it looked like just a few months earlier!

      • John McMahon

        Thanks for the reply Lindsay. Doing a little more research it looks like you have to go on some F roads to get to Laugavegur and those roads are closed in april. Maybe next time!

        Seems like there should still be plenty to see from the golden circle which shouldn’t be an issue driving in April from what I have read.

  • asposium

    Thanks.
    As an avid landscape photographer I am hoping to do the trek in Sept (2016), best compromise of sunrise /sunset and weather. Good to know the buses are still running.
    For extra madness I intend camping along the route.
    The 20kg+ rucsac will make matters interesting.
    Did you have a mobile phone with you? If so, what was the reception like? Trying to ascertain whether I can leave the satellite phone at home.
    I like the idea of continuing down, need to check the route.
    Part of the fun is in the planning. :)
    Now to find a similar nutter or two that might like to join me.

    • Hey, sorry I missed your comment! I had my mobile phone with me, but no local SIM card so it wouldn’t have worked anyway. My friend’s phone did not get any signal on the trail until we got to Thorsmork (they have wifi there, too), so I’d say you needn’t worry about your phone :)

      • asposium

        I bought a sat phone from eBay, can use with my Vodafone UK contract SIM.
        Will put a local PAYG SIM in my “normal” phone.

    • Jellie C

      Hey I will be there in Sept too and planning on hiking solo. What days are you planning on hiking??

      • asposium

        Hi,
        I fly from Manchester UK on Thursday 25th Aug, returning on Sun 4th Sept.
        I might have gone a week later; however, there is a bank holiday here in the UK that week, and a bus I may want to use stops running the following week.

  • thodorisg

    Great post covering all aspects. Thank you Lindsay. I am convinced to go on my first hiking trip outside of my homeland :)

  • Glad it helped! :) No, you definitely don’t need a guide – the trail is clearly marked! Plus, you’ll likely see other hikers along the way that can help if needed.

  • Arko Adhikari

    Hi Lindsay, This is a brilliant article.

    I have a couple of questions.
    1. How much would the trek cost in all?
    2. I am having two plans for Iceland. One in Winter – March (Ice Caves and Northern Lights) and one in summer(primarily trek). I am a seasoned trekker, and I am so confused considering I will be flying in from New York. Can you suggest something?

    Thanks, Arko

    • Hey Arko! See the ‘Frugal Facts’ box at the end of the post for an idea of costs :) You’re really just paying for transport and accommodation, plus whatever food you decide to bring along. So let’s say US$300 plus food if you’re doing 3 nights.

      I’m not sure what you mean by your 2nd question, can you clarify?

  • I don’t believe there are any other huts in those areas, so your only other option would be to pitch a tent just outside them!

  • That’s a great question! I’m not much of a gear snob, so I’m afraid my answers to that won’t be very enlightening. I used these cheapo trekking poles I bought in Kathmandu and they were more than fine. I borrowed my friend’s Patagonia waterproof jacket, would highly recommend. I used some cheap off-brand rain pants I bought off Amazon, would NOT recommend (they ripped easily and soaked through). My pack is an old Lowe Alpine fit for women, works wonderfully for me but if I were to buy a new one it would be an Osprey. I always trek in a long sleeved merino wool shirt, would 100% recommend no matter what climate you’re in. I always do my warm weather hiking in this white tank top that’s meant to dry fast, I don’t think it’s any major brand but it’s super comfy and keeps me from standing in my own sweat all day. I never hike in proper hiking pants – black spandex has always worked for me, ’cause I’d end up ripping anything else. Wool socks are a must (I don’t know what brand mine are). Definitely get some waterproof gloves for Iceland as well – I bought a pair in Reykjavik from some outdoor gear store and they worked ok.

  • asposium

    Flight and annual leave booked; I fly to Iceland on Thursday 25th Aug from Manchester, UK
    Bought a garmin GPS and the Iceland map.
    Have “traced” the route, and a few interesting detours.
    Started researching photo and camp locations.
    Created a facepage if you’re interested
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1064413020237607/

  • Angi

    Hi Lindsay – great post here!!! One of the best I’ve found on the topic of this hike so far. Question for you – my husband and I are planning a trip in July and this hike is top of our list, but I cannot for the life of me find out how to book huts online. Can you even do it online or did you have to call/email someone?? I’m hoping we’re not too late to book them but it would be nice to mentally prepare myself for tent-camping well in advance if the huts are full, haha.

    Thanks so much!!

    • Hey there! Yes you just email the hut people (their email address is on the FI site). By now the huts are likely full for July, as that’s peak time – but might as well email them and check!

  • Neil Dobbie

    Hi Lindsay,

    I’m planning my first visit to Iceland in August with my partner, and I just wanted to ask if the second half of the Laugavegurinn trail (more specifically Alftavatn to Thorsmork) is doable in one day? I’ve found so much mixed information online, most seem to suggest that it is, but may take 10-12 hours depending on the weather. (fyi; we are both moderately fit, we did Salkantay in Peru last year if that’s anything to go by).

    Like yourself, I have no issues with camping but for this particular journey I thought I would take what comforts were available, and so I have booked huts with fi.is based on the assumption that it is doable, (with Alftavatn and Thorsmork being only a day apart, as this were the only dates remaining) . I really don’t want to let that booking go to waste (I asked fi.is in my email about this, but they either forgot to respond or don’t really like offering advice to tourists via email. So yea, that is my question, forgive me if it was quite long winded. I know most people split the second half into two days. Am I being overly ambitious?

    Oh we also have decided to spend an extra day at both Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork, thanks to your advice, and also the information in lonely planet guide, which has also been very useful

    Neil

    • Hey there! Yes, I think it should be doable – the last 2 days are much easier than the first 2 days, it would just make for one very long day if you combine them. (I met someone who combined the first 2 days into one long day of hiking – and those are the hardest, most uphill days!). And since you’re staying in Thormork you won’t have to worry about getting there in time for the bus, so no worries there. So basically, I say go for it! :D

      • Neil Dobbie

        Oh thanks this has given me some hope. All booked now anyway! I just hope that the weather is manageable for long days hiking. Do you have any recommendations for the river crossings, i.e. is it necessary to bring some wet shoes with grips? Also did you head east to Vatnajokull region during your stay? Would love to pick your brains some more about that if you did, without aiming to be too much of a nuisance. Thanks anyway, N

        • Ooh shoes with grips would be helpful, if you don’t mind carrying them! I brought an extra pair of heavy socks and crossed in those, which gave me decent traction. My friend crossed in her Chaco sandals and said they worked very well.

          I did head east – I circled the whole Ring Road! :D I didn’t go too deep into that region, but I did a glacier walk in the park there (I have a blog post on it). Let me know if you have any questions!

  • Rose Wang

    Hi Lindsay, I’m eager to do the Laugavegur to Skogar trek in August this year, the scenery from the photos look utterly unbelievable! But I’m wondering if you could shed a few helpful hints, as I’m a little ambivalent as to whether i could manage this as a solo trek. I’ve been on a supported hike in the Overland Track in Tasmania which was a 6 days 5 night hike, but otherwise have been on only day hikes. Hence I haven’t had much need to look into bushcraft navigation skills. Do you think at my current level, would I be able to do the Laugavegur to Skogar trek in particular the navigation aspect? I don’t want to get lost ><…also how much navigation gear or knowledge do I actually need? Furthermore, I have a 2 person ultralight tent, and so I plan to camp en-route, but was wondering if an ultralight tent would be able to withstand the strong winds that Iceland is so renowned for :P!!!

    Thank you so much

    Rose

    • Hey there! The trail is very easy to follow, so don’t worry about getting lost. Plus, there will be plenty of others hiking it. I don’t have any formal knowledge on gear, navigation, or mountaineering and I was totally fine. It’s a lot different than the Overland Track because there aren’t any dark forests to get lost in – it’s all wide open out here. If you’re worried, I’d try to be one of the first ones to start hiking each morning – that way you know there will be lots more people coming behind you to help you out if you need it :) And great question about the tent – I didn’t camp, so I can’t give you a definitive answer there. I would assume a good quality tent would be able to withstand the winds! My tent isn’t a top-notch one and it has survived some pretty heavy winds in its lifetime :P

      • Rose Wang

        Thanks for the advice Lindsay! They’ve really put me at ease, it’s was quite intimidating to stumble across travel blogs authored by the hardcore hikers, so your advice has really lifted my confidence. Thank you!
        Rose

        • Kara B

          Hi Rose and Lindsay!
          I am also looking into hiking the trail this summer. I was hoping to get into the Huts but I think I may have started looking into this process a little to late. I am waiting to hear back from the huts as I have emailed them. Lindsay do you think I am too late? By when do they get all booked up by?

          Also Rose, I am a female in my mid 20’s and have never done a hiking trip alone before, however this summer none of my friends are available. I would 100% feel comfortable doing this alone and staying in the huts but wondering what both your opinions are on tenting alone? Do you feel safe and confident?

          Kara

          • Rose Wang

            Hi kara, I havent done a solo trek before either, but i think this trail is so popular that i think it will be quite safe, tenting alone is just as safe as the huts, just without the comforts of indoor heating :), but as long as you are confident with pitching tents, cooking outdoors, have a enough sleeping bag, i think you would be fine :)

          • Hopefully you’ve heard back by now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the huts are already booked. You never know though! My friend inquired in May or June I think and she was able to get into all but 1 of the huts she requested. Fingers crossed for you!

  • Oh yeah, you have plenty of time! It’s not a race, you can go at your own pace no worries :) Every day most hikers reached the hut by mid afternoon, so you could definitely afford to take it slower if you want. I’m not sure there’s any difference between July or August – I hiked in September and it was fabulous. You might have more daylight in July, so that would to your advantage. But in general: I think you can get excellent photos no matter when you go (assuming the weather cooperates!).

    • Adri

      Hi Lindsay, many thanks for your reply! Sometimes a little rain or changeable wheather can bring stunning lights. Hopefully there will be free places in the huts (I hope booking in January will be enough soon)

  • Oh geez that’s a great question that I’m not entirely sure how to answer. If you’re staying in the huts, they have stoves and cutlery so you needn’t worry about bringing a stove and gas. And if you’re camping, you can pay to use the hut stoves which I’d recommend ’cause it can get cold and windy at night while you’re trying to cook.

  • Bri Jol

    Hi Lindsay! First of all, this was very helpful! Two of my friends and I are planning to hike the trail in August and we’re looking to book huts, but we just found out they will be pretty much all booked for the time we are there. Because of this we are now looking at camping and I was just wondering if it is possible to use the facilities at the huts for a small fee? You had mentioned it, but when I emailed the parks service who runs the huts they had stated that the hut kitchens were not available to campers…just checking to see if this was different when you went! Thank you!

    • Unless things have changed since I was there in 2014, campers are allowed to use the huts for a small fee to cook/eat in. I honestly don’t see them turning you away, but it’s up to you if you want to take the risk!

  • Neil Dobbie

    Hi Lindsay, like many here I have referred back to this blog a number times, so thanks for this great article and the pictures. I’ve been lucky in my planning to get huts booked on consecutive days in August, from Landmannalaugar to Skogar (might see you there Bri!). Even in knowing that advanced booking would be necessary, I underestimated just how limited places are.. a mere warning to others who are planning on using huts on the hike. I was also looking to head east to see what Skaftafell has to offer in terms of hiking. Problem is, everywhere is fully booked on the dates I want.

    Anyway, forgive my rambling, I did want to ask something regarding your stay in the huts. I have read that the warden keeps them heated during the night. Are they kept warm enough so that an every day sleeping bag will suffice, or would you recommend taking a 3/4 season sleeping bag? Minute details I know, but after camping beneath a glacier in Peru, I realized just how cold it can get at night.

    • Good question! I was never cold in the huts, but I can’t remember if they turn the heat down overnight. I would either bring a very warm sleeping bag just in case, or bring a regular one but wear plenty of (thermal) layers to sleep in. You could also try my tried-and-true trick of boiling water just before bed, filling a water bottle (obvi not a plastic one!), and putting it in the foot of your sleeping bag. Works a charm!

  • Philippe Gallant

    Hi Lindsay, really awesome article!
    I’m planning a trip in august and I was wondering if the campsites near the huts actually provide tents? There’s websites stating you need to bring your own and other who says you can rent them on site.

    Thanks!

  • Marianne Litman

    Hi Lindsay, this was such a great article! Thank you so much for posting it! I am heading to Iceland in early September. I’ve already got my huts book (and to be honest, I cannot wait! I’ve got 171 days to go!). I was wondering if you had a map/here you got it? We aren’t doing a guided tour and wanted to have a map as that is how we are used to trekking. I’ve been looking online, but I was hoping to find a map that was made for hikers :)

    Thanks,
    Marianne

    • Glad it was helpful! :) I didn’t use a map and honestly never felt the need for one while trekking – the route is very obvious, and I believe there are maps in the huts (slash you can ask the hut warden about nearby side treks + what to expect the next day). I assume you’d be able to buy a map at some sort of outdoor gear store in Reykjavik if you are set on getting one!

    • Jellie C

      Hey Marianne! When is Sept are you going to be in Iceland..I will be there from Sept 9-16,, I was hoping I can find other people to hike with.

      • ShaneLeibniz

        Hi Jellie! Three of my friends and I plan on getting there 12-13SEP to begin the trek. This may be too late for you, no?

        • Jellie C

          I think the last bus leaving Laugavegur is the 15th,, make sure you check before you head out. I planned on going around the same time but decided against it and just do it the next time I visit. I will be driving around Iceland instead.

    • Hi! Lindsay’s post helped me a lot. I posted a hand-drawn map on my blog, and there are paper maps I took photos of as well. https://roseinmidair.com/2017/03/05/hiking-the-laugavegur-trail-in-iceland/ Hope you have a great time!

  • Andrew Gibson

    Hi Lindsay, I was wondering how deep these river crossing were? We are planning a trip for August and trying to pack. :)

    • Good question! The deepest one I crossed went up to nearly my crotchular area (I’m 5’6″). Some people crossed it in their underwear, haha.

  • Lindsay Hall

    Hi Lindsay – Thanks for a great article with wonderful information! My husband and I are headed in this general direction in July and are likely going to stay in our own tent. Do you know if we have to stay in the areas adjacent to the huts? Or could we camp elsewhere (i.e. if we wanted to hike further/less far on a given day)? If we do need to camp right near the huts, do we need to reserve a space in any way, or can we just show up?

    Thanks so much!

    • I am not 100% on either answer, but I would say: you need to camp by the huts (ok, I’m very close to positive on this one), and I do not believe you need to reserve a site. There looked to be plenty of space and not a whole lot of tents, so I don’t think you need to worry about there not being space.

  • Bernard Chen

    Great article to read Lindsay! Best information I have found so far! I’m a photographer and plan to do this hike soon from June 27-July 3, 2016. I plan on carrying my tent and camping but my major concern is recharging my batteries for my cameras. Do you know if these huts have electric outlet? I assume I could pay the warden a small fee for recharging that is if they even have power. If not, I’ll have to plan on carrying my solar charging station, but hoping i don’t have to carry these extra pounds. Thank you for your article and time in responding! Cheers!

    • There aren’t any outlets in the huts, but if you bring spare batteries and keep the LCD screen off on your camera, you should be able to make it without charging (at least that’s what I did!). There are outlets once you get to the restaurant/shop in Thorsmork.

      • Bernard Chen

        Thank you Lindsay! Unfortunately to keep the weight down, I’m taking the Sony A7RII which goes through batteries very quickly. The only positive is that they are small/light and i can bring at least 10 of them. However, i’m also bringing my DJI Phantom 4 to do some aerial filming/photography too. So it looks like I have no choice but to bring my solar setup. Now since you said we can pay a small fee for using the hut kitchen, I might leave my cooking stove at home. Thank you again!

  • Christopher

    Hi! Hope you see this, I dunno why I’m only being prompted to reply now. For most of the ‘side hikes,’ there wasn’t really a trail, just an area to explore. Since there is not a whole lot growing in a lot of places, I didn’t feel bad about wandering around (no vegetation to destroy). So here’s where I went:
    At the first campsite (Hrafntinnusker), there is a hill off to the left of the campsite as you enter from Landmannalaugar. It takes probably 15 minutes to climb, and there are really nice views from the top. Not too different from what you’ll have been seeing all day, but it’s a new area to explore and you’ll be alone with no pesky, brightly colored hikers to get in your pictures. If you go up the hill to the right as you enter the campsite, there is a glacier with some snow caves, but they had collapsed when I was there. It was getting dark when I went over this way so I can’t really say whether or not it was worth it (I was just a bit chilly so I went for a run).
    The second campsite I stayed at (Álftavatn) was awesome! There is a lake you can walk around (couple small streams you have to ford), and there is another hill to climb. It is just past the campsite, pretty impossible to miss, and the trails up to the top are pretty obvious. This was my favorite place on the hike, it was so cool to wander around up there. I had a hard time leaving.
    About an hour out of Álftavatn there is a side trail leading up another steep hill. From the top you could see farther into the ‘interior’ of Iceland, the mountains and glaciers. Soak up all the greenery you can, cuz the trail gets pretty desolate after this.
    Near Hrafntinnusker there is a very impressive canyon quite near the campsite, and if you walk along it you come to the confluence of two rivers. Definitely worth the ~30 minute walk if you are up for it.
    Finally, Thorsmork is pretty popular for day hikers, so there is no shortage of trails around.

    For all of these, though, the wardens will be super helpful, and there may be other things that I missed. Good luck! And keep an eye open for an off-the-beaten-path something to explore.

  • Chris Ignagni

    Hi Lindsay, Loved reading the article.
    I am really interested in planning this hike. After taking the bus to the trail head, can i just show up at any/all of the huts and pay in us dollars for a spot to pitch my tent and sleep, or do i have to purchase a spot prior to arrival?

    • Hey Chris – You MUST pre-book and pre-pay for the huts beforehand, they will fill up otherwise. I am not sure what the protocol is for campsites, but my guess is you don’t need to reserve because there isn’t a limited # of spaces. I could be wrong, so you may want to double check on that!

  • Jellie C

    Hi Lindsay! Thanks for the awesome post! You mentioned that you did this in September,I was wondering what the weather was like and if daylight hours affected how long you did the trek? All the past post I’ve seen have done this hike in July/August where they have unlimited sunlight and are able to hike in 3 days.My wish is to hike the trail in 3 days then stay the night in Porsmork to do more hiking on the 4th day😁 So my question is,Is it possible to do the 2nd half of the trek in 1 day with the daylight restrictions of hiking in Sept.

    • Hmm… yeah I think you probably could if you started early enough! The second half of the hike is much easier than the first :)

  • Nicole Gray

    Hi @lindsaypunk:disqus , Is this Laugavegur Trek available in late May? I arrive in Iceland next week with my partner and we are looking at doing some hiking. Can you recommend any trails that we could do in 5 days at this time of year?
    Thanks!

    • It depends on whether the buses will be running at that time. If they are, then it’s open! You may also want to look into booking huts on the trail as well, as they fill up fast!

  • Andrew Gibson

    Hey Lindsay,
    Quick question. What service did you use to get to/from the airport? I was looking at bus schedules and it doesn’t look like any run at a time that could get me to my flight in time. The flight is leaving at 16:45.

  • Mark Cuhtitch

    This is awesome info, thanks! We are planning on tent camping. Are there any permits required or advance reservations? Can we just grab our gear and go?

    • To be honest I’m not sure – you’d have to check the FI site. We didn’t camp, so I’m not positive on the process involved there.

  • Tander Simberloff

    Hi Lindsay! First off, thank you! This post was incredibly helpful. Secondly, we’ve booked Ferdafelag Island Huts for our trip to Iceland this summer and were wondering if we needed to bring sleeping pads or if the huts are all equipped with mattresses? Thanks so much!

  • YouthInAsia

    Lindsay,

    Thanks for all the helpful information. One quick question: where would you recommend staying the night before setting out on the hike?

    Thanks!

    • We stayed in Reykjavik and took the 12pm bus the next day! (Which gave us time to go shopping and prep our gear in the morning beforehand)

  • Nicolas Maltais-Tariant

    What is provided exactly by the hut? Mattress? Is a pillow provided? I suppose not but just asking in case.

  • Nicolas Maltais-Tariant

    Hi,
    I was just curious to know what kind of sleeping bag do you need? How cold does it get in the huts?
    Thanks!

    • They have the heat on in the evening so it’s very comfy, but I think they turn it down a bit overnight (I’m not sure though, it’s been awhile). I never felt too cold to sleep and I had a down sleeping bag rated at 20 degrees I believe.

    • If you’re concerned about the cold, bring a non-plastic water bottle and put some boiling water in it just before bed, and put it in the foot of your sleeping bag. This got me through some well below freezing nights in the Himalayas, and it’ll definitely do the trick in Iceland!

  • Holtungar

    Really good article :-) this is a very beautiful hiking tour and the silence….omg, i love it! there is a new hut in Alftavatn, a cosy small hut perfect for groups. it can be booked on http://laugavegur-hiking.is/en/

  • Hey there! Thanks for the update – a few others have said that campers can no longer use the hut kitchens, bummer :( I’m glad my posts were helpful and that you had a great time!

  • Jennifer Malloy

    This blog is an amazing resource for planning for the trek! I just wanted to give anyone a heads up, however, if they are planning to do this trek in summer 2017 as I (already) couldn’t get all of the huts on dates I wanted in July. Luckily I had some flexibilty but it looks like you need to be booking much earlier than just a few months ahead now. The hut at Landmannalaugar appears to be especially popular.

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful! :) Thanks for updating us on the current hut situation – I guess it’s getting even more popular these days! Still very worth doing though :D

  • Nope, no food so you’ll have to bring your own!

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  • Not sure, but it might be tricky. If the tent is within eyesight of the camping spots/huts, the warden will surely see it.

  • Erin Phillips

    Hi! Do you think I should buy my bus ticket to Landmannalaugar from Reykjavik ahead of the trip? I don’t know if the bus to the trek is so popular that I need to secure a spot ahead of time online. Thanks!

  • Allison Brodsky

    Hey Lindsay, this blog is truly amazing! I am doing this hike with a few girlfriends and had a quick question for you.

    For your hut recommendations, do you recommend the spacing mentioned, such as Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker in 1 day, Hrafntinnusker to Álftavat in 1 day? Trying to book the huts and not finding reliable resources on how far apart each hut is! We want to optimize our time there. Thanks! :)

    • The huts we stayed at were ideally spaced out, in my “professional” opinion :) If you wanted to cover more ground, you could probably skip one, spend the whole day hiking, and hit the next one instead – but the way we did it, we got to take our time and also have an opportunity to do the side hikes later in the day.

  • I didn’t camp so I can’t say for certain. Maybe invest in a warmer sleeping bag and layers instead?