Iceland is a true paradise for hikers. Zigzagging every which way from north to south to east to west, local national parks are full of hiking trails, each more interesting than the last.
Some are short (less than half a day) while others are almost but not quite treks, lasting up to several days. This article is all about hikes, so for the real endurance addicts, check out our article dedicated to full-scale treks below!
The hike is on the Westman Islands off the south coast of the island and is the main reason people visit the place. It's all about climbing to the top of the volcanic cone. The climb is steep but not particularly dangerous and the view from the top of the volcano, one of deep blacks contrasting with the red rock, is truly incredible.
The first stage of the hike (45 min) is quite simple and relatively flat, that is until you reach the canyon. This involves crossing a river over a bridge that is basically a wooden log laid across the gap with a metal cable for a handrail. This is the main difficulty of the hike, so it's not kid-friendly for this reason. Once this difficulty passed, the panorama from the top offers a nice view of one of the tallest waterfalls in the country.
Probably one of the most famous places in the country for hiking. There are dozens of hiking trails on the site (see detail above) which is one of the most beautiful places in Iceland, deep inland. The Hveradalir hike is among the most famous of this most famous region. There are two car parks, a few kilometers apart, which are the starting points for most hikes.
If you had to pick one Icelandic region for hiking, it would probably be Landmannalaugar. Departing from the car park you can take your pick, the most famous being those of Laugahraun, Breinnisteinsalda, Sudurnamur and Bláhnúkur. The scenery is superb and the view when you reach the peaks is absolutely incredible.
Skaftafell National Park is very popular with tourists for its numerous trails. The shortest and best known is the one leading to the superb Svartifoss waterfall. The “black waterfall” is surrounded by beautiful black stone columns, commonly known as basaltic organs.
Located at the tip of the village of Hveragerði in southern Iceland, this hike takes you to an extraordinary hot water river that is very popular with Icelanders.
To swim in 38°C water in the middle of a wild and completely unique natural landscape is a true delight... The hike is user-friendly and even kid-friendly. The trail starts at the very far edge of the village.
Located in the Jokulsargljufur National Park, this is one of the most beautiful walks in the region. The path leads through large volcanic vents and other basalt columns formed by the slow cooling of lava over time.
The first stage is the Hljoðaklettarhingur trail, surrounded by splendid basalt formations, while later you get to see the stunning red flanks of Rauðholar Mountain.
Very close to the statue of Bardur in Arnarstapi, on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, there is a small path through which you can take an easy short walk of about 2 hours round trip. It is along the coastline that you can admire basaltic columns, rock arches, and all kinds of seabirds.
The elevation is very mild and easy to handle, so this is a family option, particularly appreciated by kids.
This trail along the Melrakasletta peninsula in the far north-east takes you to Karl's Rock and its famous bird populations. The walk is particularly appreciated by bird-watchers since, in addition to the noisy Arctic terns, you will spot a range of species including gassins, cormorants, puffins, collared penguins and other guillemots. It is also an easy hike.
The Myvatn region is full of hiking trails, but there is one that stands out, the Leirhnjúkur hike. This hike will take you to the edge of the Earth, with lava flows that are still very hot in some places.
This experience begins in a green landscape of mosses (thufurs formed by frost and thaw) before the complete reversal when you see the actual lava flows, a fantastic experience.