The Most Beautiful Hiking Tours through Iceland
In our previous articles, we already gave you general information about Iceland as well as its beautiful sights. Today we’d like to introduce you to the diverse hiking possibilities of the island and present a small selection of some of the most scenic hiking tours on Iceland.
In general, it is important that you are perfectly prepared when going on a hiking tour through Iceland. A GPS and current maps, which you should study before starting the tour, should not be missing on a hiking tour. Furthermore, it is important to inform yourself about regional features and risks as well as the weather forecast. For inexperienced hikers it is recommended to only tour with an experienced guide, so that you won’t get lost in the wild.
Impressive Mountain Pass Crossing – from the Skógar over Fimmvörðuháls to Básar Hut
The starting point of the almost eight hour long hiking tour is the Skógar waterfall (Sgógarfoss), in the South of Iceland. From there, a steep path on the right leads you along the Skógá River, where you will see many impressive falls and springs. For about two and a half hours you’re crossing the side valleys until you reach a pedestrian bridge. This is where you should change the waterside. At this point the tour is well-marked. Follow the access road to Baldvinsskáli hut and then uphill to the top of the pass in 1019 m height. From here you can soak in the beautiful landscape, especially the volcanic crater of Eyjafjallajökull. Now, it is downhill over a snowfield and then over the lava field of Godahraun. The following descent covers some short climbing sections, which are well secured with ropes. Pass the bottleneck of Heljakambur and follow a rather challenging path in the Hvannárgil. Across the plateau Morinsheiði the path takes you along the ridge and then left towards the valley. Here you find at the height of Skógá River signs directing you to Básar hut.
Even though the tour is mostly well-secured and equipped with additional steps, we recommend this hiking tour only for experience outdoor-friends.
Waterfall Route in Skartafell National Park
The short pleasure hike takes only two hours and is recommended for those who want to explore Iceland by foot. Starting from the tourist information in Skartafell you follow a wide path, past Hundafoss and up Svartifoss. Because of the basalt pillars (lava pillars), this is one of the highlights of the national park. The route leads you across a creek to the viewing point of Sjónarsker. Here, you find signs directing you to Sei. From there you hike downhill up to a crossroad and follow the Stórilaekur creek along its right shore. Thereby you can enjoy the Hundafoss and Þjófafoss (Thofafoss) to its fullest. A pedestrian bridge leads you back to the starting point.
Family-Friendly Tour to Hengifoss Waterfall
This tour is quite short without a great ascent, located in Northeastern Iceland, and perfectly suitable for families with younger kids, and at the same time an experience for every outdoor-friend. Starting at the parking lot in Egilsstaðir you follow a signed path along the left shore of Hengifossá River. After you went past a pasture fence, the path becomes smaller and leads you further towards Hengifoss. Approximately at the half of the ascent you’ll have a perfect view of the canyon. After almost an hour walk you will have reached your destination. This is where you can soak in the beauty of the waterfall. The descent is made across the same path. On the way down, passing the glacial lake Lögurinns, you can search for the sea monster Lagarfljótsormurinn.
From Hljóðaklettar to Rauðhólar – Iceland’s Colorful Volcano
This is a moderately difficult and diversified circular hike through rutted landscapes of volcanic craters. Starting point is the parking lot in Hljóðaklettar (in the North of Iceland), where you take the wide path twice to the right. This is where you can already see the impressive basalt formation and the lava cave Kirkja. Follow the signs towards Rauðhólar, which soon will rise behind one of the massive basalt walls. The next section of the ascent is quite steep and challenging, and also includes short climbing sections. However, you will be rewarded with fantastic views over the fascinating colors of volcano slopes as well as Jäkulsá canyon. Due to landscape protection, the main peek of Rauðhólar is not accessible, but the round trip is definitely worth seeing. Towards the west, the route goes back to its starting point.
Basalt Coast of Anarstapi
This impressive hike is located in Western Iceland. From Anarstapi you walk towards the rock gate Gatklettur. From there you follow the coastline northbound. You pass a small pond, which is perfect for watching sea birds. Those of you who are not interested in birds will probably like the view of vertical rock holes, which are connected by the sea. Those are also signposted. Arriving at the port of Anarstapi, you also reached the temporary destination of the tour. It is recommended to take the same way back, as the path along the coastline always offers new views and impressions and thus the tour is pretty diverting. The strongly trespassed route is marked with red stakes and well visible. The last section leads you across a lava field overgrown with mosses and ends in the small village of Hellnar. This sleepy village provides you with a rarity on Iceland. In a little café you can relax with a piece of cake and coffee.
In the Rother Hiking Guide Iceland you can find detailed information about the tours and further hiking recommendations and tips. And if you still need an appropriate hiking backpack or functional outdoor clothing for your Iceland adventure, we can also help you out. In the following and last article we will end this series with an article about impressive trekking routes. Until then we put together some important information for the planning for your trip: