Explore the most popular camping trails in Suðurland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
1 month ago

If you are an avid hiker and love the outdoors, Iceland is probably on the top of your vacation bucket list. There is a wide variety of unique landscapes and beautiful scenery packed into this small island. Have you wondered what is the best way to experience all this country has to offer in less than a week? The Laugavegur Trail has it all. While hiking the 55 km (34 mile) trek, you will experience four days worth of geothermal pools, rivers, lava fields, glaciers, canyons, and mountains; so many beautiful, colorful mountains. It is no wonder the Laugavegur is one of the most popular hikes in Iceland and attracts hikers from all over the globe.
Since Iceland’s summers are short, this hike can only be done between June and September. Expect nights to consist of freezing temperatures and the days to max out at about 15 degrees C (60 F). Also, weather can be unpredictable in the mountains so be prepared for severe wind, snow, sleet, and rain.
Most people start in Landmannalaugar and hike south towards Þórsmörk because of the overall decrease in elevation. To get to Landmannalaugar, there are several bus companies that leave right out of Reykjavik, and the ride is only a few hours. Once in Landmannalaugar the trailhead is easy to find, or pitch your tent and do some of the day hikes in the area.
Camping is only allowed in designated areas around the huts that are located along the trail. If you want to sleep in the huts, you should make reservations up to one year in advance as they fill up quickly and are quite expensive. However, if you don’t mind carrying all your supplies, there is unlimited space for tents at each camp area. Each hut has running water so there is no need to filter your water if you plan to carry enough for the entire day.
Most people do this hike in 3 nights and 4 days. There is an additional 1 to 2 days you can add on if you choose to hike from Þórsmörk to Skógar. Regardless if you continue to Skógar, there is a bus at either location to bring you back to Reykjavik.
 
Day One: Landmannalaugar – Hrafntinnusker
12 km (7.45 miles)
Elevation increase: 470 m (1,541 ft)
Start day one in Landmannalaugar N63°59.600 – W19°03.660. After you get off the bus you should easily be able to find the trailhead. Most of this day is uphill as you climb to Hrafntinnusker. Along the way you will come across several geothermal hot springs.
There will be views of surrounding mountains and you may experience snow cover as you gain elevation. Just before reaching Hrafntinnusker, you will come across a memorial for an Israeli hiker who died of hypothermia. After you reach Hrafntinnusker, there are several short day hikes you can take if time allows. N63°55.840 – W19°09.700.

 
Day Two: Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn
12 km (7.45 miles)
Elevation decrease: 490 m (1,607 ft)
Day two starts by walking across a ravine until you reach an area with a short climb. Here you will see a spectacular panoramic view of colorful mountains.

This is the highest elevation for the hike. Next you will walk along a ridge until you reach another panoramic view of a green valley.

The trail now descends quickly into this valley towards a lake where Álftavatn Hut lies. This section is very steep with a lot of switchbacks. Once down in the valley, the trail flattens as you walk the final stretch to Álftavatn N63°51.470 – W19°13.640.
 
Day Three: Álftavatn – Emstrur (Botnar)
15 km (9.3 miles)
Elevation decrease: 40 m (131 ft)
Day three does not have as much elevation change, but that does not mean a lack in scenery. From the hut, you wade through a small river and continue hiking through the valley. After about 5 km (3 miles) you come across Hvanngil Hut where you can stay a night if you choose. After passing Hvanngil, you cross a bridge and come to a point in the trail where it splits. Follow the signs for F261 (Not F210) towards Emstrur.

After this, there is a large river that needs to be waded across. Use caution as the water can be deep and fast moving. Use hiking poles if available. Always unclip your waist and chest strap on you backpack in case you fall into the current and need to abandon your pack.

Then the trail leads through several lava fields where you will walk across black sand and lava rocks. Keep following the trail along a road until it splits and follow the signs towards the Emstrur Hut. Once you arrive, you will see much more vegetation. N63°45.980 – W19°22.480.

 
Day Four: Emstrur (Botnar) – Þórsmörk
15 km (9.3 miles)
Elevation decrease: 300 m (984 ft)
For the final day, you start by walking towards a canyon with a fast moving river. There is a steep descent down to a bridge where you can cross the river.

The trail follows this river along the edge of the canyon where you will get views of the river below and surrounding mountains. Towards the end of the day there is another river that needs to be crossed. The last short section of the trail continues through a small forest towards the huts in Þórsmörk. 63°40

backpacking
2 months ago

Amazing hike, like trekking through a Dr Seuss book. With ongoing elevation changes, trekking poles are highly recommended. We hiked August 30th - September 1st and had variable weather - be prepared for anything! Hiking over the Fimmvörðuháls Pass to Skógar would have made this even better, but go visit the town even if you don't hike there. Great museum and restaurants, as well as 2 very different waterfall experiences. This is a hike that should be on everyone's list.

hiking
3 months ago

Cool area. Very busy and hard to find parking.

hiking
3 months ago

This was hands down the most incredible hike I have done so far, and it will be very hard to top. The weather does change quickly, and rain clothes are a MUST. There was a little more snow than we anticipated but the trekking poles worked wonders. If you are thinking about doing this hike, DO IT!

hiking
3 months ago

Did 13.0 of the 15.4 miles in a day hike. Almost finished it but the snow was very hard and windy and we needed to turn around to catch a flight back home. The hike had at least 30 waterfalls and was MY FAVORITE hike in Iceland. Such varied terrain and beautiful views of the mountains, mountain caps and of course the ocean south coast. Lovely hike. Recommend checking weather and going on semi clear day! 10/10 hike!

So many waterfalls and changing landscapes. Made it to the second hut in roughly 4.5 hrs. Highly recommend, not a challenging hike but breathtaking!!!

A simple walk around the geysers. Enjoyable but crowded - you'll struggle to get a photo without either dozens of people or tour buses in.

hiking
4 months ago

This was a great hike. I am not very a very experienced hiker and was still able to do this in 2 days with ~7.5 miles before lunch and ~7.5 after. Add a third day to get to Skogar. Recommend 3 nights camping (but packs could be much lighter if you do all huts!). First pre-hike night at Landmannalaugar. Second night at Hvanngil (had dinner in Alftavatn). Third night at Basar or Skagfiorosskaili.

hiking
4 months ago

Incredible hike with amazing views you won’t see anywhere else! The weather is tough and can make an otherwise pleasant walk a miserable trudge. We narrowly missed a snowstorm in late August that would have shut our trek down. It’s well worth the effort though, no matter the weather!

backpacking
4 months ago

Amazing Trail. Also went all the way to Skógar. Definitely worth the extra couple days to see all the waterfalls at the end.

walking
4 months ago

Although not as beautiful as Yellowstone, they are very pretty. There are geysers & hot springs. This is more of a gentle walk but there are a lot of tourists (as expected).

hiking
4 months ago

Great unique hike with endless amazing views. I recommend hiking poles for declines. Check the weather forecast before you go and prepare for the elements. I rate this Hard (and not moderate).

Super quick to walk to. It erupts every 5-10 min and some blasts are better than others. So it’s worth sticking around for a couple eruptions to see it. Also, watch where the wind is blowing. A huge shot of water came up and blew lukewarm water right at us.

4 months ago

Great hike, the highlight of our 10 days in Iceland. Started at Skoga and stayed at a dorm style Hostel in Basar. Did some more hiking the next day in Thorsmork. We had great weather and the falls along the Skogar river and in Thorsmork were outstanding.

A trail you have to hike. Recommend to visit at the end of August.

Incredible hike. All of Iceland in one hike. I’d say a bit harder than moderate depending on how experienced you are. We took our tent and camping gear and camped at Basar at the end of the hike. Took an 8 am bus down the next day, you have to connect at the lava center if you camped in Skógar. We got back to Skogar at 1120 am. The information center at Skogar will book tickets for the bus in advance if you need. Wouldn’t recommend driving up there unless you have a good 4WD car. We did see a few older SUVs but mostly ranger rovers and Jeeps. The drive to Basar is across a pretty barren rock field with poor tracks and a few river crossings.

My favorite multi-day trek to date. Geothermal activity, glaciers, volcanos, lava fields, waterfalls - it has everything. We stayed in the Huts and met great people. Felt fortunate with the weather - only light rain a few days. Could see how fog or snow could make the trail harder to follow, but otherwise was well trafficked and marked. Would highly recommend staying a night in landmannalauer and also continuing on either 1 or 2 days to Skógar - possibly the most beautiful part of the trip.

4 months ago

We didn’t want to overnight this one so started in Skógar at 6am and hiked about 8.5 miles to the first hut and then turned around to hike back. Didn’t see the last Valley but was still worth the day trip to see everything else. The hike has it all.

hiking
5 months ago

One of the best hikes I have done - As mentioned by other reviewers this hike has three distinct parts - all amazing. The first 5 miles or so is along a river with 20+ waterfalls and cascades. The middle 5 miles is a climb across alpine tundra to the summit where you cross snowfields and recent volcanic landscape. The final 5 miles is a beautiful descent into a green canyon with stunning views across mountains and valleys.

hiking
5 months ago

The highlight of our trip. Brennisteinsalda (a dormant volcano) featured a 1000m climb. We did a day trip and the hike was roughly 3.5 hrs. Amazing experience. Sun, snow, wind, rain - changes without warning in an instant, so be prepared. The climb through the lava field was like a scene from Lord Of The Rings. Unforgettable. You will never see colour palette like the rhyolite mountains. People were dumbfounded at my unretouched photos taken with my iPhone!

hiking
5 months ago

I’m from Colorado and hike every weekend and this was the most incredible and beautiful hike I’ve ever done. We experienced all the weather elements on this day trip... rain, 50+ mph winds on the glacier, cold/sleet (but bearable), and heat at the end. So pack accordingly. I though navigation was easy, but tracked the trail by GPS thru this app. If you plan on shuttling back to Skógar that day, have a plan. We were able to shuttle to Seljalandsfoss on a 6:15 bus, but there were no connections that evening to Skógar. I ended up hitching a ride to my vehicle and had to drive back to get the family.

Loved this. I did Landmannalauger to Skogar. Please be advised there is wayyy more snow than anyone anticipated at Hraftinnusker (sp?) and over the pass to Skogar. So many people did not have proper gear and many parties paid 1,000 USD to get rescued. Also, to Skogar mapped with Gaia GPS it was approximately 50 miles with 9,500ft of elevation gain (we did small day hikes once we checked in and hiked 56 miles with 11,100 ft of gain), Way more than any site prepared us for. Views are insane and ever changing. Be prepared for 5 river crossings total (three being from Álftavatn to Thorsmork), bring sandals! The deepest river crossing was thigh deep. Check in is after 1230 at each hut so if you’re gonna haul ass just know they won’t let you check in because they are still cleaning.

Hraftinnusker - the hut has a warming area that is jammed pack, everyone tenting wished they made arrangements for a hut, you’ll be wet. (2,200 ft of gain in around 7 miles)

Álftavatn - it’s mainly a hike up and down through snow until you head down a ridge and see the rolling hills into the valley. My knees appreciated my poles as we lost about 2,500ft (still gained 750ft ~ 7 miles) p.s there is a new restaurant here!

Botnar/Emstrur- the day with three river crossings, third being the deepest right before you walk through a flat desert. Mostly through sand which blows. (1200ft gain ~ 10.2 miles)

Thorsmork- my favorite day. The terrain changed so much and was truly beautiful. We stayed at the Volcano huts. One river crossing which was knee deep. (1500ft gain ~ 10.4 miles)

Pass- this was rough, flat until a little past Basar and then it’s up up up! This day was also my favorite but the gain on the 4th day was a bitch. Back into the snow. (3,400ft gain ~ 9.2 miles)

Pass to Skogar- so many waterfalls! You’re out of snow almost immediately and it’s all downhill to Skogar. (350 ft gain, a lot of loss, and 8.2 miles)

on Strokkur Geysir Blesi

nature trips
5 months ago

Not really a trail as much as it is a tourist stop. Several geysers worth viewing, if you don’t mind crowds and cameras everywhere.

backpacking
5 months ago

Looking into this hike I was thrilled! I spent months planning and packing and preparing. The pictures I found and the reviews read all for good reason say amazing things. That being said I am now currently camped with a group of 5 at Álftavatn. This has easily been one of the harder hikes I have ever done. I’ve hiked 13k mountains and spent weeks at a time on trails. But this was a completely new experience. From day one going north to south the trail tricks you with the simplicity of an easy hike as you meander down the trail. Ignorance was my main problem for day one. We then climbed up more mountain ridges than I can count! Up and up and up until you are trekking through snow on top of the mountains. Generally I am not one to complain, but wow! This was like some alpine hiking. It was unreal the level of altitude we gained. Mind you the first day is around 12k. Nothing big. However when it’s 12k in pretty much entirely upwards direction, it tends to wear on you. The campsite that night was a winter wonderland, the campsites are obsidian glass that have been piled to help break the wind a little. That night my water bottle froze... the hut warden had previously been tanning when the sun was out. The second the sun was gone... bamb! So cold! From day 2 we then started the decent out of the snow. From all the up we did we must have done just as much down. The day itself was much easier and the site has a bar!!! Much needed. Can’t wait To see what the next days hold.

Magnifique trail! Paysages très différents d’une journée à l’autre. On se sent seul au monde dans l’immensité de ces montagnes. Nous sommes allés fin juin et il y avait encore de la neige! La Trail n’est pas toujours bien indiquée lorsqu’il y a de la neige, car les marqueurs sont enfouis sous la neige (Landmannalaugar seulement). Avec le brouillard, c’était un peu troublant de pas savoir où on s’en allait. À ce moment, je n’avais pas découvert cette application, mais je crois que j’aurais bien aimé! Quatre rivières sont à traverser donc des petites chaussures d’eau sont très utiles. Pour l’hébergement, je recommande les refuges pour un peu plus de confort ou des sacs de couchage chauds si vous dormez en tente. Des bottes de gortex sont aussi très utiles, puisque la pluie est fréquente! J’en garde un souvenir inoubliable!

hiking
6 months ago

This was a beautiful trail. I will say it was difficult, not so much for the terrain, but the weather. It is extremely volatile. The first day out it was sunny and gorgeous, and then the next day it was 30-40 mph winds coupled with rain and sleet. Tents poles were easily being broken and there is very little cover if any at the camp sites.

backpacking
6 months ago

Such a great backpacking trail! The best I’ve done. Simply stunning and unique. It has its difficult sections and weather changes quickly, I would recommend being an experienced hiker/backpacker or go with someone who is. Truly an amazing experience!

hiking
6 months ago

That's a great one! I would strongly advise to do this along with the laugavegur. It isn't so steep, not so technical. I GPS is good if there is snow, but there are so many people doing this that following the trakcs is easy.

hiking
6 months ago

A classic. That's a great hike. I would strongly recommended going all the way to skogar. I did it north-bound also, which seemed better because that gave me time to do day hiking in landmannalagur after the bakcpacking.
I won't describe in detail the hike, but it is very doable to skip every other hut. I did skogar to landmannalagur in 48 hours. The trail is VERY easy to follow - it's good to have a GPS but you probably won't need it at all. Also, you should expect some river crossing. When I did it, the worse were about knee deep - so it's good to have extra shoes for that.

backpacking
6 months ago

Starting at Skògar and traveling up between the two glaciers was extremely challenging and cold but you pass maybe 20 amazing waterfalls? The view closer to the summit is misty and I would not recommend completing the walk on through Thorsmork without snow shoes and an independent gps as we almost were lost on the glacier for hours, trail markers were buried beneath the snow. The hike back down was worth it though. Overall other worldly hike, but extremely treacherous.

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