Iceland – The volcano island, also known as The land of fire and ice is on my travel bucket list. This is a destination I’ve been dreaming of for a long time. Iceland is known for its magnificent wild nature, and is a mecca for hikers.
A little about Iceland’s history: The story begins in the ninth century, when the island, located in the North Atlantic Ocean, was populated, mainly from Norway and from the British Isles. Iceland was then a free state until the 13th century, when the country was subject to the Norwegian king.
After the Reformation in 1536, Iceland formally became part of Denmark. In 1918, Iceland became an independent state, but in a personnel union with Denmark. Following a referendum in 1944, Iceland was declared an independent republic.
So let’s check out how to hike Iceland.
Day Hikes in Iceland
There are countless alternative day hikes in Iceland, but I will only mention the hikes that are on my list of future hikes. This list will also include one multi day hike.
Is a 791 m high (2595 feet) volcano that juts out from a desert of black sand. It was once covered by Mýrdalsjökull glacier, but came into view after the ice melted at the end of the last ice age for approx. 10,000 years ago.
Maelifell can only be climbed in the summer, between June and September. The reason for this is difficult access the remaining months due to snow. Attempting to cross them is extremely dangerous not only for the travelers, but also for the rescuers.
To get to Maelifell you can drive from Reykjavik, and you need a four-wheel drive as rivers must be crossed and the road is very bumpy and rocky. It is possible to rent such a car through your own rental agencies in Reykjavik, or you can hire a driver that can take you there.
I’m really looking forward to the day I stand on the top of this amazing volcano top, taking my own pictures to share with you all.
Stuðlagil Canyon is located in a valley called Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley) in East Iceland – East Iceland. This is a wonderful natural area that almost no one knew about until recently.
Stuðlagil Canyon lay hidden under water for a long time. When the Kárahnjúkar power plant was built, the water flow in the ice river Jökulsá á Dal (Jökla) was significantly reduced.
This magical place is part of Jöklas canyon, which is called Stuðlagil Canyon.
Stuðlagil Canyon is one of the most beautiful and significant basalt column formations in Iceland.
The walk to the canyon is estimated to 4 km, so that’s a short distance. There are a lot of hiking trails around the canyon and the beautiful basalt column waterfall called Stuðlafoss is located not far from Stuðlagil Canyon. It is told that this is worth a visit if you have the time – I’ll definitely make time for it.
This is a mountain you can see from Reykjavik. It’s a 6 – 15 km hike, depending on what route you choose. You can take the easiest route that is less steep through a few small forests, or the more steep and difficult route. Both the trails take you to a location called Steinn.
From Steinn you can continue climbing to the top called Varða (“Rock Pile”), if you are of the daring type. This top can be found at an altitude of 2559 ft. (780 m). The path over Steinn becomes more challenging as it is steeper and much more exposed.
The view is spectacular at the top. You can see the capital town, Reykjavik, the fjords and scenic mountains all around. This is the kind of view I love – Mother nature at it is best. This is the view that really makes you feel small and is a reminder of how powerful nature is.
The Laugavegur trail (Multi Day Hike)
I had to mention this hike as well, even if it is not a day hike. To do the entire hike you’ll need to spend 6 days (4 – 7 hours per day). I just had to include this one, as it is one of the hikes I really dream of doing myself.
Laugavegur trail – The most famous hiking trail in Iceland. This attracts both locals and tourists every single summer. Laugavegur & Fimmervorduhals was named one of “The World’s Best Trips – Epic Trails” by National Geographic.
The hike starts at Landmannalaugar nature reserve and extends to the Thorsmork valley – 55 km in length. Many choose to continue on to Skogar and hike further on the volcanic trail Fimmvorduhals.
This trip is available to complete from mid-June to mid-September. The landscape is very diverse with multicolored mountains, bubbling hot springs, powerful rivers, sparkling glaciers, etc
Let’s Go Chasing Waterfalls
Is there anything more magical than the perfect waterfall? Iceland has several beautiful waterfalls to offer, and I intend to visit some of them. I can not get into all of them here, but I will present some of the waterfalls I want to experience for myself.
Gullfoss is considered to be Iceland’s most popular waterfall. It drops 32 meters (105 ft) into a narrow river gorge via two levels. On a fine weather day, you can walk so close that you feel the water spray on your skin. It is important to always think about safety, so be sure to stay behind the fence.
Gullfoss is a protected waterfall in the southwestern part of Iceland, 120 km from the capital town; Reykjavik. The waterfall is formed by the river Hvítá, which means the white river.
When you travel along the South cost of Iceland, Skógafoss is a very popular destination. It’s located close to Skógar – A small village in Iceland with a population of roughly 25 people. It’s easy to access Skógafoss from a big parking in front of the base of the waterfall.
Skógafoss is 25 m wide, and 60 m (197 ft) high. It’s known as one of the most beautiful and dramatic waterfalls of Iceland, and a “must see”. The ground is covered with black sand – This really makes the whole experience even more amazing.
It’s possible to walk up along the waterfall, and see it from above. You need to climb up the east side through an amazing landscape of rocks covered in moss. It’s supposed to give you an amazing view and a bizarre landscape experience. I need to see this with my own eyes, and I will definitely visit the top of the waterfall as well.
Another very popular and breathtaking waterfall in Iceland. This is located in the South cost as well. Seljalandsfoss is narrow and tall (60 m / 197 ft drop), and is a part of the river Seljalandsá
This is a great place to visit if you (like me) enjoy taking great pictures. You can actually go behind the waterfall, and experience it from the “inside”. Imagine the pictures you can get from that view! I can hardly wait.
Seljalandsfoss is only a 2-hour drive from Reykjavik, and you can make this a day trip, or in combination of hiking trails around the waterfall or other nearby trails. There is a pathway that stretches around the waterfall, so you can actually go around the entire Seljalandsfoss – During summer.
Iceland, Here I come!
There is only one thing to say: Iceland, Here I come!
There is no doubt in my mind. This will be my next overseas hiking trip. Now we just have to get the pandemic situation under control so that it becomes possible to travel again.
Iceland has so much beautiful and wild nature to offer, and I just have to experience it. It is not far to travel from Norway, so it really suits me very well.
Iceland is not a cheap country to visit, so I think it is wise to save some money for the trip in advance. When you travel to hike and experience, you can combine camping and hotel accommodation – It solves a bit of the financial at least.
I have planned to combine my hiking excursions – Some will be guided tours and others I want to complete on my own (along with my travel companion of course). one thing is for sure – I will plunge into one of the thousands of heat sources Iceland has to offer during the trip. I’m sure it feels magical.
I hope you find Iceland as interesting, exciting and beautiful as me, and that this article gave you some new ideas about future destinations. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below