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European Treks - Iceland Laugavegur Trek

Updated on October 11, 2018
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Paul is an avid outdoor enthusiast. In the past worked as an outdoor instructor, and now delights in sharing his outdoor knowledge.

A gorgeous Icelandik crystaline mountain lake
A gorgeous Icelandik crystaline mountain lake

European Treks

If you are looking for an escape from sedentary holidays and want to experience adventure, new culture and extreme landscapes of great beauty from around the world then there are plenty of adventure holidays to choose from.

Whether it’s a group or personal goal, charity or just a wanderlust and desire to see something completely different an adventure holiday is the way to go. Although many choose to go further afield Europe has some incredible landscapes you may not even have known about. From imposing mountainous regions to gorges and caves Europe is filled with a diverse landscape waiting to be discovered by budding and experienced adventurous. It has a highly varied landscape from the cold tundra of the North that find themselves in the Arctic Circle to the hot Mediterranean temperature and almost dessert like climate. There are stunning coats, forests, temperate landscapes and more than you could ever image.

An adventure trek helps you discover the world, make friends and achieve an incredible goal. It is the perfect way to create memories you will cherish forever and if you want to experience one of the most extreme European treks on offer we encourage you to look at Iceland!

Unrivalled mountain treks in Iceland
Unrivalled mountain treks in Iceland

Iceland Treks

Iceland is one of the most unique landscapes in Europe and the world. It offers something quite different from the other European treks. Its landscape is one of the most challenging, with cool to very cold temperatures even in the height of summer depending on your altitude.The culture, cuisine and language have evolved in a remote location far from the rest of Europe making it a thoroughly unique experience.

Its towns and cities tend to hug the coast line of this enormous island as this is where food and was most abundant from the sea in the deep winter months. However, the interior landscape is where you will find a natural world completely dissimilar to anywhere else and truly magical in its appearance. Inside Iceland is a dramatic wilderness filled with volcanoes, mountains, giant glaciers, lava fields, lakes and waterfalls of crystal clear water and much more.

The unique landscape is thanks to its cold climate in the Arctic Circle but also due to it sitting on the divide between the North America and European tectonic plates. This is what creates its marvellous hot springs, mountains and volcanic climate.

An Iceland trek is definitely more challenging than many other European Treks but if its adventure on your heart, this is definitely one to experience. It is advisable to embark upon treks in the summer months with an experienced adventure treks company because in winter the wilderness of Iceland can mean death with its extreme weather and climate, not to mention dangerous precipices and canyons.

Some of the sights Iceland is most famous for our the aurora borealis or Northern Lights phenomenon in winter, the Blue Lagoon, which is a wonderful enormous and hot bubbling hot spring even when surrounded by snow in winter, the Golden Circle creates by tectonic activity and its geysers.

Hiker's Paradise

Iceland is by many considered to be a hiking paradise. The landscape is extraordinarily diverse, with more than half of it above 1300 feet, large sweeping mountain ranges, fields of lava, glaciers of ice, hot springs, geysers, lakes and black volcanic sands.

This unmatched scenery has been formed due to the islands geographic position. This lends itself perfectly to the hikers who have the urge and hunger to explore this legendary landscape.

In summer, hiking in Iceland’s mountains becomes a very popular activity. The Laugavegaur trail is a popular location for both locals and foreign visitors; it is regarded highly as one of the most outstanding walking trails in the world.

It is recommended that if you decide to journey to Iceland for a hiking holiday that you go on an organised hiking tour, which are available from a number of companies. Keep reading to see our top recommendations.

Trek in Laugavegur, Iceland

European Treks and Adventure Expeditions with Adventurous Ewe
European Treks and Adventure Expeditions with Adventurous Ewe

Iceland Laugavegur Trek

If you are seeking a European Trek in Iceland that is filled with adventure, challenges and exposure to the most beautiful natural landscapes this unique area of the world has to offer then The Iceland Laugavegur Trek with Adventurous Ewe is a prime example.

There are a handful of adventure trek organisations offering treks in Iceland but this is a specially planned one for those looking for a real challenge and the most majestic sights of Iceland. This is a 6 Day Trek across Iceland's most beautiful areas, including rolling snow-covered hills, pristine lakes, unspoiled dramatic mountainous landscape, volcanic area, geothermally active areas and much more.

The Laugavegur Trek takes you to the city of Reykjavik, Keflavík and some of the most breathtaking wilderness in the world, including Landmannahellir, Landmannalaugar, Álftavatn, Emstrur and Thorsmörk.

You can expect to see many glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls and the steaming lava fields that populate the imposing interior landscape of this country.

Laugavegur Trail Iceland

Who to go with?

Now you have made the decision to take part in an Iceland Trek it is time to decide who, if anyone that you'll go with. You have the choice of going it alone, with friend(s) on a self navigating basis, or with an organised group that is run by trained professionals. For those without a huge range of experience, booking a trip with a group run by professionals is often recommended.

The terrain of Iceland can be very challenging and if you are looking for the best adventure but want to ensure your safety you need to plan properly with a reputable company.

Going it alone

For a lot of people, this wouldn't be a good idea. However, those adventurous and experienced enough could possibly prefer to do it this way. Iceland has some very remote areas and dangerous terrains, so think carefully about taking this route. If you do decide to, it is advisable to stick to the well known trails and areas, as there are safe routes and more of a support network to help should you need it.

Depending where you go, you probably won't have phone signal. This means you should try and keep people updated about where you are heading, and make use of a GPS to help guide you when you're lost or unsure.

Be sure to make good plans before you head out, so that you can plan your food, travel and sleeping arrangements without risk of missing crucial living requirements.

Group Travel

A popular choice for those that want to enjoy Iceland's delights in a more organised and guaranteed way. There are several tour groups that offer trekking trips in Iceland that will take you to proven beauty spots, ensure you sleeping arrangements, food and guarantee you a fantastic experience.

Often, these trekking companies will offer you a number of services and guarantees that you could not simply undertake without the organisation and profession of these tour guides and their network. Tour groups are able to offer guides that speak the language, experienced leaders, tents with mattresses, a support car with driver, kitchen staff, satellite and GPS systems as well as ensuring you get every meal on your trip.

In Iceland, you can see the contours of the mountains wherever you go, and the swell of the hills, and always beyond that the horizon. And there's this strange thing: you're never sort of hidden; you always feel exposed in that landscape. But it makes it very beautiful as well.

— Hannah Kent

Iceland Treks Photography

Trek Example Schedule

Day 1) Transfer to Camp Landmannahellir. On the first day of the trek you will fly into the airport serving Reykjavik and from there transfer to the camp in Landmannahellir where you will spend the night. Dinner and a briefing will be provided.

Day 2) Landmannahellir – Landmannalaugar. On the second day the trek begins from Landmannahellir (590m) and passes outstanding lakes and the Domadalslava lava fields. The trek stops for overnight camp in Landmannalaugar (575m).

Day 3) Landmannalaugar – Álftavatn. Day 3 will be the longest and most challenging day of the adventure trek. From Landmannalaugar (575m) the group will trek across the ancient lava field of Laugahraun. Look out for the fascinating steaming vents and hot spring in this area of much geothermal activity.

Day 4) Álftavatn – Emstrur Trekers will be wading through an icy stream on day 4. This will be followed by areas if climbs and decents until you reach a volcanic area. We will be heading from here to the deep canyon of the Markarfljot river with overnight camp in Emstrur.

Day 5) Emstrur – Thorsmörk The group sets off once again along the Markarfljot river canyon (over 100m deep) passing through scenic valleys. Don't forget to look up and witness inspiring views of the Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Tindafjallajökull glaciers. They are one of the most famous attractions in Iceland. After arriving in Thorsmörk the group will be transferred back to Reykjavik, which takes 2 1/2 hours.

Day 6) The Journey Home On the final day of the trek you can enjoy optional excursions such as whale watching or a tour of the famous Blue Lagoon and then in the afternoon everyone will be transferred to Keflavik for the flight home.

Made in Iceland, a lone walker in Iceland

Pylsur - The Icelandic Hot Dog
Pylsur - The Icelandic Hot Dog | Source

Icelandic Food

While in Iceland, you'll want to have a try at some of the local delicacies, cuisines and interesting snacks of offer, whether that's to keep your energy up, or to simply give your taste buds a new experience.

Iceland boasts a very interesting, but delicious array of food that has been pleasing locals and visitors alike during their time in Iceland. Whether it is a hearty meal or a light snack, Iceland has a number of dishes, meals and snacks for all tastes, all of which you may not be so familiar with.

What exactly do Icelanders eat?

At a basic level, it could be said that the diet of your average Icelander has not changed a great deal than that living in the Viking Age. Being an island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, you would undoubtedly expect the diet to consist of a huge array of seafood. And it does. Iceland boasts a plentiful range of different fish, with a very popular snack being 'wind dried fish'. While the diet of your average Icelander is dominated by animal products, a convergence to European norm has taken place, with consumption of vegetables greatly increasing, while some traditional foods have taken a decline.

Chefs in Iceland, although preparing the same foods as their ancestors did before them, have developed new ways of cooking, which has made way for some imaginative and iconic dishes.

The Hot Dog - 'Pylsur'

Famous all over, the Icelandic take on the hot dog is made up not only of pork, but with added lamb and beef, giving the flavour an extra dimension over your normal hot dog. The lamb helps deepen the flavour, and you'll have a range of choice when it comes to topping - including sweet brown mustard, raw onions and remoulade, you have a plethora of choice to top off your lovely snack.

Lamb

Iceland is renowned for its excellent lamb. By allowing their sheep to roam free across the highlands, grazing on grass and herbs before being rounded up in the winter for attentive care, their able to produce tender meat that gains a gamey flavour.

In Iceland, it is not unusual to tuck into a sheep's head, which is singed, de-brained and then boiled, commonly served with mashed potato scoops and turnip.

Skyr

Made from pasteurised milk and a bacteria similar to yoghurt, Skyr is an extremely popular snack that is eaten during all times of the day. While it offers a tasty, thick and creamy flavour, it is very healthy and light that compared to somewhere between Greek yoghurt and crème-fraiche. On your trip to Iceland, you'll undoubtedly come across this food, and I urge you to try it!

Black licorice

If you're into licorice, you've come to the right place. Iceland has a whole range of licorice foods, from straight up licorice candy, to chocolate covered variants. The national drink named Brennivín, nicknamed 'Black Death' is a shot you should definitely try... after your fermented shark.

Shark, Puffin, Horse and Whale

While these animals may sound a little obscure when it comes to talking about food, in Iceland it is normal to eat these. Iceland understand that certain groups of animals are endangered, they'll let you know that in fact, this is mink whale, an non existence threatening group of shark, or not so rare puffin. Each of these have their own distinct taste and are prepared in a number of ways, giving you somewhat of a problem choosing.

A word of advice

Iceland don't just have excellent meats, they have wonderful vegetables and and all year round supply of potatoes. Undoubtedly fish is some of their finest food, as you'll find that any you eat may have been caught the same day you consume! Skyr is a good meal all day round, so no matter what time of year it is, definitely eat Skyr.

A
Landmannalaugar:
Landmannalaugar, Iceland

get directions

Passes lava fields and breathtaking lakes.

B
Álftavatn:
Álftavatn, Iceland

get directions

This is the longest and most challenging day of the advernture trek. Trek across the ancient lava field of Laugahraun. Look out for steam vents.

C
Emstrur:
Emstrur, Iceland

get directions

Wade through an icy stream, followed by climbs and descents of a volcanic area.

D
Thorsmörk:
Thórsmörk, Iceland

get directions

Pass through scenic valleys with inspiring views of the Mýrdalsjökull, Eyjafjallajökull and Tindafjallajökull glaciers.

E
Blue Lagoon:
Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland

get directions

World famous Blue Lagoon hotsprings.

F
Keflavik:
Reykjanesbær, Iceland

get directions

Airport for flight home.

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