Part 1, from Skógar to Þórsmörk
The Laugavegur or the ‘road of the hot springs’ is, in addition to the main street of Reykjavik of the same name, also one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. At least, that is what several travel guides write, including the renowned Lonely Planet. Even though I already knew a few stages of it, at least partially, I decided to put it to the test and took the plunge. Or the mountain boots in this case.
Even though most people walk the stages from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, I decide to walk the route the other way around because I am adding another section. The infamous, but incredibly beautiful Fimmvörðuháls. This mountain pass is located between the Myrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers. You probably know the second one from the volcanic eruption in Iceland in 2010, when almost all aviation came to a standstill due to that enormous ash cloud.
I choose to walk this way because after leaving the famous Skogáfoss on the south coast you will encounter almost 20 waterfalls, each more beautiful than the last. This way you walk towards them. This is a long and tough stage, 25 km and 1200 meters of elevation gain. Something that of course becomes a bit heavier with a backpack with food, tent, clothing and cooking equipment. But it’s more than worth it. This stage can also be divided into two by spending the night in a mountain hut on the ridge!
The road continues to Þórsmörk through snow fields and past the two mountain huts on this stage. Needless to say, the way down offers fantastic views from great heights. Through the new lava fields and over the infamous bottle neck with an abyss on both sides. Fortunately, there are chains on certain parts for a slightly safer feeling. Still, I’m glad there isn’t a very strong wind, things like this are still exciting.
Although it has now become a descent, some parts are a strain on the knees and leg muscles. Make no mistake about that backpack, every kilo you carry affects the rest of your body and not just your back. The closer you get to the valley, the greener it becomes. Partly due to a number of rivers including the Krossá.
Campsites and overnight stays
There are no fewer than 3 campsites in the nature reserve, all with a hut to spend the night. The first one you encounter on this hike is Básar. A large campsite with many spots between the trees, quite basic but fine. However, the views are a bit less than the next Langidalur campsite of the official tour organization ferðafélag íslands. A beautiful, spacious campsite with a shop, many lawns and a view of both glaciers that you walked through. Then the third, called Husadalur also called Volcano Huts. A large and small field, huts, furnished tents, WiFi, outdoor showers (!) and an excellent restaurant. In a class different way, you look out to the north so you have a beautiful view, but unfortunately not the impressive glaciers and mountains that you see from Langidalur.
Although Þórsmörk is one of the most beautiful areas of Iceland for me personally, I have a difference of opinion on this trip with the Swiss who, like myself, travel the route in the opposite direction. For them it is more like their home country, while in addition to the ruggedness of Iceland, I would also like to be ‘in the green’ for a while. Moreover, there are many beautiful walking routes for everyone.
Let’s come back to the campsites; If you want to go here by 4×4 (normal cars are not allowed), Básar is the only one where you do not have to cross the dangerous Krossá River. You can safely cross the river as a backpacker or walker via a mobile pedestrian bridge.
Below is another impression of what you can expect from Þórsmörk in mid-September, when the nights become colder and the first snow can already fall. This was during our domestic trip in 2019!
You can find out what the second and third stages are like in this next blog.
P.S. We will be offering this walking tour as a trip in 2021, but in a different way than we describe here. Including luggage transport and a large tent to sit in in the evening, with heating! More about that later, there is now quite a bit of interest in this adventurous trip!