Top 10 Apps for Your Trip to Iceland

Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellsfossar on Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Hreyfill: the taxi app

Hreyfill is one of the largest taxi companies in Iceland. With their app, you can order a cab to your address and see the car’s location in real-time. Unlike Hopp Taxi, you disclose your destination to the taxi driver, not through the app. Therefore, you will see the final price once you arrive at your destination. The payment goes through the cab driver, not the app. If you would like to get a price estimate first, you can call Hreyfill Taxi at +354-588-5522. 

SafeTravel

The SafeTravel app will give you all the information you need to travel safely in Iceland, such as Icelandic road regulations, traffic signs, road closures and weather warnings. It enables you to register your location at any given time, so if you go on a hike and get lost, the app can provide the authorities with your last reported coordinates so they can find you more easily. You can directly connect to emergency services through the app.

Traffic jam in snow storm in Iceland
Photo: The SafeTravel app will keep you updated on weather and road conditions.

Hopp: getting from A to B

Hopp is an app for three types of transportation. It offers electric scooter rentals, car sharing and ride sharing. There are many scooter rental stations in Iceland. You can use the app to rent one for a limited time and then return it to any Hopp scooter station. Car sharing allows you to rent a car for a shorter period, much like Zipcar. These cars are located at various places in the capital area. The ride-share option, or Hopp Taxi, is similar to Uber. You can order a car through the app, and by choosing your destination, you will see the price before confirming. The cost will then be deducted from your payment method through the app.

Klappið: getting from A to B for less

Klappið is the public bus app which allows you to buy tickets and plan your ride by entering your start location, destination and departure time. You can see the bus’ location in real-time. As of 2024, the price for a standard bus ticket is ISK 630 [$4.60, €4.20]. You can pay the fare by entering your card information in the app.

Bus in Reykjavík, Iceland
Photo: Lækjartorg bus stop in Reykjavík.

Kringum Iceland: fun facts all around you

The Kringum app teaches you about various sites, fun facts and events around you. You can look at the map and see icons marking each site. When you click them, you will see information and stories about the given subject and get directions on how to get there. Aside from the map, you can go to a list that shows the nearby sites, with the closest ones listed first. 

Parka: parking made simple

The Parka app enables you to pay for parking from your phone, so there’s no need to search for an automat. The app will show you which parking zone you are in using the location function, ensuring you pay the correct fee. It will list locations such as parking garages, street parking and car washes. You connect your card to the app for payment. Once you park your car, you check in through the app, and when you return to your vehicle, you check out. The app will then charge you a prorated price based on the time you used the parking spot. Note that this app can also be used for reserving camping sites

Wikiloc: hiking trails in Iceland

The Wikiloc app offers detailed hiking trails, which you can find on their map or by using filters to create a list. You will see the elevation, distance and difficulty level of each trail, ranked and reviewed by travellers. The app includes offline maps that can come in handy if you lose cell phone reception in the wilderness.

Kleifarvatn, Iceland
Photo: Golli. The Wikiloc app will guide you on adventurous hikes.

Google Translate

This popular app can be very useful during your travels in Iceland. Sometimes, instructions or descriptions are only listed in Icelandic. With this app, you can hover your phone’s camera over the text you need translating, and in seconds, you will have the text written in your language. In addition, you can translate sentences via text or verbally and have the app read the text out loud.

Icelandic Coupons

This app offers coupons for restaurants, bars, shops, and activities. The offers include 2-for-1 deals and percentage discounts, making your time in Iceland more economical. You can use free coupons or buy a collection for ISK 1,380 [$10, €9.20]. Search for coupons anywhere in Iceland or turn on the location feature to see nearby deals. Simply download the app, start scrolling, and then activate the offer once it’s time to pay for the service.

Red Cross First Aid

This app provides instructions for first aid on the go, with no internet connection needed. You select the emergency from a list, and the app will give step-by-step instructions on how to best care for the injury. Having first aid in the palm of your hand can save a life and is especially helpful when you’re out of town and must wait longer for assistance. In some instances, the app instructs to dial 911, but note that the emergency hotline in Iceland is 112.

 

Nesjavellir to Hveragerði: A Hiking Adventure an Hour from Reykjavík

nesjavellir hike

It was recently the First Day of Summer, a holiday in Iceland where kids get presents and Icelanders flock outside in the hopes of catching some rays. It’s a tricky time of year in a lot of ways, equally likely to still have snow storms as bright, sunny days. It’s certainly a time of year when I’m itching to go for a hike, to go on the inaugural trip of what is hopefully many summer adventures.

Because the time of year can be a little tricky, I wanted to go on an overnight hike that felt like a real hike, but would still be manageable if the weather turned for the worse. I’d known for a long time that you can actually walk from Nesjavellir, a popular hiking area between the south coast of Þingvallavatn Lake and Hengill mountain, to Hveragerði, with a stop at the popular Reykjadalur hot springs along the way. But I’d never actually gotten around to it until this year. 

Who is this hike for?

Clocking in at around 20 km [12.5 mi] each way (some 5 to 6 hours of straight walking), this is a great hike for people who want an experience that really looks and feels like the highland, while still being able to sleep in a hotel at night, have a shower, and eat a dinner that hasn’t been freeze-dried. While trails like Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls are without doubt beautiful and worth doing, they can only be safely hiked in the proper high season. They are also harder to access, requiring transport by highland bus to either Þórsmörk or Landmannalaugar. I found this walk to be a great compromise of beautiful views, rewarding walking, and convenience. And while you still need proper gear like hiking boots, a day pack, a wind- and water-proof shell, water, hiking socks, and so on, you can ditch the tent and sleeping bag if you’re staying in Hveragerði, meaning that you save on weight. This makes for a much more comfortable hike, though if you want to save money and bring a tent and sleeping bag, Hveragerði does also have an easily accessible campground.

A caveat, however: Because we hiked early in the season, the snow was still melting up in the mountains, making the trail extremely muddy. It was probably a more difficult hike for us than it otherwise would have been, and for the preservation of the trail, I wouldn’t recommend hiking here until at least late May.

Getting to Nesjavellir

Nesjavellir is a popular hiking area for many capital area residents. It’s a part of the mountains (including Hengill) that separate the South Coast from the Þingvellir area. There’s a dense network of trails in this area, so it’s also entirely possible to just do a quick day hike here as well.

Best deals on renting a car in Iceland

 

We drove east from Reykjavík along Route 36, as if we were driving the Golden Circle towards Þingvellir. Near the lake, we turned onto road number 360, which took us to the south coast of the lake. Below you’ll find embedded a map of the route we took to get to the trailhead.

If you are driving from Reykjavík, you will see a small parking lot to the left of the road. There’s a sign that says camping is forbidden, but leaving your car here isn’t a problem.

The name of this particular hike is Kattatjarnarleið, and the navigation I used was the Alltrails app, which allows you to download topographical maps – very useful when hiking in areas with poor reception and few available maps.

nesjavellir hike
The drive to Nesjavellir is also a beautiful one, takng you along the south coast of Lake Þingvellir.

Day 1: Nesjavellir to Hveragerði

The trail begins in some fields that are overlooked by some vacation houses (the area is a popular weekend escape for Reykjavík residents). You’ll follow a stream for some time, and within 30 minutes of walking or so, you’ll have to wade across a shallow river. Nothing too daunting – though it did take us a minute to find a suitable path across.

hiking near þingvallavatn fording a stream
Soon into the hike, you'll have your first adventure - wading a small river.

Soon after wading across the river, you’ll go up a hill and find a gate consisting of two wooden poles. This closes the area off during the winter and is the start of the “real” part of the hike!

hiking near hengill
Beautiful mountain views just an hour from Reykjavík.

I’ll admit that I was really shocked by the first part of the hike. Following along a river gorge, with Hengill mountain to your front, it’s just amazingly beautiful on a nice day. You would really never guess that you were just an hour from Reykjavík. We also got lucky with the weather – it was late April and temperatures were around 10°C [50°F], with lots of sun and a healthy breeze the whole time. As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect weather for hiking.

hiking signposts near hengill

About a third of the way into the hike, you’ll encounter this signpost. The major trails through this area run in a figure-eight around Hengill, and you can choose which way you want to take here. We opted to do one pass through the figure-eight on our way to Hveragerði, and take another leg of it back. Heading from North to South, we continued to Hveragerði and Reykjadalur by heading right, following the sign for Ölkelduháls and Hveragerði.

hiking boots
Muddy boots after a long day of walking.

A good two or three hours of walking later, and you’ll have a fine vantage point over the Reykjadalur hot spring area. We got a little bit of a late start and wanted to have dinner in Hveragerði, so we actually skipped the popular geothermal area for our way back.

I was also reserved in taking photos here, and I recommend other travellers and hikers act likewise. This popular bathing areas has some nice wooden walkways these days, but it is still fundamentally a wilderness experience. There are some wooden shelters for modesty, but no closed changing rooms for hikers to get into their bathing suits. That means that you’ll find people in various states of dress and undress here, so I suggest stowing the camera.

Once you’ve reached Reykjadalur, it’s a relatively short walk to Hveragerði itself. At the bottom of the hill where the Reykjadalur trail begins you’ll find a hospitality centre that offers some light refreshments, so if you’re starving and can’t wait to get back to town, it’s a fine place to have a beer.

From the Reykjadalur café, it’s about a 3km [1.8mi] walk into Hveragerði proper. It isn’t the most beautiful walk, mostly by the side of the road through a semi-residential area. So it’s not exactly cheating if you hitchhike or call a taxi into town from this point. If you’re lucky, you might also find an e-scooter lying around. On our trip, we weren’t so lucky. So, tired after a full day of walking, we hoofed it back into town and gratefully showered at our hotel and headed out to dinner.

Day 2: In Hveragerði

What to do in Hveragerði

Hveragerði is a quaint little town some 50 minutes away from Reykjavík. It’s well-known for the hot springs which bubble up from the nearby hills, and it’s historically been a centre for Icelandic agriculture, as the local geothermal springs have allowed the locals to raise all sorts of plants in the greenhouses the town is now famous for.

Eldhestar tours: One of the major horse-riding tour guides in Iceland has a facility right by Hveragerði. Taking a guided horse-riding tour is a very unique way to experience the local landscape, and it is certainly more relaxing than the hike you just took yesterday! With everything from tours for absolute beginners to more adventurous outings for the experienced equestrian, taking a horse tour is undoubtedly one of the most Icelandic ways imaginable to see your surroundings! See all of their tours here.

LÁ Art Museum: Listasafn Árnesinga is a charming little art museum that preserves a small collection of modern and contemporary visual art – this is a great little place to check out if you’re looking for something off the beaten path. In addition to the main exhibits, the museum also puts on a series of workshops and guided tours. Hveragerði is known locally as a very creative community, so we highly recommend checking out this small, but unique, art museum. Admission is free. During the summer, it’s open daily from 12pm to 5pm daily.

Mega Zipline in Hveragerði: The Mega Zipline near Hveragerði in Iceland is an exhilarating adventure, featuring the country’s longest and fastest zipline at exactly 1 km in length. Located close to the capital city, it offers an exciting experience for thrill-seekers. The zipline consists of two parallel lines, allowing for simultaneous rides, and offers breathtaking views of the Svartagljúfur gorge with its waterfalls, rocky formations, and lush hillsides.

Relax in the local swimming pool: If you’re like us, you’ll want to just relax and soak after the long walk you just took yesterday. Luckily, nearly every town in Iceland has a beautiful swimming pool, often equipped with a lap pool, cold pot, hot pot, and a steam room or sauna. There’s nothing better than soaking up the sun in a hot tub after a long day of walking. It’s a simple, but well-deserved, luxury. In the summer, the Hveragerði swimming pool is open Mon-Fri from 6:45am to 9:30pm, and Sat-Sun from 9:00am to 7:00pm. Admission for adults is 1,180 ISK [$8.40, €7.85]. Read more about swimming pools here.

Hveragerði Geothermal Park: This area of Iceland is known for its especially active hot springs, so if you’re a geology nerd (or you really want to boil an egg in a hot spring), this is a great stop on a day in Hveragerði. 

Visitors to the Geothermal Park can even get a clay footbath (said to have therapeutic effects) and visit the nearby greenhouses, where everything from bananas, to tomatoes and flowers are grown. Admission is 500 ISK [$3.60, €3.30] for adults and 300 ISK [$2.14, €2.00] for kids. During the summer, it’s open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm and Sun 9am-4pm.

Where to eat in Hveragerði

Hveragerði Foodhall: Look, I’ll admit it. I love food halls. A lot of them have sprung up in Reykjavík and across Iceland recently, so some of the cool kids are turning their nose up at them. But for anyone dining with a partner or family, it’s a great way for everyone to get what they want. The Hveragerði foodhall is known as the Greenhouse. It has a variety of options from burgers, tacos, fried chicken, casual fine dining, an elegant cocktail bar, and more. Prices are no different from Reykjavík. Expect to spend about 3,500 ISK [$25, €23] for an entree and about 1,100 ISK [$7.80, €7.30] for a beer.

Ölverk Pizza & Brewery: Pizza and beer is not exactly a hard sell. This popular eatery in Hveragerði serves up innovative pies, such as a Korean tunafish pizza, alongside tried-and-true classics, washed down with a selection of their own brewed beers. Appetizers are around 1500 ISK [$10.70, €10]. Pizzas begin around 2,300 ISK [$16.45, €15.30] for a basic margherita and go up to around 3,200 ISK [$22.90, €21.30] for more speciality offerings. Beers on offer include a full selection of German pilsners, red ales, and IPA, in addition to seasonal offerings as well.

Matkráin: Looking for something a little more local? Matkráin [The Gastropub] has you covered! Their menu – which is in Icelandic (something not to be taken for granted these days) – features a wide selection of Icelandic and Nordic favourites, with smoked salmon, open-faced sandwiches, smoked lamb, salads, and more. The open-faced sandwiches, which can be ordered either whole, or taken as half for a “take two” deal, are the feature of the menu and will run you about 2,800 ISK [$20, €18.60] or so.

Rósakaffi: Hveragerði is known for its greenhouses, so it’s only fitting to have a light lunch or coffee in one of the greenhouses! On offer are a selection of cakes, coffee, and lunch options such as wings and fries, meatballs, lamb shanks, potato gratin, and more. They have a generous lunch offer which includes a fish entree, with coffee and cake for dessert. The lunch offer will run you 2,490 ISK [$17.80, €16.60].

Where to stay in Hveragerði

Hveragerði isn’t the biggest tourism centre in the region, so it’s possible to find accommodations for a reasonable price. That said, all of the information provided here is to give you a general sense, but of course prices will fluctuate depending on the season, demand, the size of your party, and so on.

Hotels in Hveragerði

Hotel Örk is likely a good option for many. A traditional hotel that’s neither budget nor luxury, you’ll find it has reasonable options for couples and families. A stay here comes with a complimentary breakfast buffet, which we certainly took advantage of before our hike. The facilities also feature a heated outdoor swimming pool (complete with water slide) and hot pots. A 2-night weekend stay here for two adults in the high season (July) is currently around 71,000 ISK [$508, €472], but our stay was significantly cheaper, as April is something of an off-season.

The Frost and Fire Hotel may be a more intriguing offering for travellers looking for a more unique experience. Nestled beside bubbling geothermal springs in Hveragerði, this hotel boasts an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, and a sauna. Each room comes complete with bathrobes, slippers, and a flat-screen TV. Wi-Fi access is complimentary. Wooden floors, spacious beds, and private bathrooms are standard features, with some rooms providing scenic vistas of the River Varmá.

Guests can indulge in Icelandic haute cuisine at Restaurant Varmá, situated within the hotel and open for dinner reservations. The restaurant specializes in slow-cooked dishes prepared in the natural hot springs, offering patrons a delightful panorama of the river Varmá. The Frost and Fire Hotel is also a great option for hikers planning on doing this trail, as the hotel is located significantly closer to the trailhead. A 2-night weekend stay here for two adults in the high season (July) currently begins around 140,000 ISK [$1,000, €930].

The SKYR Guesthouse may be attractive for both budget-minded travellers and travellers looking for something more cosy. Located above the popular SKYR restaurant, this guesthouse has a lovely rural Bed and Breakfast atmosphere that would go well with a hike or weekend getaway to the countryside. Rooms come with free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, free parking, beautiful views, and of course, convenient access to the restaurant. A 2-night weekend stay here for two adults in the high season (July) currently begins around 51,000 ISK [$365, €340].

Camping in Hveragerði

As stated above, Hveragerði also has a campground. Surrounded by nature’s splendour and close to hiking trails, a swimming pool, a golf course, and horse rentals, it’s an ideal base for outdoor adventures. The campground provides most modern amenities, including toilets, showers, laundry facilities, and dishwashing areas. Pet-friendly and family-oriented, it features a playground and barbecue facilities. Services for mobile homes are available, along with an electric car charging station. Prices are reasonable, with adults at 2,000 ISK [$14, €13] and children under 15 free. It’s only open during the summer, however, and for this trip, we chose to sleep in a hotel to lighten our packs. The walk was much nicer without a tent and sleeping bag weighing us down!

Day 3: Hveragerði back to Nesjavellir (with a stop at Reykjadalur)

On the third day of our trip, we got up early, had our hotel buffet breakfast, and were out the door at a respectable 9am. We were, however, not particularly keen to walk the bit through town. It’s not very scenic, and it adds about 3km [1.8 mi] to the total walk. We opted to save some money and located two e-scooters in town – much cheaper than a taxi. Rural taxi services can be somewhat slow to respond and expensive. The road to the trailhead is well-paved and within the service range of the scooters as well. In total, out e-scooter journey turned out to be around 900 ISK [$6.40, €6] – a fair savings from taxi fare.

reykjadalur hike
A waterfall you will see en route to Reykjadalur.

The next bit of our hike will be familiar to anyone who has visited the popular Reykjadalur geothermal area. It’s about a 3 km [1.8 mi] walk from the Reykadalur café to the hot spring area, or about an hour of solid walking. The trail does ramp up very quickly in steepness – both my wife and I are in decent shape and were pretty winded within the first 15 minutes of the walk. The trail does, however, even out once you get into the hills.

view over reykjadalur
The Reykjadalur geothermal valley.

For this day of hiking, we had a bit more time to spare, so we did opt to hop into the hot river. As I noted before, this is a beautiful and special area, but many people are also changing out in the open, so I would recommend that you be respectful and play influencer elsewhere. It was a relatively warm and sunny day, but it’s always a little chilly to run through the cold mountain air in your swimsuit. It’s also worth noting that except for the wooden walkway and modesty screens, this area is unimproved. That means it is a real river, and as such, the river rocks are mostly sharp and hard to walk on. I hope this doesn’t need explaining, but it’s not a luxury spa – it’s a mountain stream. Still, our feet were still sore from our walk, so we gratefully soaked for a good half hour and had a quick lunch. Obviously, if you plan on going to Reykjadalur for a dip, I recommend bringing along a swimsuit and towel so you can dry off. Not very fun to complete the rest of the hike soaking wet!

hiking signposts

From the Reykjadalur area, we headed right, up the hill towards a fumarole on the side of the hill. Following that trail for another 15 minutes or so, you will come across this sign post. Since we took the route on the left on our way here, we decided to head right towards Kattatjörn, the mountain pond that serves as the namesake for this trail.

From here, the way is clear, and you’ll walk over a mountain meadow for about an hour until you arrive at a dramatic overlook point, where you can see Þingvallavatn Lake, and the glacier Langjökull in the distance.

After this vantage point, it’s all downhill! Quite literally, in fact, though there are still some difficult bits to the hike. As you descend from the mountains, you’ll pass through a rather Tolkien-esque river gorge. It’s a cool area, but we found the way to be a little tricky. The trail was very sandy in parts, making it hard to get a firm footing. But still, heading downhill back to civilization puts a certain spring in your step, and after a couple of hours, we found our way back to the car!

 

More than just Reykjadalur

The Reykjadalur hot spring area has become an extremely popular attraction in recent years, and I certainly can’t blame visitors for wanting to see this unique geothermal area. But the hiking around Hengill and Nesjavellir offers so much more, and I highly recommend this trail to anyone looking for a bit more of a serious outing than just a day hike, without the need to really plan out a true highland excursion. Nevertheless, some of the views we were rewarded with felt like true highland vistas, so I can’t recommend it enough. Though a word to the wise – do wait until at least the end of May to hike this. To say we were muddy by the end would be an understatement.

Fimmvörðuháls: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide

A group of people by Skógafoss.

If you’re planning on a hike in the Highland while you’re in Iceland, Fimmvörðuháls is a great option. It’s one of the most popular day hikes in Iceland and for a good reason. Taking you past more than 20 waterfalls, through barren landscape, between two glaciers, and down into the lush natural paradise of Þórsmörk, it’s one of the most diverse routes you can take in the Icelandic wilderness within a day. This guide to hiking Fimmvörðuháls will tell you everything you need to know about how to get there, what to expect on the way, whether it’s suitable for children, and much more.

When can you make the Fimmvörðuháls hike?

Technically, Fimmvörðuháls is open all year round, but mid-June to the end of August is the ideal time, especially if you’re going without a guide. It’s the time you’ll be most likely to get decent weather and good trail conditions, which will make your journey both more enjoyable and safe. During the off-season, conditions can be difficult due to storms and heavy snow on the ground, and planning transportation to and from the trail will be hard. You should only hike Fimmvörðuháls during the off-season if you’re an experienced hiker or with a guide. The video below will give you an idea of what the conditions are like during the hiking season.

Guided or unguided

During the hiking season, the Fimmvörðuháls hike can be done on your own. This might be the better option for photographers wanting to capture the unique Icelandic landscape or those who just want to take some extra time to enjoy the Highland, as it allows you complete freedom of speed. If you choose to go unguided, make sure to familiarize yourself with the trail beforehand and bring a GPS device and/or a map and a compass.

For less experienced hikers, those who don’t feel confident making the trip on their own, or social butterflies who want to hike with a larger group, there are plenty of guided tours available from May to September.

What to wear on your hike

Don’t underestimate the weather. Even if the forecast is great for Skógar and Þórsmörk, your starting and ending points, the conditions can be completely different and rapidly changing once you’re higher up.

To maximize your safety and comfort, it’s recommended to wear three layers on your journey:

  • A base layer of wool or synthetic thermal underwear.
  • A middle layer for insulation, wool or synthetics.
  • A wind and water-resistant, but breathable, outer layer.

Leave your cotton clothes at home. They won’t keep you warm when they get moist from sweat or wet from snow and rain. If you tend to get easily cold, or if the forecast is particularly grim, an extra sweater in the backpack is a good idea.

Additionally, you should have thermal gloves and headwear, socks made from wool or synthetics, and waterproof hiking boots, such as those on the image below. These are crucial, as there will be snow on the way. If you don’t have the proper equipment or space in your luggage to bring it, you can make use of a hiking and camping equipment rental.

Sturdy hiking boots.
Photo: Matti Blume, Wikimedia. Sturdy hiking boots.

What to bring – and what to leave on the bus

Although Iceland is known for its many rivers, there are none for a good deal of the Fimmvörðuháls trail. This means that you’ll have to bring water for the whole day in your backpack. It’s also a good idea to have hot water, hot chocolate, coffee or tea.

Assuming you’ve already had breakfast, you should bring lunch, dinner and plenty of snacks. An example of food for the day would be as follows:

  • Snacks – a pack of biscuits, a bag of nuts, raisins and chocolate, a granola bar, an apple, and a package of Icelandic fish jerky.
  • Lunch – a sandwich or two with hummus and vegetables or ham and cheese, a package of instant soup, and a snack.
  • Dinner – pasta with cream sauce or a package of freeze-dried food, a hot drink, and a snack.

Other than food, you should bring:

  • A first-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • An extra pair of socks
  • Blister plasters or tape
  • A GPS and/or map and compass.

Those planning to stay the night in Þórsmörk do not have to carry additional things with them on the hike. You can leave your tents, sleeping bags and anything else you won’t need during the day on the bus, and the driver will drop them off at your accommodations. To do this, you’ll just have to make sure that the bus you choose is actually going there, have your things clearly labelled, and let the driver know.

Which direction to hike in

Since the hike is a point-to-point, there are, of course, two ways to do it. The most popular way is to start from Skógar and make your way into Þórsmörk. That means you’ll be facing the 20-plus waterfalls of the hike on the way up, have a slow but long inclination and the beautiful sight of Þórsmörk coming down. However, it’s entirely possible to do it the other way around. Many mountain runners prefer that, for example, as starting from Þórsmörk gives you a steeper but shorter inclination.

A group of people by Skógafoss waterfall in Skógar.
A group of people by Skógafoss waterfall in Skógar.

What to expect on the hike

While the hike is not the most difficult you can take, it is challenging and not suitable for those with poor physical health. Be sure to get some training in if you’re not used to hiking.

The trail itself is 24 km [15 miles] from Skógar to Básar (or the other way around) and has about 1000 metres [0.6 miles] ascent. On average, it takes eight to ten hours to complete. However, this is highly dependent on your physical form, how often and long you stop to admire the surrounding nature, and whether you struggle with heights. Some people take less than seven hours, while others take 14. Where you’re going to sleep once you get down to Þórsmörk is also a factor, but we’ll get to that further down in the guide.

There are several places where you’ll need to swallow your fear of heights if you have it. There are a couple of steep hills to climb up and down and some places where the path gets very narrow. For a few meters, you’ll have to hold on to a rope to get across a ledge.

There will be snow – maybe even a lot – and the importance of wearing proper hiking boots cannot be stressed enough. Don’t head off wearing sandals or trainers. You’ll end up with wet shoes, cold feet, and a far less enjoyable journey.

Fimmvörðuháls during summer, covered in snow.
Photo: Erik Pomrenke. Fimmvörðuháls during summer, covered in snow.

If you’re starting from Skógar, you’ll head into the barren landscape after you pass the last stretch of the waterfalls and river. This part can feel rather tedious compared to the first, but we promise it will all be well and truly worth it. The views coming down into Þórsmörk in the last leg of the journey are beyond this world.

Should you spend the night in Þórsmörk?

Many people drive out, do the hike, and head back on the same day, but if you have time, Þórsmörk is an amazing place to spend it in. You should also keep in mind that you’re most likely dependent on the highland bus to get out of Þórsmörk. This means that if you don’t spend the night, the bus schedule will restrict your time for things going wrong on the way or exploring the area once you’re down. The last bus usually leaves at 8 PM, and assuming you took the bus to Skógar, you will have started the hike around 11 AM, giving you just about nine hours to complete it. Having sleeping arrangements allows you to take your time on the hike without having to worry about missing the bus.

You can book a sleeping space in a cabin in Básar, Langidalur or Húsadalur, or you could bring a tent. For those wanting a bit of luxury or romance after a long and tiring day, there’s also glamping available, but beware that this is located in Húsadalur. Of the three places you can sleep in, Húsadalur is the furthest away from the end of the hiking trail and getting there will add about 2-3 hours to your journey. Básar is the nearest and, thus, the most popular amongst hikers. Langidalur lies in between the two, adding two kilometres [1.2 miles] to your trip. These all have their unique characteristics, and should you want to experience all of them, you can always plan to stay a few days. Keep in mind that there are limited sleeping spaces, so book yours in advance!

The view from Valahnúkur mountain in Þórsmörk, a popular hike amongst those staying there.
Photo: Erik Pomrenke. The view from Valahnúkur mountain in Þórsmörk, a popular hike amongst those staying there.

If 24 km [15 miles] in a day is not your jam, you can make the hike into a two-day trip and stay a night in either Fimmvörðuskáli or Baldvinsskáli. They are conveniently situated about midway through. You can also choose to hike the trail for a few kilometres and turn back the same way, making it a round-trip of any length you desire. From either end of it, you’ll have epic scenery along the way: the long trail of waterfalls alongside the path from Skógar or the breathtaking view of Þórsmörk below as you hike up the trail and back down again. You could even bring a blanket and some food and set up a picnic along the way. Lastly, there’s the option of seeing Fimmvörðuháls from above on a helecopter tour, in case you’re not able to or don’t want to hike.

Is Fimmvörðuháls suitable for children?

It depends on their hiking experience, physical capability, and enthusiasm. Most companies offering guided tours require a minimum age of 12 or 13 years. This is also a good guideline for families going on their own, but of course, you know your child/children best and will be able to assess their ability based on previous experiences. If you’ve never hiked with them before, doing a test hike is a good idea, and keep in mind that Fimmvörðuháls will probably be a bit more challenging. If you’re worried about it being too hard for them, the suggestions above, making it a two-day hike or only doing part of it, are excellent options.

On the last stretch of the waterfall part of Fimmvörðuháls.
Photo: Erik Pomrenke. On the last stretch of the waterfall part of Fimmvörðuháls.

Getting to and from Fimmvörðuháls

Since the Fimmvörðuháls trail is a point-to-point hike, not a circle, and because of how the highland buses are scheduled, this will probably be the trickiest part of your planning. The fact that you need a 4×4 and experience with river crossing to get in and out of Þórsmörk also restricts your options somewhat. There are several ways you can do this.

  • The most hassle-free option is to book a guided tour that includes transportation. You will need to make no other arrangements than getting to the meeting point. This might be particularly enticing for families with children, but it is also one of the more expensive ways.
  • If you don’t want a guided tour, the next best option would be to have a designated driver who drops you off at the starting point and picks you up at the end. This is a great solution if only part of the group you’re travelling with is doing the hike, and it’s by far the cheapest one. You’ll only need to buy a ticket to or from Þórsmörk to Brú Base Camp, Seljalandsfoss, or Hvolsvöllur, depending on the bus company.
  • A similar situation can be worked out if you have two cars. This will allow you to leave one car at Skógar and one at whichever bus stop you choose to get on/off the bus to or from Þórsmörk. This means that you can drive all the way to Skógar in the morning, hike to Þórsmörk, take the bus to a chosen bus stop and drive back to Skógar to pick up the second car (or the other way around).
  • A fourth option is to get a ticket with one of the highland buses from Reykjavík: A one-way ticket to your starting point, Skógar or Básar (if you’re starting in Þórsmörk, don’t choose Langidalur or Húsadalur!), and a one-way ticket back to Reykjavík from your ending point. Make sure that if your ending point is Þórsmörk, you pick the correct hut for pick-up: Básar, Langidalur or Húsadalur. Each bus company only goes to one or two of the three. If your ticket just says ‘Þórsmörk’, check with the company you bought it from. Those staying the night in Þórsmörk don’t have to worry too much about the timetable, but if you’re planning a one-day trip, make sure that a) you book your ticket back from Básar and b) you know the time you have to be down by.
  • Similarly, if you’re already on the South Coast and got there by car, you can hop on the bus somewhere along the way between Reykjavík and your starting point. This could be in Selfoss, Hella, or Hvolsvöllur, but the stops will be slightly different between bus companies. Just make sure that the bus you take on your way back stops at the same place you left your car. Note that there is no bus that runs from Þórsmörk to Skógar, so leaving your car there at the start of your hike is not a great option. If you do this, you’ll have to take a taxi once you’re out of Þórsmörk to get back to it, which will be very expensive.

Below is the trail on Google Maps with some of its waterfalls and landmarks marked in. The estimated travel time is quite optimistic, so don’t use it as a benchmark!

A Quick Guide to Hiking in Iceland

A group of people hiking in Landmannalaugar.

With endless mountains, natural wonders, and out-of-this-world sceneries, Iceland was made for hiking. No matter where in the country you are, a great hike is waiting for you just around the corner. Some are short and sweet, others are long and adventurous, but they all offer a serene experience of the magnificent Icelandic nature. If you’re headed to the mountains or Highland for an adventure, our guide to hiking in Iceland is here to help make the journey as safe and enjoyable as possible. 

Before you go

Never leave for a hike without telling someone where you’re going and for how long. Submit your travel plans to Safe Travel so that authorities can provide you with assistance as quickly as possible in emergencies. Make sure to have the Icelandic emergency service number written down and a phone to call them. To minimize the chances of getting caught in extreme weather, check the forecast on vedur.is before you leave for your hike and be on the lookout for weather warnings.

Get the lay of the land. How long is the hike? What’s the expected elevation? What’s the terrain like? Do some basic research online or get yourself a book about hiking routes in Iceland. That way, you’ll know what to expect and whether the hike is suitable for you. To ensure safety and protect the ecosystem, always follow a marked trail.

If you want to go glacier hiking, book a tour. While incredible places to hike, the glaciers can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know your way around them, so having a guide is imperative. The tour office will also provide you with the necessary equipment.

Hikers getting ready for Sólheimajökull glacier hike.
Photo: Golli. Hikers getting ready for Sólheimajökull glacier hike.

How to dress for hiking in Iceland

Dressing for hiking in Iceland can be tricky, as you never really know what the weather has in store for you. It’s always ready to catch you off guard with strong gusts of wind and unexpected rain, especially up in the mountains. The combined power of precipitation, wind, and cold temperatures is frequently underestimated, which can lead to hypothermia. 

In the Icelandic climate, layers are your best friend. They will allow you to adapt to changing conditions and be prepared for the unexpected. Wear:

  • A base layer of wool or synthetic thermal underwear.
  • A middle layer for insulation, wool or synthetics. 
  • A wind and water-resistant, but breathable, outer layer.

Leave your cotton clothes at home. They won’t keep you warm when they get moist from sweat or wet from snow and rain. Additionally, you should have thermal gloves, headwear, and hiking socks made from wool or synthetics. Even when the weather is great, bring the layers along in your backpack. 

On a good summer day, short hikes on well-kept trails, such as trails leading up to popular waterfalls, can be made in your average trainers. For longer hikes or hikes made in cold or wet conditions, sturdy hiking boots are essential. 

A person looking over a valley on Laugavegur trail, one of the longer hikes in Iceland.
Photo: Berglind. A person looking over a valley on Laugavegur trail, one of the longer hikes in Iceland.

What to have in your backpack

In addition to having the appropriate attire, there are several things you should have in your backpack:

  • Should there be snow, bring crampons. 
  • A GPS device, map, and compass. Even on well-marked trails, you might get caught in a snowstorm or heavy fog and lose your sense of direction. If you get lost and can’t situate yourself with the help of your equipment, call for help, sit down and wait. When using a map on your phone, make sure to download it.
  • A charging bank so the phone won’t run out of battery.
  • A first aid kit for minor accidents and emergencies.
  • Liquids and food, even for short hikes – you never know what might happen. 
  • If you’re headed out on a multi-day hike, don’t forget your camping equipment and extra clothes!

If you don’t have all the equipment you need or the luggage space to bring it, you can rent anything you might need, from gloves and boots to tents and GPS devices.

People hiking in fog on Hornstrandir.
Photo: Golli. People hiking in fog on Hornstrandir.

Crossing rivers

Having to cross rivers while hiking is common in Iceland. They vary hugely in size and current strength, so it‘s important to assess each river carefully before crossing. If your trail has a large river that you can‘t wade without getting your hiking shoes soaked, bring wading shoes, sandals or trainers. These will be better for crossing than going barefoot. 

Make sure that you don‘t have anything tied tightly to you, and loosen the straps on your backpack. If you fall into a river that is deep or has a strong current, it‘s better to be able to quickly let go of your things. 

The best place to cross is often where the water is more spread out, as narrower parts are usually deeper and have a stronger current. Don‘t follow the same path as a jeep without making sure it‘s a good place to cross on foot – it might not be. After finding a suitable path, it‘s advised to make the crossing three or four together, with arms clasped at the elbows. 

How to Book a Mountain Cabin

A person sitting in the snow outside a mountain hut in Kerlingafjöll.

The Icelandic Highland is the place to go if you’re looking for an escape from reality. With no paved roads or lampposts, serene wilderness that goes on forever, and dramatic scenery that will give you the feel of a movie-worthy adventure, it’s perfect for leaving the outside world behind for a bit. While truly magical, the Highlands are no exception to the typical Icelandic weather conditions, so if you’re spending the night there, you might want to opt for a mountain cabin rather than a tent.

Finding and booking mountain cabins

You can book guided tours in the Highland where cabin accommodations are included, but they’re also fairly easy to book on your own. The highland cabins are run by several companies, each with its own website. On ferdalag.is, you can find a comprehensive list of nearly all available cabins. You can browse through the list or use their map to view them by location. By clicking on each cabin, you’ll get some practical information and images, as well as contact details and a link to the service provider’s official website or Facebook page. 

Some huts have a booking system you can book through, but others require sending an email inquiry or call. In some cases, it’s possible to arrive without a booking, but we strongly recommend avoiding that unless you have a tent with you as a backup. You never know how many people will be in the area. 

What to expect

Much like in a hostel, what you’ll usually get when staying in a mountain cabin is a bed in a shared sleeping space and access to a kitchen and bathroom. However, facilities will be different in each hut. For instance, they don’t all have running water throughout the year, and sometimes, you’ll have to bring your own toilet paper. Details about this will be available on the service provider’s official webpage. The types of sleeping arrangements vary between locations as well. There are cabins with regular single bunk beds or freestanding beds, and there are cabins with large mattresses where you’ll be sleeping beside others. Usually, you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag. 

Exploring the Wilderness of Iceland in a Day: The Best Day Hikes Near Reykjavík

Landmannalaugar tourist

Iceland, with its dramatic landscapes and untouched wilderness, is the perfect spot for outdoor and hiking enthusiasts to visit. The land is known for glaciers, volcanoes, captivating cliff sides and breathtaking panoramic sceneries, making it an ideal destination for those seeking the perfect hiking experience. Hiking in Reykjavík and around the capital could be the perfect option for those wanting to explore the wilderness in close proximity. 

Though Icelandic nature is packed with hiking trails and treks countrywide, there is no need to go far, as many stunning day-hikes can be enjoyed in and near Reykjavík. So, for those with limited time or those who want to spend their time enjoying the vicinity of the capital area, there are numerous possibilities to explore the raw nature of Iceland within reach. 

Below, we will delve into hiking in Reykjavík and the best day hikes in and near the city. 

Glymur Waterfall Iceland hiking near Reykjavík
Photo: Berglind – Glymur Waterfall

 

Best day hikes in Reykjavík city

Hiking in Reykjavík is a popular attraction for travellers and locals. Hikers and explorers can find trails to journey over and find a bit of nature’s peace and quiet within the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

Úlfarsfell Mountain Hike Reykjavík

Úlfarsfell Mountain is in Reykjavík, located about 15-minute drive from the city’s centre making it a perfect hiking adventure in Reykjavík. The hike is relatively easy, with ascent only about 160 m [524 ft]. The total trail is a loop, about 3.9 km [2.4 mil] long and takes about an average of 1.5 hours to complete. The Úlfarsfell mountain trail is open all year and is very popular, where visitors can choose to hike, bike or run.

Below you can find the parking lot for Úlfarsfell mountain.

 

Viðey Island Hike in Reykjavík

The cultural and historically rich island of Viðey is located just off the coast of Reykjavík’s centre, only about a 5-20 minute boat ride away. The island is only about 1.7 km² [0.65 mi²] large but is a popular destination for travellers and locals due to its combination of art, history and nature.

On the island, there are several hiking trails, each of them well-marked, where visitors can enjoy the rugged and beautiful landscape of Viðey. Different difficulty levels are available, ranging from slower, easier walks to more challenging hikes. However, hikers should be able to tread most of the paths easily. 

On Viðey Island is the Imagine Peace Tower, created by Yoko Ono as a memorial to John Lennon, first lit in 2007. One of the island’s most popular hiking trails is the one leading to the Peace Tower memorial site. Hikers walk through beautiful scenic landscapes and get to learn more about the island’s history and the story of the peace tower. 

The Reykjavík Imagine Peace Tower Tour can be booked here

To hike at Viðey Island, you can take the ferry that drives from the Old Harbour over the summer months but from the Skarfabakki Pier over the winter months. You can see the full ferry schedule here. 

The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland by night - Hiking Reykjavík
Photo: Golli. The Imagine Peace Tower hike Reykjavík

 

Elliðaárdalur Valley Hiking in Reykjavík

Elliðaárdalur valley is located just at Reykjavík’s edge and offers lovely walking and biking paths. You can find forested areas, slow rivers, waterfalls, and even a cafe in the valley. Elliðaárdalur is the perfect spot for a calm nature walk near the city. You can end the trip with a hot cup of coffee at the cafe Á Bistro or walk to Árbæjarlaug swimming pool for a dip in the hot tub while overlooking the valley. 

Below you can find parking in Elliðárdalur valley. It is also possible to park in front of Á Bistro.

 

Best day hikes near Reykjavík city

Near Reykjavík, there are several breathtaking hikes, which can be accessed easily by car and some by public transport.

 

Helgafell Mountain

Helgafell Mountain is located in Hafnarfjörður on the Reykjanes peninsula. The hike is generally considered a moderately challenging one with an elevation gain of about 292 m [958 ft] and is approximately 6.1 km [3.8 mil] long. In Iceland, other mountains possess the same name, as Helgafell is directly translated to “Holy Mountain”, so do not get confused with Helgafell, located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula as it is a bit further from Reykjavík. 

The hike usually takes about 2 hours to finish, and hikers walk through gorgeous, rugged landscapes with a mix of flora and fauna. Hikers can, for instance, see moss-covered lava rocks and experience Icelandic bird life. Once reaching the summit, the panoramic views of Hafnarfjörður reward tired hikers, making the experience worth the challenge.

Below you can find the parking lot for Helgafell Mountain.

 

Esja Mountain 

Located about 10 km [6.2 mil] from Reykjavík’s centre is Esja mountain, a very popular hike, especially in the summertime. The trail’s total length is about 7.7 km [4.8 mil] with 731 m [2400 ft] elevation gain and is usually considered a challenging route. However, most people only walk up to what is called “Steinn”, which means rock, where you reach 600 m [1970 ft] in elevation gain. The route up to there is considered a moderate one, where people of all ages hike up. 

Hiking up to Esja Mountain is an experience characterised by the contrasts of volcanic rocks, lush flora and panoramic views. The trail can be quite uneven at points, so wearing sturdy hiking boots is recommended. 

The mountain’s proximity to the capital makes it an accessible and rewarding destination for both locals and tourists.

Below you can find the parking lot for Esja Mountain.

Esja mountain hike seen from Reykjavík
Photo: Golli – Esja mountain seen from Reykjavík

 

Heiðmörk 

Heiðmörk is a national forest and a municipal conservation area offering multiple hiking routes for visitors. Situated just east of Reykjavík is the vast nature reserve that displays diverse nature, such as lava fields, woodlands and calm lakes. 

One of the most popular routes in Heiðmörk is the Brandskriki Loop, a 4 km [2.5 mil] route with 76 m [250 ft] elevation, making it an excellent running or walking path. 

Another popular hike in Heiðmörk is Búrfell volcano. The hike is a moderately easy one, about 6.6 km [4.1 mil] and has about 127 m [416 ft] elevation gain. The average time it takes to finish the hike is about 1.5 hours, depending on which route is chosen. The final destination offers stunning views from the top of the volcano’s crater over the beautiful surrounding area. 

Below you can find parking lot in Heiðmörk.

 

Vífilsfell Mountain

Vífilsfell mountain is an easy but beautiful hike, situated just outside of Reykjavík, in the Kópavogur district. The hike is 3.1 km [1.9 mil] long and has about 474 m [1555 ft] elevation gain. The views from the top display the panoramic scenery over the capital area and the nearby Bláfjöll mountains, which is a popular skiing destination during the winter. 

Below you can find parking lot for Vífilsfell Mountain.

 

Reykjadalur Valley Hot Springs

The hike in Reykjadalur Valley offers a different reward for hikers, apart from the scenic views, due to the hot springs situated at the trail’s end. The hike is located close to the town of Hveragerði, 50 km [31 mil] from Reykjavík, about a 45-minute drive. Therefore, hikers should remember to pack their most flattering bathing suit and a towel so they can lie and bathe in the hot thermal river water. 

The hike is about 8 km [5 mil] long with 340 m [1115 ft] elevation, but is considered a moderately easy hike suitable for most levels.

Below you can find parking lot for the Reykjadalur hot spring hike.

Two people enjoying Reykjadalur hot river in Iceland's winter, hiking near Reykjavík
Photo: Reykjadalur Hot Spring

 

Go inside of Þríhnúkagígur Volcano 

As Iceland is a volcanic island, many volcanoes are found there. However, not many of them offer the possibility of actually walking inside a volcano! In fact, Þríhnúkagígur Volcano is the only place on earth where you can descend into a gigantic lava crater and explore the magic. 

The tour to Þríhnúkagígur Volcano starts with a moderately easy hike for about 45-50 minutes, offering breathtaking sceneries of the surrounding area. Subsequently, hikers are descended about 120 m [400 ft] into the volcano in an open cable lift. This is truly a unique experience unlike any other, as it quite literally can not be done anywhere else in the world. 

The hiking tour can only be booked during the summer season. 

The tour to Þríhnúkagígur Volcano can be booked here.

 

Glymur waterfall

The hike to Glymur waterfall is a beautiful one, about 6.6 km [4.1 mil] with 340 m [1270 ft] elevation gain located in Hvalfjörður fjord. It is usually considered a moderately challenging one, whereas hikers should expect to spend half a day on the hike, but it takes about 3-4 hours on average. 

The hiking adventure takes you through beautiful landscapes where parts of the route can be quite challenging. As you approach the waterfall, hikers must go over rocks and cross a narrow log bridge over a river canyon. As you arrive, you are treated with the sight of the second-highest waterfall in Iceland: Glymur. 

Note that the hike can be very dangerous and should be undertaken with caution and appropriate hiking gear. The hike is best to embark on during the summer due to the pathway turning icy and slippery during winter.

Below you can find parking lot for the Glymur waterfall hike.

 

What Do I Need to Keep in Mind when Hiking in Iceland?

Timing can be a crucial factor when planning a hiking adventure in Iceland. The summer period from June to September offers the best conditions for hiking as the days are longer and the weather conditions are better. Nonetheless, the unpredictableness of the Icelandic weather is part of the charm, so hikers should be prepared for changes. 

So when hiking in Reykjavík, whether during summer or winter, being prepared for the weather is crucial. Hikers should dress in layers, wear solid footwear and bring appropriate hiking gear.

Another thing to keep in mind is to bring enough water and food to keep the energy up whilst exploring the astonishing views of Icelandic nature. 

Lastly, hikers should be mindful of the environment and leave no trace when visiting hiking sites. Respecting nature is crucial for preserving the beauty and the raw wilderness of Iceland.

 

What is the closest mountain to Reykjavík?

The closest mountain to hike in Reykjavík is Esja Mountain, which elegantly hovers over the city. The drive from Reykjavík’s centre is about 25 minutes, making it an accessible and attractive day hike option.

 

Is it safe to hike alone in Iceland?

Hiking in Reykjavík or Iceland alone is generally considered a safe option. However, hikers must keep in mind to have appropriate hiking gear, such as proper hiking boots, layering clothes, and to have enough water and food at hand. When hiking alone, it is also recommended to hike during the longest daylight hours, between June to September. 

More Facilities Needed as More Visit Landmannalaugar

landmannalaugur iceland

Increasing numbers of visitors have put a significant strain on the facilities at Landmannalaugar, reports RÚV.

Landmannalaugar, a popular highland hiking area known for its hot natural pools, has recently installed new changing facilities to accommodate the increasing numbers. However, the recent construction has raised concerns for some, as they feel it obstructs the view and limits the overall experience.

Over 130,000 tourists visit the area annually, with the majority opting for day trips.

Additional plans are underway to renovate the facility, including a new service hut with a dining area and shop, a man-made swimming pool, and more. The latest addition of new changing rooms is the first step in this development project.

Inga Dóra Hrólfsdóttir, manager of nature conservation at the Environment Agency, stated to RÚV that the facilities are necessary, in light of the increased volume: “This is just a renovation of the existing changing rooms, which are merely walls with pegs to hang towels or clothes.”

“There is still a fantastic view of Landmannalaugar all around,” she continued.

Approximately 2-3,000 visit Landmannalaugar daily, averaging around 20-30 tour buses, and increasing numbers of jeeps and rental cars.

 

Eruption Site Open and Wildfires Quelled

litli hrútur 2023

The eruption site on Reykjanes is open to visitors today and firefighters have managed to subdue the wildfires that have been raging at the site. Hiking routes to the eruption were closed yesterday evening due to poor visibility. The eruption began on July 10, the third volcanic eruption in the same area of Reykjanes in three years.

No serious incidents were reported from the eruption site last night, though some exhausted hikers needed help returning from the site. The hike is around 20 km round trip across uneven terrain and requires appropriate preparation and gear.

Wildfires no longer a threat

The eruption had set off wildfires in the moss surrounding the site, but firefighting efforts have proven successful in subduing them, Einar Sveinn Jónsson, Chief of the Grindavík Fire Department, told RÚV. “If there is any more fire, then it’s a very small amount that we can absolutely handle,” he stated. The wildfires on the Reykjanes peninsula have been the largest-ever since records began, according to a recent report by the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.

Rangers needed

The Environment Agency has received 29 applications from would-be rangers interesting in supervising the eruption site. The application deadline is tomorrow, Friday, and the Environment Agency encourages those with ranger certification to apply. Staffing the required positions may prove challenging as summer is the high season for tourism, and most certified rangers have already been stationed elsewhere in the country.

Read more about how to access the 2023 Reykjanes eruption.

Passenger Boat Stranded at Hornstrandir

hornstrandir hiking

A passenger boat en route from Bolungarvík to Hornstrandir stranded in the late afternoon, yesterday, July 16. RÚV reports.

Hornstrandir is a wilderness reserve in the Westfjords notable for its large population of Arctic foxes. Although the region is connected to the mainland, its remote location means that hikers and travellers to the area must rely on boats.

The ship is reported to have run aground in Látravík bay near the Hornbjargsviti lighthouse. According to Landsbjörg spokesperson Jón Þór Víglundsson, the passengers reached the shore safely.

Jón Þór stated to RÚV: “Two rescue boats were sent out, one from Ísafjörður and the other from Bolungarvík. There was never any real danger during the journey, but it seems that the ship ran aground while attempting to bring the passengers ashore.”

Further information is not available at this time, but such boats generally transport small groups ranging from five to ten individuals.

The boat was assisted by the vessel Gísli Jóns from Ísafjörður and was then towed by the coastguard vessel Þór.

Favourable Conditions for Viewing Litli-Hrútur Eruption

reykjanes eruption 2023

A meteorologist with the Icelandic MET Office predicts favourable weather conditions today, with a stiff breeze and clear skies promising optimal visibility for observing the ongoing eruption near Litli-Hrútur mountain. The trail to the eruption is approximately 7 km long (one way).

Promising weather conditions

According to a meteorologist with the Icelandic MET Office, today’s promising weather conditions could offer optimal views of the ongoing eruption near Litli-Hrútur mountain.

Morning forecasts predict a strengthening wind, northerly in most areas, peaking at 8-13 m/s by afternoon. Calmer conditions are expected in the south and the interior Northeast and East regions of Iceland.

While partial cloud cover and scattered showers will keep the north chilly at 5-10°C, the south will enjoy a dry and bright spell, with temperatures climbing to 18°C, notwithstanding possible showers from the southeast.

“With mild weather, a stiff breeze to disperse gas, and clear skies, visibility for the eruptions should be quite good, provided the gas doesn’t blow across the trail,” the meteorologist observed.

As for tomorrow’s forecast, a prevailing northerly to northwesterly wind of 8-15 m/s is expected, potentially intensifying near mountainous areas, especially by evening. While rain cools down the northern region, the south remains dry and bright, providing mild daytime conditions.

New trail opened yesterday

As reported on Mbl.is, a significant number of people visited the eruption site near Litli-Hrútur yesterday.

“There are a lot of people there now. We did an informal count just before 10 PM, and there were approximately 400 cars in the parking lot near Skála-Mælifell mountain,” Guðni Oddgeirsson, a member of the Þorbjörn rescue team, told Mbl.is late yesterday. Guðni told Vísir this morning that approximatley 3,000 people had visited the eruption site yesterday.

Yesterday, the authorities announced that they would allow public access to the eruption. A new trail to the eruption site (differing from the trails to the previous two eruptions in the area), which is referred to as Meradalaleið (i.e. Meradalur Trail), has been opened; visitors park on Suðurstrandavegur, near Skála-Mæifell mountain, and hike to a viewing point near Vatnsfell. The hike is approximately 7 km long (one way)*. Cell phone service is not guaranteed in the area.

For more information on hiking trails and parking, click here.

*Reports of the exact distance of the trail vary; a website from the municipality estimates that a round trip to the eruption is approximately 14 km long, while other news outlets have estimated the round trip to be 20 km long.