4 Awesome Alternatives to the Laugavegur Hike

The Laugavegur hike in the Highlands of Iceland isn't the only option for avid hikers who're looking for a multi-day trek in the wilderness. Here are four hiking alternatives that are well worth checking out, especially if you want to escape the crowds.

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Nína Þorkelsdóttir

6. June 2018

The Laugavegur Hike is the most popular multi-day hike in Iceland. This unique hike in the Highlands of Iceland does indeed live up to the hype but there are numerous hikes in Iceland that are just as interesting. The four hikes I selected are all multi-day hikes that can only be done in the summer, just like the Laugavegur. None of them require you to carry a tent since there are mountain huts on the way, conveniently located for hikers who need to rest their bones after long days of hiking.

1. Kjalvegur hinn forni

Hvítárnes, Kjalvegur hinn forni in the Highlands of Iceland. Langjökull glacier in the background.Hvítárnes, where Kjalvegur hinn forni comes to an end. Flickr/Börkur Sigurbjörnsson. 

Kjalvegur is a gorgeous multi-day hike in the western part of the Highlands of Iceland. The starting point is in Hveravellir, a beautiful geothermal area where you can bathe in a natural hot pool. The trail is also interesting in terms of history, since it used to be an important highway that connected the northern and the southern regions of Iceland. 

Location: The Highlands of Iceland.
Starting point/finishing points: Hveravellir — Hvítárnes
Distance: 26 mi (42 km).
How many days does it take? 2–3 days. 
Mountain huts en route:
Hveravellir, Þjófadalir, Þverbrekknamúli and Hvítárnes. You can book them here
Do I have to wade across some rivers? Yes. 
Highlights: Hveravellir geothermal area, Strýtur crater, the stunning view from Mt. Rauðkollur, Mt. Hrútfell. 


2. Kerlingarfjöll Circular Route

Kerlingarfjöll, circular hiking route. Highlands of Iceland. Beautiful landscapes on the Kerlingarfjöll Circular Route. Wonderguide/Þórlindur Kjartansson. 

Kerlingarfjöll mountain range is an out-of-this-world destination, located close to Hofsjökull glacier in the Icelandic Highlands. The area is characterised by geysers, hot springs, boiling mud pots and colorful rhyolite mountains. The Circular Route takes you around the entire mountain range and through unique and diverse landscapes.

Location: Central highlands of Iceland.
Distance: 30 mi (47km)
How many days does it take? 3 days. 
Mountain huts en route: Kisubotnar, Klakkur, Kerlingarfjöll. You can book them by clicking here.
Do I have to wade across some rivers? Yes.
Highlights: The view over three glaciers from Mt. Eystri Rauðkollur, various mountains and canyons en route.



3. The Askja Trail (Öskjuvegur)

A caldera filled with milky white water. The Víti Caldera by Lake Askja. Photo: iStock. 

This is a true wilderness hike that takes you across the Ódáðahraun Lava Field. If you’re looking for a pretty tough off-the-beaten-path hike, the Askja Trail is a fantastic option. There landscapes on this 60 mi (97 km) route are awe-inspiring and untouched.

Location: The northern part of the Highlands of Iceland.
Starting point/finishing points: Herðubreiðarlindir – Svartárkot.
Distance: 60 mi (97 km).
How many days does it take? 5 days.
Mountain huts en route: Botni, Dyngjufell, Dreki and Herðubreiðarlindir. You can book them here
Do I have to wade across some rivers? Yes.
Highlights: Askja Lake (Öskjuvatn), Víti Caldera, Mt. Herðubreið, Flatadyngja Crater, Mt. Trölladyngja. 

4. Víknaslóðir 

A hiker resting and looking over Seyðisfjörður, Eastfjords of Iceland. Seyðisfjörður Fjord. Flickr/CaptainOats. 

The Víknaslóðir Trail in the Eastfjords of Iceland is one of the most accessible multi-day hikes you’ll find in Iceland. The trail is well marked and there are good lodges en route. This hike is a bit different from the ones mentioned above, instead of being a typical “highland-hike”, this trail is a combination of mountain crossing and walking along gorgeous fjords. The trail starts in a charming town called Borgarfjörður Eystri and your finishing point is either in Klyppsstaðir or the beautiful town of Seyðisfjörður. 

Location: The Eastfjords of Iceland.
Starting point/finishing points: Borgarfjörður Eystri – Seyðisfjörður (or Klyppsstaðir). 
Distance: 32 mi (51 km).
How many days does it take? 3–4 days. 
Mountain huts en route:
Loðmundarfjörður, Húsavíkurskáli and Breiðavík. More info about them here
Do I have to wade across some rivers? No, at least no large rivers (they are bridged). 
Highlights: Breiðavík, Loðmundarfjörður. 

This is the trail that ends in Klyppstaðir. I recommend hiking a bit further, to Seyðisfjörður.