Walking and Trekking in Iceland

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5 May 2015
16 Dec 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.9cm

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This guidebook to walking routes in Iceland offers 49 day walks and 10 multi-stage treks including the classic Laugavegur Trail. The total of 100 days of routes described cater for most abilities, from waymarked walks to challenging glacier crossings. Information on public transport, accommodation, facilities and budget travel tips also included.

Seasons Seasons
summer season - highland roads don't open until mid-June and many tourist services close at the end of August; low-lying coastal areas, particularly in the south-west, can be walked from spring to autumn; winter effectively closes the vast bulk of routes to ordinary walkers
Centres Centres
Most towns and villages are not well-placed for walking; essential to travel from place to place, and even far into the interior, to enjoy some of the most scenic and interesting trails
Difficulty Difficulty
from short and easy routes to tough and steep, over anything from easy to rugged terrain, as well as long-distance routes; no special equipment needed for the easy routes; full backpacking equipment needed for long-distance trails; ropes, ice axe, crampons and experience essential on most glacier walks
Must See Must See
amazing volcanic and glacial landscapes; geothermal areas; the coastline and off-islands and the remote interior; Iceland's highest mountain - Hvannadalshnúkur
5 May 2015
16 Dec 2016
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.9cm
  • Overview

    A country of extraordinary beauty, Iceland’s incredible variety of volcanic and glacial landscapes makes it a unique destination for walking and trekking holidays. Its three national parks include the mighty Vatnajökull, largest national park in Europe.

    The wide range of routes in this book introduce walkers and backpackers to this ‘Land of Ice and Fire’. There are 100 days of walking in this guidebook, stretching over 1722km, split between 49 day walks and 10 multi-stage treks. They climb mountains, cross glaciers, pass lakes and explore coastlines and geothermal areas, and range from easy nature trails to challenging treks. So, there is enough variation to satisfy all kinds of walkers. The routes are spread all around Iceland, grouped into twelve regions. Detailed information is given at the start of each route or trekking stage, including distances, ascents, descents and the nature of the terrain to help indicate if the route is suited to your ability.

    With Reykjavik now an established city-break destination, Iceland is easy to get to. Once there, the routes described include both popular and lesser-known trails, from coastal walks and off-island trails, to the remote interior and ice-caps. Most routes are signposted and waymarked, and a number of easy 'starter' treks and walks are included, but there are also rugged mountain routes and glacier crossings – including the classic Laugavegur trail.

    Despite Iceland's reputation for being expensive, this guide offers plenty of tips for budget travellers and full details on mountain huts, campsites and public transport. Walking and Trekking in Iceland will enable readers of all abilities, and all budgets, to explore all that's great about this unique destination.

    • covers all the popular trekking routes, including the classic Laugavegur Trail, as well as lesser-known trails
    • illustrated with clear customised relief maps and profiles
    • plenty of hints and tips for budget travellers
    • full details on mountain huts, campsites and transport
  • Contents

    Geology and landscape
    National parks
    Getting to Iceland
    Getting around Iceland
    When to go
    Food and drink
    Tourist information offices
    What to take
    Health and safety
    River crossings
    Footpaths, waymarking and access
    Using this guide
    1 Reykjavík, Reykjanes and Hengill
    Walk 1 Reykjavík and Seltjarnarnes
    Walk 2 Þverfellshorn from Esjustofa
    Walk 3 Keflavík to Grindavík
    Walk 4 Grindavík to Vogar
    Walk 5 Grindavík and Prestastígur
    Walk 6 Krýsuvík and Krísuvíkurbjarg
    Walk 7 Seltún and Kleifarvatn
    Walk 8 Seltún and Djúpavatn
    Walk 9 Þingvellir and Skógarkot
    Walk 10 Hveragerði and Reykjadalur
    Walk 11 Ölfusvatn and Ölkelduháls
    Walk 12 Hellisheiði to Hveragerði
    Walk 13 Nesjavellir and Vörðuskeggi
    Trek 1 The Reykjavegur
    Stage 1 Nesjavellir to Múlasel
    Stage 2 Múlasel to Bláfjallaskáli
    Stage 3 Bláfjallaskáli to Kaldársel
    Stage 4 Kaldársel to Djúpavatn
    Stage 5 Djúpavatn to Brattháls
    Stage 6 Brattháls to Þorbjörn
    Stage 7 Þorbjörn to Reykjanesviti
    2 Fjallabak and Þórsmörk
    Walk 14 Landmannalaugar and Suðurnámur
    Walk 15 Landmannalaugar and Bláhnukúr
    Walk 16 Hvanngilshauser and Tangafoss
    Walk 17 Þórsmörk and Valahnúkur
    Walk 18 Fljótsdalur and Þórólfsfell
    Walk 19 Vestmannaeyjar – Heimaey
    Trek 2 Hellismannaleið, Laugavegur and Skógar Trail
    Stage 1 Hellismannaleið – Rjúpnavellir to Áfangagil
    Stage 2 Hellismannaleið – Áfangagil to Landmannahellir
    Stage 3 Hellismannaleið – Landmannahellir to Landmannalaugar
    Stage 4 Laugavegur – Landmannalaugar to Hrafntinnusker
    Stage 5 Laugavegur – Hrafntinnusker to Álftavatn
    Stage 6 Laugavegur – Álftavatn to Botnar/Emstrur
    Stage 7 Laugavegur – Botnar/Emstrur to Þórsmörk
    Stage 8 Skógar Trail – Þórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls
    Stage 9 Skógar Trail – Fimmvörðuháls to Skógar
    3 Skaftafell and Vatnajökull
    Walk 20 Sandfell and Hvannadalshnúkur
    Walk 21 Svinafellsjökull and Hrútsfjall
    Walk 22 Skaftafell and Kristínartindar
    Walk 23 Skaftafell and Svartifoss
    Walk 24 Skaftafell and Morsárdalur
    Walk 25 Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon
    4 Snæfell and Lónsöræfi
    Walk 26 Snæfellsskáli and Snæfell
    Trek 3 The Lónsöræfi Trail
    Stage 1 Bjálafell to Geldingafellsskáli
    Stage 2 Geldingafellsskáli to Egilssel
    Stage 3 Egilssel to Múlaskáli
    Stage 4 Múlaskáli to Stafafell
    5 Egilsstaðir and the Eastfjords
    Walk 27 Egilsstaðir and Fardagafoss
    Walk 28 Neðri-Stafur and Seyðisfjörður
    Walk 29 Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss
    Walk 30 Hallormsstaðaskógur
    Walk 31 Vatnsskarð and Stórurð
    Trek 4 The Víknaslóðir
    Stage 1 Seyðisfjörður to Loðmundarfjörður
    Stage 2 Loðmundarfjörður to Húsavík
    Stage 3 Húsavík to Breiðavík
    Stage 4 Breiðavík to Borgarfjörður
    6 Jökulsárgljúfur
    Walk 32 Ásbyrgi and Áshöfði
    Walk 33 Svinadalur and Rauðhólar
    Walk 34 Selfoss and Dettifoss
    Trek 5 The Jökulsárhlaup
    Stage 1 Dettifoss to Vesturdalur
    Stage 2 Vesturdalur to Ásbyrgi
    7 Akureyri and Eyjafjörður
    Walk 35 Akureyri and Súlur
    Walk 36 Eyjafjörður and Hrísey
    Walk 37 Grímsey
    8 Kverkfjöll and Askja
    Walk 38 Kverkfjöll and Hveradalur
    Walk 39 Herðubreiðarlindir
    Trek 6 The Askja Trail
    Stage 1 Herðubreiðarlindir to Bræðrafell
    Stage 2 Bræðrafell to Drekagil
    Stage 3 Drekagil to Dyngjufell
    Stage 4 Dyngjufell to Botni
    Stage 5 Botni to Svartárkot
    Stage 6 Botni to Grænavatn
    Trek 7 The Mývatn Trail
    Stage 1 Dimmuborgir to Reykjahlið
    Stage 2 Reykjahlið to Víti
    Stage 3 Víti to Reykjahlið
    9 Sprengisandur and Kjölur
    Walk 40 Nýidalur and Kaldagil
    Walk 41 Nýidalur and Sprengisandur
    Trek 8 The Kjölur Trails
    Stage 1 Kerlingarfjöll Circuit – Ásgarður to Klakkur
    Stage 2 Kerlingarfjöll Circuit – Klakkur to Ásgarður
    Stage 3 Ásgarður to Gíslaskáli
    Stage 4 Gíslaskáli to Hveravellir
    Stage 5 Kjalvegur – Hveravellir to Þjófadalir
    Stage 6 Kjalvegur – Þjófadalir to Þverbrekknamúli
    Stage 7 Kjalvegur – Þverbrekknamúli to Arbuðir or Hvítárnes
    10 Hornstrandir Peninsula
    Trek 9 The Hornstrandir Trail
    Stage 1 Hesteyri to Hlöðuvík
    Stage 2 Hlöðuvik to Hornvík
    Stage 3 Hornvík and Horn
    Stage 4 Kjaransvík to Látravík
    Stage 5 Látravík to Hesteyri
    11 The Westfjords
    Walk 42 Hnífsdalur, Bolungarvík and Ísafjörður
    Walk 43 Suðureyri to Flateyri
    Walk 44 Þingeyri and Kaldbakur
    Walk 45 Helluskarð and Lómfell
    Walk 46 Foss to Krossholt
    Walk 47 Brunnaverstöð and Látrabjarg
    Walk 48 Brjánslækur and Surtarbrandsgil
    Walk 49 Flatey and Breiðafjörður
    12 Snæfellsjökull and Snaefellsnes
    Trek 10 The Snæfellsjökull and Snaefellsnes Trail
    Stage 1 Snæfellsjökull – Ólafsvík to Arnarstapi
    Stage 2> Snæfellsnes – Arnarstapi to Djúpalónssandur
    Stage 3 Snæfellsnes – Djúpalónssandur to Öndverðarnes
    Stage 4 Snæfellsnes – Öndverðarnes to Hellissandur

    Appendix A Route summary tables
    Appendix B Glossary of place-name elements
    Appendix C Further information

  • Updates
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    August 2015


    Walk 48 - Brjánslækur and Surtarbrandsgil - A reader has indicated that from 2015, visitors on this short walk to a 'protected natural monument' should join a guided walk led by a ranger. Check the notice on the gate, or ask at the nearby farm or cafe to discover if a guided walk is available.


    June 2015

    Walk 19, on the Westman Islands, is 9 km long, and should take 3 hours to complete.

    January 2017
    Walk 2 transport details should read:
    Stræto bus 15 from Reykjavík to Háholt, then bus 57 to

    Walk 3 transport details should read:
    Strætó buses R2 and R4 serve Fitjar from Reykjanesbær and Reykjavík. Strætó bus 88 serves Grindavík from Reykjanesbær.

  • Reviews
    There's plenty of hiking potential in Iceland, and Paddy Dillon provides a good selection of what's available.

    Inveterate guide-book author and hiker Paddy Dillon describes the wonderful diversity of Iceland's landscapes - it's geothermal areas, coastlines, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls and volcanic lava fields - in a series of 49 day walks and 10 multi-stage treks in and around the island, including the sometimes overlooked peninsulas in the west and north-west. 

    Most of the day walks are from the roadside, accessible by public transport, and these options would be ideal for a first-time visitor, but to get a real feel of the country you need to hike some of the multi-stage treks, for which you need to be self-sufficient: there are many huts- some are wardened, but none provide meals or sell food, and they can be full in popular areas- so it is best to camp, free of charge in the wild, but restricted in the national park. 

    Wear strong boots - volcanic lava is abrasive - long sleeves, long trousers and a midge net hat. If rivers are too high to cross during the day camp beside them and cross at night when flows are lower: with virtually 24 hours of daylight you can hike at any hour.

    Paddy Dillon describes his walks and treks in a series of twelve sections, working his way round the island in a counter-clockwise direction. Each walk or trek, or stage of a trek, has a preamble describing start, finish, distance, ascent/descent and time, whether in hours or days. Terrain, facilities, maps, accommodation and transport are given, and each walk or stage of a trek has its own maps, but I found it annoying in having to refer to the map at the beginning of each section without a page reference to it. Dillon details 100 days of
    walking and trekking, but omits several that I have done: only one walk from Akureyri, for example, from where I did a different hike each day for a week. There's plenty of hiking potential in Iceland, and Paddy Dillon provides a good selection of what's available.

    Chris Wright, Fell and Rock Journal

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Paddy Dillon

Paddy Dillon is a prolific outdoor writer with over 90 guidebooks to his name, and contributions to 40 other publications. He has written for a variety of outdoor magazines, as well as many booklets and brochures for tourism organisations. Paddy lives near the Lake District and has walked in every county in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; writing about walks in every one of them. He enjoys simple day walks, challenging long-distance walks, and is a dedicated island-hopper. He has led guided walks and walked extensively in Europe, as well as in Nepal, Tibet, Korea, Africa and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States.

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