Bisitak 1274, kokapena 102
Nondik gertu Skogar, Suðurland (Lýðveldið Ísland)
I hiked these trails in August 2018. My first plan was to start hiking as soon as I arrived at Landmannalaugar (the first bus from Reykjavik arrives around noon) but there was a huge dust storm in the highlands that day and all the hiking paths were closed, so I was forced to stay there until the next day. Fortunately, the wind and visibility got better in the afternoon, so I was able to go on a short hike around the lava field. Most of the people struggled a lot to set their tents that day due to the wind and some tents were even damaged. Having a good tent in Iceland can save your hike. Many people were also evacuated from the huts and campsites at Hrafntinnusker and Alftavatn. A good piece of advice that worked out very well to me: make a flexible plan, since you might need to change it due to exeptionally bad weather.
Safety on the Highlands:
These trails can be dangerous due to extreme weather changes (even in summertime) so please do not underestimate them. Ask the hut staff for the weather forecast before you start hiking every day. Check out the links to some safety websites at the end of the text.
Take all you need:
During my hike I slept in a tent and brought all the necessary cooking stuff and food for 5-6 days. If you don't sleep in the huts you are not allowed to use the hut's kitchen. Most of the huts sell some overpriced food, such us dry meal bags or noodles.
How long do these trails take?:
I'm a very well trained hiker so do not follow my timing if you aren't. Most of the people would need at least 6 days to hike the same itinerary, dividing the Laugavegur trail in 3-4 days and the Fimmvörðuháls trail in 2 days.
How do I get there?
When the trails are open (end of June to mid September), there are buses connecting Reykjavik, Selfoss, and some other towns with Landmannalaugar, Thorsmork, and Skogafoss. There are several bus companies providing services to those places. I went with Reykjavik Excursions bus, which is pretty convinient if you are staying in Reykjavik's campsite, since it departs right from there. It is recommended to book it in advance (https://www.re.is/iceland-on-your-own/).
You can either walk from Landmannaulagar down to Thorsmork and Skogafoss, or the opposite direction from Thorsmork or Skogafoss up to Landmannalaugar. The second option is harder.
Summary of my hike:
Day 0 - Bus to Landmannalaugar and short hike nearby the campsite.
Day 1 - Laugavegur trail part 1: Landmannalaugar - Álftavatn ( ~21 km, ↑850m, ↓900m)
Day 2 - Laugavegur trail part 2: Álftavatn - Þórsmörk (Langidalur hut) (~32 km, ↑900m, ↓1250m)
Day 3 - Hike in Þórsmörk: Rjúpnafell peak via Tindfjöll circle trail (~14 km, ↑800m, ↓800m)
Day 4 - Fimmvörðuháls trail: Þórsmörk (Langidalur hut) - Skógafoss (~25 km, ↑1000m, ↓1200m)
Campsites & Huts info:
I only stayed in campsites, so I won't say anything about the huts, except that they are insanely expensive. The fare in every campsite was 2000 ISK/person/night in 2018. Some facilities such as toilets and sinks are for free in all campsites, but showers aren't (500 ISK).
-Landmannalaugar campsite (600 m):
Absolutely amazing place. There are a lot of hiking trails around, including easy trails and steep, hard peaks. You can see lava fields, geothermal springs, sulphuric steam, and colourful rocks. There is a natural geothermal pool where you can take a bath. There is also a bus-market where you can buy basic stuff, but it's quite pricey. The campsite is on a hard, rocky soil, not the easiest terrain to place the tent. The toilets and showers are pretty good.
-Hrafntinnusker campsite (1100m):
This is the highest campsite in the Laugavegur trail. Camping here with bad weather can be a very unpleasant experience, so avoid this place if you know the weather won't be good (especially strong wind). The night before I passed by this hut they had to evacuate everybody from the hut and the campsite due to a huge wind storm. They also closed all the paths from Landmannaulagar and Álftavatn.
-Alftavatn campsite (530m):
Such a beautiful place for camping! There are some nice, short hikes around this hut/campsite. I went up to the main peak by the left shore of the lake (looking from the hut), called Brattháls. It is an easy hike, around 5 km, with an impressive view at the top. You can also walk around the lake.
-Emstrur campsite (500m):
I just passed through but looked like a nice place to stay.
-Langidalur campsite (Thorsmork) (200m):
There are three main huts/campsites in Thorsmok: Langidalur, Básar and Volcano huts. I chose to stay 2 nights in Langidalur because this campsite belongs to the Icelandic Mountain Association, which is the main organization taking care of the trails and huts in Iceland, so I wanted to support them (the other two are private bussineses). Besides, there are way less people in this hut/campsite than the others, since it is more difficult to get to it by car compared to the other two. There are buses going to and leaving from Langidalur everyday during the summer.
For more detailed information, such as river crossings and campsites, please check the waypoints on the map. Google maps has really poor quality satellite images and maps in Iceland, so in order to increase the quality of the map, I recommend to click on "Other maps" (upper-right corner) and choose "OpenCycleMap".
Useful information for planning your hike:
Laugavegur trail info: https://www.fi.is/en/hiking-trails/laugavegur
Fimmvörðuháls trail info: https://www.fi.is/en/hiking-trails/fimmvorduhals
Important stuff about safety while hiking in Iceland: https://www.fi.is/en/safety
Weather & safety alerts on Laugavegur Trail: https://safetravel.is/t/the-laugavegur-trail