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Top 7 things to see on Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail

Laugavegur is one hell of a hiking trail. Stretching from the Landmannalaugar geothermal springs to the dramatic Þórsmörk valley, it takes you through some of the most striking landscapes in southern Iceland, including howling glaciers, obsidian deserts, secluded waterfalls, and multi-colored mountains.

Given the variety of the landscapes and sheer density of awesome vistas, narrowing them  down to a top 7 was no easy task. Check out our picks, and get inspired for your own Laugavegur guided hike.

Laugavegur is one hell of a hiking trail. Stretching from the Landmannalaugar geothermal springs to the dramatic Þórsmörk valley, it takes you through some of the most striking landscapes in southern Iceland, including howling glaciers, obsidian deserts, secluded waterfalls, and multi-colored mountains.

  1. DÓMADALUR VALLEY

The interplay of moss, snow, and clouds is a sight you’ll get used to on the trail but miss as soon as you leave.

The first of many volcanic vistas along the hike, Domadalur features a shallow, flora-filled lake bordered by an obsidian lava field. It’s an excellent early look at Iceland’s landscape variety, and one of the better selfie spots along the earlier sections of the trail.

  1. THE MÆLIFELLSSANDUR OBSIDIAN DESERT

It’s hard to find a more dramatic vista than a black desert on a cloudy day.

Loomed over by the massive Mýrdalsjökull glacier, the Mælifellssandur black sand desert is one of the most dramatic sights in the Central Highlands. The scenery is made even more intense by the fearsome Katla volcano, which is well overdue for an eruption.

  1. HRAFNTINNUSKER MOUNTAIN

Throughout your Icelandic adventure you’ll feel the landscapes steaming, shifting, or wailing right beneath your feet. Trust us, the island is alive.

The geothermal mountain of Hraftntinnusker feels like a living, breathing giant. Ridden with howling ice caves and capped with a small glacier, this obsidian behemoth is known for welcoming curious voyagers with a steady supply of volcanic smoke. 

  1. ÁLFTAVATN LAKE

Formed by magmatic activity centuries ago, these rhyolite mountains give the whole area a dreamlike quality. 

Ringed by rhyolite mountains and soaring overlooks, Álftavatn is one of the most photogenic stops along the trail. It’s a wildlife oasis—one of the rare ones in Iceland—populated by many species of waterfowl, making it a birdwatcher’s delight.

  1. EMSTRUR

Don’t let the image fool you: in the Emstrur flatlands, you’ll likely meet more sheep than people.

It may be the flattest section of the trail, but Emstrur still gets the heart pumping. A common spot for summertime sheep grazing, it also houses some of the most impressive waters in the highlands, from tranquil, swimmable lakes to raging rapids.

  1. ÞÓRSMÖRK VALLEY

Titled after the god of thunder, Þórsmörk valley is an essential stop on every proper Icelandic adventure.

Possibly the most popular hiking destination in Iceland, Þórsmörk serves as the de-facto culmination of your journey. Crowned by jagged ridges and ice-capped peaks, it’s a valley rich with birchwood, fern, moss, and most importantly—world-class day hikes.

  1. SÖNGHELLIR

If you enjoyed your time in Iceland, scream a big “Thank you” into the bowels of Sönghellir. The island will appreciate it.

Nestled on the Snæfellsnes Penninsula, Sönghellir, or the “Cave of Songs”, is famed for its echoing quality. tourists enjoy hearing their voices bounce off the walls into infinity, while musicians, inspired by the area’s unique acoustics, perform concerts right in the cave.

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There you have it, these are our bucket-list spots on the Laugavegur trail in Iceland. Disagree with our list? Go out there and make your own—we’d love to see it.