Iceland Summer Backpacking

Iceland has long been on my bucket list for an epic photographic and hiking adventure! My best friend Halle and I were able to make it happen last summer in mid July. We spent one week exploring the country, backpacking the famous Laugavegur trail from Landmannalaugar to Skogar and stopping at as many hot springs as possible. The trail was intense and a bit of type two fun, but I loved witnessing the changing landscapes through the viewfinder.

Stop One: Reykjavik

We flew into Reykjavik and immediately went to the Blue Lagoon, which is just a short bus ride away. Immediately going to a natural hot spring off a long flight was basically paradise and I would definitely recommend it on the way to or out of the city. Afterwards we took another bus to Reykjavik and walked around the city to explore the sights, see the water, and grab a delicious bowl of classic lamb stew!

Stop Two: Landmannalaugar

The next day we made our way east to the start of the Laugavegur trail, where we set up camp before hiking the next morning. The campsite was beautiful at sunset, but it was a freezing cold night! We managed to brave the winds to make the short trip across the campground to the natural hot spring under the stars. The first day of the hike was hard but breathtaking, starting with a big hill and roaming sheep and some volcanic sulfur gas. The rest of the hike was mostly moving up and down mountains covered partially in ice.

Stop Three: Álftavatn

The second day of the hike brought us to some fun water crossings and beautiful flowers. The trail was also blessedly more flat, which was a nice reprieve after the hilly hike the previous day, although we still did 15 miles! My favorite spot was near the end where we found a spot of gorgeous purple flowers.

Stop Four: Thorsmork

Our final day of hiking and my favorite day on the trail! First, we only had to hike ten miles which was a nice easier day compared to the previous two. Second, I loved the terrain. We passed an incredible mountainside with a waterfall and vista then finished the hike in a field of lupine flowers. It was great to relax at the campsite and celebrate with a beer! We were rewarded with a heavy rainfall overnight and a broken tent, but luckily Halle is very handy and we (Halle) managed to MacGyver a solution to keep us dry before the bus to Skogar the next morning.

Stop Five: Skógar

We were originally going to hike out to Skógar on the Fimmvorduhals trail extension, but the weather had other plans and we caught a bus instead. It was pretty magical camping a hundred yards from a gigantic waterfall! The next day we walked part of the trail, checked out an adorable museum, and said hi to the local horses.

Stop Six: Kópavogur

We spent our last day back in Reykjavik, where I made last minute reservations for Sky Lagoon in nearby Kópavogur. Although I loved the uniqueness of Blue Lagoon, I think I enjoyed this spa more overall. It was a lot less crowded and they had a great seven step experience with cold plunges, body scrubs, and saunas. Overall, I really enjoyed Iceland! Next time, I will probably opt to rent a car instead of relying on buses since that limited our schedule substantially. Feel free to reach out if you are planning a trip and I'm happy to chat!