I love surprises (that is why the blog is called omakases). But when it comes to hiking and running, I try to limit the number of surprises to a minimum. That is why I spend quite some time preparing and planning. So here’s to traveling with an open mind, but well-prepared – my Laugavegur trail solo hike (Iceland).
The Laugavegur Trail (or Laugavegurinn) spans 55km from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk (Thorsmork) and has been on my bucket list for a long time. I heard from soo many people that it is one of the best hikes they ever did and the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, the Icelandic volcano that brought Europe’s air travel to a halt and that is close to the trail, was pretty much the starting point of my career.
For readability, I chopped my post up in different stages:
- Settle on the idea
- Settle on a date
- Lock-in the trip
- Create a rough day planning
- Creating a packing list
Step 1: settle on the idea for your Laugavegur Trail solo hike
I am planning to hike on my own and camp along the trail. Normally, the 55km is done in 3-4 days, where some days make 12km hikes. As an experienced hiker, I did not feel like spending 2,5 hours on the trail and the rest of the day in my tent, so I decided to divide the trail into 25-30km stretches.
This coincides with the two places on the trail where you can get food – at the Lake Alftavatn huts and Thorsmork. As I am not an experienced camper, this is a perfect fallback in case something goes wrong with my camping equipment or if I am running out of food for whatever reason.
So the overall plan is to hike from Landmannalaugar to Thorsmork in two days (stop near Lake Alftavatn) and then walk the last 25km stretch to Skógar on the third day.
Step 2: validate
So, I read quite some blogposts and checked quite some YouTube videos of previous hikers. It seemed based on that that most of them could quite easily make the trail in 3 days.
My friend Tim Beglinger hiked the Laugavegur trail a few years ago in 3 days and told me that was rather easy.
So, let’s proceed 🙂
Step 3: settle on a date.
Unfortunately, the Laugavegur trail is only open for 3 months per year, from mid-June through mid-September. And even that is not a certainty. As I did not have too much flexibility in these months, only late June/early July was an option for me.
So, for now, I checked the website of the Met Office, the Road Safety and bus organizations. It seemed, that the road to Landmannalaugar on average opens June 12th and June 23rd the latest.
To have some flexibility in hiking but also to have some time to see Reykjavik and other parts of the country, I decided to stay for a week – flying in June 23rd, flying back June 29th.
Step 4: lock-in the trip.
Getting there. There are several options to get to Iceland. As I am flying from either Brussels or Amsterdam, the most obvious options are either Icelandair or WOW air. As WOW air offered a very decent service and sub 300 euro tickets, I quickly settled for them (full disclosure: I could not book via their site and their social customer service could not help, so I ended up booking via Kiwi.com). From the airport, there are regular transfers to Reykjavik.
Staying there. As I am camping, I do not have to reserve a spot beforehand (you HAVE to pre-book huts if you want to stay in the huts along the trail). For the rest of the days, I decided to book the Galaxy Pod Hostel. It’s clean, cheap (especially considering the steep prices), conveniently located and a great way to get in contact with other travelers. This also solves another potential challenge: as I am staying my first and last days in Iceland, it is easy to leave my non-hiking luggage at the hostel and pick it up at the end of the trip.
Getting to the trail. From Reykjavik, there is a daily service (at least, when the roads are open) to the trail. I decided not to book a ticket yet.
Step 5: create a rough day planning for your Laugavegur Trail solo hike.
Rough planning, ever more detailed towards the trip (see my full planning in a separate post).
- Day 1: Travel to Reykjavik, sightseeing Reykjavik.
- Day 2: Whale watching, sightseeing Reykjavik.
- Day 3: Hiking Day 1.
- Day 4: Hiking Day 2.
- Day 5: Hiking Day 3.
- Day 6: Blue Lagoon.
- Day 7: Travel home.
Step 6: creating a packing list for your Laugavegur Trail solo hike.
See my full list in a separate post.
I asked fellow hikers for tips (thanks Joren, Tim) and used a range of gear comparison sites (like Outdoor Gear Lab).
Iceland is certainly not cheap. From getting there to staying there to food, all is more expensive than I’m used to (also, see my detailed day planning):
- Flight €325,73 for an AMS-KEF flight with Wowair
- Bus to/from airport (5500 ISK), a total of €44,52
- Bus to trailhead (9100 ISK), a total of €73,70
- Bus from Skogar to Reykjavik (7500 ISK), a total of €60,74
- Bus to/from Blue Lagoon (included in total price Blue Lagoon)
- I stayed 4 nights in the Galaxy Pod Hostel (€51,43 per night), a total of €205,72
- I stayed 2 nights on the trail (2000 ISK + 500 ISK facilities), a total of €40,50
- I will have 3 days of meals on the trail (pre-packed Adventurefoods)
- Total of 3 days off the trail (estimated 50 euro per day), a total of €150,-
- Whale watching with Elding.is (21990 ISK), a total of €178,90
- Blue Lagoon + Lunch (16490 ISK), a total of €133,55
Total cost estimate €1213,31 for your Laugavegur trail solo hike and Reykjavik visit.