The Nordic Explorer

The Nordic Explorer

3 amazing one day hikes in Iceland

Iceland truly is a hiker’s paradise, but not all vacations call for multiple days trekking tours. Luckily, within driving distance from Reykjavík, you can find amazing areas, where you can go on beautiful one day hikes.

Wondering what to bring for your one day hikes in Iceland? Check out the perfect packing list made exclusively for one day hikes.

Landmannalaugar captured by The Nordic Explorer.


Landmannalaugar is a true gem hidden in the Icelandic highland and the perfect place for one day hikes.

There are so many colours in Landmannalaugar that you won’t believe your eyes. On first sight many of the areas are very baren, orange and red. However, some mountains are more blue and grey. Whereas other areas, in the canyons and valleys between the mountains, are green.

Apart from an amazing spectrum of colours, Landmannalaugar is also famous for the areas geothermal activity. This means that some mountain sides have steam coming out of the cliffs. It also means that the base camp at Landmannalaugar has a wonderful natural hot spring, where you can go for a dip after a long day of hiking.

The drive to Landmannalaugar is approx. 4 hours and pretty bumpy some of the road. The duration of the hike in Landmannalaugar depends on which of the many trails you choose to follow.

Þorsmörk captured by The Nordic Explorer.


Þorsmörk is a wild beauty that is guaranteed to knock you off your feet.

The landscape varies greatly within the area, but some of the most characteristic parts are black sand and rock canyons craved between green dramatic cliff. From Þorsmörk you are also able to spot the glaciers in the distance.

The drive to Þorsmörk is approx. 3 hours and requires you to drive through rivers. A 4×4 vehicle is therefore required for this trip. There is also a bus from Reykjavík to Þorsmörk if you are not comfortable driving through rivers yourself. The duration of the hike in Þorsmörk depends on which of the many trails you choose to follow.

Glymur captured by The Nordic Explorer.


Glymur is one of the one day hikes that is absolutely brilliant to go on while staying in Reykjavík.

Until it was surpassed by a new waterfall by Mosárjökull in 2011, Glymur was Icelands highest waterfall with its impressive 198 metres. It is still the tallest waterfall that can be accessed by foot.

The area around and up to Glymur extremely lush and green and filled with beautiful trees and the river from Glymur waterfall. This hike is truly a beautiful sight in the fall. On the hike to Glymur waterfall you will cross creeks and a river, which (depending on water height) can require that you take off your shoes.

A clear advantage of Glymur is that this hike is closest to Reykjavík (approx. 1 hour drive). The hike to Glymur waterfall takes approx. 2 hours up and 2 hours down.

The view to Reykjavík from Steinn on Esja. Captured by The Nordic Explorer.

One more place worth mentioning for one day hikes…

… is Esja.

Esja is the mountain across to bay from Reykjavík and is many local’s favourite place to go for an active day when the weather is good.

It is by far the closest hike to Reykjavík, which is of course an advantage. Also, there are many different hiking trails, which makes the hike easy to adjust according to duration and fitness level.

However, eventhough the sights at Esja and the view to Reykjavík is beautiful it cannot fully be compared to the wild beauty of the other three areas mentioned above.

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