July 2013: First time out on a multiday, camping hike: The Northern (and most popular) stretch of the Kungsledenfrom Abisko to Kvikkjokk – approximately 160 km walked in 10 days.
The wilderness of Laponia in general. Although you are never far away (10 km max) from a staffed hut, there is a true sense of wilderness, which furthermore comes without virtually without a risk of predators.
Aktse. An old, now abandoned, settlement, where the spirit of the settlers remain and a mountain lodge now is established at the old settlers lodge.
The endless forest between Laitaure and Kvikkjokk.
The midnight sun. In July it never really gets dark.
The hike itself is only medium difficulty and thus requires only medium fitness. Furthermore it is both very well marked and well prepared.
Laugavegurinn is traditionally scheduled as a four-day hike from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk, but could be done in two (staying at Álftavatn). I did it in three (doubling the first two stages thus staying in Álftavatn the first night) plus one additional day for the Fimmvörðuháls.
The main challenge is the weather: Four-season gear is needed as snow may fall anytime a year and/or fog may obscure visibility especially on the snowfields.
The 20 km-extension over Fimmvörðuháls next to the Eyjafjallajökull volcano (responsible for the the 2010 ash cloud) and down to Skógar and the Skogafoss waterfall is not to be missed. Though slightly harder than the previous days, the main challenge remains the weather, especially:
The snowfields. One large before Hráftinnusker and one at the Fimmvörðuháls pass (where I got lost).
Even in high-season, the trail was not overcrowded. In addition if one follows a general rule of leaving late (10 am)- arriving lateyou may find yourself virtually alone on the trail. There are plenty space at the campsite and the sun is out until 10 pm.
It is well worth it to spend at least half a day at Landmannalaugar, hiking or bathing in the natural hot springs. Right next to the hot springs the water source is so hot that one may cook dinner/boil eggs there.
Hráftinnusker is a very cold and windy place. Therefore, and especially for those camping, it makes sense to double the first stage and camp at Àlftavatn.
How to get there: Bus from Reykjavik, app 4-5 hours. Several companies, such as Trex (leaves from Adalstræti, outside the Tourist office) or Reykjavik Excursions(leaves from the Reykjavik Bus Station). Both companies accept online bookings and have several departures daily in summer. Landmannalaugar is accessible roughly from end of June to September, and only by 4WD (the last 40 km). Even with a 4WD skills the road is not straightforward to drive.
Facilities: Camping, toilets, shop selling maps of Laugavegurinn trek as well as gas (screw) canisters. Credit cards accepted. Hut accomodation also available (advance booking needed).
Activities: 1. Plenty of day/half-day hikes to do. Maps available in the small service shop. 2. Natural hot springs. The landshape formations around Landmannalaugar are quite exceptional (see photos below).
I was there: On July 17th, 2016 traveling by bus (Trex) from Reykjavik to Landmannalaugar, departing Reykjavik at 8 am, arriving at Landmannalaugar at 1 pm. I did a half-day hike and spend the night camping before commencing the Laugavegurinn hike.