Are you looking for an exciting and unique getaway? If so, then a hiking trip to Thorsmork, Iceland, will be the perfect destination.
From its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife to its fascinating history, there is no shortage of things to do in Thorsmork.
But before you start planning your epic Icelandic adventure, it’s important to make sure that everything runs smoothly from beginning to end by carefully preparing ahead of time.
In this travel guide, I’ll provide an overview of how you can plan the ultimate Thorsmork hiking experience – from locating the best trails to selecting accommodations. So grab your backpack and get ready for some outdoor exploration!
What is Thorsmork?
Thorsmork, or the Valley of Thor, is one of Iceland’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
Located in the southern Icelandic highlands between the glaciers of Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull, Thorsmork is named after the Norse God of Thunder, Þór.
The heart of Thorsmork lies between three rivers: Krossá, Thronngá, and Markarfljót. Thorsmork is a nature lover’s paradise with stunning views of birch forests, shrubs, moss, and other thriving vegetation set against a backdrop of majestic snow-capped peaks.
You can join many activities here, such as hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding.
Where is Thorsmork?
Thorsmork is a spectacularly beautiful valley located in the South Iceland Highlands.
Situated between two of the country’s most famous glacier-capped mountains, Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull, Thorsmork offers a wide range of outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
How to get to Thorsmork?
If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous way to get to Thorsmork, several options are available.
The roads that traverse into Iceland’s highlands are known as F-roads and require vehicles to be properly equipped for their rugged terrain.
If you plan to get to the Thorsmork Valley by car, you’ll need a 4×4 vehicle. I recommend using Discover Cars to select your best options.
Driving yourself requires high levels of focus and caution to ensure a safe journey.
So if you just want to relax and have a comfortable experience, taking a tour would be a good idea.
With experienced guides, you can sit back and enjoy the stunning landscape. Plus, you won’t have to spend time planning your trip as everything is taken care of.
By highland bus
Thorsmork is a stunningly beautiful destination in Iceland with something to offer all year round.
The summer months are warm and sunny, while the winter brings snow-capped mountains and crisp cold days ideal for skiing or snowshoeing.
Spring brings lush vegetation and wildflowers, while autumn offers vibrant foliage along with mild temperatures making it perfect for exploring the outdoors.
For those looking to plan their visit around the weather, Thorsmork has mild temperatures year-round, rarely dropping below freezing, even during the winter.
Summer temperatures can reach up to 15°C while winters tend to hover around 3°C. Rainfall can vary throughout the year, with rain showers most likely in July and August.
When is the best time to visit Thorsmork?
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Thorsmork, it really depends on what you’d like to experience.
The summer months (from May through September) are great if you’re looking to enjoy the beautiful hikes and explore the area in its fullest glory.
During this period, the weather is mild and sunny, perfect for enjoying the outdoors and exploring all that Thorsmork has to offer.
The days tend to be longer during this time of year as well, giving you more daylight hours for activities like hiking or camping.
In addition to the mild temperatures, the summer months are when most of the wildflowers bloom in Thorsmork’s valleys and fields.
Winter is perfect if you want to see the stunning snow-covered landscape and some of Iceland’s famous Northern Lights in action. On clear nights, they can be seen dancing across the sky above – certainly a sight to behold!
How much time to spend at Thorsmork?
Depending on your availability, you can plan for anything from a few hours to multiple days in this beautiful area.
If you’re looking for something quick and easy, we recommend spending at least two hours exploring Thorsmork. This will give you enough time to take in some of the stunning views and go for a short hike or two.
For those with more time, consider planning an overnight stay or day trip by taking some of the longer hiking routes in Thorsmork, like the Fimmvörðuháls Pass.
This route takes you up to the pass between two glaciers, offering spectacular views of both the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull icecaps.
Thorsmork Hiking trails
There are several trails to choose from, ranging from short day hikes to multi-day treks that take you deep into the heart of the Icelandic wilderness.
The Valahnukur Hike is one of the most popular and enjoyable trails in Thorsmork. The hike is relatively short, at only 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) long, and with an approximate elevation gain of 120 meters (393 feet).
The views are truly breathtaking with glaciers, mountains, valleys, and rivers sprawling out before you. As the light and weather change throughout the day, it creates an ever-evolving landscape that is ideal for photography.
Along the way, you’ll pass through green meadows, groves of birch trees, and a volcano crater lake. The views from the top are breathtaking, with sweeping vistas stretching for miles!
Valahnukur is best attempted during summer months when weather conditions are favorable and temperatures are milder.
Tindfjöll Circle is a challenging yet rewarding circuit that showcases some of the most breathtaking scenery in Thórsmörk.
The hike begins east from Langidalur and along the north edge of the Krossá valley.
Upon reaching the Slyppugil Hut, the trail turns left and ascends the Slyppugil Valley, gradually rising until it reaches a steep canyon. Here, the path is narrow with steep drops on one side and the imposing face of Tindfjöll mountain on the other.
Once through the canyon, you are treated to a stunning viewpoint before continuing along the edge of a ridge and descending steeply back down to the valley floor. The trail then follows the river back to Langidalur.
This hike is considered medium to challenging, with trickier paths and more ascent than the Valahnukur Hike.
The trail starts at Volcano Huts and is marked by white and green posts. Follow the white posts towards Mount Valahnúkur and turn right just before the summit to follow the green posts across the plateau.
From the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Krossá valley and surrounding cliffs. As you make your way down towards the Markarfljót River, the scenery only gets better as the river cuts its way through the stark black riverbed.
It’s a peaceful and calming experience to be surrounded by nature and the beauty of the landscape. This hike is perfect for those who want to take a break from more challenging routes or for those who want to soak up the natural beauty of Thórsmörk.
Thorsmork Highlights Hike
If you’re looking for a hike that showcases the best of Thórsmörk’s natural beauty, the Thorsmork Highlights Hike is a must-do.
This circular trail begins in the Húsadalur Valley and takes you through lush birch trees up to the foothills of the majestic Tindfjöll mountains.
As you ascend, you’ll see stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the impressive Slyppugil Canyon.
The trail then winds back down through the trees, offering a shady and peaceful respite from the sun. It’s a varied and interesting hike that will give you a true appreciation for the Thórsmörk landscape, which feels like a hidden oasis behind the notorious Eyjafjallajökull glacier.
If you’re up for a challenge, the Fimmvörðuháls Hike is an absolute must-do. The trail spans over 15 miles with 1,400 meters of ascent and descent, taking you past 25 waterfalls, two glaciers, a volcano, and miles and miles of awe-inspiring rock formations.
Starting at Skogáfoss on the south coast, you’ll hike over the ridge between Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers before descending into the breathtaking Thórsmörk Valley.
It’s an incredibly rewarding experience, but if you’re not up for the full hike in one go, you can always break it up by spending the night at Baldvinsskáli hut.
The hut accommodates up to 16 people, so be sure to make a reservation in advance to secure your spot.
Have you ever dreamed of hiking one of the most famous trails in Iceland? Laugavegur trail is waiting for you!
Chosen as one of the “20 Best Hikes in the World” by National Geographic, this multi-day hike takes you across the highlands, starting from Landmannalaugar and finishing in Thórsmörk.
During this three-day journey, you can admire some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Iceland, including colorful rhyolite mountains, canyons, glaciers, and active volcanoes.
And if your legs start to ache, don’t worry because there are hot springs along the way to soothe your muscles. However, finding accommodation can be difficult, so I recommend doing this hike as part of an organized tour.
Places to stay in Thorsmork
When planning your trip to Thorsmork, you should decide where to stay! Luckily, there are many great options available. Here are some of the best places to stay in Thorsmork:
Volcano Huts is the perfect place to rest and refuel after trekking through Þórsmörk, Iceland. Located in the Húsadalur valley, they offer an idyllic spot to unwind while enjoying breathtaking views of the Icelandic landscape.
Volcano Huts are conveniently located at the end of both the Laugavegur and Fimmvörðuháls trails, making them a great base camp for exploring all that Þórsmörk has to offer.
The huts can accommodate more than 80 people, and there are also spaces for your own tent. You’ll find gas stoves, grills, and kitchenware, as well as a shower and toilet block.
Note that Básar is on the south side of the Krossá River, but most of the day hikes start from the north side. To get there, you’ll need to use the moveable walkway, which takes around 30 minutes.
Located at the mouth of Valley Langidalur, these spacious huts can accommodate up to 75 people on two floors.
The ground floor features a large entrance, two fully equipped kitchens, a dining hall, and two sleeping halls with bunk beds—meanwhile, the attic houses more bunk beds in three separate quarters.
Keep in mind that getting to the hut by car requires crossing many rivers, including the challenging Krossá river. Only experienced drivers on jeeps and robust 4×4 vehicles should attempt this journey with great care.
What to wear when hiking Thorsmork?
When going on a hike in Thorsmork, it is important to dress appropriately.
It’s best to wear lightweight but sturdy clothing, such as hiking pants and quick-drying shirts, to keep your body temperature regulated during your hikes.
Pair this with layers of warm clothing like sweaters or fleeces for added insulation against the elements.
Don’t forget to bring a windproof and waterproof outer layer such as a raincoat or a jacket for when the weather conditions change quickly.
Also, wear good quality shoes with plenty of grip and ankle support; ideally, waterproof, breathable, comfortable shoes for long walks.
Finally, pack headgear like hats or beanies, sun protection like sunglasses or sunscreen, and handwear like gloves or mittens.
What to pack for Thorsmork?
When heading to Thorsmork, it’s important to have everything you need for a successful and fun trip. Here are some essential items that should be on your packing list:
- A tent and sleeping bag
- Hiking boots or shoes
- Rain gear (waterproof jacket, pants, gloves, and hat)
- Layers of clothing
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Water bottles
- First aid kit
- Food and snacks
- Sunscreen and Sunglasses
Food & Drinks
I highly recommend checking out LavaGrill at Vocalno Huts for tasty meals during your hike.
You can indulge in a variety of dishes, including burgers (vegan, chicken, or beef) with crispy french fries, comforting soups, freshly baked homemade bread, and pestó.
If you’re in the mood for a more substantial meal, they also offer a dinner buffet with a choice of lamb, pork, fish, or chicken.
And for those embarking on a day hike, they have a convenient lunch package that includes a mix of sandwiches, snacks, chocolate bars, and refreshing juices to keep you fueled and energized throughout your journey.
Besides, you should pack all the necessary supplies for a successful hike in Thorsmork.
Be sure to include nutritious snacks such as dried fruit, trail mix, and nuts, which are full of energy-boosting nutrients and easy to carry around.
When it comes to drinks, bring plenty of water and perhaps some tea bags or sports drinks to refuel your body.
Other tips for visiting Thorsmork
One of the best things you can do is bring a map and compass, even if you have an electronic device.
In remote areas, trustworthy cell reception may not always be available, so it’s wise to be prepared with a physical map.
Additionally, always inform someone of your hiking plans and expected return time. This way, help can be quickly dispatched if necessary. For added safety, try to hike with a partner.
You should keep an eye out for signs of sudden weather changes, such as darkening skies or gusts of wind. Thorsmork’s weather can change quickly, so it’s essential to be aware and have a plan in case the weather turns.
Consider bringing an emergency kit that includes a flashlight, first aid supplies, and extra clothing layers. These items could prove to be lifesavers if something unexpected occurs during your trip. By following these precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable hike.
Frequently asked questions
Why is Thorsmork famous?
Thorsmork is renowned for its incredible views and diverse terrain – from lush green valleys to snow-covered peaks full of glaciers, waterfalls, and canyons. The area also features an array of wildlife, including reindeer, foxes, and various bird species.
How long does it take to hike to Thorsmork?
The length of time it takes to hike to Thorsmork depends largely on your starting location. On average, it is approximately a 15km round trip and can take anywhere from 6-7 hours for an experienced hiker. However, those that do not have experience hiking in this area may need additional time to complete the journey.
How difficult is the Thorsmork hike?
The Thorsmork hike is definitely a challenge and will take you through rugged terrain. The most popular route in Thorsmork is the Fimmvörðuháls trail, which is a challenging 25 km (15.5 miles) trek that takes you from Skogar to Thorsmork, passing over the Eyjafjallajökull and Myrdalsjökull glaciers.
This hike involves steep climbs, rocky terrain, and potentially hazardous conditions, such as river crossings and unpredictable weather.
Planning the perfect hiking trip to Thorsmork, Iceland, can be done without too much effort. With a thorough plan in place, you’ll be able to fully enjoy every aspect of this exciting journey while you hike through one of the most breathtaking places on Earth!
Whether you choose to explore on your own or join a guided tour group, there is sure to be something special waiting for you at Thorsmork!
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to create some unforgettable memories on this unforgettable adventure!