Let’s go backpacking in Iceland! An absolute dreamland of a country.
August 6 – One major plus of Iceland is that it’s so easy to get to. There are many nonstop quick flights to get there and it feels like just a popover.
This was our very first time using a travel company (Zealous Travel Co.) to plan and organize the whole thing and it was awesome. No worries about permits, or where to stay, or literally anything; which made this trip so much more relaxing despite it being a lot of long days of hiking. Full disclosure this is my friend’s company, but I’d recommend them even if I did not know them!
Upon arrival, we toured around the city of Reykjavík. This city is really cool and I would totally spend more time there some day, but we were quickly on to bigger and better things!
August 7 – Icelandic horses are super cute! They have the fluffiest bangs and are very sweet. We did a short ride and even got to experience their breed-specific gate. We also toured a sustainable tomato farm and restaurant (very tomato-forward meals 🍅), and relaxed in a natural hot spring before we wrecked our bodies on the Laugavegur Trail 😉.
August 8 – Here we go!
Day one of backpacking made Iceland feel like a truly otherworldly place. We had many firsts on this trip including this being our first backpacking trip with a guide, food provided, and though we slept in tents each site has huts for bathrooms, food, and water. It really felt like glamping in comparison.
You are also able to drink from most any stream because there are very few animals carrying disease and the water flows directly from glaciers (so cold and tasty). All of this meant that our packs were quite light with very little in them. At just 7.5 miles hiking this first day, it was a pretty easy one, though still a lot of ups and downs over the rolling hills.
August 9 – Day two hiking. We headed out early and this day had so many river crossings. Day two was pretty short as well, but we did add a bonus hike at the end to see Iceland’s “Grand Canyon”. I think I will always do the bonus hike when available. Even when you’re tired and have hiked all day, it’s worth it.
August 10 – This section of the hike was a bit more boring (if hiking in Iceland can ever be boring), it was also super sunny, hot, and windy. I somehow got sunburned in Iceland! I would fully have expected cold and rain but it did not rain one time during our full 10-day trip. So this day was a bit of a slog with the exposure and hills.
August 11 – We completed the Laugavegur section of trail and are on to Fimmvörðuháls (no I can not say this trail name aloud). This day just happened to be our 10-year anniversary and it was one of the most beautiful days of hiking ever. It was a LONG one but waterfalls and terrain absolutely made it fly by. We hiked along glaciers, really interesting rocks and ash, because you are basically walking on a giant volcano in Iceland always, and saw more waterfalls than I’ve ever seen in my life. There were very few moments when the sound of rushing water couldn’t be heard.
We ended the hike at a really popular waterfall called Skógafoss which you are able to drive up to. It’s always interesting to me when I’ve hiked a long time and finally get to a destination and that destination is also easy to get to if you drive it; so you are dirty, and stinky, and tired, and other people around you are dressed up, and fancy, and look really well rested.
August 12 – After a good hard sleep we got up and took a ferry to Heimaey Island to visit the absolute cutest birds in the whole world, puffins! They are just like adorable penguins but also a toucan and they flap their wings so so fast so they can fly. We also stopped by the black sand beach which has been known to sweep people out to sea, but it didn’t get us.
August 13 – After our relaxing day with puffins it was back to exercise! We kayaked a glacier lagoon for quite a while and then popped over to Diamond Beach, which is super touristy but also really cool. It’s this black sand beach with enormous chunks of glacier either stuck on the beach or out to sea. It’s a little bit sad to see these huge pieces of glacier melting off right before your eyes, anyone claiming global warming isn’t real can just go see it quite literally.
This was our last night together as a group, I had only met 2 of the people on the trip before this but I’ve made lifelong friends and everyone was just absolutely wonderful. So thanks to Zealous Travel for bringing us together.