Are you on the hunt for the best hikes in Iceland that aren’t too crazy and are easy to do? Not all of the top hikes in Iceland have to be multi-day treks, so if you aren’t into that type of thing you have come to the right place. From stunning waterfalls to black sand beaches and glacier lagoons, easy hikes in Iceland abound. For the purpose of this article, we are defining an easy hike as a walk that is either slightly long or slightly strenuous. Whether you are visiting Iceland in winter or during the warmer months, finding the hike that is right for you has never been easier!
If you are in the process of planning travel to Iceland, here are some posts to read later:
11 Best Easy Hikes In Iceland That Will Blow Your Mind
#1. Skogafoss Waterfall Offers One Of The Best Easy Hikes In Iceland
If you are looking for a fantastic easy hike in Iceland, head to Skogafoss Waterfall. Instead of just viewing the waterfall from the ground, why not try a different perspective? While you are standing in front of Skogafoss, turn to your right and you will see a stairwell heading up the right side of the mountain next to the waterfall. The stairs are quite slippery and steep, especially in winter, but they lead to the top of Skogafoss Waterfall. The view from the top will blow your mind!
Even better? You can continue the hike on the plateau where the river that eventually becomes Skogafoss flows from. That location is actually the start to a multi-day hike in Iceland, but since you are on the hunt for the easy hikes, you can just explore as far as you are comfortable with and then head back down to the Skogafoss parking lot. Make sure to turn around and look back at the south Iceland coast as it is quite stunning and memorable to behold!
#2. The Mount Esja Trail Is One Of The Best Hikes In Iceland That Is A Little Longer
If you are looking for an easy hike that is more of a true hike than a walk, the Mount Esja Trail is perfect for you! The hike is 7km/4.3 miles long, which in all reality, isn’t all that bad and certainly isn’t considered a trek. You can complete the Mount Esja Trail in a few hours which makes it one of the best hikes in Iceland for seeing epic views. Along the way, you will be hiking up a volcanic mountain range known as the Esja Mountains. Once you arrive at the top of the Mount Esja Trail you will be greeted with memorable views of the capital of Reykjavik below!
If you are staying in Reykjavik and are looking for the best hikes in Iceland that are nearby, the Mount Esja Trail is the perfect day hike for you. We highly recommend it for photographers who are looking to get a unique perspective of the city below as well. If you are looking to get your heart pumping, the Mount Esja Trail will be perfect for you!
#3. The Arnarstapi To Hellnar Cliff Walk Is Lesser Known But A Must-Do
Okay, so this isn’t an official name of a hike in Iceland, but it is quite popular so we have included it here! To get to the Arnarstapi hike, head to the Snaefellsnes Penninsula in west Iceland and put Arnarstapi in your GPS. Once you arrive, head as far as you can in the small town, down to a marina. Park your car in the parking lot and head up the hill towards the south. Walk along the cliff for a few hundred yards and you will come across a beautiful archway that is sunken into the cliff face. You can even walk across it!
Continue to head west along coastal cliff walk and you will come across a second archway about 1km further than the first. If you follow this easy hike in Iceland from Arnarstapi you will head through a small white gate and up a hill that is next to the city. You will walk through stunning lava fields and weather-beaten cliffs. Eventually, you will hit the next town over, called Hellnar. This hike is very enjoyable, with moderate up and down, and breathtaking scenery.
Most people visit Arnarstapi and just stop at the arch, but one of the best hikes in Iceland is the trail between Arnarstapi and Hellnar. If you want to do the hike in reverse order, you can also drive and park in Hellnar. The whole walk is no more than 5km round trip so it is quite easy and enjoyable! The perfect easy day hike in Iceland!
#4. The Skaftafellsjökull Hike In Iceland Brings You Up Close With A Glacier
Looking to get up close and personal with an ancient glacier? Head to Skaftafell National Park, in east Iceland! There, you can head to the visitor center and explore different hiking options, but we suggest heading to Skaftafellsjökull glacier which is one of the best hikes in Iceland for seeing breathtaking views! The drive to Skaftafell from Reykjavik is about 4 hours, so if you plan to do this easy hike in Iceland, consider staying out in the nearby town of Hofn, go camping in the national park, or stay at one of the local hotels.
The Skaftafellsjökull Hike literally starts right from the visitor center. It is not a loop trail so you walk the same trail back out. It is pretty much completely flat and only 2.3 miles/3.7 km round trip making it one of the best easy hikes in Iceland. Along the way, you will walk on a gravel trail which will eventually open up at the foot of a massive glacier. Here, the trail sort of ends, unless you follow sticks marking the path to get closer. Visitors are encouraged to hike as close to Skaftafellsjökull Glacier as they want. You may want to walk all the way to the base or up along the sides. If you are not looking for anything strenuous, this is one of the best hikes in Iceland for you! The view of the Skaftafellsjökull Glacier is well worth the walk and it starts by the visitor center and parking lot so getting there couldn’t be easier!
#5. Seljavallalaug Hot Spring Is One Of The Most Rewarding Hikes In Iceland
If you are looking for one of the best easy hikes in Iceland with a big payoff, the Seljavallalaug Hot Spring trail is perfect for you. If you came to Iceland for the hot springs, you are going to want to take this hike! You have probably seen the Seljavallalaug Hot Springs all over travel magazines and Instagram, and for a good reason. If you loved the Blue Lagoon, then this oldest swimming pool in Iceland is a real treat.
From the parking lot, this is one of the shorter hikes in Iceland at just 20 minutes long, but the reward is great! What isn’t to love about a hidden swimming pool in the mountains of Iceland heated by geothermal water? The hike is easy and takes you along the valley floor. While not completely flat, this hike in Iceland wouldn’t be considered difficult! Make sure to bring your own towel and a bathing suit as this is literally a hole in the ground with a small changing facility and not a fancy swimming pool with staff to attend to you. Please read this post on 5 Things To Expect Before visiting Seljavallaug Swimming Pool so you are prepared at the state of the changing room and how dirty the water is.
If this is one of the hikes in Iceland you plan to do, we suggest wearing sturdy walking shoes and bringing flip flops for when you are changing and getting in and out of the pool. We do not suggest hiking in flip flops because the terrain is uneven and your feet will certainly freeze! The Seljavallalaug Trail is open all year round and the hot spring is particularly inviting during the winter!
#6. The Trail To Kvernufoss Waterfall Is One Of The Best Hikes In Iceland Off The Beaten Path
If you are looking for the one of the best hikes in Iceland that is a bit less touristy, Kvernufoss Waterfall is perfect for you! This hike in Iceland is actually located down the same road Skogafoss Waterfall is! To get to this magical hike in Iceland, you simply drive down the road leading to Skofafoss from Highway 1 and continue on until you reach the Skogar Museum.
Once you reach the Skogar Museum, you drive to the back and park your car. You will walk around the back and hop over a fence [legally allowed] and begin one of the most rewarding hikes in Iceland! We consider this to be one of the best hikes in Iceland because it is short and easy with a big payoff at the end! You will walk along the base of the mountain and round a bend to the left. You will follow a river along until you reach Kvernufoss. The hike is about 20 minutes long each way.
Once you have arrived at Kvernufoss you will feel like you have entered middle earth and the scene looks like it is out of Lord Of The Rings. You can stop for photos of Kvernufoss in the distance but we highly encourage you to continue this Iceland hike until the end. Another reason this is one of the best hikes in Iceland is that you can walk behind Kvernufoss! Walking behind waterfalls is so fun and the scenery is stunning. If you are visiting Skofagoss, consider adding the nearby Kvernufoss to your list of best hikes in Iceland you simply must complete! We promise that it will blow your mind!
#7. Reykjadalur Valley Is One Of The Hikes In Iceland With A Hot Springs Payoff
If you are looking for one of the best hikes in Iceland that is truly unique, then you will truly enjoy a visit to Reykjadalur Valley. This valley is located about an hour away from Reykjavik and is filled with a hot stream that you can swim in! The small hot rivers run through Reykjadalur Valley and are warm enough to swim in. Of course, you have to hike there first before you can take a dip!
The hike to Reykjadalur Valley is considered easy but it does take quite a while compared to other easy hikes in Iceland on this list. Allow about 45 minutes each way to get to the Reykjadalur Valley steam rivers and budget around 2 hours of time in general for the experience. You really want to get the most out of one of the best hikes in Iceland, so go during the day so you aren’t rushed by sunset.
This hike in Iceland is better done during the off-season or summer and skipped during the winter. The conditions make going in winter difficult or maybe even impossible, and the hot rivers aren’t so hot in the winter because of how cold it is. If you truly want to enjoy one of the best hikes in Iceland, shoot for a slightly warmer time of year. Make sure to stay on the approved path until you reach the designated swimming area of Reykjadalur Valley so you don’t scald yourself!
#8. The Hike To Sólheimasandur Plane Crash Is Long But Easy
Gone are the days when you can drive out to Sólheimasandur Plane Crash like we did on our very first trip to Iceland. Now, you must hike from the Ring Road all the way down to the plane wreck. Although Sólheimasandur Plane Crash is one of the best easy hikes in Iceland, it is long and takes a long time. The ground is completely flat but you are walking on a beach that has rocks and pebbles and sand the entire time.
The hike to Sólheimasandur Plane Crash is roughly 5 miles [8km] round trip and the hike is very boring and uninteresting. You won’t even see the plane crash until you are directly on top of it because it is hidden down a hill! The hike itself is pretty boring, but the plane wreck is pretty epic which is why it is one of the must-see hikes in Iceland. Don’t worry, no one died here and everyone was safe after the crash which makes it okay to visit!
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash is one of the better hikes in Iceland if you want to actually hike for a distance but don’t want to spend the night outdoors or don’t want a lot of elevation change. It is easy and flat, but takes a good 2-3 hours minimum to complete, depending on how long you stay at the plane crash at the end. Once you arrive, you will see how it made the list of the best hikes in Iceland!
#9. Dynjandi Waterfall Is A Remote But Epic Hike In Iceland
If you have never considered heading to the Westfjords in Iceland, you aren’t alone! This remote region of Iceland is off-the-beaten-path but the views are epic! Dynjandi Waterfall is an absolutely massive waterfall and home to one of the best hikes in Iceland. We consider this hike easy even though it is steep because it is a short distance. You are hiking from the parking lot up along a trail until you reach the very base of the huge Dynjandi Waterfall.
The hike is 1km each way and takes about 15-20 minutes depending on how fast you hike uphill and downhill. You can stop all along this hike in Iceland as you climb to the base of the waterfall to take pictures of lower falls. It is quite incredible as you get closer Dynjandi Waterfall gets bigger and bigger until it is towering overhead. Pictures really don’t do Dynjandi Waterfall justice and it is totally worth paying a visit to the Westfjords so you can check one of the best hikes in Iceland off your bucket list!
#10. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Is One Of The Best Hikes In Iceland For Seeing Unique Landscapes
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the best hikes in Iceland if you are looking for something different other than lava fields and waterfalls. Although they are epic, a deep canyon covered in green moss with a winding river flowing through it will do the trick! Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is located about 15 minutes off the Ring Road in south Iceland and you must drive down a dirt road to get there. Don’t worry, a 2×2 car can make the drive!
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is considered one of the best easy hikes in Iceland, but be aware that the first part is a steep uphill. You will hike up a flat-but-uphill path from the parking lot until you reach the top of the canyon. Then, this hike in Iceland will flatten out as you walk along the top of the canyon. This is one of the best hikes in Iceland for families with smaller children as it isn’t too difficult and there aren’t a lot of stairs.
In all, the length of the entire Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is around 2km or little over a mile, but you don’t have to do the entire hike to feel satisfied. You can simply climb to the top of the shorter steep part and take in the views and continue on your way. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is one of the best hikes in Iceland for you to choose how much you want to see and how long you want to stay!
#11. Dettifoss Waterfall’s East Side Offers An Easy Downhill Hike In Iceland
If you are heading to Dettifoss Waterfall, located in North Iceland, be aware that there are two ways you can view the waterfall. One towards the west and one towards the east. We highly recommend heading to the eastern side [or both] especially if you want to experience one of the best hikes in Iceland. The hike is short, about 15 minutes, but is a winding downhill hike to the top of the waterfall.
There are no railings or guardrails on this hike in Iceland, so if you are taking children, keep them close by and don’t get to near the waterfall. Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and this easy hike in Iceland allows you to get up close and personal with the raging falls. The downhill and uphill portion of this hike is short and easy, but it gets a little more difficult as you walk to the falls from the base of the hill. You will have to make your way through rocks so keep your eyes on the ground to ensure you don’t trip and fall.
The walk down to Dettifoss is one of the best hikes in Iceland because it is much less touristy than other suggestions on this list and really allows you to experience the waterfall first hand. As we mentioned above, safety is key when completing this easy hike in Iceland so don’t get dangerously close as the edge is slippery!
Map Of The Best Hikes In Iceland
To make things easier for you, we created this map of the best hikes in Iceland! This Google Map will show you where all the easy hikes in Iceland are located around the country. This will help you pinpoint your itinerary and choose exactly which hikes in Iceland to take and which to skip! We recommend bookmarking the link to refer back to during your trip!
Best Time Of Year For Hiking In Iceland
The majority of these best hikes in Iceland can be completed year round. If you look at the map above, all of the hikes located in the south of Iceland are accessible in both winter and summer. Dynjandi, in the Westfjords, and Dettifoss, in the north, are subject to road closures due to snow and weather during the winter in Iceland. When hiking in Iceland, always research ahead and ensure that you are cleared to complete a hike. Some roads in Iceland and especially in the Westfjords may be impassible during the winter.
In the summer (June-August) you will experience the midnight sun and will have plenty of time for completing hikes in Iceland. If you are looking for endless days, then summer may be the best time to visit! We always recommend visiting Iceland in the off-season such as in September or April as the weather is still pretty nice and the roads aren’t usually closed but the prices are a bit cheaper and there are less people. Finally, if you are looking to hike in Iceland under the Northern Lights, visiting in winter will be your best bet!
How To Get Around Iceland
You have a few options for getting around Iceland! You can drive yourself, take one of the many tours in Iceland, or hitchhike around to the different locations you want to visit! Driving in Iceland or taking tours in Iceland are the most popular ways to see the country. If you plan on driving in Iceland, you get to see the country at your own pace. If you plan to take one of the many tours in Iceland, you get a local guide with the knowledge you may never find out on your own.
There are no right or wrong ways to get around Iceland and it all depends on your personal travel style! Do you want to do the planning yourself or do you prefer for someone else to do the planning for you? This is all dependent on the way you choose to get around Iceland during your trip!
Additional Reading For Your Visit To Iceland:
- If you are looking when to go to Iceland, check out our detailed guide on the best time to go to Iceland and which shows the pros and cons of every season.
- If you are on the hunt for what to pack for Iceland, check out our All-Season Iceland Packing List as well as our Iceland Packing List for Men and check out our recommendations for the best shoes and boots for Iceland and the best jackets to pack for Iceland. These are real suggestions we have actually used!
- Considering staying in Airbnbs during your trip to Iceland? We put together The Beginner’s Guide To Airbnb to help you through your trip as well as a list of our favorite Airbnbs all around the Ring Road!
- Looking to visit Iceland on a budget? It is totally possible! Here are our 7 Tips For Visiting Iceland On A Budget as well as 5 More Things You Shouldn’t Forget To Budget For In Iceland so you can save the most amount of money possible! You can also check out these 10 Budget Iceland Travel tips to help plan for visiting Iceland!
- If you have always wanted to camp, we put together the First-timers Guide To Camping In Iceland with all sorts of helpful tricks and tips including a detailed packing list.
- Planning on an Iceland road trip or thinking about driving during trip to Iceland? Check out our 7 Tips For Driving In Iceland!
- Planning your Iceland itinerary during the winter? Here are 5 Things To Know Before Visiting Iceland In Winter to make sure you are on the right track to enjoy your trip as well as 30 Bucket List Things To Do In Iceland In Winter!
- Check out our super popular 5 Day Iceland Road Trip Itinerary to start planning!
- Our 3 Days In Iceland Itinerary can be completed any time of year!
- If you are driving in Iceland, you will want to check out our guide to Gas Stations In Iceland!
If you are on the hunt for the best hikes in Iceland that are easy and fun but still have a big payoff, these will not disappoint you! These easy hikes in Iceland will allow you to see the best of Iceland without hiking for multiple days or camping on the land. They are perfect for families or just those of us that don’t feel like committing to something long and involved!
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