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:
5 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 winding and has a bit of uphill and downhill, but it is moderately easy. 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.
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!
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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