advertisement

Many tour companies in Reykjavík offer day trips to Landmannalaugar by Jeep, combined with some sightseeing around Þjórsárdalur and Mt. Hekla, but you'll probably feel cheated by having so little time. Also, Jeeps are prohibited from venturing off-road, and do not offer the freedom of access you might anticipate. Ísafold Travel (tel. 544-8866; www.isafoldtravel.is) allows at least some time for a hike at Landmannalaugar, and takes you to Gjáin and Stöng on the way home.

Enlisting in a Laugavegurinn hiking tour has several advantages. All tours include transportation to and from Reykjavík, accommodations and showers in the huts, a guide, and plenty of companionship, usually including Icelanders. Best of all, your bags are delivered from hut to hut.

From July into early September, Ferðafélag Íslands (Icelandic Touring Association) (tel. 568-2533; www.fi.is) leads a few Laugavegurinn tours, with two exclusively for women. The cost is 41,000kr ($656/£328) per person, which includes a final meal at Þórsmörk. Children under 18 pay half price.

Útivist (tel. 562-1000; www.utivist.is), an equally recommended organization, has even more Laugavegurinn departures for a better price: 34,400kr ($550/£275) per person, and half price for children under 18. As with Ferðafélag Íslands, a meal at Þórsmörk is included. Útivist also offers a choice between more strenuous 4-day trips and less strenuous 5-day trips. Cross-country skiing trips to Landmannalaugar leave in spring, and a Jeep tour of the Fjallabak reserve leaves in late August. Útivist also leads a few 4-day trips to Sveinstindur-Skælingar in July and August for 32,100kr ($514/£257) (children under 18 half price). This remote and otherworldly landscape northeast of Eldgjá is far less known than Landmannalaugar and Þórsmörk. The medium-difficulty trip features a mountain climb and long traverse of a lovely, river-braided glacial valley. The guides carry the bags.

Icelandic Mountain Guides (tel. 587-9999; www.mountainguide.is) hosts a Laugavegurinn tour for groups of 6 to 14 at 77,900kr ($1,246/£623) per person. All meals are included and cooked for you, which accounts for the much higher price.

Dick Phillips Specialty Icelandic Travel Service (Whitehall House, Nenthead, Alston, Cumbria, CA9 3PS, England; from the U.K. tel. 0143/438-1440; outside the U.K. tel. 44/1434-381440; www.icelandic-travel.com) leads unforgettable, multi-day, off-the-beaten-track hiking trips through Fjallabak and surrounding areas. Trips are launched from the Fljótsdalur Youth Hostel. Be prepared to carry a heavy backpack.

Horseback Riding -- Riding in this area is spectacular, but may not be suitable for beginners. Hraun Hestar (tel. 566-6693; www.hnakkur.com) offers riding tours from Landmannalaugar, lasting anywhere from 1 hour to all day. Hekluhestar (tel. 487-6598; www.hekluhestar.is) specializes in 6- and 8-day riding trips around Hekla, Landmannalaugar, and the Fjallabak reserve. The 6-day Hekla-Landmannalaugar pack trip, including horses, equipment, guide, and full board, costs 104,125kr ($1,666/£833) per person.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.