Even if you have driven already popular RingRoad many times and you are an experienced traveler not discouraged by always changing and rough Icelandic weather, you cannot say you have visited Iceland if you weren’t in the Icelandic Highlands. Exploring the Highlands is even more tempting as the roads are open only in Summer and you can choose between several hiking trails. The Icelandic Highlands with its volcanism and glaciers are unique. As the number of tourists visiting the Land of ice and fire is growing every year there is a plan to create a National Park in the area of the highlands in order to protect it.
One of the most popular hiking destinations in Southern Icelandic Highlands is Thorsmork named after the Norse god Thor. The name Thorsmork refers to the valley lies between three glaciers covering the volcanoes Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull. But also to a mountain range between three rivers Krossá, Þröngá, and Markarfljót. In the wider meaning name, Porsmork refers to the nature reserve between Eyafjallajokull volcano and Porsmork. Porsmork is rich in several types of landscapes and geological forms from green areas abundant in moss, Icelandic yellow birchwoods, and fern to a valley covered in volcanic ash cut by the glacial rivers and glaciers draining from the Eyjafjallajökull Ice cap: Gígjökull and Steinholtsjokull. Spectacular views guaranteed!
Hiking in Thorsmork
The area is abundant in several trails you can choose for a hike. The most famous trails the Laugavegur Hiking Trail and the Fimmvörðuháls Hiking Trail are also the most demanding and suitable only for experienced hikers. It is important to choose a trail suitable for your abilities, especially in Icelandic always changing the weather. Most of the trails are well marked and some with man-made steps but you should always have a map, plan your hike and check the weather conditions.
Laugavegur hiking trail stretches 55 kilometers across the southern Icelandic highlands and connects Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork. The hike takes approximately 3 – 5 days, but If you want to make your hike even longer you can end it in Skogar.
Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail is shorter as it takes approximately 1 day of hiking, but it’s even more demanding. It stretches 30 kilometers across the southern Icelandic highlands from Skógar to Thorsmork and gives you breathtaking views of the hills nearby Eyjafjallajökull – infamous volcano that erupted in 2010 stopping air traffic over Europe and other craters that were created during this event.
But even if you have only 1 day to spend in Porsmork you can choose shorter trails that takes from 2 to 5 hours with as spectacular views. One of the ideas is to hike to the foothills of the Valahnúkur Mountain and to the Merkurrani plateau from where you can see the panoramic view of Thorsmork valley and it’s volcanic bottom cut by glacial rivers. You can also take a 2-3 hours hike in a riverbed along the Stakkholtsgjá Canyon. While hiking you can admire breathtaking approximately 100-meter high cliffs, towering above your head. The Stakkholtsgjá Canyon was one of the filming locations of the Game of Thrones. The hike is not demanding even for inexperienced hikers and it ends with a view of a cascading river and amazing waterfall. Totally worth it!
Driving in Thorsmork
In winter from mid-October till May the road to Þórsmörk is impassable. Driving in Thorsmork is forbidden for cars from the rental agencies unless you will be renting a landrover. If you aren’t experienced in crossing rivers the more reasonable idea is to book one of the guided tours with a guide.
Check our Porsmork guided tour by a super jeep here:
Then you will be able to visit also additional attractions like Nauthusagil ravine that ends with a waterfall.
Another attraction that you can visit on a super jeep tour is Gluggafoss called the waterfall with three windows.
Have safe hikes in the Icelandic Highlands,
full of adventures and spectacular views!