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Þórsmörk (sometimes written as Thorsmork) is a beautiful area of hiking trails and wilderness in the south of Iceland’s highlands. It is an entry point to the island’s untamed interior, where long-distance walking routes ramble across scenery empty of human interference. If you’re looking for a real away-from-it-all adventure in Iceland, Þórsmörk is the place to start.
Spectacular river valley flanked by craggy hills, with a distant glacier, all bathed in the soft pink hues of sunset.
Best time to visit
June- August
Distance from Reykjavík
128 km (79.5 mi)
63.677806721542986, -19.481763818414596

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Discovering Þórsmörk on Foot

In Norse mythology, it is said that This was the place where Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, struck the earth, and the great valley that cuts through the landscape was created. Hence, the area is called Þórsmörk or “Thor’s Valley” in English.

The wild Krossá River winds like a ribbon through the valley, and the Eyjafjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull, and Tindfjallajökull glaciers surround it. During the famous 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Þórsmörk was covered in a thick layer of volcanic ash, which took a long time to clear.

These days, Þórsmörk is known as a hiker’s paradise where rugged trails meander across the breathtaking landscape and into the undiscovered interior of the island.

Large jeep navigating a river amidst untamed wilderness.

Getting to Þórsmörk

Þórsmörk becomes inaccessible to most during winter due to snowfall on the rugged, river-washed, unpaved F-roads, preventing even 4x4s from passing.

During summer, navigating to Þórsmörk demands a sturdy 4x4, primarily due to the iconic river crossing where adventurers ford the Krossá River to access this breathtaking destination.

Smaller 4X4 cars won’t manage the crossing, so if you want to drive to Thorsmörk by yourself, make sure to rent a large vehicle.

Those hiring a 4x4 and driving themselves from Reykjavík can follow the Route One main ring road that loops around the island out of the city. At Hvolsvöllur, you join the narrow 261 road, which becomes the f-261 as it leads into Þórsmörk.

F-roads are unpaved tracks that can be difficult to navigate without experience. For this reason, one of the most popular ways to reach Þórsmörk is by the highland bus. The Þórsmörk bus leaves daily from Reykjavík during the hiking season (summer) and is equipped to deal with the narrow, unpaved mountain roads and river fords along the way.

Of course, it is also possible to reach Þórsmörk on foot from either Skógar or Landmannalaugar via the long-distance hiking trails through the interior of the island.

The best option to get to Thórsmörk is by the Highland Bus. Most travellers opt for scheduled bus services that operate from Reykjavik and other towns in the summer. Another option is joining a guided tour that often includes transportation.

Group of hikers trekking with a majestic glacier looming in the background.

What to see and do at Þórsmörk

The primary allure of the Þórsmörk area is its rich array of hiking trails and opportunities. Looking at a Þórsmörk map, you can see trails snaking across the other-worldly landscape, heading into the empty Icelandic highlands past glaciers, lava fields and gorges.

Two of Iceland’s most popular multi-day hikes begin (or end) at Þórsmörk. The Laugavegur trail is considered one of the top hiking trails in the world and is the most popular long-distance walking route in Iceland. It runs from Þórsmörk to the ethereal rhyolite mountains of Landmannalaugar, covering 55 kilometres (36 miles) of ascents, descents and challenging terrain. Most people spend two or three days on this trail from Þórsmörk, staying in mountain cabins along the way.

A popular route, it is important to book your mountain cabin accommodation well in advance if you are not joining a guided hike. On a guided hike along the Laugavegur trail, all your overnight accommodation and even transport to Þórsmörk will be taken care of.

Group of hikers trekking with a majestic glacier looming in the background.

The Fimmvörðuháls trail runs from Þórsmörk to Skógar over 25 kilometres (15 miles) and is also sometimes known as the “Þórsmörk volcano hike”. Covering the area between Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull, it shows off some of south Iceland’s most dramatic scenery – volcanoes and glaciers topping towering mountains. Experienced hikers may tackle this trail in a single day, but most people like to slow down and spend two days admiring the scenery.

If you’d rather stay within the area, there are a couple of curricular day hikes around Þórsmörk. The Valahnúkur trail starts and ends from the volcano huts and is a short, uphill hike taking one and a half to two hours and rewarding walkers with beautiful views of the valley from on high. The Tindfjöll Circle hike is a bit longer, taking most of the day to complete, and runs through the Tindfjöll gorge, Slyppugil Valley, and past the Tröllakirkja mountain. It ends with a guidebook-worthy view of the Þórsmörk valley.

Hikers approaching a mountain hut, distinguished by an Icelandic flag, nestled in a verdant valley.

You’ll find a scattering of accommodations in Þórsmörk, mountain huts, glamping tents and campsites. Even if long-distance hiking isn’t your thing, some people book a cabin or glamping out in the wilderness to simply spend time in a remote and beautiful part of the world.

Some people visit Þórsmörk for a self-drive adventure, fording rivers and bumping over the rugged terrain in a 4x4. This is only possible in summer as snowfall in the winter months makes the small F-roads around Þórsmörk inaccessible, even for 4x4s.

Attractions and sights near Þórsmörk

Thorsmörk is surrounded by landmarks that tell tales of both the fiery and icy temperament of Iceland. Starting with the Gígjökull Glacier, this offshoot of the notorious Eyjafjallajökull is more than just ice; it's a testament to nature's grandeur.

Not far from here, the Tindfjöll mountains pierce the sky, standing as silent sentinels overlooking the region. As you tread softly on the Laugavegur trail, the ever-changing landscapes of Iceland unfold, a preamble to the adrenaline-pumping route of the Fimmvörðuháls trail that weaves between glaciers.

The famed Eyjafjallajökull isn't just known for its glacier, but also the volcano beneath, a sleeping giant that stirred dramatically in 2010. Echoes of this eruption can be seen in the Móði and Magni craters, stark reminders of nature's raw power. Amidst these towering giants, the Stakkholtsgjá canyon cuts deep, its steep walls and riverbed cradling tales of old.

As you descend into the embrace of the Húsadalur valley, nature's softer side is evident in the verdant expanses. For those seeking respite, the hidden Seljavallalaug mountain pool, nestled between rolling hills, offers solace in its warm embrace. Concluding this journey, Þakgil Canyon awaits its unique rock shelters and formations beckoning travelers to explore its depths.

All About Þórsmörk

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