Jeff and I were really excited once we learned that we would be trekking hut to hut on the Laugavegur. This meant a lot less to carry: no tent, no sleeping, pad, no heavier sleeping bag, no stove for cooking. It also meant that, no matter the weather, we would always have a warm and dry place to stay each night.
The huts are nothing fancy, with shared sleeping areas that contain sleeping pads and not much else. However, they all have kitchens that are relatively well stocked with cooking gear, so you only need carry food to be set for dining.
Our first night, after the travel from Keflavik Airport via Reykjavik, was spent the hut at Landmannalaugar. This is one end of the Laugavegur and a popular place for hiking in general, as well as the site of a hot spring that is well used.
The hut is quite large, sleeping 78 people, sits right at the trailhead and not far from the hot spring. Old school buses have been converted into a small convenience store and café.
We stopped for lunch, a bathroom break, and water at the Hraftntinnusker hut (52 beds) and were met by the crankiest and rudest ranger of the trip by far (in fact, he was the only one that wasn’t pleasant). This is a location that often has cold weather, high winds, and even snow, so if you don’t get into the hut, bring serious camping gear.
I was lucky to grab some water before the mean man closed up the hut for cleaning, but he made Jeff stand outside in the cold for more than 20 minutes before grudgingly allowing him to fill his water container.
Our second night was spent at the hut in Álftavatn, which sleeps 72 in a variety of ways, from bunks in a smaller hut, to bigger rooms in the main cabin, as well as rooms for 2. There’s a restaurant and bar (beware the exorbitant prices), and the compound sits on a beautiful lake if you have energy to explore.
Not much further South sits Hvanngil, with room for 60. This was a quick bathroom break for us and we didn’t linger. There appears to be corrals or something similar, so perhaps there’s horsepacking available out of this site.
Our third night was spent in Emstrur, which has 3 huts sleeping 60 in total. Due to the bad weather, every sleeping pad was taken, so it was quite crowded at times, especially when everyone was eating in the small kitchen and dining area. This was the only hut that was cold overnight for me, as the heat is turned off.
While the chalet at Þórsmörk can sleep 75 people, I opted to reserve a private cottage, more expensive, but a nice break after the public sleeping arrangements the first 3 nights. There are also “romantic” yurts available, which looked typical from the outside – I never got a peek in.
Þórsmörk has a restaurant/café and a gift shop. The food, while expensive, was really good, better at dinner than at breakfast. It’s also the place where everyone waits for buses, as most hikers and day visitors leave from here to continue their journeys elsewhere (typically back to Reykjavik).
Unless you’re a hardcore camper or are sort of money, I’s strongly recommend reserving spots at the huts. Not having to carry cooking or camping gear means a lighter load, so more enjoyable hiking. Knowing that you’ll be warm and dry at the end of the day also makes it easier to take the variable weather in stride.