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Everything You Need to Know About Iceland’s Thorsmork Valley and Nature Reserve

26-06-2024

Thorsmork

A sweeping valley, dramatic volcanic mountains and epic glacier views make Thorsmork a truly incredible natural area to visit during your time in Iceland. This spectacular valley and nature reserve offers some of the most stunning hiking routes in all of Iceland, as well as panoramas you're sure to remember for a lifetime!

Let’s learn more about this incredible location within the Icelandic Highlands, including where exactly Thorsmork is, the beautiful Thorsmork hikes you can take and everything you need to know to enjoy your day of adventure here!

All About Thorsmork Valley and Nature Reserve

Designated a protected area in 1921, Thorsmork is an incredibly beautiful nature reserve with sprawling lush green landscapes and dramatic mountains. With the rivers of Krossá, Markarfljót and Þröngá at its heart, the spectacular expanse of natural wilderness that is Thorsmork Valley is one of Iceland’s best-known and loved hiking areas.

The vibrant greens of birch trees, ferns, mosses and other vegetation cover Thorsmork with a blanket of green, stark against the towering mountains lining the valley. Beautiful in its colors and natural features, Thorsmork Valley is a gem of the Icelandic Highlands.

Thorsmork Valley

What Does Thorsmork Mean?

Translating to the ‘Valley of Thor’, Thorsmork Valley is named after the Norse God of thunder, Thor.

How Wide is the Thorsmork Valley?

At just over 9,500 square miles wide, the epic Thorsmork Valley covers an expansive area of natural wilderness.

If you’re wondering ‘how tall is Thorsmork?’, the vast array of mountains surrounding the valley are varying in height. Mount Valahnúkur, for example, has an elevation of over 450 meters.

Where is Thorsmork?

Situated in the south of the Icelandic Highlands, Thorsmork lies between three glaciers: Eyjafjallajökull, Tindfjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull. These three nearby glaciers actually make Thorsmork Valley warmer than the surrounding area, providing it with somewhat of a protective shield from the elements.

Close to the coastal town of Vik, Thorsmork sits just south of Fjallabak Nature Reserve, around 130 kilometers from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

How to Get to Thorsmork

To get to Thorsmork from Reykajvik, the drive will take around 1 hour and 45 minutes via the main Ring Road in Iceland, Route 1, followed by the F249. As an F-road, the F249 is an unpaved, gravel road, which requires a 4x4 vehicle to traverse. Be sure to only take this self-driving route if you’re an experienced, confident driver.

How to get Thorsmork (Reykjavik to Thorsmork map)

Another option to get to Thorsmork is via bus from Reykajvik. Designed to tackle the challenging roads and river crossings, these buses can be a good option if you don’t fancy driving yourself.

Thorsmork tours, such as this Thorsmork Private Super Jeep Tour, are brilliant options for a day trip where you’ll be taken care of and driven from A to B. There are also group Thorsmork tour and excursion options to explore, if you prefer. Check out a selection of high-quality, recommended Thorsmork tours here.

Please note that it’s only possible to reach Thorsmork in the summer months, as the Icelandic Highlands are inaccessible otherwise, due to harsh weather conditions causing seasonal road closures.

What Part of Thorsmork is Best For a Day Trip?

If you’re wondering what part of Thorsmork to go to for a day trip, wherever you choose is guaranteed to be a brilliant choice. For example, the Husadalur Valley region is always a good option for its incredible glacier views and flowing rivers. Here, you’ll also be able to take the famous Thorsmork Highlights hike. 

Top Thorsmork Hikes

For nature lovers, hiking in Iceland is a true adventure, allowing you to explore the magical natural wonders all over this incredible island. The Thorsmork hiking routes are no exception, offering wonderful views every step of the way. Here are some of the best Thorsmork hiking routes you can take:

  • Thorsmork Highlights Hike – A 9-kilometer hike through the diverse scenery of Husadalur Valley, this most famous Thorsmork hike takes around 3 hours and is easy to mid-level in difficulty. This route is perfect for adventurers wanting to soak in all the wonderful sights of Thorsmork.

  • Mount Valahnukur Hike – This 4.3-kilometer trail is great for those travelers who’d like to see what Thorsmork has to offer without tiring themselves out too much, as this Thorsmork hike can be completed in 2 hours.

  • Laugavegur Trail – If you fancy a longer hike in Thorsmork, you might like to consider the Laugavegur trail, which takes around 3 days and starts off at Landmannalaugar.

Thorsmork Hike

Where to Stay in Thorsmork

If you’d like to stay overnight near Thorsmork, you might like to choose a campsite, hotel or guesthouse. The closest accommodation option to Thorsmork is Volcano Huts, which offers camping options, glamping tents, cabin rooms, cottages and mountain huts. With something for everyone, staying here offers you direct access to the beautiful nature of Thorsmork.

Enjoy Your Own Unique Iceland Adventure

Ready to jet off, then set off on your own unique Iceland adventure? Get your Iceland car rental ready and you’ll be all set to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime exploring glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, valleys, geothermal lagoons and more all across the incredible island of Iceland – we look forward to welcoming you soon!