This post focuses on Day 5 (hiking in Þakgil) of our Ultimate Itinerary for 2 Weeks / 14 Days in Iceland.
If you’ve just starting planning for your vacation or holiday in Iceland, check out our Iceland planning and resources post.
NOTE: Our itinerary outlines activities and drive times. Everybody has different eating habits so stop for groceries and food as needed. Picnic areas are suggested when extraordinary, otherwise eat where and when you want. We rarely ate out and instead enjoyed yogurt and fruit for breakfast, prepared quick lunches and snacks throughout the day, and cooked a hot meal every evening at the campground.
Iceland Itinerary Day 5 Summary
|Þakgil||5 – 8 hrs|
|Þakgil Campground||accommodation||2000 ISK per person; 200 ISK toilet fee if not camping|
|Total = all day|
Iceland Itinerary Day 5 Details
Day 5 Activities
The canyon of Þakgil is so beautiful and so hidden. Imagine hiking in a lush green valley to a waterfall and to a fantastical view of a glacier. Imagine seeing few, if any, other people during this MAGICAL hike. That’s Þakgil; a hidden gem.
Þakgil has three major hiking trails. A plaque at the campsite describes each hikes as follows:
Mælifell (red markers)
13.5 km, 400 – 500m climb, 4-5 hrs – The route lies down Þakgil to the Miðfellshelir cave where the sheep herders used to stay during autumn sheep herding. From here follow the track, with Miðfell on your right, up Miðafrétt range on the east side of Miðtungugil ravine, until you reach the waterfall Leynir. Then head south, up to the peak of Mælifell, and then south along the eastern rim of Raufargil ravine to Barð. Descend here to a hut owned by Ferðafélag Mýrdælinga (Mýrdal Travel Association) and from there back to Þakgil. You may have to ford the Afréttisá river on the way to Þakgil, depending on the state of the river.
Austurafréttur range (yellow markers)
17 km, 500 – 600m climb, 6-8 hrs – The first part of the route starts like the route to Mælifell, to Miðfellshelir cave and follow a dirt track, with Miðfell on the right, up Miðafrétt range on the east of Miðtunguil ravine, up to the Leynir waterfall. Then head north towards Sker (749 m), and then east to Rjúpnagilsbrýr. From Rjúpnagilsbrýr you’ll have a magnificent view of Kӧtlujӧkull glacier and nearly all South-eastern part of Iceland. From there, go down Austurafrettéttur range to Iꝺrunarstandi, by Árnabotna and Vestureggjar, and then down into Þakgil ravine – or take the track east of Hvolhӧfuð head.
Remundargil ravine (purple markers)
12.5km, 250m climb, 3-5 hrs – The route lies from Þakgil down the ravine, then up out of the ravine on the east side opposite Miðfellshelir cave, and over the ridge to the east in the direction of Remundargil ravine. Once you come down into the ravine, walk along it until you reach Remundargilfoss waterfall. The return route is partly the same, but you exit the ravine in front of Remundargilshӧfuð headland. Walk along Remundargilshӧfuð headland into a ravine between it and Vatnsrásarhӧfuð headland. Up in the pass there are stunning views of the Kӧtlujӧkull glacier where it bursts forth from Mýrdalsjӧkull glacier. The return route is through Láguhvolar, in front of Hvolhӧfuð, and then follow the road into Þakgil.
We chose the shortest of the three hikes: Remundargil ravine. We knew we’d be stopping to enjoy the beauty and take millions of photos. Sure enough, we spent approximately 6 ½ hrs on the trail. Included in that 6 ½ hours was approximately 1 hour at each ‘destination’ (a waterfall and a glacier viewpoint) and tons and tons of additional photo stops along the way. So, the advertised hiking times are accurate if you don’t stop for as long as we did.
But, here’s why you’ll want to be stopping so often and for so long:
No words, right?! So beautiful. So magical.
TIP: Bring plenty of food, water, and layers. The temperature fluctuates quite a bit and it’s especially cold close to the glacer.
Day 5 Accommodation
Since Þakgil Campground is so beautiful and peaceful, we suggest staying here another night. You’ll need to get an early start tomorrow but we think it’s worth having one more night in paradise.
NOTE: Additional details about the campground can be found on Day 4.
If you breeze through the beautiful hiking at Þakgil and have a few more hours to spare then you can get a jump on the activities for tomorrow (Day 6). Skaftafell Campground, located in Vatnajökull National Park, is about 2 ¼ hours away. However, you’ll want to make the mid-way stop for 1 – 1 ½ hours at Fjaðrárgljúfur for canyon views.
Camping at Skaftafell Campground costs 1900 ISK per person and showers are an additional 500 ISK per person.
Just 15 minutes further than Skaftafell Campground is another accommodation option: Svinafell Campground. This campground looks to be in a beautiful setting. Camping at Svinafell Campground costs 1700 ISK per person and includes showers.
Iceland Itinerary Day 5 Map
Day 5 covers point 22 on the map layer Our 2 Week / 14 Day Itinerary.
Other layers include additional points of interest, accommodation (camping and hotel), and dining/groceries. Most of these points have a description and a link for more information.
September 6 – 7, 2018