In the summer of 2020 my wife and I made a trip to Iceland. Originally we had planned to go hiking in northern Scandinavia but due to the pandemic we had to change plans. It has been 8 years since my last visit in 2020 and I clearly saw changes, especially at the typical tourist attractions: larger parkings with fees, guardrails, paved trails and viewing platforms, no drone signs everywhere (but sometimes ignored), etc. Were there more people than in 2012? Well, due to the pandemic this wasn’t the case. I strongly believe, that otherwise it would have been significantly more crowded.
During our trip we did a lot of day hiking but decided also to do the famous Laugavegur trail from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. Of course, we didn’t expect to be alone on the trail – and in fact met a lot of people. On the other hand, hut wardens told us that in normal years there’s much more going on. So we were lucky. E.g., we didn’t meet any commercial groups and we always found a camping spot near the huts (there were even beds left which is unusual).
In the following a few images from the Icelandic highlands along the Laugavegur (including a detour at Landmannalaugar and Hvanngil):
I also compiled a short video to show what it’s like to hike this trail:
To answer the question in the title: Was it worth it? Yes, it was a great experience, especially due to the spectacular, otherworldly landscape! The impressions along this trail inspired me enough to plan a more remote hike in the Icelandic highlands sometime in the future.