Precursor: My father and I did this trek in late June/early July of 2015, so forgive my memory.
We found this trail on National Geographic’s list of “Most Epic Hikes in the World,” so naturally my Dad and I started sorting out how we could make this hike happen. And indeed, it was pretty damn epic.
The standard trail starts in Landmannalaugar (have fun pronouncing these names!) and finishes in Thorsmork. There is a two night/three day extension you can do from Thorsmork, and if you are at all fascinated by behemoth and other-worldly waterfalls I would STRONGLY recommend you do it. You will end in Skogar, which is home to the world famous waterfall, Skogafoss. In fact if you are limited in time, I would suggest going just from Thorsmork to Skogar because this part seems to be even more mind-blowing than the first few days.
In total, I believe it is roughly 50 miles/80 km from Landmannalaugar to Skogar. We took 6 nights/7 days and found that this was a good pace. You will be gaining considerable elevation/crossing between two glaciers on a volcano/more than likely dealing with adverse environmental situations.
AN IMPORTANT LOCAL TIP: THINK KINDLY OF THE ELVES AND THEY WILL THINK KINDLY OF YOU! A hiking guide we ran into gave us this very crucial piece of advice. The Icelandic people believe whole-heartedly in the native elves of the country. In fact, they have re-routed entire roads due to where said elves may reside. It sounds ridiculous, but we thought kindly of them and got (quite rare) amazing weather and conditions—so I am a BELIEVER!
Also, book this trip in advance. We were visiting my sister, who lived in England at the time, and used Iceland Air. Iceland Air allows you to take up to a 7 day layover in Iceland for free! You can also book the huts along the trail so you won’t need a tent! DO THIS IN ADVANCE! Nothing better than having a roof over your head with 20 strangers laying beside you, when you are on top of a glacier.